Last year (2017) was a big year for quality score as Google released new-and-improved reporting. Instead of viewing a solitary number, digital marketers can now view historical data and a breakdown of the components of quality score within the AdWords interface.
What is quality score?
Quality score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions. – Google
In simple terms, Google’s aim is to provide a top-notch user experience and one of the ways they do this is by giving a competitive advantage to advertisers with the most relevant and highest quality ads. To achieve this, they give each keyword within every AdWords account a “quality” rating based on numerous factors relating to user experience. Keywords with higher quality ads and more relevant landing pages will be given a higher quality score than a competitor who has poorer quality ads.
Each new keyword in your account is given a starting quality score of 6. The following factors influence the quality score for each keyword by giving it a value between 1 and 10:
- Expected click-through rate – By taking the historical performance of your account (excluding the effect of ad position), Google will estimate the likelihood that a user will click on your ad. This is a good indicator of the relevancy of your ad to the search query.
- Ad Relevance – This measures how closely your ad matches the keywords within your account. If your ad is recommending where to buy cheap flowers but appears when someone is searching for the nearest fried chicken shop, you probably want to reassess your ad copy!
- Landing page experience – This measures the relevancy, loading speed and usability of your landing page. Google aims to promote advertisers who will provide a top-notch user experience.
But why does quality score matter?
These changes are all well and good, but what’s in it for you as an advertiser? To put it bluntly, the better your quality score, the cheaper your clicks. This is based on the following methodology:
If you have a higher quality score than your competitor, you can achieve the same position as them in the search engine results page for a cheaper price, making those terrifying CPA targets much easier to achieve.
Google uses the following equation to determine the final position of your advert on the search engine results page:
Quality Score x Max CPC = Ad Rank
So based on the above equation, if you have a quality score of 10 and your competitor only has a quality score of 5, you can achieve the same position in the search engine results with half the bid.
You: 10 x £1 = 10
Competitor: 5 x £2 = 10
Our top 5 tips to achieve 10/10 quality score
If you follow these five recommendations, I can all but guarantee you will see sky-high quality score within your account:
Tip #1: Tailored ad copy
Tailor your ad copy to your keywords. Try to include your keyword within your ad copy text to improve ad relevance (the second component of quality score), and user experience, which in turn can improve click-through rate. For example, if you were a clothes retailer with the keyword [denim shirts] you could use ‘Denim Shirts’ in the headline to both increase quality score and user experience.
Note we have also included USPs such as ‘Free Delivery’ and ‘10% Discount’. Although this won’t directly improve the ad relevance it may improve click-through rate which Google takes into consideration when deriving quality score.
Tip #2: Granular account structure
Structure your AdWords account so you have a large number of very targeted ad groups. Don’t be afraid to use single-keyword ad groups for high traffic keywords.
Tip #3: Choose highly relevant landing pages
Put some thought into which landing page you point traffic towards for the best user experience and the shortest conversion path. If you are selling electronics, for example, send users searching for an HP laptop to the HP laptop page rather than the homepage.
Tip #4: Ad extensions
For those of you who are unfamiliar, ad extensions are additional pieces of information about your business; phone numbers, links to specific pages, USP call-outs. Do not forget to utilise as many ad extensions as physically possible! Not only does Google focus on ads when calculating quality score, but they also take extensions into consideration! Use call-outs to highlight USPs, site links to direct users to useful pages and review extensions to show off all the fantastic recommendations you have.
Tip #5: OPTIMISE OPTIMISE OPTIMISE
Remember to continually review and refresh your ad copy! Testing different versions of ads can give insight into what drives the best click-through rate, and which ad copy achieves the highest quality score. Best practice would be to keep testing the top-performing ads and remove and replace ads which are under-performing. Using this method, you should see constant improvements in ad performance over time.
To take away
Google’s improved visibility on historical quality score and its 3 components helps advertisers to quantify their findings from optimisations to see the impact their changes are really having on their keywords. Nifty optimisations and some clever AB testing using the 5 top tips above will have you celebrating your 10/10 quality score in no time!