Quality Score

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The QS is a metric that Google multiplies with your maximal bid (maximal CPC) in order to calculate the Ad Rank. The Ad Rank determines whether your ad is displayed and in which position if it is. For this reason the QS is essential for the success of an ad. In order to understand more about the Ad Rank, also read the Bidding chapter.

Google’s goal with the QS is to display more relevant ads on the page of the search engine. Without a QS the ad with the highest bid would always have the highest rank. But this ad might not be the most relevant to the search engine user. Therefore, improving the QS means to improve an ad’s quality and hence the CTR.

Components of the Quality Score

There are three components of the QS. In order to improve the overall QS, you might focus on improving its components.

Click-Through-Rates

This is by far the biggest component of the QS. The CTR is a good indication whether users find your ads helpful and relevant. Each of your ads and keywords has their own CTRs that you can see listed in your AdWords account. These include the following:

  • Historical Click-Through-Rate of the keyword
  • Historical Click-Through-Rate of all ads that contained the same display URL
  • Historical total Click-Through-Rate of all ads in the account
Keyword Relevance

This is the second largest component of the QS. Google uses relevance in order to ensure that only useful ads are displayed to users. The following relevancy is determined by:

  • Relevance of keyword to the search query
  • Relevance of keyword to the ad
Landing Page

The Quality of the Landing Page is the third component of the QS. An ad is only useful to the user if the LP is of high quality. A Landing page of high quality can have the following characteristics:

  • Contains content that is relevant and original
  • Page is easily navigable
  • Quick load times, minimum pop-ups/pop-unders
  • Transparent about nature of business
Possibilities of Improvement
Click-Through-Rate

1. Negatives:

In order to improve the three kinds of CTRs, make sure to deal with negatives. For example, it is possible that your broad, your exact or phrase keywords get to compete with each other. Consequently, Google might select the broader one, which is of less accuracy (lower CTR) and higher cost for you. Read more about Negatives in the corresponding section.

2. Ad Improvement:

Google displays all keywords, which were searched for, in bold letters throughout the whole page of search results. This will include your ad headline, display URL and descriptions as long as you make sure that many of the keywords appear in your ad text.
Furthermore, a clear call-to-action encourages potential customers to go on. Remember, SEA belongs to pull marketing!

3. Split accounts or delete parts:

As Google also includes the overall CTR of the account into its calculations of the QS, it makes sense to exclude bad performing ads from the account. If these cannot be deleted, it might make sense to divide between a high and a low performing account.

Keyword Relevance

A keyword is the connection between a search query and an ad. Therefore it must be of very high relevance in both directions.

1. Relevance to the search query

This can be improved by excellent keyword research. On this basis, clusters should be set carefully. Furthermore, phrase and exact keywords should be preferred over broad keywords.

2. Relevance to the ad

An increase in the relevance of the keyword to the ad is achieved by containing the keyword in the ad text. This implies to create keyword-specific ad texts instead of relying on general ones.

Landing Page

1. Relevance

Evaluate your landing page concerning its relevance for the headline and description of your ad.

2. Transparency

Make sure to be transparent. If your ad makes an offering, it must be visible on the LP immediately.

3. Navigation

Google checks the ease of navigation of your LP. If you do not have a clear navigational structure the QS will be lower than for a neatly arranged website.

4. Bounce rate

The bounce rate is the fraction of visitors of a website who leave after having seen the site. This metric has the potential to help improve your whole web appearance which in turn would improve your accounts performance and consequently the QS of every single ad.

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