what is quality score What is Quality Score & How Does it Affect Your Google Ads

The process of running a PPC campaign has been streamlined over the years thanks to improvements with automated bidding. You can turn it on, let machine learning calculate the right bid that aligns with the stated goals for your ads, and get decent results.

Running a successful PPC campaign, however, where you have an advantage over your competition, requires more effort and – crucially – a deeper understanding of the mechanics and key elements of Google Ads. 

One such element is Quality Score and this is what we’ll be looking at in detail in this article.

Quality Score Defined

On the most basic level, Quality Score is a way of judging elements of a Google Ads campaign. It goes from 1 to 10, where the higher the number, the better the ad. 

On a more granular level, Quality Score is used by Google to qualify how relevant a keyword has been using data from past ad auctions. An ad that has a keyword with a high quality score is deemed to be more useful, so that ad will have a better chance of ranking high for searchers using that particular keyword.

There are three major components that determine Quality Score.

Quality Score Components

  • Ad Relevance — How well an ad’s message matches the keywords a searcher uses. Does the ad actually matter to what the searcher is looking for?
  • Expected Click-through Rate — How likely an ad will be clicked when it shows up for a matching keyword. Ads with keywords that are too broad or have weak copy can lower expected CTR.
  • Landing Page Relevance — How relevant an ad’s landing page is for users that click on the ad. The landing page has to provide what users are looking for. 

Ad Rank and Quality Score 

Quality Score in itself is not used to rank ads. Google specifically uses the Quality Score of an ad to see if it’s worth entering into ad auctions where ad ranking actually happens. An ad with a very low Quality Score will suffer, as it just won’t get entered into ad auctions, because Google finds it irrelevant and therefore not useful to searchers.

When Quality Score is combined with a bid, it produces something called Ad Rank. Ad Rank determines where an ad appears in the auction for a particular keyword. So, the better Ad Rank you’ve got, the higher up the paid listings that you’ll appear.

How to Improve Quality Score

While Quality Score is calculated automatically, that doesn’t mean you’re completely at the mercy of Google. You can still take actions that can affect Quality Score.

Ad Relevance – Segmentation and Structure

To ensure that your ads get shown to the right people, you want to have an orderly structure to your overall PPC campaign. Lumping too many different topics together into one campaign will lead you nowhere. The right move would be to implement segmentation, wherein you have multiple groups that have been split into granular themes targeting specific keywords. 

Segmentation allows you to be more targeted in terms of your keyword usage within the ad copy itself. The more targeted your ad copy is to a particular keyword, the more relevant you are, the more clicks you’re going to get, and the more likely you are going to get a positive experience from someone who clicks on your ad.

Expected Click-through Rate – Keyword Match Types

It can be difficult to optimise expected CTR considering historical data plays a role in this factor. When you first start a campaign, how does Google know what your expected CTR should be? It will rely on its algorithms to come up with a guesstimate first, so you’ll have to wait for Google to collect real live data once your campaign is running to get a more accurate evaluation.

What you can do is make better use of keyword match types. Going broad with a keyword like “accountant” will result in a very low expected CTR. It would be much better to use an exact match type keyword like “accountants Bristol” since it targets a much more specific audience. You also need to be going through your search query report to make sure that any irrelevant keywords that are triggering your ads are being added as negatives. 

Landing Page Relevance – Keyword Usage and Competitor Research

You can improve landing page relevance simply through good keyword usage. Make sure you’re covering all your bases by having targeted keywords in your page title, meta title, heading above the fold, subheadings, and in the copy. Consider synonyms and other words related to your targeted keywords as well when writing the copy for the landing page. 

Another good practice is to look at the landing pages of your competitors. If they’re already established in their space, it’s likely they’re optimising their landing pages. Do competitor research to get an idea of what works for your industry.

Quality Score and Cost Per Click

Quality Score can affect how much you’ll pay per click on your ad. In effect, it’s like having either a penalty on your bid if your ad’s Quality Score is low and a discount if it’s high. You can get as high as a 50% discount on your ad’s CPC if its Quality Score is 10. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get penalised by as much as 400% if your ad’s Quality Score is 1. It quite literally pays to improve your Quality Score as much as you can.

Keys to Improving Quality Score

Quality Score contributes to how high your ads will rank and how much they will cost. Improving it results in a more successful, cost-efficient PPC campaign. Understand your audience, how your keywords match their search intent, and what actions you want them to take when they click on your ad. Keep those in mind, and you’ll be improving your ads’ Quality Scores with granular campaigns, keyword-targeted copy, and seamlessly connected landing pages.

Running a Google Ads campaign isn’t rocket science but doing it well takes years of experience, trial and error and insight. Working with a PPC agency with a proven track record like Superb Digital does mean paying a management fee but this will soon be dwarfed by the increase in ROI that real experts can bring to your campaign.

Book in a free strategy call with us today to find out more.