If you’ve ever run your own Google Adwords campaigns, you’ve no doubt encountered “quality score.” Quality score (QS) is not just some magical number, it actually represents the quality of your Adwords keywords. A higher score is obviously better as it’s an indication that Google considers keywords, landing page and click-through rate to be of high relevance and quality.

In short, if the QS of a keyword is low it means you’re doing something wrong. It’s probably also something that you want to address as it has a meaningful impact on the CPC of your ads. You can rank higher than advertisers that pay more if your quality score is better, as this is one of the two factors that influences your Adrank.  Winning, right?

How Does Google Calculate QS?

While only Google truly knows what the formula is, people have discovered that the QS of keywords are based not only on the click-through rate, but also the relevance of the keyword or search query to the actual ad and how reputable the actual landing page is.

This basically just means that if you’re a graphic design company in Perth then your advert and keywords probably shouldn’t include mentions of interior designing or Adelaide unless your services are countrywide and include interior decorating. If not, you not only upset the folks who click on your ad thinking it’s relevant to their search, but also might find that your ads aren’t shown as often as you’d like. If your adverts lead to a page that’s off-topic or irrelevant, you’re not doing your QS any favours either.

What Can You Do To Improve Your Quality Score?

If the QS of your keywords are not perfect tens, there’s no reason to start panicking. Don’t set impossible goals. Where a QS of seven used to be considered average, more recently this has dropped down to a six or even five. It’s worth educating yourself on what factors influence QS to avoid undue stress and worries.

For example, did you know that the amount you bid on keywords does not influence QS? That’s right, throwing money at the problem is not going to fix it, unfortunately. Although one would think that’s the purpose of selling ad space, but Google always considers users and user experience too.

What you can do is use ad extensions to make the ads bigger, while also including better ad text that is actually relevant to the landing page. Once you have your ad sorted out, you can also organise your keywords and keep ad groups smaller to make them more manageable.

Where Do You Find The QS In Your Account?

Before you make any changes it obviously helps to know what the QS of your keywords are. Simply access your Adwords account and click the white speech bubble in the Status column of the Keywords tab to view this info. Add the “Qual. score” column from the Customize Columns menu to view this information at a glance.

There are some limitations to what you can view in your account, though. Google doesn’t store the historical data for your QS, so if you want to view this information, you either have to keep track of the figures yourself or use a third party service. What you can do with the information is calculate the QS across your entire account.

  1. Simply export all the numbers from the QS column to Excel
  2. Multiply each number by the number of impressions that were amassed by that keyword
  3. Combine the total, divide it by the total number of impressions received by all keywords and voilà, you have just calculated the impression weighted quality score for the entire account.

So Now You Know

Fully understanding quality score is a topic that will require a few more blog posts. As long as you know what quality score is and how it affects your ad campaigns, you already have an advantage over advertisers that remain blissfully unaware of its existence. Now go forth and conquer your campaigns and boost your quality score while you’re at it!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.



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