Do You Know Your Quality Score?

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a trend in businesses contacting us to offer assistance with the performance of their Google Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC), stating that they’ve been running campaigns for a while on their own or through a large company, and have seen a large drop in the quality and quantity of their results.

It is in these discussions that we’ve uncovered a scary trend: not only are the Quality Scores falling throughout their campaigns, many were unaware that there was such a scoring system in place.

For that reason, we created this post to help our readers understand their Quality Score, and why it is so crucially important to maintaining, and increasing, the performance of online advertising campaigns.


What is a Quality Score?

Quality Score for advertisers is similar to your Credit Score. Based on factors related to your ad performance history, your Quality Score determines how and if your ad will appear for online searches, what position it will appear in, and how much you will pay for that position in relation to others. A strong score will yield high results and low cost-per-click; while a low score could not only cost you far more for lower positioning, it may keep your ads from being seen altogether.

Quality Score is Google’s way of determining the ads that are most relevant to a user’s search. They use a complex system to determine whether an ad is relevant, targeted, and credible; and whether the location it sends a user to meets those criteria as well. For a complete understanding, click here for Google’s explanation of Quality Score.

How Do I Get My Quality Score?

It’s not readily available on your Adwords dashboard, but your Quality Score can be found in a few simple steps. If you have a consultant managing your Adwords campaign(s), they should be able to provide it for you, and should be managing the score of all of your keywords regularly, making revisions where necessary to improve performance. If you are managing Adwords on your own, here are the instructions on finding your score.

“My Quality Score is Terrible! What Can I do?”

First off, if you have hired a consultant to manage your campaigns, they should be able to provide insight into improving performance. If they can’t do so, or you have been managing your campaigns in-house, now may be the time to hire a professional. But if you’d prefer to improve performance on your own, there are several areas you’ll want to optimize, starting with these high-priority elements:

  • Keywords

    1. 1. Make sure they are highly relevant to your campaigns, messages, and niche topics.
    2. 2. Separate into targeted ad groups and/or campaigns.
    3. 3. Utilize negative keywords to reduce waste and irrelevant searches
  • Ad Messages

    1. 1. These should be highly relevant to the keywords in your ad group, and your landing page message(s).
    2. 2. Should be targeted and direct; leading to a higher likelihood of quality click-through’s.
    3. 3. Should contain high-performing keywords from your ad group.
  • Landing Pages

    1. 1. Each unique topic (in an ad message, ad group, or campaign), should lead to a unique landing page. If you are sending all traffic to your homepage, you are likely experiencing a significant amount of waste in your campaigns.
    2. 2. Landing page copy should be optimized for the highest-priority and best-targeted keywords in your ad group(s).
    3. 3. Landing pages should provide opportunities for prospects to spend time on the page and engage – ie: complete a form, click through to a detail page, download a report, watch a video, etc.

The key to remember is that your Quality Score is very much like your Credit Score. By managing it well, staying on top of updates, and focusing on your priorities, you can achieve your goals at a lower cost. But lose sight of the details or employ a poor manager or consultant to monitor progress, and you could end up paying a lot more for a whole lot less.