PPC Quality Score—Everything to Know

Post Thumbnail

Quality Score is a vital element you should master when dealing with PPC ads. This element significantly impacts the cost and effectiveness of your PPC campaigns. Ideally, Google Quality Score is a major factor that determines how your PPC will perform and how much you will pay per click. Read along to learn more about PPC Quality Score and how it effects your overall PPC strategy.

What Exactly is PPC Quality Score and Why Does It Matter?

Quality Score is a tool that Google uses to determine the quality of your PPC ads in comparison to other advertisers. More specifically, it is an estimation of the quality of your PPC ads that impacts your ad groups and campaigns.

Factors that determine the Quality Score of your PPC ads include:

  • Ad relevance
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Landing page quality and relevance
  • Keyword relevance
  • Your historical Google Ad performance

While no single Quality Score component is more important than the other, having a relevant ad will mean more people will see and click your ad. Google Quality Score isn’t a key performance indicator (KPI) but a crucial diagnostic tool.

Why Does Your Quality Score Matter?

Quality Score has a direct impact on the performance of your PPC campaigns. Your PPC ads and landing pages are rated on a scale of one to ten based on their relevance to your target audience.

While every marketer wants their ads to appear on top of search results pages, if your Quality Score is low, your ad won’t be anywhere near position two or three on search results pages. Besides the positioning of your ad, Quality Score will determine your cost per click and conversion.

Optimizing your Quality Score is vital for your PPC ads’ success and cost. A higher score means lower PPC marketing costs and vice versa. As such, your goal should always be to improve the quality score for your ad to get better results (we’ll look into this later in this post).

Types of Quality Score

To better understand Google Quality Score, let’s look at the various types of scores:

Account-Level Quality Score

This score is based on the historical performance of keywords in your ad account. For example, if your ad account has many keywords with a low score and click-through rate (CTR) with poor historical performance, your account’s general Quality Score will be lower. This also means the new keywords you add will start at lower Quality Scores.

Keyword-Level Quality Score

This refers to the score that Google assigns to your keywords and is visible in the Google Ads interface. The score is rated from 1 to 10 and represents the performance of search queries that match your keyword.

Keyword Quality Score is also determined by the historical performance of your account in Google. However, when your keywords receive a significant number of impressions (impression threshold), your historical performance will be a less determining factor of their performance.

Below are the elements you can see in your keyword score:

  • Ad relevance – how are your keywords related to your ad copy?
  • Quality score – how your keywords, ads, and landing pages are relevant to the viewers
  • Landing page experience – how the landing page benefits the viewers
  • Historical Quality Score – the record quality score in a specific time frame
  • Expected CTR – the probability that an ad will be clicked based on past performance
  • Ad relevance (historic) – the last recorded ad relevance in a given time frame
  • Expected CTR (historic) – the expected CTR depending on the last known rate in the reporting time frame

Steps you can take to improve impressions include:

  • Add broad match keywords – you’ll likely experience low impression growth if you only run keywords with restrictive match types. Use keywords or ad groups with the highest click-through rate to avoid this.
  • Use keywords relevant to what people are searching – while using niche keywords is a good thing, avoid too many specific keywords that no one is searching for. Instead, find keywords relevant to your current ad groups.
  • Analyze impression share data – how many times were your ads shown of all the eligible times they were eligible to appear? You can improve this rate by boosting your bids or increasing your daily ad spend to rank in top positions.

Ad Group Quality Score

This type of score helps determine what areas in your campaign need improvement. For example, you could have a higher QS in one ad group and a lower QS in another. In that case, you can improve your return on investment (ROI) by improving your lowest Quality Score.

Ad-Level Quality Score

You can also determine the Quality Score of your campaigns by looking at the click-through rates you have in different ad groups. A low CTR in your ad group results in a low Google Quality Score since all your ads are involved when calculating your scores.

To improve your account’s CTR naturally, apply the Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) ads on your Search Network campaigns.

Landing Page Quality Score

Google values advertisers that create useful and relevant landing pages for their audience. To get a higher return on investment, ensure your landing page is relevant, original, transparent, and easily navigable.

Failure to consider this when creating your landing pages would mean having difficulty converting visitors into customers and boosting sales.

