What is an AdWords Quality Score?
Having a good grasp of your AdWords Quality Score is one of the most essential things you need when trying to master PPC or Pay-per-click. The Quality Score in AdWords is essential in determining the cost, the impact and effectiveness of your PPC campaigns. Well, now that you know it’s important, you have to have a firm grasp on what is it exactly.
What is a Quality Score?
Essentially, a Quality Score is Google’s own rating of your ads, and that includes the quality and of course the relevance of both the keywords you use and the ads themselves. They basically score the ads on how it meets consumer’s needs, and this means in terms of both relevance and value.
So you might be wondering, “Why is Quality Score so important?” Well, Quality Score has a large influence over the costs of your campaign, since it can determine how much you will pay for each click. Meaning, a higher Quality Score will yield higher ad rankings and of course lower costs for each click and also lower cost per conversion. Now we’re sure that has caught your attention.
There are loads of factors in calculating a Quality Score, and just like SEO, no one can be a 100% certain which of these many factors play a bigger role than others; but of course, with a little deduction and some tech-savvy common sense, we can have a good hypothesis.
The first step in order to get a higher Quality Score is to do keyword research. You should focus on the most relevant keywords that are related to your campaign in order to improve relevancy. Even though less relevant, you should also try to consider long-tail keywords which can cause higher traffic for you and your campaign which is what we’re aiming for. Just identifying which keywords are the most relevant isn’t sufficient; you will also have to organize all the keywords into groups which will be used to help improve individual campaigns. Just be careful in having too many broad ad groups, since these can actually lower your Quality Score. You should instead focus on establishing smaller and more targeted ad groups since these will have a better impact towards your goal of a more successful campaign. If you successfully set up this phase correctly then it will ultimately help you out in improving your Quality Score. If you use smaller and more targeted ad groups, you will be able to more effectively reach the right audience that will most likely be searching for what you are providing. If you are successful in this phase, the next phases should become easier and flow naturally. Just be mindful to exclude all negative keywords that could become an unnecessary drain to your budget, since this could lower your click-through rate and therefore even lower your Quality Score.
Landing page experience
We won’t go into detail about optimizing landing pages; we will just be focusing on a key component that you must always remember, and that is relevance. The process in which you start of by clicking through from the ad then getting redirected to the landing page should be a seamless experience that will link the user from the initial search query to the conversion. This is why your landing page is crucial in this part of the process, so here is some advice on the best ways to optimize the landing page.
- Relevant, original content
- Transparency and trustworthiness
- Clear navigation and strong UX / UI
- Mobile friendly
- Quick load speed
- Ensure no broken links
By having a good landing page, it will in turn improve your conversion rate, which is your ultimate goal.
In determining Quality Score, it is without a doubt that the click-through rate (CTR) is the most essential factor. For those of you that don’t know what it means, CTR basically indicates how appealing and helpful your ads are to search engine users. It is somewhat easier to focus on improving the CTR, instead of trying to improve the Quality Score, since the CTR is a little more transparent when it comes to its contributing factors. By improving the ad copy, you will also improve the CTR, that’s why you have to make sure that your ad copy is enticing and direct to the point. Make it so that the search engine users will want to press your ad rather than the other ads on display. This may take some trial and error but when you do it successfully, it will help out you out a lot in the long run. Just remember to keep in mind the relevance to the search term and the landing page. Also, there is no need to write ad copy that will prove your CTR but has no relevance to your landing page, since it may increase your CTR, but in turn it will leave you without any conversions, which is essentially the most important end goal everyone has when it comes to campaign success and ROI. A quick tip is that you should consider pausing the keywords that have low CTR (<1.5%) and low conversions. Google will give a keyword an initial ‘expected’ CTR% at its beginning, which can be low but don’t let that discourage you because this could become a valuable opportunity for you to provide a better ad and landing page experience to your rival competitors.
Historical account performance
Historical account performance means that if your past Quality Scores are consistently low, then Google will most likely to penalize your current Quality Scores. This makes it hard for people that previously had bad scores but is now determined to do a better job at it. The Historical account performance also applies to newly made accounts, since Google tends to better trust accounts from older accounts with a history of good performance rather than a new account without any history to access. It may take some time for Google to trust you, but if you persevere it will pay off. Oh, and also don’t think about making a new account for the same website, since it’s against AdWords policy to start over, which can get you in trouble if you get caught.
Well, Ad Rank isn’t exactly considered as a factor when it comes to improving the Quality Score, but it is actually the opposite, which means that Quality Score helps to improve the Ad Rank. You still need to look at it from a wider perspective, and avoid focusing solely on the Quality Score. The position of your ad in the SERPs is determined by your Ad Rank, and it is determined by computing your bid amount, quality score and the expected performance. So once you see that your Quality Score is improving, it will in turn also pull up your Ad Rank, and when this happens, you will be able to see that your ads will be able to get the top spots, and your CTR will also improve.
Even though Quality Score is important, you shouldn’t totally fixate on it, since it is even more important to focus on conversions. Remember, Quality Score may be an essential factor to the success of your campaign, but it is not the “only” factor. You should focus also on the quality, relevance and improving click-through rates, and you will be able to see the fruits of all your labor soon enough.