Google Adwords

If you have worked in Pay Per Click advertising, it’s likely that you will be aware of Quality Score, but not necessarily true that you understand it. It can be seen from within Google’s AdWords reporting suite and is a simple mark out of 10 for each keyword that you bid on – the higher the score means the better Quality Score.

The purpose of Quality Score is to determine how relevant your advert is to somebody seeing your advert. It is broken down by keyword and takes into account not only the advert itself, but also the landing page, so it looks more closely at the user experience than just looking at your PPC analytics.

Firstly, and whenever you are looking at any search engine marketing, you need to think what the purpose of a search engine is. It is to provide relevant search results, adverts and landing pages which relate directly to the user’s needs – if a search engine can achieve this, the user will visit the search engine again.

Quality Score is Google’s way of ensuring what they call ‘a great user experience’. Google also uses Quality Score to determine an advert’s position (and whether the advert is shown or not) as well as the cost per click. It combines two factors:

  • Relevancy – If an ad is relevant to the user’s needs then it is fair to assume that this advert will have a higher Click Through Rate (i.e. number of times the advert is clicked on divided by number of times the advert is shown) – so your CTR is important.
  • Landing Page – Google will look at a whole host of factors which will determine landing page quality – load times, accurate meta data, copy on page, etc. Google want the landing page to be relevant to the user’s needs, transparent and ‘white hat’ in its structural approach.

Google uses Quality Score to determine position by multiplying it by the bid to determine the position of an advert (the result of this calculation is called ‘Ad Rank’). So, if your Quality Score is high, it is at least theoretically possible that a lower bid than your competition will result in a higher position.

As the concept of Quality Score has been created by a commercial organisation (i.e. Google), we don’t understand how the weighting of each factor works, and its unlikely that Google will ever be that transparent for something so commercially sensitive. However, checking your Quality Score regularly and testing to improve the score will drive your PPC effectiveness.

Remember to check back next week when I will write about how to improve your Quality Score.