Search engines use Quality Scores to pair users with the best info online — and it can also save you money as an advertiser.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How to define Quality Score
  • Where to go to find your score
  • Tips for improving your score
  • How Quality Score can save you money

As a savvy marketer, you know reaching high-level rankings in search engines is pretty much non-negotiable when it comes to your digital strategy. 

Of course, there’s no quick trick to making this happen — even with paid search (or PPC), there’s no guarantee you’ll make it to the top. 

But while it’s nearly impossible to predict what changes will be made next to these search algorithms, there’s one way to get insight into how Google views your site: Quality Score. 

The search engine itself defines Quality Score as “an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages.” The benefit? Higher quality ads can snag lower prices and better ad positions.

Each day, people conduct more than 5.2 billion searches on Google alone. And with nearly 2 billion websites in the world vying for viewers’ attention, PPC ad campaigns help set companies apart from the competition. 

While several factors contribute to the success of a paid ad campaign, Quality Score is one of the most important.

quality score

The Quality Score of your PPC ad will dictate how much you need to bid on keywords to ensure an optimal position in search engine results. (Image: Unsplash)

What is a Quality Score?

Google uses Quality Score to rate the quality and relevance of keywords for PPC ads. The rating is meant to give advertisers a general idea of how significant their keywords are across all avenues they’re applied in. 

Google then uses this data to show more effective keywords to users each time an online search takes place. Your score is determined by three factors:

  • Expected clickthrough rate (CTR) – How your ads historically perform
  • Ad relevance – How closely your ads align with your keywords
  • Landing page experience – The content’s relevance, usefulness, and user-friendliness

This information benefits advertisers because it helps determine what to optimize. You can see what keywords are driving search results and which words need to be re-evaluated. 

The effects of Quality Score

Advertisers care about Quality Score because it’s one of the most important factors used to determine how ads are ranked and what advertisers’ cost per click (CPC) will be. 

The score of PPC ads will dictate how much you need to bid on keywords to ensure an optimal position in search engine results. Basically, the better your score, the less you’ll have to pay for your ads to show up in your preferred position.

Recent data suggests raising your Quality Score from 5 to 7 can result in a CPC decrease of more than 28%.

When people who see your ad click on it, Google views your ads as relevant because that signals to the search engine that the ads are meeting your potential customers’ needs.

As a result, you earn higher ad rankings and a lower CPC. By optimizing your score, you increase your return on investment (ROI).

Ready to take your digital marketing plan to the next level? We can help.

Determining Your Quality Score

Tracking your Quality Score help you assess ad campaign performance and ensure your budget makes sense. To do this, you’ve got to start by identifying your current score. 

First, log into your Google Ads account and create a new report under the Reports tab. Your report type will be Placement/Keyword Performance. There, under Advanced Settings, you’ll select Add or Remove Columns. 

Choose Keyword Quality Score Detail and then select your other report settings. Locate the Templates, Scheduling, and Email area and select Create Report. You’ll then be presented with your keywords’ Quality Score results. 

If you run into issues, you can follow more detailed instructions in Google’s Help Center.

Pro tip: Adding a Quality Score tracker script to your Google Ads script dashboard will create a document that automatically updates daily. This can help you track ad relevance, landing page experience and Quality Score. There’s a Bing Ads script as well.

HawkSEM: How to Find Your Quality Score

Quality Score is an integral part of Google’s process when it comes to determining which ads to promote — and how to rank them. (Image: Unsplash)

4 steps to increase your Quality Score

Quality Score determines where and how often your ads are shown. That’s why it’s important to work on boosting your rankings by continuing to improve your ads. 

Google doesn’t exactly lay out their specific formula for calculating your score. But when you know the core components, you can take actions to improve each one.

Here are four main ways you can work to boost your Quality Score:

1. Target your ad groups  

Increase the relevance of your ad by targeting your campaigns into clearly defined groups. Assign each group of ads its own set of related keywords to effectively target groups you want to reach. 

Avoid irrelevant keywords just for the sake of having them. In this case, you want quality over quantity.

2. Research keywords

Keywords are one of the most important factors in Quality Score success. 

Do your homework to determine how those words (and combinations) are performing and whether they’ll be effective for your campaign. 

Keyword research can reveal what keywords are being used, their importance to viewers, and how likely they are to drive traffic to your website.

3. Publish high-quality content

When writing ad copy, streamline the content so it focuses on one product or service. 

Not only will this help target a more specific audience, but it will likely yield better results. Readers want to digest easy-to-comprehend information.

Ads with too many areas of focus or calls to action (CTAs) can be ineffective, resulting in someone bouncing or continuing to scroll without clicking. 

4. Regularly optimize your landing pages 

Your landing page is often a potential customer’s first impression of your business. Right away, it sends a message about your company. 

Quick loading time, relevant keywords, and clear, easy-to-read information can increase user engagement and earn you a higher rating. 

The takeaway

Quality Score is an integral part of Google’s process when it comes to determining which ads to promote — and how to rank them. 

Tracking this info not only increases your chance at a higher ROI, but it can save you money in advertising costs.

Quality Score is a useful guideline to shed light on what’s working for you and can impact the way you develop your paid advertising campaigns to make them as effective and possible, resulting in a stronger strategy overall.

And who wouldn’t want that?

This article has been updated and was originally published in April 2020.

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Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's senior content marketing manager. Through more than a decade of professional writing and editing experience, she creates SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of reading, yoga, new vegetarian recipes, and paper planners.