Pay Per Click Quality Score Explained

Quality Score is a vital element of Pay per Click advertising. Online advertisers strive to achieve a high Quality Score as this will increase the performance and efficiency of their PPC Campaigns.

What is Quality Score?

Quality Score is a numerical score between 1-10 that is calculated by Google and assigned to each keyword within your PPC account. The higher the number the better the keyword quality. It is recommended to aim for a Quality Score of 7 or above.

The calculation and factors that Google uses to determine a keyword’s Quality Score is not transparent. These factors and their weighting can also change regularly. However, we do know that some of the most important factors that determine Quality Score are CTR, relevance and landing page quality.

Your keywords will gather history over time which Google takes into account when calculating Quality Score. This is why when you add new keywords to an ad group it can take a little time for the Quality Score to increase.

In summary, the factors that we know Google look for when determining your keyword’s Quality Score are –

  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Tightly themed ad group
  • Landing page quality and relevance
  • Historical performance

Why is Quality Score important?

The position that your ad is displayed on the search engine results page is determined by Ad Rank. Ad Rank is another calculation formulated by Google; the main components of Ad Rank are the keyword bid and Quality Score. The Ad Rank calculation occurs each time a keyword enters the auction when a user search is carried out.

This Ad Rank calculation makes it possible to achieve a high position on the search results page, even with a lower bid than your competitors if you have a higher Quality Score. You can see how this enables small local companies to compete with larger companies.

It is more important now than ever to get your ads displayed at the top of the search engine results page as this will enable you to display ad extensions such as sitelinks. Also on mobile devices the number of ads that can be displayed on each page is limited, so a high position is required in order to display your ad on the first page.

How to improve Quality Score

As you can see quality score is basically a measure of relevance. Therefore in order to increase your quality score you will need to focus on improving the relevance at keyword level in your PPC accounts. I would recommend focusing on these three areas –

1. Optimise your keywords in tightly themed ad groups

  • Move keywords with low CTR into new ad groups allowing you to write more relevant ad copy that will suit these keywords better.
  • Don’t forget to add negative keywords. Regularly check Search Query Reports to identify irrelevant terms that you should add as negative keywords.

 2. Focus on relevant ad copy

  • Regularly update and refine your ad copy to tailor them to the keywords in your ad group. The more relevant and effective an ad copy, the higher its CTR will be, which is one of the key components of Quality Score.

3. Improve landing pages

  • Select landing pages that take users who click on your ads directly to the information they expect to see. Follow best practice in terms of page load speed, layout and conversion optimisation.

By focusing on these three areas the relevance and CTR of your campaigns should increase, leading to increased keyword Quality Scores. You will then benefit from the CPC and position benefits allowing for greater efficiencies. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start optimising!