Google AdWords Quality Score Factors & Importance

When it comes to Google AdWords there is one word that you need to remember which is very important.That word is relevancy. It is fundamentally important that you send as much relevant targeted traffic to your landing pages and website in general as possible. Its obvious that a search for “tennis shoes” will never convert on a landing page for “Golf Shoes”.

However relevance comes onto other factors of AdWords that when done correctly can transform your account into a performance media that will generate more leads and sales at the best possible cost per conversion and return on investment.

It is very important to make sure that you continually monitor and strive to improve your keyword quality scores. Keyword quality score is a number that Google will assign to each keyword that you are bidding on within your campaigns and ad groups. Keyword quality scores run from 1 to 10, with 1 being terrible and 10 being fantastic.

Google then uses your keyword quality score along with your bid and use of ad extensions to calculate your Ad Rank and ultimately where your ad is shown on Google.

But how does Google calculate what you keyword quality scores will be?

There are three main factors that Google will use to determine what your keyword quality scores will be. They are:

  • Ad Relevance
  • Landing Page Experience
  • Expected Click Through Rate

Each of these are graded into different factors. These factors are; below average, average and above average.

adwords quality score factors tshirt meme

Ad Relevance

As the name suggests, it is very important that you make sure that your ad is relevant to the keyword that you are bidding on and the search that is being performed to trigger the ad. A bit of a no brainer we know, but you would be surprised how many ad groups and ads we see that have fallen down in this area.

A clear example would be where you have one adgroup containing all the keywords and ads for the campaign. For example bidding on “Tennis Shoes”, “Running Shoes” and “Football Shoes” in the same ad group with just a general ad for Shoes.

Another would be where the adgroups rely on too many broad match keywords and where the keyword is morphing into another search term. For example you are bidding on apple as a broad match which is triggering for searches for oranges.

Ensure that the ad text is relevant to what you are bidding on and that you break your ad groups out by theme with very specific ads for each theme.

It is also important that you use a sound strategy around keyword targeting and match types. In saying this, bear in mind that you should not rely on exact match too much! Here is what I mean – a customer walks into a bank today and says “ I want information on your Credit Card APR” to the teller. The Person doesn’t just say “Credit Cards” – so why target the same keyword with your paid search – offline can in many cases reflect positively online?

best landing page example

Landing Page Experience

This one is a personal favourite of mine.

Google will take your landing page experience into account when determining what your keyword quality scores will be. They will crawl your landing page and grade it.

Google will look at the content on the page, the user experience, ease of navigation and also issues such as site speed.

Make sure that your ads send people to a landing page that are directly related to the keywords that you are bidding on. For example, send people searching for “tennis shoes” to a page on “tennis shoes” rather than simply the home page of the website.

The content on this landing page will be more relevant to the search that is being made. Make sure that the content on the landing page is optimised for the search traffic in a similar fashion to SEO.

Is the user experience and ease of navigation on the page laid out correctly? Is it easy for people to convert? Make sure that you experiment with the different page layouts to ensure that you are making the conversation process as easy as possible for the user. This can include the content as mentioned above but also the use of images and calls to actions on the page plus the positioning of a contact form. With this area it would be a good idea to undertake a conversion rate optimisation programme to run A/B tests on different landing pages to improve the conversion rate.

Make sure that your website loads quickly and that your website is free from viruses and malware. On the virus and malware, make sure that you are using up to date firewalls and anti-virus software because if your site is hacked, Google will not only decrease your keyword quality scores but will stop the ads and suspend the account.


Expected Click Through Rate

Expected Click Through Rate is another issue that is important when determining what your keyword quality score will be. Here Google will look at your click through rate historically but also the click through rates of others bidding on these keywords.

This metric can change and one way to get a better expected click through rate is to increase your actual click through rate. If you were paying attention to your ad relevance you should be showing ads that are well written with great calls to action and ad copy but also relevant to the search being made.

If you are using the correct match types within the ad groups and concentrating on the searches being made within the search term report by adding negative keywords, this should all have a positive effect of click through rate. If you make everything as targeted as possible, your click thought rate should improve.

It is very important that you undertake an ad testing programme each month to take out the ads with the lowest click through rate and add in a new ad to see if this ad will get a better click through rate against the older ads already in the ad groups. This is very much an ongoing process and over a course of time the ads with the best click through rates will rise to the top.

The Effects

The better your keyword quality scores the lower you should pay for the traffic at a better average position. The holy grail!

Google uses a formula to determine where you ad will show.

AdRank formula

An example of how keyword quality scores can affect your bids and average position can be seen below.

hacking adwords how quality score impacts cpc

Even though advertiser 1 is bidding less he is getting a better Ad Rank.

Remember to try and keep the customer in mind with all your search advertising.

What is it that people are searching for?

What is the best ad to show them?

And what is the best landing page to send that person to?

If you would like advice in terms of Google AdWords, VROOM Digital are an accredited Irish Google Partner.

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