How to Calculate PPC Quality Score

As stated, Google Quality Score is determined by three main factors:

  • Landing Page Experience
  • Ad Relevance
  • Expected CTR

The above factors are related to ads, keywords, and landing pages. However, when calculating your Quality Score, Google treats these factors differently, with reports showing that landing page experience and click-through rate play a more vital role than ad relevance.

Google uses machine learning techniques to measure your keyword, ad, or landing page’s relevance to a search. Ideally, Google staff cannot go through the huge amount of data that Google comes across regarding users and content to determine the relevance of every keyword. Even if they did, the process could be tiresome, time-consuming, and mostly inaccurate.

Google algorithms monitor how users interact with content online to predict future interactions. More specifically, Google uses click-through rate to determine the Quality Score of a PPC ad.

Before the term Quality Score was introduced, Google used AdWords to determine how relevant keywords were and the amount they needed to pay in an auction. This has since changed with the advancement of machine learning techniques that use Quality Scores to determine how likely users will find your ad relevant for what they are searching, and that they will click your ad.

What is a Good Quality Score?

To better understand what a good Quality Score is, let’s look at the four primary groups of keywords: branded, high intent, low intent, and competitor.

Branded keywords refer to keywords that only your business can use—this can be your business name or a product

Both branded and competitor keywords are divided into two: high-intent and low-intent keywords. High-intent keywords are high-value keywords that can lead to conversions. On the other hand, low-intent keywords refer to navigational or informational terms.

Let’s now look at what is a good Quality Score for each keyword category:

Good Quality Score for Branded Keywords

When people search for your business name, you expect your business website to show on top of search results, right? Even if this is true, many businesses can claim the real estate above your organic listings. Of course, those businesses will need to pay a higher price for that real estate, but different advertisers would be more than willing to do so.

You can avoid this by bidding on your own keywords. While you will be charged a lower price than other advertisers, the impact this will have on your business is significant. Aim to have an 8+ Quality Score for your branded keywords to benefit from this real estate.

Good Quality Score for High-Intent Keywords

High-intent keywords are the backbone of your PPC campaign and the most expensive. When done right, these keywords can help achieve significant results from your PPC efforts than all the other keyword categories. A good Quality Score for high-intent keywords is between seven and nine.

Good Quality Score for Low-Intent Keywords

Low-intent keywords are the foundation of an excellent remarketing campaign, meaning you should not overlook them. Since these are navigational or informational keywords, you don’t have to spend a considerable part of your marketing budget to have a maximum score for these keywords. A score of 7 or thereabout would be satisfactory.

Good Quality Score for Competitor Keywords

Finally, what is a good QS for your competitor’s branded terms? Having a higher score for these keywords is challenging. You can only improve your score on your competitor’s terms by creating a compelling copy. A score of 3 for your competitor’s branded terms would be okay.

Quality Score Best Practices

Having a higher Quality Score is key to achieving PPC success. With a higher QS, Google will show your ads more often, and you will achieve a lower cost per click and conversion. That said, here are tips to help achieve a higher Google Quality Score:

  • Perform proper keyword research – find new and relevant keywords to target in your campaigns. The best approach is to target long-tail keywords to boost traffic and achieve a higher ranking.
  • Optimize your keywords – categorize your keywords into different groups and use the most relevant and high-value keywords for specific ad campaigns.
  • Create conversion-worthy landing pages – ensure your ad copy relates directly to your ad groups and creates a better user experience for your audience from when they click on your ad to the conversion stage.
  • Create a targeted ad copy – research your individual ad groups and create ad copy that speaks directly to them. An irresistible copy will help achieve a higher CTR and improve your Quality Score.
  • Identify negative keywords – research your search terms to identify and exclude negative keywords to prevent ad spend wastage.

Quality Score is at the heart of the success of PPC ads. It is about the relevance of your keywords and how you structure your campaigns into small and well-organized groups of keywords to target in your campaigns.

With better keyword research and organization, you can achieve a higher Quality Score and increase the chances that your audience will click your ads.

If there’s a disconnect between your keywords, ad groups, ad copy, and landing page, you will have a lower Quality Score. While there’s no straightforward method to achieving a higher score, the above steps can help improve your Quality Score and make your ads more effective.