Every search engine marketer’s goal is to pay the minimum amount of money and to get the highest possible conversion for high ROI rates in Google Ads campaigns. To achieve that, they have to create ads that can be eligible for auctions. Here is where Quality Score comes into the picture and won’t go away until the ad is selected by the algorithm to appear on the results page.
What Is Quality Score?
Quality Score (QS) is Google’s way of grading how relevant your ad and keywords are, and the quality of your landing page experience. If your ads have high QS, you are more likely to spend less money on auctions.
Google’s revenue model mostly depends on the ads that they run on its platforms. That’s why they need to show users the most relevant ads, and get them to click on them. In other words, ads with high CTRs are as good for Google as they are good for you. They are good for you because it means that you saved money and gained a potential customer, and good for Google because it’s how they make money.
Three factors affect your QS.
- Expected CTR
- Ad relevance
- Landing page experience
There are some speculations on the ratios of these factors. For example, if you see this video from 2010 by Google Chief Economist, Hal Varian, landing page experience seems to affect only 10% of the QS. Brad Geddes, Founder of bgTheory.com, disagrees and argues that “if your landing page is considered not relevant – it does not just lower your quality score by 10%, it affects your quality score dramatically.” Almost six years later, he reverse-engineers the Quality Score data in a new version of AdWords that was launched in 2016 and found out that the landing page experience ratio is 39 percent.
Geddes simply looked at how Google rated Expected CTR, Ad relevance, and Landing page experience that is whether “Above average,” “Average,” or “Below average,” then he estimated the ratios from the overall Quality Scores of ads that are between 1 and 10.
What Does Quality Score Affect?
You can make lower bids and rank your ads higher -even than those that have higher bids than yours- if your ads have high Quality Scores. It’s a great advantage on auctions but its effects start even before that. QS determines your ad’s
- qualification for the auction,
- ranking on the auction,
- and CPC.
When we say auction or auctions, it’s the process of the execution of an algorithm that decides which ads to show for how much money, probably millions of times in a second.
Your ad should be relevant to the keywords to qualify for the ranking round. Even though you have a higher maximum bid than a more relevant ad, there’s a high chance that the algorithm prefers the lower bid ad. Google will favor generating 10 clicks from a $2 bid rather than 2 clicks from a $5 bid for obvious reasons.
Qualification for the auction
You might want to set your maximum CPCs as high as possible to grant a good ad ranking but if your keyword relevance is low, and pulls down your QS, your ad might not even get a chance to enter the auction.
Ranking on the auction
Sure, Google considers how much you’re willing to pay (your maximum CPC) on the auction round. Still, you have to offer a good landing page experience and a promising CTR for a higher QS, therefore, an opportunity for a better ranking.
If you automatised the bidding process, probably with Google AdScript, your code might achieve your goals with a lower CPC. Higher Quality Scores provide CPC discounts and you can keep your position against other higher bidders.
A Quick Guide to a Good Quality Score
Writing compelling ad copies and matching relevant keywords are two essential elements to improve your Quality Scores. You might hear stories that sometimes it’s possible to get high QS even if there are no keywords on your landing page, mentioning your keywords is usually a plus.
- You should check how well you did in the components of your QS and try to fix them if they are tagged as “below average” (and “average” in most cases) by Google.
- Your Expected CTR mostly depends on the quality of your copy.
- Don’t try to focus on general keywords because the intentions of people might change even though the search evolves around the same keyword.
For example, you might be selling car insurance but not everyone who searches for car or insurance is interested specifically in car insurance. It’s a good idea to include other relevant keywords in a powerful call to action that explains your distinction from your competitors.
Keeping high-volume keywords that might refer to similar things in the same ad group might decrease your QS.
Let’s stick with our car insurance example. If you put “car insurance” and “auto insurance” in the same ad group, the relevance might get lost. Instead, you might create two ad groups with other relevant keywords.
- One might include car insurance, liability car insurance, and cheap car insurance;
- The other, auto insurance, collision insurance, and comprehensive insurance. Plus, editing your copy for the new ad group helps to improve your QS.
If you land someone who is searching for liability car insurance on a page that sells collision insurance, or a page that a person should scroll the page or navigate through the website, it’s not a good landing page experience.
You need to keep your landing page relevant with your ad’s copy and offer the users exactly what they are searching for.
Monitor your organic traffic closely because it might help you detect stronger and weak keywords. You can use the data to create more relevant texts for your ads, create better-targeted ad groups, and a more pleasant landing page experience.