Quality Score

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Quality Score (QS) is a metric Google multiplies with your maximum bid (max. CPC) to calculate an ad’s Ad Rank. The Ad Rank determines whether your ad is displayed, and in which position. For this reason, QS is essential for the success of an ad. To understand more about Ad Rank, read our article Bidding.

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

Components of the Quality Score

There are three components of QS. To improve the overall QS, you may want to focus on improving its components.


This is by far the biggest component of the QS. The CTR is a good indication of whether users find your ads helpful and relevant or not. Each of your ads and keywords has their own CTRs, which you can see listed in your Google Ads account. These include the following:

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

This is the second largest component of QS. Google uses relevance 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 landing page is of high quality. A landing page of high quality should have the following characteristics:

  • Contains content that is relevant and original
  • Page is easy to navigate
  • Quick load times, minimal pop-ups/pop-unders
  • Transparent about nature of business
Possibilities of Improvement

1. Negatives:

To improve the three kinds of CTRs, make sure to use negatives. For example, it is possible that your broad, exact, or phrase keywords 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 its dedicated article.

2. Ad Improvement:

Google displays all keywords searched for in bold letters throughout the whole search results page. This includes matching keywords in the ad headline, display URL, and descriptions, as long as you make sure many of the keywords appear in your ad text.

Furthermore, a clear call-to-action encourages potential customers to proceed. Remember, SEA belongs to pull marketing!

3. Split accounts or delete parts:

As Google also includes the overall CTR of the account in its calculations of the QS, it makes sense to exclude bad performing ads from the account. If these cannot be deleted, it could make sense to divide your portfolio 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 through 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 creating keyword-specific ad texts instead of relying on generic ad copy.

Landing Page

1. Relevance
Evaluate your landing page considering its relevance to the headline and description in your ad.

2. Transparency
Make sure to be transparent. If your ad makes an offering, it must be immediately visible on the landing page.

3. Navigation
Google checks the ease of navigation of your landing pages. If you do not have a clear navigational structure, the QS will be lower than for a neatly arranged, intuitive website.

4. Bounce rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors 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 account’s performance and consequently the QS of every single ad.

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