A higher Quality Score is the key to achieving a better ROI from your AdWords account. It’s as simple as that. It means you can achieve more impressions, in better positions with less spend.

Google has made it clear from the start that it is all about user experience and relevancy. If you can provide both of these it will reward you.

Here are six ways to do it.

  1. Use negative keywords to boost your clickthrough rate

Stopping your ads appearing for inappropriate searches is an easy way to boost your clickthrough rate. The more relevant the searches you appear for the more clicks you are likely to get.

Negative keywords are words or phrases you wish to use to stop your ads appearing.

Here’s how you can do it.

Select a Campaign or an Ad Group. Click on Dimensions and choose to view Search Terms.

Here you will get a list of all the terms that have triggered an ad. No doubt some will surprise you. If you didn’t expect your ad to be triggered by such a search you have found a prime candidate for a negative keyword.

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Here’s another great way to get hundreds of negative keywords in one simple hit. It’s called Ubersuggest and it markets itself as Suggest on Steroids!

You type in a keyword and it will return hundreds of phrases that extend this keyword by adding to it. Very quickly you’ll find many that are irrelevant to your business. Add them as negatives and then rinse and repeat with another.

(Get 75 negative keywords that every AdWords campaign should include.)

  1. Use match types to target your impressions

When you used the Search Terms report you will probably have noticed how many of the terms you didn’t want to be appearing for were displaying on broad match keywords.

The beauty of the broad match is it allows your keywords to cover a lot of ground. Trainer can be sneaker, pumps, running shoe and so on.

The danger is it can allow your keywords to run a little wild. Using broad match modifiers helps to anchor your keywords more firmly without completely pinning them down in the way that phrase and exact match can.

By switching low clickthrough keywords from broad to modified broad match you can often make quick quality score wins.

(Discover more about match types here).

  1. Check those landing pages for relevancy

It’s not just the relevancy of your ad and keyword to the searches you appear for that determine your relevance and, in turn, your Quality Score. Google also looks at your landing pages.

You can check these for yourself: take a look at a keyword with a low Quality Score in the Keywords tab of your account.

Now hover over the speech bubble under status.


Here you can see that a landing page with low perceived relevance is hampering your Quality Score.

What can you do?

You can select a more directly relevant page on your site or you could create one just for your AdWords account.

(Simple ways to create better AdWords landing pages.)

  1. Feel the need for speed

It is not just relevance that is important factor, however.

Google is also concerned with user experience and one of the poorest user experiences is a slow loading web page.

Speed is an important element of Quality Scores too. In fact, there are few quicker ways to drop a couple of points than being slow.

(Find out what Google says about page speed and Quality Score.)

  1. Target those ads for relevancy and clickthrough

You can check the perceived relevance of your ads to your keywords using the same method described for landing pages.

Try and use the keywords you target in your ad. You can also use them in the Display URL.

This will not only encourage clickthrough (they will be emboldened on display) it will also help you achieve a higher Quality Score.

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You can see how Google is pretty ‘smart’ in what it highlights, recognising both website and web as the same thing.

(Learn how to make your ad headlines count.)

  1. Set a strict structure for Quality Score success

Always start your campaigns with one goal: to achieve a high Quality Score.

Once you have done this you can start to experiment a bit.

If your account structure is already built, and it is built in such a way that it makes attaining a high Quality Score through relevancy difficult, then you need to regroup and start again.

You need:

  • A high keyword to ad to landing page relevance
  • No, or a limited number of, broad match keywords
  • Carefully researched negative keywords
  • Keywords that are directly relevant to begin with (so if you are a design agency avoid bidding on marketing agency in the early stages).

Be strict.

You are setting the foundation for future success at maximum ROPI by reducing costs through relevancy and Quality Score.

You want high clickthrough rates so don’t be afraid to use brand terms: they tend to give this.

Finally set a tight structure for your Ad Groups.

Only include keywords that are directly relevant to each Ad Group. Otherwise your keywords, ads and landing pages are never going to have that perfect fit.

If it doesn’t fit: leave it out. Or if you must include it in its own Ad Group.

You are now firmly on the road to Quality Score heaven.

Enjoy the results.