How To Get A Better Adwords Quality Score

The Google Adwords Quality Score is basically a score out of 10 that determines how good/relevant your keyword, adverts and landing page are to the campaign you are running, and it’s general effectiveness. The higher the quality score, the better your ad rank and the lower your CPC will be. This article was written by Tony Roocroft. Read more about our Adwords services and our general Google Adwords articles here.

Getting Your Quality Score (QS) Up in Google Adwords Campaigns

I think it was in August 2007 when Google introduced the Quality Score that was factored into its ranking algorithm. Prior to that ranking in Adwords was determined essentially by a combination of CTR (click through rate) and the maximum cost per click the advertiser was prepared to pay.

Using this system Google believed that they did not have sufficient control over the searcher’s experience once an Ad was clicked. Google’s stated policy is that they want users of their search to have the best possible experience once an Ad was clicked.

On this basis Quality Score was introduced.

Here’s what Google say…

“A Quality Score is calculated every time your keyword matches a search query—that is, every time your keyword has the potential to trigger an ad. Quality Score is used in several different ways, including influencing your keywords’ actual cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and estimating the first page bids that you see in your account. It also partly determines if a keyword is eligible to enter the ad auction that occurs when a user enters a search query and, if it is, how high the ad will be ranked. In general, the higher your Quality Score, the lower your costs and the better your ad position.”

“Quality Score helps ensure that only the most relevant ads appear to users on Google and the Google Network. The AdWords system works best for everybody—advertisers, users, publishers, and Google too—when the ads we display match our users’ needs as closely as possible. Relevant ads tend to earn more clicks, appear in a higher position, and bring you the most success.”

The most significant change to QS was the incorporation of landing page factors into the score. The rationale behind this is that if a landing page is relevant to the keyword used in the search and relevant to the displayed ad then the user experience will be enhanced.

What Google does not disclose is what factors make up a good landing page.

However based upon good SEO techniques and Google’s ability to easily “understand” any page content it is almost certain that factors such as the following are taken into account.

Age of the site

Theme of the site… eg don’t send “dog care” traffic to a site about “Cape Town Accommodation”

Number of pages on the site

Basic SEO use of keywords in the meta tags (Title, Description and possibly Keyword)

Use of the keyword as appropriate in page content

Use of links on the page pointing to pages within the site and possibly out of the site.

In practice this almost certainly means single page sites consisting of pure sales copy will struggle to get a good quality score.

The Implications of Poor Quality Score

If Google allocates a poor quality score to your keywords you will see one or both of the following…

Your ads will not show or at least very rarely.

Your minimum bid will be increased very significantly and probably to $10 per click.

Theoretically based upon fairly recent Google Adwords changes the minimum bid has “disappeared” … in practice it is still there. Quite simply Google does not want your money if it means the searcher gets a lousy experience.

In summary if you approach Adwords landing pages from the basis of good SEO then you will probably not be penalized for a low QS based upon landing page quality. However it does not guarantee you that you will get.

To have a good chance of a high QS you need to do the following…

Match keyword searched to Ad displayed.

Match ad displayed to landing page and site content.

There is no doubt that a high QS will reduce click costs significantly and it will put your ad in a position to get more clicks due to higher ad relevance and higher relative position.

Your maximum CPC will always continue to be important especially in a new campaign since Google takes a while to determine the effectiveness of your ad campaign and keyword QS.

If you keyword QS is poor Google will pick this up almost as soon as the campaign goes live.

Don’t let your campaign go live unless you’re pretty sure you will not get a poor SQ since it might be difficult to recover from the initial Poor QS. If this happens you might be forced to bid the $10 for a while in order to build up a history with Google.

Bidding $10 doesn’t necessarily mean you will pay $10 per click. You need to watch your campaign like a hawk under these circumstances.

Make sure you have activated the QS column in the keyword report page. You will then see what your QS is (based upon a score of 1 to 10 and shown as Poor, OK, Good or Excellent).

I speak from experience having created poor QS campaigns both deliberately to prove a point and also by mistake.

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