Our paid search experts offer their advice on how to improve your Quality Score in order to improve Ad Rank and save money on ad spend.

Quality Score is a metric applied by Google to keywords. As the name suggests, the score applied is representative of a keyword’s quality.

This quality is affected by several factors, some of which are well known. Others are guesses based purely on speculation. Google has never revealed all the details of the ‘secret recipe’ behind Quality Score.

Some of the known factors are:

  • Ad click through rate
  • Historical performance of the account
  • Landing page quality (including bounce rate and load time)
  • Relevancy of ads, keywords and landing pages to one another

As well as keyword Quality Score, which is visible in the AdWords interface, it is generally accepted that Google applies a Quality Score at Ad Group and account level too. However, Google has denied this.

Why is Quality Score Important?

Quality Score affects Ad Rank and the amount you spend. Ad Rank is, nowadays, a complicated secret formula known only to Google itself. However, a highly simplified version looks like this:

Ad Rank = Bid (CPC) x Quality Score

The only way to improve your Ad Rank is to increase your bid, or improve your quality score.

Obviously, improving Quality Score is the cheaper option in the long run – Google rewards good Quality Scores by offering higher ad positions for cheaper clicks. In other words, you get the best of both worlds.

Top Tips to Improve Quality Score

Ask yourself:

  • Can I improve relevancy…
    • …by restructuring my keywords and ad groups?
    • by rewriting ad text?
    • by changing landing page content?
    • …by deep-linking to more relevant pages?
  • Can I improve click-through rate…
    • …by using a more attractive headline?
    • …by highlighting USPs and offers in ads?
    • …by using relevant ad extensions?
  • Can I make changes to my landing pages to make them load faster?
  • Can I make changes to my landing pages to increase the relevancy of the content to ads and keywords?

Best-Practice Tips

  • Consider relevancy from the start: Ads and keywords need to be highly targeted to one another to maximise relevancy. This, in turn, helps increase Quality Score and reduce costs. For this reason, it’s important to think about relevancy from the beginning of your account auditing/setup process.
  • Consider Google’s perception of a keyword: Google is now exceptionally good at understanding the intention behind a keyword. However, Google’s perception of what this intention is may differ from your own.

An example of this is the keyword ‘MOT check’. Although you may think the intention behind this keyword is “my car needs an MOT test”, Google perceives it to be “I need to check if my car is due to have an MOT”.

In situations like this, where Google’s perception of a keyword doesn’t match your own, you will find it more difficult to achieve a good Quality Score. This means you have to weigh up whether it’s worth pursuing this keyword, based on the CTR and conversion rate it achieves, against costs.

Call In The BidCops

BidCops – ClickThrough’s free money-saving PPC tool for AdWords – can give you instant insights into Quality Score issues, through its ‘Quality Score by Keyword’ dashboard.

This breaks down all the keywords in your account, organised by Quality Score. An overabundance of low Quality Scores means you need to take urgent steps to improve CTR for these keywords.

This post is adapted and abridged from our FREE eBook – The Best-Practice Guide to AdWords Audits: Part One.

Download your copy now to learn best practice recommendations to help you audit your AdWords account.

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