How is AdWords Quality Score Calculated?
Google’s Description of Quality Score (QS)
Quality Score is calculated in real-time, every time your keyword matches a search query – essentially, every time your keyword has the potential to trigger an ad. Quality Score is used in several different ways, including influencing your keywords’ actual cost-per-click (CPC) and estimating the first page bids that you see in your account. It also partly determines if a keyword is eligible to enter the ad auction that occurs when a user enters a search query and, if it is, how high the ad will be ranked.
Your Ad Groups Quality Score is a combination of the QS of each keyword you target. This score changes constantly, the following elements are used to calculate the Quality Score:
1 – The historical click-through rate
2 – The relevance of the keyword within its ad group
3 – The relevance of the keyword
4 – Your account history
5 – The historical CTR of the display URLs in the ad group
6 – The quality of your landing page
7 – Landing page load times
The Historical Click-through Rate (CTR) of the Keyword
Click-through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (impressions) via Google search only. Your ads and keywords each have their own CTRs, unique to your own campaign performance.
Click-through rate is the most significant component of Quality Score because it directly indicates which ads are most relevant to our users. For example, a well targeted keyword that shows a similarly targeted ad is more likely to have a higher CTR than a general keyword with non-specific ad text. The more your keywords and ads relate to each other and to your business, the more likely a user is to click on your ad after searching on your keyword phrase.
The Relevance of the Keyword to the Ad Copy
The keywords in your ad group must be relevant to your ads. Where possible your ad group keywords should be repeated in the ad, there are of course times where this isn’t possible.
The Relevance of the Keyword and Ad to the Search Query
The keyword that a potential visitor searches for (the search query) needs to be relevant to the keywords in your ad group and the ad itself. It’s important to note that match type is not taken into account when Google calculates QS.
Your Account CTR History
This often takes people by surprise but Google takes your entire history into account when determining CTR. Don’t be fooled in to thinking this means you should limit the changes your make to your account. Google favours the recent account history and so lends itself to advertisers making constant improvements to their accounts. In fact the Google AdWords Agency Blog’s is cited saying “A few bad days of test performance will not ruin your Quality Scores. In order to optimize your clients’ accounts, we encourage you to run targeted tests on your bids, creatives, and keywords.”
Moral of the story – don’t fear change, keep testing and improving as you go.
The Historical CTR of display URLs
This QS measurement refers to the URL that is displayed in the ad, not the destination URL that the visitor is directed to after clicking the ad. It goes without saying this should be relevant to the keywords in your Ad Group.
The Quality of your Landing Page.
Google notes that the three main components of a quality website are relevant and original content, transparency, and navigability. It should be said that relevance takes priority in that visitors should be able to easily find what your ad promotes i.e. the page content is specific to the ad copy.
Google periodically spiders your landing pages to calculate these and other usability factors.
Landing Page Load Times
Decrease your landing page load times, that’s a must. Landing page load times, as with Organic Search rankings, are an important consideration when calculating Quality Score. The simplest route to improving load times is to host your website in the location you serve people, in other words if your customers are predominantly UK based don’t host your website in the US.
As you can see the term ‘relevance’ appears a lot here, and that’s key. Your keyword should relate to your ad title, your ad copy, your display url and finally the page of your website that is targeted by your advert.
Quality Scores should be checked on a regular basis, broadly speaking you should aim for a QS of 7 or better and if you see a QS of sub 3 you have serious problems that need addressing.
Need some advice? We’re experts in PPC Services.