Table of contents:
1. What is the quality score in Google ads?
2. Where to find quality scores in your ads account
3. Why quality scores are essential
4. Several ways to improve your quality score

Google Ads’ quality score is something worth understanding as an advertiser. Quality scores can indicate how well your ads, keywords, and landing pages are designed to meet the searcher’s intent. Moreover, high quality scores can improve ad performance, boost ad rankings, and lower cost-per-click. In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of Google Ads quality score.

What is the quality score in Google Ads

Google’s ad quality score gives you an idea of how relevant your ads are and how they compare to other advertisers. The quality score is measured on a scale of 1-10, with ten being the best, and is based on three key elements:

– Expected click-through rate (CTR): the percentage of people likely to click on your ad when it is shown.
– Landing page experience: what the landing page experience is for users and how closely it relates to the ad and search intent.
– Ad relevancy: how well your ad matches the searcher is looking for.

The quality score in ads is primarily a measure of relevance. Like with everything, Google wants to show its users the most relevant content possible to enhance their experiences.

Where to find your ad account’s quality scores

Quality scores aren’t necessarily automatically showing in Google Ads like in the image below.

If you want to add it to your table layouts, select one of your search campaigns, click keywords, and select search keywords. Press the icon that says columns, click modify columns, and search for quality score. Once you’ve selected it, you can view the quality scores for each keyword.

Why is the quality score essential?

Remember that the quality score is a measure of relevance to search intent, so it shows how well your ad is crafted for the search audiences. The higher the score is, the more relevant your ads are likely to be, which can lead to better results.

Research has shown that higher quality scores correlate with lower associated cost-per-click (CPC) and lower conversion costs. In other words, you’ll get better results with less money spent. A few pennies here and there may not seem to matter at first glance, but if you spend a significant amount on ads, you can save quite a lot of money in the long term.

Another main benefit of higher ad quality scores is that they tend to outrank competitive ads with lower scores. Google favors higher-quality ads to make the user experience as good as possible. Higher rankings typically mean more clicks and traffic to your website. However, quality scores are not the only factor that affects ranking. If your bidding strategy isn’t competitive enough, your ads will not show at the top.

Low scores can also indicate a disconnect between your ads, landing pages, and search behavior. Depending on the score and other metrics, you need to work on improving your ads, landing pages, or keyword targeting. Higher scores, on the other hand, indicate a good overall alignment and search experience for users.

How is the quality score calculated?

Google calculates quality scores based on three main criteria: expected CTR, landing page experience, and ad relevance (both current and historic values). All three components are combined with your max cost-per-click to arrive at how well your ads should rank. So, setting your CPC at a competitive level is important too.

It’s important to realize that your quality score can still be good even if one of its three ratings is lower. If you’re willing to spend more money than competitors and your quality score is quite average, you may actually still rank well with your ads. At the same time, a good quality score will always be more beneficial in the long run. It increases the traffic to your website at lower costs and the likelihood of ranking more often and outperforming your competitors.

Example of keyword quality score composition that needs improvement in some areas

1. Expected CTR

Expected CTR is a measure that analyses how likely it is for searchers of particular keywords to click your ads. Google calculates your expected CTR by looking at your current targeted keywords and ads in combination with your account’s previous CTR performance for specific keywords.
Typically, an average or above-average expected CTR means that your ad and keywords align well. On the other hand, a below-average status indicates that you need to improve the alignment of your ad text or targeted keywords.

2. Landing page experience

Google measures how relevant the landing pages related to your ads are. An average or above-average rating is nothing to worry about, but a below-average score can indicate that you need to work on aligning landing pages better with your ads and keywords.
According to Google, landing page experience is based on relevancy, trustworthiness, ease of navigation, and reliability. In practice, this means that your landing pages should contain the relevant keywords your audiences are searching for, pages should not have any technical issues or slow loading times, and what is mentioned on them should be credible.

3. Ad relevancy

Ad relevance looks at how well your ads are crafted in relation to the targeted keywords. A below-average score requires attention, but average or above-average scores are usually fine.
The usual components you will need to consider for a good ad relevance score are the ad headlines and descriptions to match search queries well. You often see that ad relevance is low when advertisers try to cram too many different keywords in an ad group with only one ad version.

Best ways to improve your quality score

Before discussing how to improve your quality score, it’s good to realize that it doesn’t make sense to obsess about achieving the highest quality score possible for every keyword. A ten out of ten everywhere is nearly impossible. But it’s a good practice to aim for at least average or above average quality scores. According to Wordstream, this means aiming for at least 5/10 but preferably higher. From 5 and above, you will actually start lessening the cost-per-click. Below 5, the cost-per-click increases quite drastically.

So, how do you go about improving your quality scores? You’ll need to ensure that each pillar of the quality score is well executed. These are some of the main ways to improve Google’s quality scores, some easier and some more difficult:

1. Do the keyword research

Great advertising starts with knowing your audience. The same applies to Google search campaigns. You can only do well with search ads if you know what your audiences are searching for and what keywords they use related to your products or services. This requires keyword research.
If you’re not familiar with what your search audiences are looking for, you can’t create relevant landing pages, relevant ads or even target the right keywords in the first place. Hence, your quality scores will be low as a result.

2. Cluster keywords into themes

Once you have identified the keywords you want to advertise for, you need to cluster them into different campaigns and ad groups because you can’t have one ad running for various keywords that aren’t closely related to each other and the ad copy or landing pages. Some experts even create a separate ad for single keywords to isolate higher buying intent keywords, for example.

3. Optimize landing pages

A best practice to improve quality scores is to optimize your landing pages. Part of this means ensuring they are technically fluent, with quick page loading times, no errors, and high mobile-friendliness. On top of that, the content needs to match the ads and targeted keywords, and overall consistent language should be used.

4. Add negative keywords

One way to increase quality scores can be to add negative keywords to your ads, as they can help rule out irrelevant searches that could lower your quality scores. Negative keywords usually also prevent unwanted clicks, helping you optimize your advertising budget for highly relevant traffic.

5. Leverage dynamic ad copies

Google can help you increase quality scores with dynamic search ads that automatically write ad copies based on your website’s content. Even if dynamic ads can save time and boost ad relevance, you’re also giving Google the control to show what they think is relevant.

6. Keep the message consistent

The message you convey through the ad’s copy should match the search queries. In addition, the message of the landing pages should match the search keywords and ad copy so that they all tell the same story. That’s when Google can see that you are genuinely providing coherent value to searchers and will reward you with higher quality scores.

7. Keep monitoring how ads perform

It is recommended that you regularly check your scores, and specifically each score related to ad relevancy, landing page experience, and expected CTR, as they can change over time. Based on your ads’ performance and other indicators, you can then decide to make the necessary modifications to improve ads, keyword targeting, or landing pages.

Is Google’s ad quality score still relevant today?

Yes, quality scores are definitely still relevant today. They can help you achieve better results with search advertising at lower costs. However, if you have low quality score campaigns that are still bringing in good results, don’t shut them down but rather analyze where they can be improved for even better future performance.

Mirka Tallus