Explaining AdWords Quality Score – an update

Yesterday I made a passing mention of ‘Quality Score’ in search advertising and was asked by someone to go into a bit more depth. Always happy to oblige. Whether you’re running an AdWords campaign or hiring someone to do it for you, it’s a smart thing to understand if you’re aiming to get good value from Google AdWords search ads. Quality Score has changed a bit over the years.

Quality Score is Google’s measure of how well your advert gives relevant answers to search queries. It determines where your advert appears on the page, along with your use of extensions and (of course) how much you’re bidding. When all’s said and done, Google is interested in maximising the amount of revenue it makes, which is why it made $24,100,000,000 from adverts in the last quarter alone. It will try to show your 50p/click advert ahead of a competitor’s £1/click advert if yours is going to get three times as many clicks.

The three components of Quality Score are all about relevance. They are:

  • The relevance of the advert text to the search;
  • The expected click-through rate (which may be related to the relevance to the search); and
  • The relevance of the landing page to the searcher’s intention.

Although Single Keyword Ad Groups can ensure your ad is relevant to the search, it’s harder to translate that to the landing page. However, if AdWords is important to you, and you’re spending a lot of money on it, then landing pages tailored to specific searches should be a serious consideration.

The pages are assessed on whether they deliver what the advert promises and are clear about their purpose. In addition, Google is thought to pay attention to the privacy of data being collected; the ‘openness’ of the page (it doesn’t like dead-end pages); and the speed of page loading.

Quality Score history is now shown within AdWords accounts, so if you start playing with any of the elements above, it should be possible to get an indication of any impact.