Do You Know Your AdWords Quality Score?

Do you know how you you're spending your money on AdWords, and how to get the maximum from your advertising spend? Many advertisers spend far too much on advertising per click because their AdWords account is poorly structured and doesn't focus enough on Quality Scores.


What is a Quality Score?

Your Quality Score in Google AdWords ranks between 1-10 based on the connection between your search words, adverts and landing page. If your campaigns in Google Adwords have a low Quality Score, you risk losing exposure and clicks while still paying a high price for your position on Google.

A Quality Score is usually defined based on the following four parameters:

1. Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

The percentage of the advert's exposures that lead to a click to the site. Make sure you have long but precise advert copy, which contains a Call-To-Action that tempts the user's curiosity.

2. Advert relevance

The more relevant your advertising copy is to the search word linked to the advert group, the higher your Quality Score. That's why it's important to have cohesion between your search word, your advert copy and the quality of the landing page. Make sure you use your search words from the given advert group in the advert copy and try to have different advert copy in each advert group. To achieve a good structure and cohesion between your search words and advert copy, you need to have built a sound structure from your AdWords campaigns. For example, don't put different search words in the same advert group, as this won't help you create an accurate message in the advert, and reduces your Quality Score.

3. Landing Page

The page that your visitors land on when they click on one of your adverts. Your Quality Score is ranked depending on how relevant Google thinks your landing page is to your search words and advert copy. It's important that your landing page has the same content as your search words and advert copy. If this isn't the case, you should either consider a different landing page or whether your search words are correct in relation to what your site shows visitors.

4. Advert expansions

Advert expansions are those extras that you can add to your advert. This could be sub-page links, which are important as they often help increase the general CTR, especially if you manage to deliver some interesting and relevant sub-page links that lead the users to other pages of your site. These could be offers, products, find a distributor or similar.

This list is far from exhaustive when it comes to how Google's algorithm ranks your Quality Score, but these are the most important parameters.

A high Quality Score beats a high price

When you advertise on Google AdWords, you take part in an auction with other advertisers about which adverts should appear. Google doesn't favour those advertisers willing to bid the highest, but those with the highest Ad rank. An Ad rank is defined as follows:

Ad rank = QS x Max CPC

So the higher the Ad rank you have, the cheaper the price per click.

This example illustrates that advertiser 4 is willing to pay the most for a given search, but has the worst position in the search result. By contrast, advertiser 1 is willing to pay the lowest price, but has the best position. This is because Google wants to give users the most relevant results possible.

We can also clearly see that if you understand Google's ranking algorithm and optimise your campaigns based on the Quality Score, there is plenty of money to be saved by advertising on Google AdWords. These savings could mean you get even more relevant visitors (and probably also more conversions) on your website for the same amount of money.

The following section gives you some tips and tricks on how to optimise and analyse your advertising based on a Quality Score.

Get an overview of your Quality Score

Quality Score is not usually part of the reports you see in the AdWords interface, so if you want to increase your focus on this form of optimisation, click Search word > Edit columns > Attributes and select the columns Quality Score:

You can now also include the columns "Advert relevance," "Landing page experience" and "Expected CTR" in your overview. This makes it easier to localise which optimisation measures you need to focus on to improve your Quality Score. For example, the top search word (below) shows that the advert is scoring "Above average", but that the landing page experience and the expected CTR is below average.

Also, in the AdWords interface you can now view historic Quality Scores and get an insight into how these have developed over time.

In the column marked with red, you will be able to see, down to each individual search, how your search word ranks in relation to the Quality Score. In the following example we have a search word with a Quality Score of 3/10, a CTR of 4.74% and with an average CPS of 0.52 GBP. We can also see how the Quality Score affects the click prices. But how do we solve such a challenge?

In the above example, the easiest would be to pause the search word with a low Quality Score, although that's not always the best solution. Instead, we need to get hold of some of the factors that Google ranks the search word's Quality Score on (see top of this article). For example, this could be pulling the search word into your own advert group to create more relevant advert copy, which could even increase the CTR of the search word. You could also consider whether the search even fits with the landing page that you are directing users to. Or could you optimise a few things on the landing page to make it more relevant for the given search words?

You could also drag the mouse across a given search word and view Google's own recommendations based on the Quality Score:

Optmyzr gives you an overview of your Quality Score.

Novicell works with the ad management tool Optmyzr. This contains a highly versatile report, which is useful when you are optimising based on Quality Scores. Optmyzr allows you to follow the development of your Quality Score over time based on account, campaign, advert group level and search word level. This provides both visual and valuable reports, which create a quick overview of the campaign's performance based on the Quality Score. 

This tool is also useful for when you need to present the results to e.g. management or others who don't usually work hands-on with AdWords.

In Google's own interface, it is only possible to get a snapshot of how the Quality Score of a given password is at that moment. That's why it can be hard to maintain an overview and follow the development of the optimisations you have made and how they have affected the account's general Quality Score.

You can easily get an insight into which of your campaigns, advert groups and search words have room for improvement. This is shown by the dark green, light green, yellow or red colours - all depending on how high the Quality Score is for your advert group:

Meanwhile, you can also see which of your campaigns have reached the highest level of improvement since you last made any changes under Top Movers.

It is worth noting that you can't take the report as a 100% accurate picture, as it is still Google's algorithm that determines the ranking. But the reports provide an excellent insight, as well as an overview of where action is required.