‘Quality Score’ Explained

For anyone that has ever researched pay per click advertising or how to better improve their Adwords search placement, the concept of “Quality Score” is sure to have come up.  Seems like we’re learning more and more from Google these days about the concept of Quality Score and how it can impact your Adwords campaigns.

So what exactly is Quality Score?  Quality Score is the rating assigned to your pay per click ads (by Google) based on the relevance your ad and destination URL have in relation to the keyword(s) you are bidding on.  Staying true to form, Google strives to provide relevant content to all of their search results, paid or organic.  If they didn’t have some way of monitoring relevance then Adwords would simply become an auction site.  Ads would be placed solely based on the amount of money an advertiser is willing to pay.  If you thought this is how pay per click advertising works you are sorely mistaken.

You see, if ads were placed solely on the willingness of an advertiser to pay the highest amount with no consideration given to it’s relevance to the search phrase, I’d go as far as to say that we’d see Viagra ads pop up in just about every search.  Google assigns Quality Score to prevent this very occurrence from happening.

Factors involved in calculating Quality Score are many.  However, the main ones you’ll want to concern yourself with seem to be:

  • Relevance of your ad to the keyword phrase a user queries
  • Relevance of the specific ad to the keyword within the ad campaign
  • The historical click-through rate of your ad for a specific keyword phrase
  • Relevance of your keyword in relation to the landing page you use as your destination URL

Now that we know a little about what Quality Score is, the next question is naturally “How do I increase my Quality Score with Google?”  Following right along with what we know affects your Quality Score, you’re best served by managing the following:

  • Verify that your ads and keywords relate to one another.
    • Make sure to include the keyword in the ad itself
    • If possible (without looking forced), try to use it twice
  • Group similar keywords, but ONLY similar keywords, within campaigns
    • Knowing that the same ad will appear in the results of any keywords you include in a campaign, it’s best to make sure your groups are small and targeted
    • Ideally, you would set up each keyword as its own campaign
    • Expecting one ad to cover multiple keywords with high relevance is unrealistic
  • Pay close attention to keeping your keywords relevant to your customer.
    • Its great to have lots and lots of keywords, but only if each one has some tie to the customers your want to attract
    • By keeping your keywords (and ads) relevant to your customer, your click-through rate will be much higher
  • Make sure to use specific (relevant) landing pages for your keywords/ads
    • Don’t automatically send everything to your Home Page
    • If your keywords relate more specifically to a drill-down page of your site, link your ad to that page
    • Don’t expect your customers to work to navigate your site… send them directly to what they are looking for

By following these general guidelines and keeping your Quality Score high, you will not only achieve higher search result placements but you’ll be rewarded with lower cost per click.  Google wants their user experience to be a good one so they will give preferred placement to ads with high Quality Score.

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About David Wittlinger

Gummy Bear addict. Web designer. Copywriter. Social Media Strategist.