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Intro to Quality Score

by Daniel Hadaway

Hang around with search marketing geeks for long and you’ll most likely hear the term “Quality Score” mentioned a few times. But what is Quality Score?

Quality Score is a number that Google assigns to each keyword in a PPC campaign that represents how relevant your ad is to a person’s search query. It’s important to remember that Quality Score is merely an estimate of the likelihood of a user finding what they are looking for via your ad.

Quality Score affects your campaign in many ways, but the most important are that it determines how high in the sponsored results your ad appears and also can affect the CPC bid needed to appear on the first page of results.

If your Quality Score is high, that means someone is very likely to find what they are looking for via your ad, and ultimately your website. If your Quality Score is low, it means that Google estimates a lower likelihood of someone finding what they are looking for via your ads.

For example, if someone searches for “used green mountain bike” on Google, and you’re running an ad for “Used Green Mountain Bikes,” that person will be very likely to click on your ad. Then, if the page they land on via your ad shows a used green mountain bike for sale, Google would consider that a good user experience. In this scenario, Google would assign the keyword “used green mountain bike” a high Quality Score in your campaign.

But let’s say in the above scenario, instead of your ad mentioning “Used Green Mountain Bikes” it just says “Bicycle Super Store.” A user may still click on the ad (although they are less likely) and end up on your site. But let’s say that instead of a web page showing a used green mountain bike for sale, a web page showing many different categories of new and used bikes appears when someone clicks on the ad. Again, a user may still be able to navigate to the used green mountain bike for sale, but it is less likely. In this scenario, Google would assign a lower quality score to the keyword.

By looking at Quality Score, we can gain insight into what keywords have a good chance of performing well, and also some keywords we may have the opportunity to improve upon. Also, by understanding how Quality Score is determined, we have the ability to draw some strategic conclusions about how to obtain a higher quality score which would lead to higher (and cheaper) placement for our ads. A few methods for improving Quality Score are:

• Write ad copy that is as keyword-rich as possible.
• Write ad copy that is as specific as possible.
• Make the landing page for each ad hyper-relevant to the subject matter of the ad (and the keywords the ad is mapped to).
• You can work to achieve a lower CPC for some keywords by improving your quality score.

Much more goes into running a great PPC campaign than just Quality Score; and there is much more to discuss in regards to Quality Score than the above info. Hopefully, by taking a closer look at your ad’s Quality Score, you’ll begin to find new ways to improve results from your Search Engine Marketing campaign.