Introduction to Quality Score: What Does Google Look For

Google Adwords

Quality Score is one of the most important yet least understood aspects of the Google AdWords equation. Part of the reason why Quality Score is so poorly understood is that Google provides Quality Score information, but it is difficult or overwhelming for some users to understand.  Here a link to Googles’ Quality Score Description.

Fortunately, over the last few years Google has become a bit more open and work to explain how the Quality Score works and what factors effect YOUR Quality Score. Marketers have also pooled their collective experiences to figure out what really makes up a high Quality Score.

Without further ado, here are some of the top factors that affect your Quality Score.

Landing Page Quality

This is perhaps the number one thing that trips marketers up. In order to succeed in Google AdWords, not only do you need landing pages that convert, you also need landing pages that actually provide quality content to the user.

Your landing page will be evaluated first by an automated bot, then by a real human being.

In addition to good content, your landing page should be well designed. It should address whatever question the user came to your site to have answered.

It should be noted that contrary to popular belief, opt-in pages are not banned by Google. But if you want to use an opt-in page, make sure the opt-in page itself provides valuable information.

Having a poor landing page is one of the fastest ways to get a “Poor” quality score. However, just a good landing page isn’t enough to get a high Quality Score.

Click-Through Rate

Your click-through rate is the second most important thing to pay attention to once you’ve got your landing page handled.

Keep in mind that the more people who click per 100 people who see an ad, the more money Google makes. It only makes sense then that the people with a higher CTR will get higher positions and thereby make Google more money.

Always split test your ads to try and get the highest CTRs possible.  If you want to look further into Google Adword Options, check out the Adwords Experiments functionality.

Historical CTR of Display URLs

If Wikipedia decided to start running AdWords ads, their Quality Score right off the bat would be much higher than a no name website.

If an advertiser with a high Quality Score stops advertising for a while then comes back, the same will also be true.

Google doesn’t just consider your immediate CTR, but also the display URL’s historical performance.

Your Quality Score will be ‘dialed in’ by Google when your Impression count reaches 10,000 or so.  If you are beyond 10,000, have poor CTR on your keywords and ads and your account is beyond 45 days, consider creating a new account and creating new keywords, negative keywords and ads in order to make another pass at a better Quality Score.

Relevance of Keyword to Ad

Even if your CTR is high and your landing page is good, if you’re showing up for unrelated pages Google still won’t rank your score highly.

Relevancy counts. Google’s goal is to give the search users exactly what they’re looking for.

These are a few of the most important factors that Google looks for. Of course, Google’s formula contains hundreds of smaller variables that they haven’t disclosed. But if you focus on just mastering your landing page, your CTR and your relevancy, you’ll cover the most important bases.

The following is from Google’s Page on Quality Score

How Quality Score affects you

Quality Score is used in several different ways and can affect the following things in your account:

  • Ad auction eligibility: Higher Quality Scores make it easier and cheaper for a keyword to enter the ad auction.
  • Your keyword’s actual cost-per-click (CPC)Higher Quality Scores lead to lower CPCs. That means you pay less per click when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.
  • Your keyword’s first page bid estimateHigher Quality Scores lead to lower first page bid estimates. That means it’s easier for your ad to show on the first page of search results when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.
  • Your keyword’s top of page bid estimateHigher Quality Scores lead to lower top of page bid estimates. That means it’s easier for your ad to show towards the top of the page when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.
  • Ad positionHigher Quality Scores lead to higher ad positions. That means your ad can show up higher on the page when your keyword has a higher Quality Score.
  • Eligibility for ad extensions and other ad formats: Some ad formats require a minimum Quality Score to show. In addition, your Ad Rank determines whether or not your ad is eligible to be displayed with ad extensions and other ad formats, such as sitelinks. Because Ad Rank is a function of your Quality Score, a higher Quality Score can increase the likelihood that your ad is displayed with extensions and other formats.

In a nutshell, higher Quality Scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions. The AdWords system works best for everybody – advertisers, customers, publishers, and Google – when the ads we show are relevant, closely matching what customers are looking for. Relevant ads tend to earn more clicks, appear in a higher position, and bring you the most success.