How to Boost Your Google Ads Quality Score

*This post was updated on March 5, 2019

You can have a phenomenal product with a competitive price, but that doesn’t necessarily determine its relevancy.

So who decides what’s pertinent and what’s not? The short answer: Google. The still short, but slightly longer answer: you (if you follow the Adwords guidelines, at least).

Google’s way of measuring the caliber of your advertisements is through the use of what’s called the Adwords Quality Score.

The Quality Score is far from being a new development and is only one part of your PPC campaign, but it’s a crucial component all retailers advertising on the platform should understand and be familiar with.
 

What is the Adwords Quality Score?

 
A good ad is good for business. Users are more likely to click, businesses can drive conversions, and Google maintains a strong presence as an advertising platform. Everybody wins. It’s no wonder they’ve incorporated a grading system.

The real question is, what variables go into determining any given grade? A lot, actually.

Before we jump into it, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the Quality Score is meant to be a diagnostic tool, not an indicator – or expected indicator – of your ad’s performance.
 

Let’s talk quality

 
How a Quality Score is calculated is dictated by many, many factors. And while user queries, device, location, and even time of day are all influential in the auction process, these variables are not directly related to the score seen on your account.

For the most part, Google bases your Adwords Quality Score on the following three components:

 

quality score components

 

Each of these components is given a status of below average, average, or above average and are weighed against user searches. When a user enters a search, Google will then recalculate each component to assist in determining Ad Rank.

 

adwords quality score

 

Think of it as being a closed loop. The combination of these factors need to come full circle, ultimately catering to the end user. If a person enters a search, are they going to find your ad copy relatable and enticing? If they do, are they going to find your landing page engaging and easy to use?

It’s all about creating that perfect experience from start to finish. Google wants to know, “does this ad warrant an impression?” and “will that impression drive a result?”. This is what the Adwords Quality Score is all about.

 

8 Ways To Boost Your Google Ads Quality Score

 
Unfortunately, coming by a top-notch quality score isn’t always easy — especially with Google’s always-in-flux algorithms.

Are you looking to increase your Google quality scores, as well as the overall outcome of your ad campaigns? Try these tips on for size.
 

1. Organize your keywords.

Cull a strong list of highly relevant keywords — including long-tail options — and then organize those terms into tight-knit, targeted groups. This makes it easier to tailor copy, landing pages and other creative elements to the exact campaigns you’re running.
 

2. Test and refine your ad copy.

As with any marketing strategy, a little A/B testing can deliver serious insights — not to mention a stronger overall campaign. At the start, try out a few copy options for each ad group you have running and see which ones garner a higher click-through rate. A higher CTR means more relevancy and a higher quality score, so use those more effective options for the remainder of your campaign.
 

3. Don’t forget your landing pages.

Driving clicks toward a home page or other vague piece of content isn’t the route to a good quality score — nor serious conversions. Always create highly targeted landing pages for each individual campaign and ad group you run. You want to offer a cohesive start-to-finish experience for users — one that’s distinctly targeted to the keyword and the exact search they were conducting.
 

4. Add in negative keywords.

Always add in negative keywords to help eliminate wasted spend and drive out non-qualified leads. Definitely, do this at the beginning of each campaign, but also make it a point to check for other potential additions once you’ve gone live. Are you getting lots of traction from certain keywords, but those terms aren’t delivering any conversions? Add them to the list and hone your strategy.
 

5. Think long-tail.

Long-tail keywords are like the Holy Grail when it comes to quality score. Not only do they typically mean a higher click-through rate (because they’re so targeted), they also come with lower costs because they’re less competitive. Add in that long-tail keywords are easier to align your copy and landing pages with and using long-tail terms is a win-win however you look at it.
 

6. Follow the rules.

As boring as it is, just following the rules can help you get a better quality score. That means checking all the boxes for your campaign — adding in conversion tracking, geo-targeting, ad extensions, and multiple ad versions. This might seem like obvious stuff, but you’d be surprised at how many skip over the basics when trying to do more with their campaigns.
 

7. Constant evolution.

You’re not going to reach a certain level and lock in that high-quality score forever. Just like user searches (and intents) are always evolving, so will your ad relevancy and subsequent quality score. If you want to achieve a high score — and keep it at that level — you have to commit to regular work on your campaigns. That means adding new keywords and ads groups, changing up the copy and creative, and reviewing your results to better hone your approach.
 

8. Know your score factors.

Finally, just be aware of what factors go into your quality score when creating, managing and updating your campaigns. These include things like your click-through rates, how relevant your keywords are to their assigned ad groups, the quality and relevance of your attached landing pages and how relevant your copy is.
 

Expert Advice:

 
It can take some trial and error but improving your quality score is well worth the time investment. Improving your Adwords quality score can mean lower CPCs, better conversion rates, and a higher campaign ROI to boot.

“Typically, the goal is to get the highest ad rank for the lowest CPC,” said Adam Harms, Retail Search Manager at CPC Strategy.

 

adam harms cpc strategy

 

“If you have a poor quality score, your ad either won’t show or you’ll be charged a premium for it to show. At that point, you could be paying more for a less than ideal spot on the SERP.

With high-quality scores (8-10), you’re more likely to show on the results page and even benefit from discounted CPCs. And while Quality Score is a significant factor in Ad Rank, advertisers would be wise to keep more important metrics in mind.

For example, you can put significant energy into inflating your Quality Score with a solid CTR, but if you have a poor conversion rate you’re left with terrible ROI. A high-Quality Score doesn’t matter if users aren’t converting once they get to your site.”

“The best practice is to pair hyper-specific keywords and ad copy with an easily-navigable, relevant landing page. If you do that, you’re very likely to achieve a high-Quality Score.”

For more information on the Adwords Quality Score, please contact tara@cpcstrategy.com

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.