A Complete Guide on Quality Score [2020 Version]

If you advertise on Google, you’ve probably heard of Quality Score. It is one of the major numbers frequently discussed and tracked by advertisers.

You have a goal: Sell your products or services to your ideal customers at a healthy profit.

For you to achieve this goal, you need your Google ads to 1. show up high in search results, 2. pay the least you can without sacrificing the amount or the quality of your traffic, 3. convert as much of that traffic as you can to profitable paid customers.

Quality Score (QS) is a great way to measure these first two components and help you achieve the third.

In this article, you’ll discover what Quality Score is, how it affects your Google Ads campaigns, and how you can improve it for better performance in 2020.

Definition: What is Quality Score (QS)?

According Google, “Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages”.

Quality Score is a a form of rating in a scale of 1 to 10 assigned to each keyword, and it uses expected clickthrough rate (CTR), ad relevance, and landing page quality based on your historical data to determine your QS. This rating shows you how well you’ve performed in the past to give you an idea where you stand.

For example, if you have a keyword with a Quality Score of 3 and a Quality Score of 7, your QS 3 keyword is going to have a higher cost and a worse ad position than your QS 7 keyword.

How does Quality Score affect Google Ads campaigns?

It’s important to note that this is not used to determine Ad Rank at the auction time. What that means is that Quality Score does not directly determine how much you actually pay or where your ads actually appear.

Tracking and improving Quality Score, however, can help you pay lower costs and get better ad positions.

This is because the components that make up the Quality Score are factors that determine your CPC and ad positions.

The 3 components that make up the Quality Score are:

  1. Expected clickthrough rate (CTR)
  2. Ad relevance
  3. Landing page experience

Instead of tracking these 3 metrics, Quality Scores allows you to easily and quickly keep track of how you’re performing in these areas that directly impact your cost and ad positions.

In the earlier example of keywords with Quality Score of 3 and 7, you know you have more to optimize with QS 3 keyword than QS 7 keyword so you can prioritize.

So the question is, how do you increase the Quality Score?

How to increase the Quality Score?

In order to find out where you stand, you need to look at your current Quality Score data first.

This is how you can add your QS data in your account:

  1. Depending on whether you want to review by campaign or ad group, select your desired campaign or ad group
  2. Go to “Keywords”
  3. If you don’t already have these in your columns, go to “Columns” -> “Modify Columns”, and add “quality score”, “Exp. CTR”, “Landing page exp.”, and “Ad relevance
How to add Quality Score in Google Ads account

How to add quality score in Google Ads account

You may see no data, or null QS or “-“, in these columns. That means you don’t have enough historical data yet for Google to calculate them. Or it may also be that you don’t have enough exact match impressions, which means that people are not searching using the exact terms you chose as keywords. In that case, be sure to do further keyword research to use keywords that are more commonly used.

Once you have your Quality Score data showing, you can do some creative filtering to prioritize what you can start optimizing.

So what can you do to increase your Quality Score?

1. Click-through-rate (CTR)

CTR measures how much of the audience that sees your ad end up clicking your ad.

5% CTR means 5 out of 100 people that saw your ad had clicked on your ad.

There are a few things you can do to increase your CTR:

  • Make your ad copy relevant to the search intent
  • Use a compelling offer
  • Include a clear Call-to-Action
  • Add all relevant ad extensions to provide more options

2. Ad relevance

You may ask “how does Google know if my ad is relevant?” Google will look for keywords in your ad so if you have an ad copy that does not have your keywords, it will consider it less relevant.

Be sure not to stuff your landing page with keywords too much. This will not help you increase your ad relevance but, in fact, hurt your performance.

This also means that if you don’t have a closely related theme of keywords in your ad group , it will be difficult to maintain your ads relevant.

For example, if your ad group has 50 keywords ranging from Sony to Sony 65″ A1E OLED 4K HD TV, your ads will be difficult to match up to keywords and search terms that trigger your ads because the theme expands too wide.

Choose a small number of tightly themed keywords in each ad group to improve your ad relevance.

3. Landing page experience

Providing a great landing page experience is not just to improve your metrics. It is directly related to your conversion results and customer experience that helps your brand image.

Unlike the Quality Score, landing page experience directly affects your Ad Rank which determines your costs (CPC) and ad position.

In order to improve the landing page experience, you can focus on the following best practices:

  • Use the keywords without overusing them
  • Choose the right landing page depending on the or ad text. For example, if someone is looking for “camping gear”, choose your category page as the landing page so they can see your camping gear options. For “Canon EOS 90D Camera”, the landing page should be that product page where they can checkout the product.
  • Improve your site navigation to be user-friendly
  • Improve your site performance, including website speed and loading time
  • Provide all relevant information to help people make a purchase decision
  • Be sure your site is mobile-friendly for traffic coming from mobile devices

Your next steps

Before you can start optimizing, the first step is to assess your current Quality Score.

By following the steps outlined above, review your current Quality Score data in your account to assess where you stand today.

Prioritize keywords that have high impressions but low CTR, ad relevance, or landing page experience. This means that these keywords are triggering your ads to show a lot but you may be paying more than you need to or your ad position may be lower than it could be.

At the end of the day, my recommendation is this:

When you create your keyword list, ad copies, and landing pages, the best thing to do is putting customers’ buyer journey and experience first before your metrics.

By providing a great relevant customer experience, you will not only increase your Quality Score but also convert and retain more happy customers.

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