Since revising their AdRank system in 2013, Google has finally updated their Adwords white paper and Insights video.  Both are shown at the bottom.

Now in white paper, Google simply states that a Quality Score is a guide rather than a hard fast rule.  Much like a warning light rather than a loud blaring siren.  The Quality Score is an average expected score based on the expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.  Therefore, the score represents the overall expected performance in the auction.

While a Quality Score is not the be all and end all of your Adwords campaign, it is something I strongly take into account when I am building an Adwords campaign.  From the Quality Score incites that Google issued, they are focused on CTR, ad relevancy and landing page experience.  In Adwords, next to keywords, a Quality Score is shown as this:

So then the question is how to improve these 3 areas so that you have a better chance at wining auctions and lowering your CPC.  The first step is to identify your lower Quality Score keywords.  Personally I am looking for keywords with a score of 5 or lower.  Google will tell you that 8’s and 9’s can be improved as well.  However, I would focus on the lower scoring keywords rather than improving already high ranking Quality Scores.  Once I find the low quality keywords in an Adgroup then I focus on fixing the Quality Score componets .

How to Fix Sections:

Ad Relevance: 

The focus here is how well does your keyword align with your Ad copy

  • Are the keywords similar to Ad copy
  • Match the language of your ads to the customers making the search query
  • Create smaller keyword groups to further target your ads
  • Add negative keywords (ex. Lets say you are advertising fresh delicious apples.  Well you don’t want Apple computer products stealing your clicks.  So then you make apple computer products your negative keywords)

Click Through Rate: 

The focus here is how likely will the user be to click on your Ad.

  • Create better Ads (This is Where A/B Testing is very beneficial)
    • Place a Promotional Offer
    • Highlight a unique benefit of an item
    • I generally see that an Ad with specific figures do better than general words. (ex. “60% off” performs better than “sale”)
  • Experiment with Calls to Action

Landing Page Experience

Is the customer getting to a page they want to view?

  • A page’s Bounce Rate affects this
  • Is the user viewing a page that matches their query.  For instance, they want to find green apples, are you showing them green apples or red ones?
  • Make sure your landing page follows through with the Call to Action
  • What is your conversion rate
  • Think of landing page colors.  Some colors are more likely to create action than others.
  • Consider your landing pages navigation
  • Consider the device they are viewing the landing page from.  A mobile Ad should point to a mobile page.


What Truly Matters in the Quality Score Game?

You should consider:

  • Relevancy to users intentions
  • Consider your aimed device
  • Watch how new keywords effect old keywords
  • Google will tell you account structure does not matter.  However it does.  Account structure lets you set up more relevant ads and helps control your bidding.  Additionally, I have found that grouping keywords with a high Quality Score lowers my CPC.

What Doesn’t Matter:

  • The networks you target
  • Ad Position –  Ad position does not affect Quality Score.  However it is shown that being between position 2-4 receives more clicks.

Link To Quality Score White Paper