Quality Score – Best Friend or Worst Enemy?
How to work with Google Adwords Quality Score
When I say "Quality Score", what’s your first reaction?
Quality Score may still be something of an enigma. If you’re already Quality Score savvy, you may consider it the arrival of a long lost friend. Or maybe it’s one you wished had stayed lost?
Whatever your current knowledge (and opinion) is, we’re going to put Quality Score under the microscope and dissect its parts.
A common misconception is that there is only one type of Quality Score, when in fact there are many:
In this series, we’ll focus on Keyword Quality Score (this is the only one you can view inside your google account).
- Account Quality Score
- Content Campaign Quality Score
- Search Campaign Quality Score
- Landing Page Quality Score
- Ad Group Quality Score
- Ad Text Quality Score
- Keyword Quality Score
Quality Score is one of your best competitive advantages, if you know how to work with it. It's also one of the cheapest optimization methods since it doesn't require additional spend. There are not many methods of dramatically improving your PPC campaigns without throwing more money at them. So read on!
What is Quality Score?
Google gives an all-encompassing definition of Quality Score as “a dynamic variable assigned to each of your keywords. It’s calculated using a variety of factors and measures how relevant
your keyword is to your ad text and to a user’s search query. The higher a keyword's Quality Score, the lower its minimum bid and the better its ad position.”
Basically it’s a rating of how good a keyword is, based on a few criteria.
What’s Quality Score Used For?
With relevancy being Google’s middle name, it’s no surprise that Quality Score is designed to provide end-users with a better experience by displaying more relevant search results.
For a user, Quality Score is another way of making sure relevant and topical ads are shown.
As an advertiser, Quality Score is used to determine three things:
I’m sure you’ll agree these three are pretty important to your campaigns!
- Your minimum CPC bid
- Keyword status/whether your ad runs or not
- Your ad’s ranking position
Why you should take the time to learn about Quality Score
Is Quality Score something you need to concern yourself with? Consider this; a low Quality Score means higher bid costs, fewer ad impressions and lower rankings when the ad is shown. It’s hard to put a positive spin on any of that!
A higher Quality Score lowers your bid costs and raises your ad position. Conversions, and more importantly ROI, are both improved by a high Quality Score.
The example below illustrates how Quality Score can impact your minimum bid cost and ad position, rather than the bid cost determining everything else.
How Quality Score can affect bid cost and ad rank
It’s a competitive and crowded market place out there, so no matter what business you’re in, any advantage is good right? Right.
In introducing Quality Score, Google leveled the playing field somewhat. Ad position is no longer about how much money you can throw at a campaign. Smarter, better campaigns are rewarded allowing SMEs to compete in the same space with some of the "big boys". Sound good? It should!
Where do I find my Quality Score?
Simply log-in to your Google Adwords account, then view your keyword lists. Click on the link to Customize Columns. In the "show/hide" columns drop-down, select "Show Quality Score" and a new column will be added after keywords showing a score of Great, OK, or Poor.
Click the Customize columns link in your Keywords tab
Select "show/hide" columns, then Show Quality Score
Quality Scores are then displayed for every keyword
How is Quality Score calculated?
Keyword Quality Score is based on relevancy and performance. It has many contributing factors and is a dynamic variable dependent on other dynamic variables including:
* Quality Score for keyword minimum CPC differs from the Quality Score used to determine ad ranking. Most factors are the same, however Landing Page Quality is not used in ad ranking Quality Score.
- Click through rate on Google (excluding Content Network)
- Relevancy of keywords and ad creative
- Landing page and web site quality and relevancy*
- The Account’s Historical performance (based on CTR across all keywords and ads)
- Other Relevancy Factors
Factors contributing to Quality Score
We can only theorize on the other relevancy factors - IP targeting, geo-targeting, demographic targeting, ad scheduling etc. A Google Engineer was once quoted “There are over 100 factors that can affect Quality Score. However, not all will be triggered depending on the conditions involved”.
Over the next 4 posts we’ll be delving deeper into Quality Score, focusing on the ingredients 1-4, which we have more control over.
So make sure you check back for our series of posts on:
If you haven’t already taken the time to get to know your Quality Scores, log-in to your account now and display your Quality Score column. Are yours Poor, OK or Great?
- Raise Your Click Through Rates for Better Quality Score
- Keyword & Ad Relevancy – How They Boost Your Quality Score
- Achieve Higher Quality Score with Better Landing Page Quality
- Indirect Quality Score Influences – Do You Know Them?
Great Quality Score is your key to more effective campaigns with lower bid costs.
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About the Author
Shohet is a PPC marketing specialist and the Product Manager for
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