Understand Google Ads Quality Score in 60 Seconds

Google Ads 4 min read

Google Ads are consistently the highest converting online advertising channel. They are designed to answer a customer's specific search query. The very reason I started my career in digital, stems back to the time in the early 2000s when Google Ads (known then as Adwords) helped me find the airfare I wanted, a perfect example of Google Ads quality score and how it's suppose to work. <Cue black and white flash-back sequence>.

One day I decided to look for a cheap flight to Thailand. I'd always wanted to go, and with a holiday on the foreseeable horizon, all I needed was a flight. I went to Google and typed in "Cheap flight Melbourne to Bangkok return". The result that came back was precisely what I wanted. It looked something like the ad below (albeit this is something I found online just now). One click later and I was on their site, with this perfect deal staring right at me. Two more clicks and I had booked. Easy as that. An ideal experience. Exactly what Search Engine Marketing (Google Ads) is supposed to be, a perfect user experience.

So what is Google Ads Quality Score?

Google remains the world's #1 search engine because they deliver the best user experience. In the USA, Google has a whopping 93.04% market share of all searches (when you combine all their assets). They want to protect this at all costs, and they do this by ensuring customers don't just SPAM their network with ads. Thus they invented a method to filter advertisers and promote the most 'relevant' ads to the top of the results... enter Google Ads quality score.

Google market share imagine google ads dominance!

Google Ads Quality Score In Detail

Think of quality score as a balancing mechanism. It stops big advertisers from merely spamming the market with irrelevant ads, and instead promotes the best result to your search query. That's good for the user, which is good for Google. But how?

There have been many videos explaining this, but this one is still our absolute favourite.

Quality Score Critical Factors

There are just 3 critical factors to consider with quality score:

1. Ad Relevance
Does my ad relate to the keyword being searched? Whilst Google knows roughly that 'hot dogs' and 'restaurants' are related if an ad selling a buffet deal appeared whenever someone searched for "Best Hot Dog in NYC", it's not very relevant.

A better ad would be selling 'our new hot dog menu'. You can see how the customer gets a much better experience, and it answers the customers search query in a business like way.

2. Click Through Rate (CTR)
Do your ads get clicked on more than the competition for this term? This is a relative measure, and why every keyword should have it's own unique ads. You need to differentiate your ads from the competition, be different, use powerful language and stand out. You can read about how to write amazing headlines at this post.

If your ads have the highest click through rate, it's a great sign that you are being more relevant, and thus Google should reward you with cheaper costs and higher ranking. Keep in mind it's an ever moving competition, so stay on top of what your customers are doing with tools like SpyFu, or just your own two eyes.

3. Landing Page Experience
Finally, get ready to make landing page variations and plenty of them. You want your customer to land on a page that is specifically relevant to what they were searching for, not just loosely related.

If you have two search terms that are similar but different, you might just need two separate landing pages. This works on two levels, firstly feeding Google what they want to see, but moreover, using the same language as the customer will make them more likely to convert.

How much of an impact does a high-quality score make?

Actually, it makes a huge difference to your campaigns and the results they generate. According to WordStream a 10/10 quality score can mean a 50% reduction in the cost you pay per click. Where conversely a 1/10 quality score can increase costs 400%.

Graphic courtesy of WordStream

Moreover, when you look at the impact of quality score on the cost of conversions, you can see a fairly linear regression towards cheaper leads. This makes it clear, it's worth striving for that more relevant ad copy and user experience.

Google ads quality score impact on conversion cost
Graphic courtesy of WordStream

Summary & Quality Score Next Steps

So we know it's worth aspiring for a higher quality score, but where do you start? The simple answer is to begin with the keywords that are getting the most impressions. Use the search query report to break these down into tighter adgroups, utilising phrase and exact match so you can control exactly what triggers your ads. Then write highly specific ads and landing pages for each of those terms.

Is it a lot of work. Gosh yes it is! That's the nature of competition, you have to work harder than the next guy to out-position them. It's worth the effort, I promise you that.

If you want help with your account, send us a message. We specialise in not just Google Ads, but creating landing pages that convert visitors to leads.

Happy hunting!

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