How do we improve Quality Score for a keyword?

One of the best ways you can get better value from your Google Ads search advertising is to work on the ‘Quality Score‘ of your keywords. A poor Quality Score means you pay more per click than competitors who have a better score, for a similar position. It could even make it impossible for you to appear above some competitors unless you were prepared to use up your daily budget before breakfast.

Most companies who manage their own Google Ads search advertising neglect Quality Score because, well, there are so many keywords and you have to work on each one individually, and it’ll take up so much time. That’s true, but you’ll probably find that you have one or two keywords which use up a lot of your budget and also have a low Quality Score. In a classic example of ’80/20’, the problem is easier to work on than you think.

So, how do we improve Quality Score for a keyword? There are three things to look at: expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance and landing page experience. Google tells you which ones need improving, if you look.

Expected Clickthrough Rate

Expected Clickthrough Rate looks at how the keyword and its associated adverts perform “both within your account and across all other advertisers’ accounts.” It’s adjusted to account for the influence of where and how the ad showed. Google says that a “below average” status here means that “you might want to consider changing your ad text so that it’s more closely related to your keywords.” Apart from making sure the keyword is prominent in the advert, think about the call to action. Could you persuade more people to click on the advert by improving the wording? Make a copy of your existing advert and run the two versions side-by-side as an experiment.

Ad Relevance

Google describes this as “how closely your keyword matches the message in your ads”, so it’s related to Expected Clickthrough Rate. A “below average” status may mean that your ads are too general or too specific to answer the typical query – in other words not matching the user’s probable intent. If it’s a broad match keyword, look at the actual searches where it triggered ads, and use negative keywords to cut out the less relevant ones.

Landing Page Experience

This is an attempt by Google to estimate how relevant your landing page is to the keyword and advert. However, it also claims to be measuring “how easy it is for people to navigate your page”, which is presumably a fairly subjective measure of the page’s quality. It’s thought that factors included in this calculation include the appearance on the page of the keyword and the text of the advert copy, as well as bounce rate and page load speed.

We have client accounts where we’re advertising two different products by model name; one has a Quality Score of 5/10 and another 9/10. Working out why there’s such a discrepancy can be very hard, but the impact is much easier to discern: an “estimated top of page bid” of £2.80 compared to £1.60. There can be no better incentive to work on improving the situation.