Google Ads Quality Score is one of the most important factors determining the success and cost-efficiency of your PPC campaigns. However, it can be confusing to understand how quality score is calculated and why it matters. This in-depth guide covers what Quality Score is, how it’s calculated, why it matters, and most importantly – how to improve it.
What is Google Ads Quality Score?
Quality Score is Google’s rating system that measures the quality and relevance of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Quality score is measured at the keyword level and it will be based on the organization of your ad groups and the targeting of your campaign. If your ads and landing pages are relevant to the keywords you are targeting, it will lead to a higher quality score. It’s scored on a 1-10 scale.
The higher your Quality Scores, the better your ads are expected to perform.
Higher Quality Scores can lead to:
- Lower costs per click
- Higher ad positions
- Decreased cost per conversion
Essentially, Quality Score helps Google determine how useful your ads are to searchers in order to show the most relevant ads higher on the results page. If someone is searching for ‘Red running shoes’ on Google, you need to serve a targeted search advertisement and send traffic to a landing page with red running shoes for sale. That will help maximize your quality score for that keyword.
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How is Google Ads Quality Score Calculated?
Google uses three main components to calculate a Quality Score:
1. Expected Click-Through Rate (CTR)
This estimates how likely a searcher is to click on your ad for a particular keyword based on historical data. Higher CTRs signal to Google that your ad is relevant. Lower CTRs mean your ads are low-quality or irrelevant for the search queries that are triggering them.
2. Ad Relevance
This measures how closely your ad copy matches the searcher’s intent. The closer the match, the higher your ad relevance score. The more targeted your ad is, the more likely that your headline and your description line align with a user’s search query.
3. Landing Page Experience
This evaluates the quality and relevance of the page you send searchers to when they click your ad. Does the landing page solve the problem based on the original search query? Is the landing page easy to access, mobile-friendly, and easy to use? Most importantly, the context of the landing page should match perfectly with the keyword and the advertisement.
Google weights CTR most heavily in the overall Quality Score. But optimizing all three components is key to maximizing your score.
Why Quality Score Matters
A higher Quality Score translates to better campaign performance and lower costs:
- Higher Ad Rank: Quality Score is a major factor in determining your ad’s rank against competitors. Top-ranked ads show higher on the page. Relevancy leads to much better quality scores, which leads to a higher ad rank. Google prioritizes ads with a higher ad rank.
- Lower CPC: Google charges you less per click for higher quality ads that better meet searcher intent. You can actually pay less than your competitors for the same click by optimizing your quality scores.
- More Conversions: Higher-quality ads are more likely to drive clicks and conversions. An irrelevant ad hurts conversions. Generally, higher quality scores will correlate with more conversions at a lower cost.
- Improved ROI: With lower CPCs and more conversions, you get better returns from your PPC investment. If you can drive more conversions with the same budget then you can increase your Return on Ad Spend and your Return on Investment.
How to Check Your Quality Score
Within your Google Ads account, you can view keyword-level Quality Scores in the “Keywords” section. Click on the “Columns” icon to add “Quality Score” as a column.
First, find the columns icon after you click on the ‘Keywords’ tab on the left-hand side.
Second, choose the Quality Score columns including Expected CTR, Ad Relevance, and Landing Page Experience.
Third, view your keyword quality scores and look for any scores that are 6 or lower first and foremost. Then, optimize all of your scores until you get them to 9 or 10.
You’ll also see component scores for CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience to diagnose which areas need work.
How to Improve Your Google Ads Quality Score
Now that you understand why Quality Score matters, here are tips to improve it:
1. Optimize for Higher CTR
Since CTR is weighted heavily, focus on creating compelling, relevant ad copy:
- Use ad assets (ad extensions) like sitelink assets, call assets, callout assets, and structured snippets.
- Add countdowns or urgency to ads so people feel more compelled to click and take advantage of your offer. You can incorporate promotions in your text ads as well.
- Test ad copy variations by creating 2-3 responsive search ads per ad group. You can create unique headlines and headlines that closely match your user’s search terms.
- Make your Call-To-Action clear so people know exactly what they are shopping for and what your offer is.
- Monitor your search terms report to find the top searches that are triggering your advertisements in each ad group.
2. Increase Ad Relevance
Ensure your ad copy directly reflects the searcher’s intent:
- Use the keywords you are targeting in your ad groups in the headline as well as the ad’s description.
- Match the ad messaging to keyword themes within your ad group.
- Split up broad ad groups for more tailored ads and organize your ad groups to make sure you aren’t targeting too many different keywords in the same ad group.
3. Improve Landing Pages
Send visitors to useful, relevant pages that deliver on your ad’s promise:
- Create targeted landing pages for each ad group. Ad groups should be organized based on the landing page where you are sending traffic.
- Ensure excellent page speed so people aren’t bouncing due to slow page load times. An improved page speed can increase the conversion rate across your entire website.
- Make key information easy to find and make sure your landing page is easy to navigate.
- Keep messaging consistent with your ads because you want your landing page to be very similar to a user’s search query.
4. Add Negative Keywords to Your Campaign
Exclude irrelevant terms that trigger your ad but don’t convert:
- Analyze the Google Ads search terms report to find keywords that are not targeted, non-transactional keywords, and keywords that are not converting.
- Rank keywords based on their cost per conversion and the conversion rate to identify poor performers.
- Add negative keywords frequently to continually refine your campaign. It’s a best practice to add negative keywords weekly or bi-weekly depending on how much you are spending.
5. Continuously Monitor and Optimize
Check your keyword Quality Scores regularly and watch for positive or negative trends. Test and tweak your account to maintain high scores. You want to maintain an above-average expected CTR and above average ad relevance, and an above-average landing page experience.
FAQs about Google Ads Quality Score
What is the scale for Quality Score?
Quality Score is rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest and indicating the best-performing ads and keywords.
Can a low Quality Score affect my ad performance?
Yes, a low Quality Score may result in higher CPCs and lower ad rankings, which can reduce the effectiveness of your Google Ads campaigns.
How often is Quality Score updated?
Quality Score is dynamic and can change based on real-time performance data. It is updated each time your ad is eligible to appear in a search auction.
Does Quality Score affect my ad’s position on the search results page?
Yes, Quality Score plays a significant role in determining your ad’s position on the search results page. Higher Quality Scores can lead to better ad placements, potentially appearing above competitors’ ads.
Can my Quality Score change over time?
Quality Score is dynamic and can change over time based on the performance of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Regularly monitoring and optimizing your campaigns can help maintain or improve your Quality Score.
Is Quality Score the same for all types of Google Ads campaigns?
Quality Score is a factor used in search campaigns on Google. Other types of campaigns, such as display or video campaigns, have different metrics that determine ad relevance and performance.
Google Ads Quality Score significantly impacts your account’s performance and cost efficiency. While the algorithm is complex, optimizing your ads, keywords, and landing pages for maximum relevance is the best way to improve. Use your Quality Scores to diagnose account issues and focus your optimization efforts.