What is Quality Score in AdWords?

A thorough explanation of Quality Score, why it's important, how it affects your AdWords campaigns, and how to improve it.

The importance of Quality Score

Google AdWords’ Quality Score is a ranking multiplier, used to ‘reward’ relevant AdWords campaigns and ‘punish’ AdWords campaigns that does not seem interesting for the target audience.

Every time a search is performed, Google AdWords calculates the quality score and multiplies it with the maximum CPC bid. The outcome determines the ranking and actual CPC.

The quality score is visible within Google AdWords, and listed as a number of one to ten for each keyword within the Google Search network. However, data suggests that quality scores can run into fourty, with many decimals behind the comma. Campaigns within the Google Display Network have their own quality score.

AdWords Quality Score components

The AdWords quality score consists of many elements, including:

  • Keyword relevancy
  • Overall CTR of the AdWords account
  • CTR of the campaign
  • CTR of the keyword
  • CTR of the display URL
  • Geostatistics
  • Advertisement performance
  • Device (PC, mobile, tablet)
  • Landing page
  • Loading speed of the landing page

Some elements act as multipliers, other (such as landing page criteria) only have a negative impact on the Quality Score.

Relevancy is key. Make sure that your campaigns are relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. If you don’t, your campaign CTR will be low and you’ll have to pay a higher CPC for your clicks, or even to remain visible.

Quality score discounts

Quality Score is more than a CPC multiplier: keywords with a high quality score get a discount, keywords with a low CTR get a penalty. Research from ClickEquations shows the following CPC discount multipliers:Free AdWords Audit

  • QS = 10 - CPC discount = 30%
  • QS = 9 - CPC discount = 22,2%
  • QS = 8 - CPC discount = 12,5%
  • QS = 7 - no multiplier
  • QS = 6 - CPC increase = 16,7%
  • QS = 5 - CPC increase = 40%
  • QS = 4 - CPC increase = 75%
  • QS = 3 - CPC increase = 133,3%
  • QS = 2 - CPC increase = 250%
  • QS = 1 - CPC increase = 600%

How to obtain (and keep!) a high Quality Score in AdWords

Stick to the following, and campaigns will profit from a high Quality Score, higher rankings, more traffic and cheaper clicks.

  • Communicate customer value and USP’s in your ads
  • Weed out irrelevant keywords with negative keywords
  • Use placements within the Google Display Network
  • Block irrelevant websites for Display campaigns
  • Look for patterns within advanced segments
  • ALWAYS be testing!

 Would you like to gain more traffic, sales and branding from your AdWords campaigns? We’re here to help! Have a look at our PPC Advertising Services, or apply for a free AdWords Audit.

Apply for your free AdWords Audit

In this free AdWords Audit, we manually review your AdWords account and provide you with a broad range of actionable advice on how to improve your AdWords campaigns.

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