quality score cover pic

How The AdWords Quality Score Metric Affects Your Ads

Neil Andrew

Neil Andrew

April 24th, 2019

Neil is Scottish so when he's not writing for PPC Protect he's eating haggis and watching Braveheart.


In the world of pay per click advertising, everyone is trying to get an edge over their competitors. With keywords becoming more and more competitive, having just the slightest advantage can often mean the difference between profits and losses. One of the ways to get an advantage over your competitors is to have a high-quality score.

If you don’t know what your quality score is, or what it means, then you’re already at a disadvantage.

When it comes to pay per click networks, understanding how quality score works is tremendously important as it has an enormous influence on the cost of your paid search campaigns.

If you’re running a PPC campaign, then you should always be on the lookout for tips that can help improve your overall campaign. With so much to learn it can be hard to know what to focus your time on and what to avoid. Here’s a tip: quality score is definitely one of the most important things you should be looking to improve.

In this post, we’ll be exploring Google’s quality score metric and how learning to improve it can significantly increase your PPC results as well as your ROI.

But first, we need to understand what precisely quality score is and why you should bother to improve it.

What Is Quality Score?

what is quality score stars

To answer this question simply, quality score is Google’s way of determining the quality of an ad (hence the name).

As you may well know, not all ads are made the same and some are much better than others in terms of click-through and conversion rates. Some adverts are merely a picture with “buy now” underneath, while other ads have much more time put into them and contain better text and more importantly, better keywords.

Google’s quality score is used to determine your cost per click (CPC) amount and your rank in the ad auction process. By multiplying the maximum CPC bid of your ad by your ad’s quality score, you can determine your ad’s rank.

Now you’re probably wondering what factors influence your quality score and what Google is looking out for.

The Top Quality Score Factors

score factors

In terms of the factors that actually affect your quality score, these include:

  • Your ad’s click-through rate (CTR)
  • Your landing page’s quality and relevance of the advert
  • Your historical AdWords account performance and age
  • The keywords used in the advert itself

All of these factors are thrown into a secret Google algorithm and output a number which is your quality score.

Unfortunately, Google has not released exactly how much percentage each factor makes up, but what we do know is that the click-through rate is by far the most important factor. This is because when you have a higher click-through rate, Google determines your advert as more relevant and helpful to users.

As a result of this, Google rewards you by giving you a lower CPC and higher rankings on your ads. As you can see, a greater quality score is perfect for maximising your ROI.

What Is A Good Quality Score?

high score

A good quality score is entirely dependent on the industry and keyword you are targeting. By default, Google’s benchmark quality score is 5. This helps as a guideline when trying to work out if your score is good or not. The quality score ranges from a low of 1 to a max of 10.

If your advert isn’t performing well and has problems, then your quality score will decrease to 1 which in turn will cost you more money. Having a quality score of 1 will increase your CPC by 400% compared to the default benchmark.

On the other hand, if your advert is performing well and users are clicking it, then your quality score will be increased to a maximum of 10. This, in turn, will decrease your CPC by 50% compared to the default.

Therefore, a “good” quality score is anything above 5 with the best being 10. Anything below 5 is considered bad as it is below the standard Google benchmark. When trying to aim for a target quality score, it’s always best to try and go for 10. Since most adverts start at the benchmark of 5, it’s only 5 more points!

Not only will having a score of 10 reduce your cost per click by 50% but it will also help you rank higher and improve your ROI. Getting the highest quality score possible is essential if you want to make the most money.

How To Find Your AdWords Quality Score

find your quality score

Now we know all the factors that go into determining your quality score, how exactly can you find out what yours is?

You can check your quality score by looking at the keywords tab in AdWords.

To do this click the Campaigns tab at the top of the AdWords menu and then select the keywords tab. Once in this section, you’ll be able to click the white speech bubble next to any keywords status to see details about the quality score. You’ll also be able to see ratings for expected click-through rate, ad relevance and landing page experiences.

If for whatever reason that method doesn’t work, then the second way to view your quality score is to enable the quality score column within AdWords.

First, select the campaigns tab in AdWords and then select the keywords tab. Once in the keywords section, you’ll want to make sure the qual. score column is visible. You can do this by clicking the columns drop down menu in the toolbar and selecting modify columns. In there you can add attributes such as quality score and then press save.

Once you’ve added the new column, your table should look something like this:

quality score in adwords

Your quality score for each campaign and keyword will now appear in the column you just added. Not only will it give you the current quality score, but it’s also possible to get historical data. This is useful when it comes to tracking the impact of changes of your quality score.

How To Improve Quality Score

quality score high rating

Now you know just how much of an impact quality score can have on your cost per click, what exactly can you do to improve your own score?
If you want to know how to get a 10/10 quality score in AdWords, then pay close attention.

There are several things you can do to improve the quality score on your campaigns and reap the benefits of lower costs. These simple changes include things such as:

  • Changing Your Ad’s Text – By changing your ad’s text and testing out new copy that is more relevant and targeted to your ad groups, you can boost your quality score almost overnight. More relevant text will improve the relevancy, conversion rate and overall quality score of your campaign, saving you money.
  • Optimise Your Landing Pages – Your landing pages should be relevant to the ad that users clicked on. Make sure they use similar keywords and headings that are relevant to the topic so users take action and don’t bounce off the page.
  • Keyword Research – Instead of focusing on the big, highly competitive short tail keywords, instead you should look for new long-tail keywords to add to your campaigns. These long-tail keywords are often more relevant than short-tail keywords and are much easier to understand the searcher’s intent. This means making a converting landing page is much easier which in turn will help improve your quality score.
  • Negative Keywords – By constantly researching and excluding irrelevant keywords from your campaigns you can not only save money, but ensure your adverts are only being shown to relevant visitors.

Now you know how a high-quality score can improve your PPC campaign’s results, it’s time to get out there and start tweaking! Your quality score won’t improve by itself so putting the effort into improving it is essential if you want to see results.

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