Whether your business is ecommerce or lead generation, there’s a metric in Google Ads that that greatly influences the amount you pay for visitors and ultimately new leads. That metric is called Quality Score.
Quality Score can be a key factor when managing and optimizing your Google Ads PPC campaign. With higher Quality Scores, Google can reward you with lower cost per clicks along with higher ad positions.
What Is Quality Score?
It all starts with understanding that Google, like any other business, wants to take good care of its customers. In Google’s case, their customers are searchers. So, to provide the best experience for the users of the Google’s search engine, Google wants to make sure that there is good continuity among the keyword searched, the ad shown and the destination page the visitor is taken to.
Google defines Quality Score as, “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages”. Quality Score is measured on a 1 – 10 scale (10 being the highest Quality Score available). While Quality Score is only visible at a keyword level, there is also a hidden Ad Group, Campaign and Account level Quality Score.
Your Quality Score is made up of three main factors:
- Click-through rate (CTR) & Expected CTR of the keyword
- Ad relevance to keyword
- Landing page experience
There are other unproven rumors of what could also impact Quality Score, such as campaigns being “Limited by Budget”, historical Google Ads performance, ad extensions and some others. However, we’ve not been able to substantiate, either through Google or other means, that there is any validity to these other rumors.
Why Should I Care About Quality Score?
Keywords with high Quality Scores can result in a lower cost per click. In other words, Google is providing an incentive to PPC advertisers to bid on high CTR keywords, write compelling, quality ads, and take visitors to landing pages offering a good experience. Typically, Google will reward an advertiser with a “discounted” cost per click for higher Quality Score keywords. Advertisers though do not have visibility into how much that “discount” is.
And all other things being equal, a lower cost per click will generate a lower cost per conversion. So by optimizing and increasing your Quality Score, you’ll be increasing your overall return on investment (ROI).
How Can I Improve My Quality Score?
Since there are three main factors that make up Quality Score, we’ll be going through each of them separately & provide tactics and areas to focus on.
- Maximizing Click-through Rate (CTR)
a. Look through the search terms report to identify negative keywords and search terms you need to add to your negative keyword list. This will tighten up your keyword listings to be more relevant to your offerings which will positively impact your CTR
b. Review your ad copy and make sure that your ad text is following best practices (emotional triggers, use numbers, call-to-actions etc.). Following the best practices for your ad copy can make your ads stand out and provide a positive impact on CTR.
c. Include display paths in ads that include the keyword searched
- Improving Ad Relevance to the Keyword Searched
a. Consider single phrase ad groups to ensure that your ads are as closely related to your keyword phrases as possible
b. Make sure that the keyword in the ad group is included in the ad text (ideally in the 1st or 2nd headline)
c. Similar to CTR, look through the search terms report to identify any keywords that are irrelevant and add them to your negative keyword list
- Landing Page Experience
a. In Google Analytics, you can identify pages with high bounce rates which can lead to a poor landing page experience and be an indicator to Google. Thoroughly review those pages to identify why visitors are leaving the page without engaging. You might also want to do the same for pages that show a very low time on page.
b. Along with bounce rates, a long page load time can be seen as a poor landing page experience since conversion rates typically suffer for slower loading pages
c. Don’t break the promise you’re making in your ad and ensure that your landing page is highly relevant to your ad copy
d. Also, your landing page should include the Google Ads keyword on the page, preferably in or very near the page headline as this is a signal to Google of a relevant landing page experience
Since Quality Score is critical to your PPC account performance and can provide a lower cost per conversion and higher ROI, it’s worth a deep investment in your time to ensure you’re doing your part in providing the best search experience for Google’s customers. Along with keeping a tight focus on your keywords and account structure, try role-playing as a typical prospect that is doing a search and see if you can identify where in the process (ads and landing page) you can create a more consistent and compelling experience.