Quality Score For People In A Hurry

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Spend less, get more: How to improve your Google Ads and get more bang for your PPC buck.

So, what is a Quality Score and why should I care?

Long story short, your quality score is a rank out of 10 that Google’s algorithm gives to every keyword in your Pay Per Click campaign. It’s a key factor in your Ad rank that affects not only how often the ad is shown, but how much a click will cost you. Optimizing your quality score will make your ads cheaper and correspondingly increase your conversion rate and ROI.

Quality Score And CPC*

10 – 50% Discount
9 – 44% Discount
8 – 37% Discount
7 – 28% Discount
6 – 16% Discount
5 – Benchmark Score
4 – 25% Penalty
3 – 67% Penalty
2 – 150% Penalty
1 – 400% Penalty

*Values above are approximate

What this means is that 3 competing businesses can wind up paying wildly different prices for an identical keyword. Lets say that there are 2 shoe stores that are competing for leather boots Melbourne at an average CPC of .90c.

If Bob’s Bootery has a Quality Score of 10 and Fiona’s Footwear is sitting at 1, they’ll be bidding .45c vs $3.60 per click for the same ad spot. Additionally, Fiona’s ads will be shown less often over all and Bob’s campaign will be spending less money for better results.

Ouch! So What Can I Do About It?

Unfortunately, nobody outside of Google knows exactly how a quality score is determined. But luckily the main factors are well known, and the principle is pretty straightforward.

The more closely that the message of your ad matches the customer query, the higher your Quality Score will be.

Ad Relevance

This refers to how closely the search keywords in an ad group match the ad copy. The easiest way to improve this is to have more ad groups with fewer, closely related keywords (sometimes right down to one keyword per ad group if you’re feeling fancy). Make sure that you also use your search keywords in your ad copy.

Expected CTR

This compares your ad’s click-through-rate with Google’s overall search data to determine whether your ad response is better or worse than the average.  To optimise this one, you need to get specific; make sure your ad copy is compelling and contains a unique benefit and a solid call to action. If you’re not sure what works, it’s a good idea to split test your ads and create variations on the best performers.

Landing Page Experience

Of all the ranking factors this one is the hardest to pin down. According to Google’s own documentation, this factor is designed to be a measure “user delight.”  It’s selecting for the smoothest possible user experience from the ad click onwards. Using an offer specific landing page rather than driving traffic to your homepage can help a lot as well as closely matching the page headline to the probable search query. A responsive landing page is absolutely crucial with the sharp rise in mobile browsing in recent years; the loading speed and bounce rate will factor heavily in this rank.

Whoa, Slow Down There. Can You Condense It For Me?

The key thing to take away about Quality Score is that it’s about congruence. It’s Google trying to train their advertisers to build higher quality ads and improve the experience for their users. Anything that leads searchers to exactly what they’re looking for with minimal fuss will drive the number up. Anything that misleads, tricks or otherwise ads friction to the experience of searching will drive it down. Keep that in mind and skim over the above ranking factors every so often and you should be fine.

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