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James Gibson

The performance of a Google Ads campaign is partly determined by quality score – a rating system which measures the relevance of ads, landing pages and target keywords. Quality score is a 1 – 10 rating system, with 10 being the best score. An ads quality score is determined by three main factors; click-through-rate (CTR), ad relevance and landing page experience. 

Why is quality score important?

Quality score contributes to determining where an ad ranks and the cost-per-click (CPC) bid it receives. A good quality score makes it more likely that an ad will rank highly and achieve lower CPC bids. 

What determines quality score? 

Expected click-through-rate (CTR)

Click-through-rate (CTR) is the percentage of people that click on an ad after seeing it. A low CTR can indicate that an ad is not relevant to the keywords it appears for – as not many people click on it, leading Google Ads to assign a low quality score.

Ad relevancy 

Google Ads rates ad relevance as above average, average and below average. To score above average, an ad needs to be relevant to the keyword being targeted and the intent of the person using that keyword to search. 

For example, if an ad links to a page which sells white trainers, and an ad appears for a search query like ‘how to clean white trainers’ – the ad will likely receive a below average relevancy rating – because even though the keyword ‘white trainers’ is relevant, the intent of someone searching the query is not to purchase.

Landing page experience 

Landing pages influence quality score – because Google Ads wants to provide people who click on ads with a good experience. To score well, a landing page needs to be relevant to target keywords, easy to navigate and should load quickly on all devices. 

How can quality score be improved?  

Keyword research and ad groups 

Keyword research is essential to making sure a campaign is targeting the most relevant and best performing keywords. In addition to targeting the right group of keywords, it’s important that within a campaign, keywords are organised into logical, ad groups.

Campaigns can be structured using the SKAGs (single keyword ad groups). SKAGs help to ensure that ads are relevant to one target keyword.  

Target long-tail keywords 

Targeting long-tail keywords can often improve quality score. This is because long-tail keywords are more targeted by nature, less competitive and often result in a higher CTR - because they are more likely to show to searchers lower in the sales funnel. 

Quality ad copy 

The relevance of ad copy to targeted keywords plays a crucial role in determining quality score. The text used in search ads should be related to target keywords and the landing pages ads link to. It’s important to continually test ad copy to determine how it affects CTR and quality score. 

Landing pages 

Ads should always link to the most relevant landing page. Ads which drive traffic to a home page or a vague landing page are likely to receive a low-quality score. Landing pages should be relevant and unique to ad groups. A landing page should have content related to the ad and should lead a user to an action relevant to the ad copy. 

It’s also important to consider how landing pages perform on mobile and desktop devices. Slow loading pages can decrease quality score, as they provide a poor user experience. 

Negative keywords 

A negative keyword stops an ad for appearing for a certain word or phrase. Adding negative keywords to a campaign helps to minimise wasted ad spend and improves CTRs by ensuring ads only display for relevant searches.

Test & Learn Approach 

Quality score is not a static metric. Google Ads campaigns should be continually monitored and optimised to maintain and improve performance. Campaigns can launch with a good quality score, but this can change and decline if not monitored. 

If you would like to discuss your PPC campaign’s performance, don’t hesitate to contact us. TDMP’s experienced PPC team create, manage and optimise Google search campaigns for B2B and B2C brands, in a variety of competitive markets.