Tom Howlett

Quality Score & Ad Rank in Google AdWords

19th Aug 2011 PPC Blog, Google AdWords 3 minutes to read

TrophyHow often have you heard the question what is quality score and why is it so important? The trouble is it’s not an exact science and therefore is a bit of an unknown, but this post will help to explain the influencing elements that go towards developing a strong quality score and what you can do to improve your campaigns.

Save Money with More Traffic

Generating a higher Click through Rate (CTR) in your campaign ultimately brings you more traffic – of course! But driving a higher CTR also helps to reduce your overall Cost per Click (CPC) and subsequently Cost per Conversion (CPA). This is might sound a little muddled but I’ll explain exactly why below, first by looking at Ad Rank.

What is Ad Rank?

Ultimately where your ad is positioned on the page is dependent on a whole variety of elements. Two of the main contributors are…

Bid Price – how much are you willing to pay for a click? You don’t always have to bid extremely high to get to the top!
Quality Score – A combination of a variety of elements including CTR, performance history on the account and landing page relevance.

But what does this mean to my ads position?

Your quality score and bids have a direct impact on your position and together identify where your ad will rank. Let’s look at some example advertisers to see where they would position… (please remember these are very generic examples and we are assuming all factors apart from quality score and bid prices are the same for each advertiser!)

Advertiser A – Is willing to pay up to £1.00 for a click, with an average quality score of 4
Advertiser B – Is willing to pay up to £1.50 for a click, also has an average quality score of 4

Who would win out of the two above? Advertiser B, because the quality scores are the same but they are willing to pay a bit more.

Ok, next batch of advertisers…

Advertiser C – Is willing to pay £0.75 for a click, with a quality score of 6
Advertiser D – Is willing to pay £0.50 for a click, with a quality score of 9

If all other elements were equal, who would win from the two above? Actually they would be relatively even because the lower quality score advertiser is having to pay more to make up for it – this means subsequently Advertiser C ends up spending more overall for the same results!

Ok, so what does this mean to you?

The above demonstrates in a very basic format how quality score directly impacts your overall spend in AdWords. Subsequently increasing your quality score can reduce your average CPC.

You can increase your quality score in a number of different ways but the most important would be to ensure you follow the below checklist as a minimum:

1) Account Structure – ensure your campaigns and ad groups are organised in such a way that there is a tight running ‘theme’ through your keywords
2) Relevant ad copy – make sure your ad copy is relevant to the tight theme of keywords you have grouped together in your ad group
3) Landing page – are you proposing to send visitors to the most relevant landing page? Does your landing page reflect the keywords your bidding on and the content in your ad copy?
4) CTR – work constantly to increase your Click through Rate by optimising and testing – a higher CTR on the account contributes towards a better performance history and subsequently will help to reduce average CPCs

How do I find out my quality score?

Navigate to your ‘Keywords’ tab, and you can edit the columns to show quality score for each keyword on the page. Select the ‘Columns’ drop down menu, then ‘Customise columns’ and check the Quality Score box.

Customising columns to show quality score
You will then see your quality score for each keyword within the main data table:

Quality score column in keywords tab

Image Source

3d rendering of classic trophy in gold via BigStock

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