Quality Score is a supposedly mysterious number that was pioneered by Google to “rate” or “evaluate” how well you are doing as an advertiser, but other search engines are now using their own versions of quality score for the same purpose. I don’t remember who said it, but Quality Score is Google’s way of saying that you should or shouldn’t be advertising on specific keywords or specific websites.
I say that quality score is “supposedly mysterious” because, in fact, it is pretty straightforward. In the beginning of the AdWords system, there was no such thing as quality score — there was only click-through rate (CTR). Google wants people to click on the ads that they run, so they favor advertisers who have high CTRs. High CTRs for advertisers means high revenue for Google. But as Google has grown more and more sophisticated, they have created a very advanced system for measuring quality that goes way beyond quality score. You need to hit those other factors. But at the end of the day, if you only get one thing right, you should nail CTR, and if you do that, your quality score will improve.
Benefits of Improving Google Quality Score
By analyzing thousands of PPC accounts, we know that Quality Score has a direct correlation on your PPC success. By optimizing your Quality Scores, you’ll be setting yourself up for higher return on investment (ROI). That’s because higher Quality Scores correlate with lower cost per conversion! Cost per conversion is different from cost per click. It’s not how much you pay for each click, but how much you pay when someone takes the action you want them to take, whether that’s signing up for a free trial or making a product purchase. Since not every click results in a conversion, cost per conversion is generally higher than cost per click.
Luckily, strong Quality Scores lower both your cost per click and your cost per conversion.
Generally speaking, the higher your Quality Score, the lower your cost per conversion. Remember, a high Quality Score is Google’s way of saying that your PPC ad meets your potential customers’ needs. The better you are at meeting the prospect’s needs, the less Google will charge you for the ad click.
How Do You Increase Your Quality Score?
Since Quality Score determines where and how often your ads appear, it’s important to boost your ratings by working consistently on your account. This can be achieved by focusing your efforts on several key areas:
Keyword Research – Discover new, highly relevant keywords to add to your campaigns, including long-tail opportunities that can contribute to the bulk of your overall traffic.
Keyword Organization – Split your keywords into tight, organized groups that can be more effectively tied to individual ad campaigns.
Refining Ad Text – Test out PPC ad copy that is more targeted to your individual ad groups. More effective ads get higher CTR, one of the best ways to improve Quality Score.
Optimizing Landing Pages – Follow landing page best practices to create pages that connect directly with your ad groups and provide a cohesive experience for visitors, from keyword to conversion.
Adding Negative Keywords – Continuously research, identify, and exclude irrelevant search terms that are wasting your budget.
As you can see, Quality Score is primarily a measure of relevance, and improving keyword Quality Score is a matter of structuring your PPC campaigns into small, well-organized, tightly knit groups of keywords. Better keyword research and organization will also naturally improve the quality and specificity of your ads and website content, allowing you to target the exact audience most likely to be searching for your offerings.
Low AdWords Quality Scores are primarily the result of disconnect between keywords, ad groups, ad text, and landing page content. A high Quality Score comes naturally when an AdWords account contains organized keywords in appropriate keyword groups, ad text that corresponds with certain ad groups, and landing pages that connect with the ad text’s offer. While there is no easy, foolproof answer to improving your Quality Score formula, paying careful attention to relevance will greatly improve your scores.
More Quality Score Resources
Want to learn more about how Quality Score works and how to increase your ratings? Check out the following resources:
Hacking AdWords: How to Get a (Near) Perfect Quality Score: Learn the characteristics of AdWords accounts with super-high Quality Scores (and how you can achieve them yourself).
Complete Guide to Super-High Click-Through Rates: Quality Score is largely determined by click-through rates, which is why it’s so important to write powerful ads that grab people’s attention. In this free guide, you’ll learn what makes a good CTR and how to raise your own CTR’s to create “unicorn” ads with awesome Quality Scores and low costs per click.