What is Quality Score on Google Ads (and How it Can Make You Money)?
Quality Score is an essential metric for any PPC campaign, there are no two ways about it. Here we delve into what a Quality Score is exactly, what it means for your online ad results, and some simple steps you can take to improve your Quality Scores, and your overall ROI with it!
What is a Quality Score on Google Ads?
A Quality Score (QS) is an essential metric for the success of your ads on Google and Microsoft. It determines how much you pay to appear for the search queries you want and in what position on the results page. It is not just how much you bid that defines where your ad appears on the SERP; that is determined by this formula:
Ad Rank = Quality Score x Your Closest Competitor’s Max CPC + 0.01
The components that go into defining your Quality Score are:
- Historical CTR
- The relevance of the keyword to the ad (and ad group)
- The relevance of the ad to the search query
- The quality of your landing page
- Historical Performance on Google Ads
How do you Calculate Quality Score ?
It is easy enough to check your Quality Score for the different keywords you are targeting. From your Google Ads dashboard Keywords section, you can currently check in on 4 different columns (Quality Score, Landing page experience, Ad relevance, Expected Click-through Rate).
Click on Columns, Modify columns, and select the “Quality Score” section. Then you’ll be able to see your QS, the state of its components, as well as your past or historical Quality Score and the same components that define it, all as separate columns alongside your other account statistics.
*Important Quality Score-based aside* For anyone hoping to calculate their exact Quality Score, the actual integers between one and ten that you’ll see in your Google Ads dashboard are not what Google uses in their Ad Rank-defining formula. Instead you have to understand the Score as representative of where you rank on the scale. While the actual maths is more complicated, it is fine to assume that If you have a 10, that means your Quality Score is very good; if you have a 1, it is not good. Alright?
What are the benefits of a Good Quality Score?
Possibly your next question is along the lines of: ‘Why should I care about Quality Score?’ Or maybe, ‘What does Quality Score mean for my performance?’ Well, following the formula above, a higher Quality Scores means that it will cost you less to appear in the top positions on the SERP you are advertising on. And, the higher the position you occupy, you’ll get more impressions, higher CTR, and, if everything goes well, higher ROI thanks to your lower CPCs. (If that was a lot of acronyms, check our list of PPC definitions. Or just take our word for it: if you want good results, you want the highest Quality Scores you can get.)
How do I improve my Quality Score?
This is, naturally, the question that needs answering here. Luckily enough, we’re here to help. Follow this quickfire checklist of Quality Score improvement tips and your Quality Scores and your ROI will be on the rise in no time.
#1 It’s still OK to use SKAGs for Quality Score
This one’s a little complicated, but stay with us. With the latest changes made by Google in close variants, SKAGs as they traditionally worked no longer have the same meaning as they did previously.
But that doesn’t mean they are now entirely useless and that you ought to delete all your SKAGs immediately. Yes, you have less control (unless you are willing to put in the time adding Negative Keywords), but that doesn’t mean they are now entirely useless. SKAGs’ original raison d’être was as a method to increase Quality Score – this was because you could control exactly which ads you show for a single keyword. Now, due to Google’s automated Exact Match interpretation, it is impossible to have 100% control. But you can still ensure that every ad in that ad group is very closely tailored to a single keyword, and that the ad is very relevant to the ad group it is in. And, if you add RSAs into SKAGs (and work to include the keyword in all of your headline variations) you can even lean in to the benefits of automation and improve on what was possible with simply Exact Match and ETAs.
#2 Quality Score improvement tip? Message Match
This one does exactly what it says on the tin. You need to keep the ad consistent with the landing page you are sending them to. It’s imperative there is no value gap between what your ad promises and the result that clicking on it delivers. The offer, the look and feel (if the ad includes images) and, if possible, the exact phrasing of the ad copy should be replicated on the landing page.
#3 Improve your Landing Pages; Improve your Quality Score
How to improve that Landing Page Quality? Beyond matching it up to your ad as diligently as possible, the UX of that landing page is essential to make the most of the hard-earned visitors your ads are driving there. That includes slashing load time, removing exit points that aren’t your desired conversion, avoiding inconsistencies, and doing everything you can that facilitates your new found visitor carrying out the action that you brought them here to do.
#4 How to increase Quality Score at scale? Data Feeds
When you start doing this at scale, you may run into a problem: namely – who has the time to check all of these different factors for each and every one of your keywords? And, even more time-consuming, to make sure that the entirety of this process is up-to-date and functioning well across different campaigns, ad groups, ads?
If you integrate your company data into a data feed (like the one below) and use it to create your campaigns on the ad channel that you want to advertise on, you’ll be flying. It means that it instead of laboriously crafting and updating ad copy to ensure that you have an accurate and up to date ad, you can always have an ad that is hyper-specific (and hyper-relevant) for the individual product or service that you are advertising, created automatically for every element of your catalog. Oh, and, uh – it’s super easy to do it on Spaceboost 😉
#5 How to increase Quality Score of a low performing keyword
There are a few reasons why a particular keyword is performing worse than the rest of a campaign’s keyword list. It could be a number of reasons and you’ll likely have to run through the possibilities above to see which it is. Above all, focus on:
- Improve your ad copy. Does it include the keyword?
- Make sure your landing page is a) working and b) correctly reflects the ad’s offering!
- Check your ad is in the right ad group – often enough a keyword with a low Quality Score in one ad group could be a strong performer in another.
- It could be that due to close variants or Google’s automation, your ad is showing for a non-relevant keyword. Check the search term history, and, if this is the case, add the appropriate Negative Keywords to avoid this happening.
And that’s all folks! Now you have the knowledge and the tools to help you on your way to better Quality Scores and higher ROI from your online ad spend.