Quality Score – the second most important number in Adwords3 min read

Quality Score is an essential metric to understand if you want to get maximum clicks for minimum spend.  (the 1st most important number is Cost/Sales).

What does the Quality Score do?

When Google decides where to put you in the search results / how much to charge you – it looks at your Quality Score and how much you’re willing to bid. If your Quality Score is better than anyone else’s for that keyword – then you’ll get a higher position for less money than the rest will. It’s why when you bid on your own brand you pay a pittance and always get 1st position – great Quality Score!

What is the Quality Score?

The Quality Score is a number from 1-10 applied to all your keywords. It’s based on:

  • expected click through rate (based on previous performance)
  • ad relevance (how well your ad matches your keyword)
  • landing page experience (speed, and other factors)

and is designed to try and put the best possible / most appealing ads in front of the searcher.

To make easy for us search marketers to use it – Google’s simplified it to a number from 1-10. But this isn’t perfectly matched to the metrics they use behind the scenes. In July (2013) they’ve made changes (yes, yet more changes!) to the way the Quality Score we see is calculated – making it more accurately reflect the ‘real’ Quality Score that they’re using in the background. Or in Google speak “more closely reflects the factors that influence the visibility and expected performance of your ads”. This change won’t affect how your ads perform or appear – just changes the data we see.

Why should I care about Quality Score?

Adwords is a numbers game. You’re trying to get the most and best possible traffic to your site, for the minimum spend.

A better Quality Score will reduce your cost per click OR enable you to appear higher up the search listings for no more money.

That sounds pretty good to me!

How do I improve my Quality Score?

In many, many ways. But I’m going to give you my top 3 tips, based on what I’ve seen work well, and the common errors I see people making…

  1. Structure your keywords and adgroups well.
    Group similar keywords together in one adgroup.
    (there are some example adgroup structures in the PPC Chapter from my book that you can download here for free)
  2. Use relevant Adtext.
    Once you’ve got your keywords grouped together nicely – create some adtext that relates directly to those keywords and the content you’re wanting them to click through to. This will both increase click through rate AND improve ad relevance.
    (don’t be afraid to test adtext too)
  3. Check your landing pages for relevance.
    Just where are your ads leading to? Is it the best possible page for that activity? If you have an adgroup full of mug keywords, is the adtext pointing to your Mugs category, or to your Homewares category? I know which one will give you a better Quality Score (and a better conversion rate!)

That is quite a lot of work – so start with your busiest adgroup – the one that’s getting all the clicks!

If you’d like to find out more about improving your Quality Score – why not book onto one of our Adwords Clinics? Where (for free) one of our Adwords Experts will assess your Adwords Account in a 1 to 1 meeting.

Becky Hopkin

As MD Becky works to ensure Digital Gearbox’s values are being lived, and that our customers are receiving the best service possible. A self-confessed Disney fanatic, Becky loves spending down time with her golden Labrador, Nala, and her young daughter, Emily.

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