Keyword Quality Score

key with word

Keyword quality score does not only affect the cost of your campaign, but is also a good indication of areas to improve.

What is Keyword Quality Score

Google scores each keyword between 1 to 10 and this score is frequently re-assessed. Without knowing the algorithms, we are told that 3 things affect keyword score:

  1. CTR: in a recent publication about user search behaviour on Google, it was found that the average CTR on the right hand side (i.e. not in the Top 3 position) is 0.7%.
  2. Ad Relevance: make sure your ad mentions the keyword in the headline and preferably once in the description
  3. Landing Page Experience: HubSpot recently released 15 great landing page examples. They all a few things in common: concise information, prominent selling points, a prominent Call to Action form that follows you.

What is most important about your keywords, ad copy and landing page is alignment – that they speak to the user, there is a clear alignment between the user search and the landing page.  Together, they can generate conversion of more than 20%.


Two examples of Keyword quality score: brand and competitor

Punch competitor


Branded search: businesses often ask why should they take out brand name keywords when they are already organically ranking top 1? There are several factors:

  1. It is relatively cheap to do so – the keyword quality is so high (9 to 10) due to extreme high relevance, it costs around $0.10 for a click.
  2. Having your brand appear in the ad as well as No. 1 in organic is an effective way of promoting brand lift.
  3. Promoting seasonal campaigns that your company is running, such as a new product launch, new initiative, or a sale event.
  4. If your brand includes product or services in the name, or if your brand is large, then you will find competitors (in the sense of traditional competitors and online competitors) bidding on your brand, and driving traffic away from your organic result.

Competitor targeting can get a low score of 1 to 6, and usually as low as below 3 out of 10. This will significantly drive up the cost of your ad, where often it will be categorised as “low ad rank”.

Competitor targeting works well in a consumer market where users are shopping around and appreciate being reminded or notified of other options – this lead to high CTR, which will contribute to higher quality score.


For best practices when targeting competitors, do not mislead in the ad copy, nor is it necessary to highlight your brand in the headline (unless it is a very strong brand). Instead, focus on the similar products or services (for relevance) along with unique selling points (to entice users to click through).


Related Articles

  1. New SEO Techniques Should Change Your Keyword Strategy
  2. SEO & Keyword Targeting in 2015
  3. How to increase your Quality Score?


Other Resources

  1. PPC Hero – The Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords Quality Score
  2. Word Stream – How to Improve Google AdWords Quality Score
  3. Search Engine Land – What Marketers Need To Know About The New AdWords Quality Score


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