All About Adwords Quality Score

Last month ended with hysteria, with many Adwords users reporting a steep decline in their keyword quality scores, which some reported was impacting costs by increasing click prices. Google later announced that the Adwords Quality Score bug responsible for this sudden decline had been fixed (noting that it was a bug in the reporting of Quality Score only, so it may not have actually impact campaign effectiveness or costs).

What this bug really teaches us: the incredible importance of the Keyword and overall Quality Scores to the success of any Adwords campaign. This fiasco has inspired this blog post, which will cover the fundamentals of Adwords Quality Scores. So, without further ado…

What is the Google Adwords Quality Score?

Sometimes referred to as “Keyword Quality Score,” it is exactly what it sounds like – it puts a number to the quality and relevance of your ad with regard to the keyword(s) on which you are bidding. If your Quality Score is lower than your competitor’s, you are likely to pay more for the same keyword; likewise, if it is higher, you are likely to pay less. That means a higher Quality Score leads to lower bid costs (so you can understand the hysteria when these declined in March!). Essentially, a good Quality Score can mean paying less but increasing sales (and therefore your return).

What Factors Impact Quality Score

Any number of factors can contribute or detract from your Quality Score. Here are some important ones:

  • Expected Click-Through-Rate
  • Your Past Account History (That’s right! Past failures can lead to more work for you.)
  • The Relevance of Your Ad to the Keyword You’re Bidding On
  • The Relevance and Quality of the Ad’s Landing Page to the Keyword You’re Bidding On
  • The Relevance and Compelling Nature of Your Ad Copy
  • The Landing Page URL’s Past Click-Through-Rate (The past can really haunt you in Adwords – or help you!)
  • The Mobile Friendliness of Your Landing Page (This is ever-increasing in importance with Google’s newest mobile-friendly algorithm update)
  • Use of Relevant Ad Extensions (A recent but important addition to Quality Score factors. As Google says: “AdWords shows one or more extensions with your ad when it calculates that the extension (or combination of extensions) will improve your campaign performance, and when your Ad Rank is high enough for it to appear.”)

How To Check Your Quality Score

Get a general feel for your Quality Score by checking the Keyword Analysis section in your account. Quality Scores range from 1-10, with 5 being Google’s benchmark.

Don’t get too attached to what you see there, though –Adwords calculates your score every timeyour keywords match a user’s query. Your score could differ based on the user’s location, search network and more. That being said, your Quality Score shouldn’t change too much unless you are actively working to improve it by changing ad copy, landing pages, etc. (or there is a Google reporting glitch!).

Top Tips for a Good Quality Score, a High Click-Through-Rate and Lower Cost

Though it may feel like your Quality Score is out of your hands, there are many things you can do to work towards a good Quality Score. Here are four important ones:

  • Separate your test account from your real, functioning Adwords account. 

That way, whatever you’re testing won’t impact the account history factor.

While you’re at it, make sure they are simple, have a noticeable call-to-action, and offer a good user experience overall. Ease of use is key.

  • Group your like keywords tightly, ensuring they are all relevant to each other.

This helps your ad text be relevant to the keywords your bidding on, all the time, for that ad group.

  • Take advantage of Ad Extensions. 

You can input these manually or choose to automate them. And don’t leave out the mobile specific extensions (calls, locations, app downloads). The desktop extensions you can use include:

  • Sitelinks
  • Reviews
  • Seller Ratings
  • Social Media

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