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The Google AdWords Quality Score Explained

The Google AdWords Quality Score Explained

AdWords is undeniably an awesome way to generate traffic and ultimately increase sales or other desired actions on your website. But as a business you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to your marketing spend. One way to do this is by increasing your Google AdWords Quality Score which in turn will decrease the amount you will have to spend in order to achieve your objectives.

Not only is this a good way to get better results for your spend, but as the key to the Quality Score is the quality itself then it is also a good way to increase general interest in your ad and boost the conversion of your ads into sales or some other desired final option.

In this article we run through the basics of the Google AdWords Quality Score. This will include defining exactly what the score is, why a better score is better for businesses, before finally running through exactly what you can do to improve your overall quality score. 

What is Quality Score? 

The Quality Score that Google applies to ads reveals the quality and relevance with reference to two key areas; the keywords you are using and the ad itself. It is so important because Google use it to determine your costs per click and combine it with your max bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process. This in turn means that a high quality score means a much lower cost to win a bid auction. You can of course buy your way out of having a low Quality Score, nullifying a low score by drastically overpricing your bids…but who wants to spend more money for the same results?

Only Google knows exactly what it takes to get a really good Quality Score, but we do know in general terms that it is made up of key information including:

  • Your AdWords historical performance
  • The relevancy of each keyword you are using to the ad
  • Historical data on your click-through-rate (CTR)
  • The quality of the landing page which the ad is directing people towards
  • The relevancy of the copy of the ad

Practically your Quality Score can be found in the ‘Keyword Analysis’ section of the platform and is represented on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the best it possibly can be and 1 being pretty terrible. 

Why a better score is better for business 


Simply put, a better score means you get a better return on your investment in AdWords campaigns. This is due to a couple of factors, firstly Google multiples your bid amount by your Quality Score in order to achieve your bid rank, this means that your ad score is directly associated by the amount you will need to bid to win an auction.  Secondly in the search for a better score leads you down a route to creating better ads. This includes improving ad copy text and putting in place better performing landing page, this increases conversions and ultimately leads to ads being more profitable for your business.  

The basics of improving your Quality Score 

Ok, so we have walked though exactly what a Quality Score is and why having a good one means good things for your business and the campaigns you are running. So you are probably now asking ‘how do I get a better score?’. Don’t worry, we have you covered, below we walk through the key steps that you can take in order to get a better Quality Score for your Google AdWords campaigns. 

Keyword research 

Let’s start with the very basics. Your Quality Score is directly linked to the relevancy of the keywords you are selecting for your campaigns. This may seem obvious to some marketers, but doing keyword research will help your campaigns do better.

However, as more common keywords become hotly competed and therefore their cost is consistently on the rise, then discovering new and highly relevant keywords that you can add to your campaigns is a great way to boost your Quality Score. One good way to do this is to include long-tail keywords that can contribute a huge amount to the bulk of the overall traffic on your website at a fraction of the cost of more popular options.

There are a range of tools available to help you find relevant keywords for your campaigns including the standard Keyword Planner included in the Google AdWords suite or more advanced tools such as WordStream. These tools will help you understand the competitiveness of the keywords you are using as well as tapping into other highly relevant keywords that may be lesser known. The Google tool is particularly good for this as the associated keywords are suggested by Google themselves and more likely to be accurate. 

Organise keywords 

You can also boost your Quality Score by structuring your keywords based on their relevancy to the ad. This can be bottom up in terms of working with your current ads and just assigning the keywords that are most relevant. However, for this to work best you can create lists of super-relevant keywords and then design ads that are specifically worded and created with reference to that list.

By creating a number of ad groups with super relevant keywords connected to each you will boost your Quality Score massively. Admittedly, this isn’t the easiest thing to do but will be well worth the impact it has on your score as well as the quality of traffic that will be clicked through from your ad onto your landing pages. 

Better copy 

It is undeniable that good quality copy is a powerful tool in compelling people to take action. When developing your ad you should aim to write copy that is not just compelling but it also super tailored to your keywords. This helps by increasing the relevancy of your keywords to each of your ads, meaning a boost in your Quality Score. Not only this, but it will also increase your click-through rate as a result of ads being very relevant to the search terms which made them appear.

Practically this can be done by getting the exact keywords you are targeting into the copy of the ad itself, but in as a natural way as you possibly can. Alternatively you can use the Google dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) tool which will insert your keywords automatically based on the search term used.

The best way to better your copy is simply to test it. You can tell if it is working because ads with better copy get a much better click through rate (CTR) as a general rule. 

Landing page success 


You landing page has a massive impact on your ads Quality Score. Simply put, the better the landing page the better your score will be. This is down to a couple of key factors. Firstly, you must ensure that your landing page is superfast to load, this not only benefits by leading Google to increase your score but also ensures that those that do click on the ad do not get bored of waiting and close the page before it has even loaded.

Secondly the landing page must be very fast and easy for customers to navigate and therefore should only contain a limited number of options for them to take and those options should be very clear. Other aspects which may boost your Quality Score is the use of the keywords selected for that ad group in the page copy and the general relevance of the contents of the landing page to your selected keywords and ads. 

Add negative keywords 

Most of the tips we have listed for getting a better Quality Score refer to making the whole process from keywords to ad text to landing page all very relevant to what you are trying to achieve. This tip however refers to what you should be avoiding, with specific reference to negative keywords.

A negative keyword is much what it sounds like, it is a selected keyword that you specifically do not want your add appearing for. For example, if you market a business which sells high-end teapots you may want to add the term ‘chocolate teapot’ to your negative keywords list, as it is unlikely to return high value clicks through to your landing page.

In this article we have covered off all the basics you need to know about the Google AdWords Quality Score. This has included a detailed look into exactly what it is and why it is so important to businesses that want to get the most for their money on their AdWords campaigns. We have also run through the basics of how to improve your score from researching and organising your keywords through to creating better copy and landing pages. Finally we have highlighted why you should add negative keywords to your list to ensure that you are only driving the best quality traffic to your ad and ultimately to your landing page. 





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Peter Johnson
Peter is a Google AdWords specialist, with associated skills in Bing Ads, Twitter Ads and Facebook Advertising.