Last month, Google announced that there would be a change to how the Quality Score (QS) in AdWords is reported. Although Google assured us that it was no change in the calculations, the announcement sparked conversation in the SEO community as some SEOs began to suspect that this change suggests that the QS no longer matters.
Although a change in reporting and not calculation is a little strange, it doesn’t mean that the QS is now irrelevant. The confusion is understandable, but it seems like the change in reporting reflects the high standards that Google holds for webmasters. In addition, this announcement has allowed Google to be more transparent with webmasters, which means that we now have a better shot at creating more successful ads.
QS = CTR
Larry Kim recently wrote on this subject and suggested an interesting theory on the connection between the QS and your CTR. According to his research, there is a clear relationship between your QS and your CTR, meaning that a higher CTR generally produces a higher QS. When you generate a graph of the volume of weighted average Quality Scores for search network and compare it to the associated CTR, the correlation is clear.
Google has a higher expectation for the CTRs of your keywords and ads than you probably realize. With a high expectation on Google’s part, even a moderately high CTR may be hurting your QS if the two are actually related. Of course there are many exceptions within this theory, so you can’t entirely blame your CTR if your QS if suffering.
Fixing the Problem
In order to improve your QS, begin by conducting thorough research on the topic. If you don’t understand what factors affect your QS, you’ll be wasting your time trying to improve it. The fact that Google continues to modify and update the QS suggests that it is in fact still relevant.
Google has already told us the three main factors that influence the QS – your expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Since Google has already given you the answer, you know exactly what to work on to improve your QS. This is not a mystery! However, the best way to improve your QS is to focus on producing high quality pages and ads rather than worrying about minuscule changes in your CTR.
Do you think this change in reporting is important? What are your best tips for improving a low Quality Score?