What is Quality Score and how it affects your Google Ads campaigns

By Daniel Hales | Published 07/10/2019

If you’re looking to improve the performance of your Google Ads, then Quality Score is one of the first places to look where improvements can be made. It has a direct impact on your cost per click and the advice given from these can also help you to improve the effectiveness of your ads too.

What Is Quality Score?

To understand the importance of quality score, you first need to understand how it works within the auction system. Essentially when Google decides which ad to show, it gives each ad an ad rank which consists of the bid and quality score.

CPC Bid x Quality Score = Ad Rank

And what you pay is the lowest price required in order to maintain your Ad Rank. That means that if you improve your quality score you will actually pay less for clicks on your ad even though the ads show in the same position. This system helps Google to maintain the relevancy of their ads, by rewarding advertisers when they improve the quality of their ads, ultimately giving Google’s users the best experience possible.

There are three different elements to quality score, each of which comes with a mark of “Below Average”, “Average” and “Above Average”. The three elements are:

  • Expected Click Through Rate
  • Landing Page Experience
  • Ad Relevance

How you can use each of these three metrics will be discussed in full later on in the post. But first, we’re going to look into how you can find and ways in which we measure quality scores.

How Find & Measure Quality Scores

So the first question you might have is, where do I get this information? Well Google Ads have chosen not to show this in the default view so you’re going to have to customise the columns shown to do this. As Quality Score is attributed at keyword level, you’ll need to make sure you’re within your keywords report before trying to find them.

Once you’re in you main keyword report you’ll be able to set custom columns in order to show the quality score. Once you’re in the column editor you should see a drop down for Quality Score which contains the above elements, as well as a general Quality Score which will give you an overall score out of ten. Once you’ve selected these you can then select apply and then these will be shown within your report. Please note that data needs to be collected for your keywords before a Quality Score is shown.

Before making any changes in response to your Quality Scores, we believe it’s useful to start tracking your progress on this. This will enable you to ensure that the changes you’re making are actually making a positive impact. Of course you should also measure the top level metrics such as Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) or Cost of Sales (CoS), in order to make sure any changes are having a positive effect on your bottom line.

As Google Ads doesn’t show Quality Score over time we use a script to take a snapshot each day. This will allow us to see how much of a difference these changes are actually making. The script we use is by Clicteq which can be found on Search Engine Land. Once installed this will track your Quality Score daily and give you information of each element of it, as well as a weighted average to ensure that the changes you make are giving the most impact.

Expected Clickthrough Rate

Expected clickthrough rate is the likeliness that someone is likely to click on your ad compared to others. If you’re getting below average for this it may be worth reviewing your ads text to look at the following points:

  • Relevance to the keyword – The more relevant your ad is to the search term that’s being used, the likely the user is to click on the ad. More tips on this are covered below in Ad Relevance.
  • Call To Actions – It might be worth looking at your call to actions to see if they are meeting the users needs. When searching for your products or services, how are they going to interact with your business? If you have a call to action which implies to call, but they expect to buy online, then this could result in them being less likely to click.
  • Key Selling Points – Your key selling points (KSPs) can heavily influence whether a potential customer will want to click on your ad or a competitor. We’d suggest adding KSPs which differentiates you from your competitors, but it’s worth testing various different ad copies.

Remember that when looking at changing your ads you should also keep an eye on your key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to make sure that these are moving in the right direction too. There’s potential that you could improve the expected clickthrough rate, only to see the conversion rate drop, decreasing your return on investment.

Landing Page Experience

Landing page experience looks at the page your ad is being sent to and looks at the relevance and some elements of the user experience of the landing page. If this is low you could look at changing some of the following:

  • Relevance to keyword and ad – There should be clear relevance between the keyword, ad and landing page in order to give the potential customer a consistent experience. To make sure the ad is relevant you should make sure that the keyword is within the heading, the call to action is clear and related to the one in the ad and that any KSPs from the ad are included. With this in mind it may be worth looking at creating new landing pages which meet the ads expectation, rather than using the ‘generic’ page already on the website.
  • Mobile Friendly – Your landing page should be responsive (usable across all devices) in order to give your potential customers a good experience once on your website.
  • Page loading time – You should also look to have a fast loading page, you don’t want your potential customers clicking back because your website took too long. When looking at page speeds we usually aim for under 3 seconds, but every millisecond counts and can have a huge impact on your conversion rates.

Ad Relevance

Ad relevance is essentially the relevance between the ad and the search term, it’s therefore important to make sure that your keywords are included in your ad copy. We usually reserve the first headline to be related to the keyword. If this is low it may be worth taking the following action to improve:

  • Split down ad groups – If the first headline is related to the keywords in your ad group you should have no issues with the ad relevance score. You may however have issues if you have too much variance in keywords in your ad groups. If this is the case we would suggest splitting down the ad groups further. This will allow you to have more relevant ads to the keywords in each ad group.

You should now have some idea of how you can improve the Quality Score of your keywords within Google Ads. If you follow these steps you should be able to reach higher levels of Quality Scores, meaning cheaper cost per clicks and an improved performance. If you’re struggling to improve your quality score you can get in touch to see how we can help you.

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