Google AdWords - What is your Quality Score?

Many businesses and organisations use the Google AdWords advertising program to promote their products and services in Google's search results. It's often a great way to supplement an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) campaign if a business operates in a very competitive market as Google AdWords allows you to compete with some of the bigger players and see your website appear on the first page of search results for your chosen search term. This can happen in a short space of time whereas an SEO campaign may take several months to see the website appearing so high up.

How does Google rank paid results?

Like a lot of online advertising, Google AdWords works on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis, so you only pay when someone clicks on your advert. You set the amount you want to pay per click for each keyword you want to bid on depending on your budget. If you're new to search advertising you can be forgiven for thinking that the higher you bid, the higher up your advert will appear. However, it's a little more complicated than that.

Google is very keen to show the most relevant results to users, the more relevant the results, the more people will use the search engine and generate income for Google by clicking the paid results. Therefore, Google has to determine whether a particular advert is relevant for the keyword they are bidding on.

Google uses several factors in deciding the relevancy of an advert and they call this it's Quality Score.

What is Quality Score?

Your Quality Score is a mark out of 10 that Google will assign to each of the keywords in your campaign.

You'll receive a low quality score for keywords that not relevant to the text in your advert or the content of your landing page (destination URL). If your keywords are mentioned in your ad text and it's clear that they are highly relevant to the content on your site, you'll likely receive a higher quality score.

How is Quality Score calculated?

As with all Google's Algorithms, it depends on a number of factors and is calculated every time your keyword matches a user's search query. Google say that they look at the following factors in assessing your quality score:

  • Your keyword's past clickthrough rate (CTR): How often that keyword led to clicks on your ad
  • Your display URL's past CTR: How often you received clicks with your display URL
  • Your account history: The overall CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
  • The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is
  • Your keyword/ad relevance: How relevant your keyword is to your ads
  • Your keyword/search relevance: How relevant your keyword is to what a customer searches for
  • Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you're targeting
  • Your ad's performance on a site: How well your ad's been doing on this and similar sites (if you're targeting the Display Network)
  • Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices, like desktops/laptops, mobile devices, and tablets – you get different Quality Scores for different types of devices

(source: http://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2454010?hl=en)

How can I check my Quality Score?

Google AdWords Quality Score
Google AdWords Quality Score

Assuming you have active campaigns running in your Google AdWords account, click the 'Campaigns' tab at the top and then select the 'Keywords' tab. Next to each keyword you'll see a speech bubble. If you hover over the speech bubble, you'll see whether your ads are appearing and your Quality Score.

Why is Quality Score important?

The higher your Quality Score, the higher the position you will likely achieve and the less you will pay per click. Optimising your ad text and landing page content can help you increase traffic to your site as well as reduce costs. So really, it's a no-brainer! Work on your Quality Score and make Google AdWords work for you!

Want to find out more about how Google AdWords works? Check out our digital marketing training.

**You may also like this great Quality Score visual from Tenscores. [external link will open in a new tab/window]