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What Is Quality Score & How To Improve It

20th February 2017 | PPC Quality Score

When managing an AdWords account it is crucial that you continuously work on improving your Quality Score. A higher Quality Score can result in better positions and lower CPC’s – something every AdWords advertiser wants to achieve!

So, what is Quality Score all about?

When people talk about Quality Score they normally think about keywords. Indeed, Google only admits to the existence of keyword Quality Score and this is all you can see in your account. However, it is widely accepted that Account Quality Score and Ad Group Quality Score also exist. Account Quality Score is based on the historical performance of your account. This is why very often an account with a good history will outperform a brand new account. It can take time for a new account to start performing as it should – likewise when working on an old account that has had a bad historical performance, it can take some time to see the changes you’ve made start to make a difference to performance.

Ad group Quality Score is basically the average Quality Score of all the keywords in that ad group so you can work this out for yourself. It is a good easy way to see which are your best and poorest performing ad groups and know where to make improvements.

As we said though, the Quality Score that you can actually see within your account and therefore use as a measure to determine if the work you carry out is having a positive impact is keyword Quality Score.

There are several factors that contribute to the Quality Score your keywords will be given. There has been much discussion in the digital world about just how many elements Quality Score is made up of and, as with everything with Google, no one knows the definitive answer.

We know that some of the main factors that determine your Quality Score are:

  • Ad relevance

The keyword that you bid on needs to closely match the messaging in your ads.

  • Expected CTR

Google predicts what the likely click-through-rate of your ads will be.

  • Quality of landing page

Google assesses how relevant your landing page is to the people who click through from your ad and if they are likely to have a good experience on the page.

Over the years, research has been conducted to try and work out how these 3 main elements are weighted with regards to Quality Score. The general opinion is that expected CTR is the main component followed by the quality of your landing page and then the relevancy of your ads.

OK, so what can we do to improve our Quality Score?

Well luckily there are quite a few things you can work on to improve the Quality Score of your keywords. We’ve outlined a handful here that should keep you busy for a while…

Account Structure

As with most things in life, getting the foundations right first is the key to success with AdWords. The structure of your campaigns, ad groups and keywords plays a vital role in Quality Score. You need to ensure that you break your account down so that you have campaigns containing tightly themed ad groups. These ad groups should only have a handful of keywords in them – it makes sense if you think about it – if you have an ad group with 50 keywords within it – there is no way you can write ad texts which are relevant to all those phrases. By breaking your keywords up into small groups, you can ensure that you keep ad relevancy high. The higher the ad relevancy the better the expected CTR will be – and you know what that means….

Ad Text

It sounds pretty obvious but the quality of your ad text is so important in terms of click through rate and therefore Quality Score. Your ad will be competing with other advertisers and you want people to click on your ad rather than your competitors.

Within your ad, you need to highlight the best features of what you are offering, if you have a unique selling point, make sure it’s in there somewhere. You also need to make it clear what the benefit is that you offer a potential customer – try and trigger an emotional response in the user that will drive them to click on your ad.

The main thing to include is a clear, strong call to action which instructs the user what to do. For example, ‘click here’, ‘buy now’, call us’.

Once you have created your ads and set them live that is not the end of the story. You need to monitor the performance of the ads, review their results and then test out new creatives and new calls to action. You should constantly be testing the ads in your account to achieve the best possible click through rate from them.

Note: Within your campaign settings, make sure to select the option to rotate your ads so you can get a fair test of how they each perform.

Ad Extensions

A great way to increase the click through rate of your ads is to set up ad extensions. Ad extensions appear beneath the main copy of your ad text – widening the space your ad takes up on the search results page and giving users more ways in which they can click through to your website.

Obviously, the impact ad extensions have on increasing click through rate has a knock-on effect on your Quality Score but some people think Google favours advertisers who simply have them set up regardless of how well they perform, so you should definitely implement as many ad extensions as you can.

The ad extensions available to advertisers are:

  • Sitelink extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Structured snippet extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Message extensions
  • Location extensions
  • Affiliate location extensions
  • Price extensions
  • App extensions
  • Review extensions

Google determines when your ad extensions should show based on your Ad Rank. (Ad Rank is calculated by your Quality Score x CPC. The higher your Ad Rank is, the higher your ad will appear). So, the extensions won’t show all the time but you can see how they are performing in the Ad extensions tab.

Landing Pages

Luckily, we’ve written a blog on how to get your landing page right – have a read here.

We hope this has given you a better understanding of what Quality Score is and some pointers on what you can do within your own account to improve the Quality Score of your keywords.

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By Laura Blackburn – Digital Marketing Director

With 10 years experience of managing paid campaigns of all sizes across multiple platforms Laura is responsible for setting up and managing our clients’ PPC accounts.

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