When setting up your AdWords on Google you often think that if you want to get near the top of the page you have to bid the highest amount, but this is a common misconception as Google also has another system in place called the quality score to stop bad ads buying the top spaces.
What is Quality Score
Quality score is what Google uses to estimate the quality of your ad, keyword or landing page (makes sense right.) While there are many factors that affect your quality score, some that Google won't share to stop you cheating the system there are 4 main ones Google has shared.
- How relevant your ad is to the keyword
- How relevant your ad is to the landing page
- The Click-through rate (CTR) of your ad
- Your accounts past performance
- Quality of the landing page
A lot of these will make sense but just for clarity I will briefly cover each one for you so you are clear on how to make sure your ad has a high-quality score.How relevant your ad is to the keyword
If you sell trainers and you decide to try and steal some of Nikes customers so you put your brand of trainers in an ad using the keyword Nike this will hurt your quality score. While they are both trainers and this might look fine it is an issue because when people search for Nike they want to find Nike making your trainers irrelevant and hurting your quality score.How relevant your ad is to the landing page
If your ad is for summer dresses and then has a keyword of summer dresses but the landing page the ad goes to is your home page, showing off your new line of summer shorts then this will hurt your quality score. Even though this may have some relevance and your summer dresses maybe be just a click away this is not acceptable in Googles eyes. You need to make sure your ad links to the page where they will find exactly what they click on instantly, so avoiding your home page which may change over time is a good practice.The Click Through rate (CTR) of your ad
This one is self-explanatory it is the ratio of people clicking on your ad compared to everyone who has seen it, so if 100 people see your ad and 1 person clicks on it you will have a CTR of 1%. A good CTR will depend on what type of ad you have and what industry you are in. The average CTR across all industries is around 1.91% for a search ad and 0.35% for a display ad, these stats are from Growth Point. Here is the average CTR for each industry so you can get what your benchmark should be. These benchmarks are important as Google will also be using these benchmarks as they will be comparing your current CTR to what is expected for your ad, having a lower CTR than expected will result in a negative impact on your quality score.
|Industry||Google Display Network||Search Ad|
|Dating and Personals||0.52%||3.40%|
|Finance and Insurance||0.33%||2.65%|
|Health and Medical||0.31%||1.79%|
|Travel and Hospitality||0.47%||2.18%|
These rates can change over time so make sure you check these for your industry for the future.Your accounts past performance
The final factor will be how your account has performed in the past, if you have been getting constantly making misleading or irrelevant ads then you can expect to see a dip in your quality score even if you start making relevant ads. This can change with given time so if you want to improve your performance continue to make high-quality relevant ads.What are the effects of quality score?
This Image from WordStream has been referenced on a few different articles as well as their own when talking about the effect of quality score on CPC. However, this is misleading as when you go on the support for Google ads it shows that the person with the highest ad score will pay just enough to beat the person with the second most ad score. So for example, if two people had an Ad rank of 50 and 49 the person with the Ad rank of 50 will pay 0.01 more than the person with a 49 Ad rank. This is because it will be rounded to the lowest billable amount if the currency doesn't have decimals such as Yen it will be 1 more rather than 0.01. Google refers to this as "Actual CPC"
You would think that you want to get a 10 on every single one of your keywords, however, this is not always the case if you are using competitors keywords to try and outrank them this will have an effect on your quality score for relevance. This doesn't mean that you should never try and use competitor keywords, but it does mean that you should have a different benchmark when making them.Quality of the landing page
Judging the quality of the landing page isn't a simple section and because of this I will break it down into easily manageable sections so you can check each one against your own landing pages.1. Bounce Rate
A big part of this is your bounce rate and how quickly people are leaving your website, a bounce rate is the number of people who leave your website compared to everyone who has visited the webpage. If people are clicking on your link then leaving in a few seconds because it's not what they expected or it takes too long to load this will have a large impact on your quality score.2. Business Information
Other factors are if you have a link to an about us section showing social media pages, phone numbers, and an address, this can make your business look more legitimate and trustworthy.3. Load times
Having a long load time for your page can also have an effect on your quality score but this is rarely an issue.4. Original content
Having original content on your website that isn't just copied from other pages including any images or text will increase your landing page quality, Google has access to millions of sites so they will know if the content is unique or not.5. Easy to read for Googles WebCrawler
Having the Google WebCrawler be able to easily crawl through the text on your website will also give you a quality score boost. This can include the use of Metadata, correctly labeled images, and clear text. Google is getting very good at reading the content of images and if they are mislabelled it can hurt your quality score.6. Easy Navigation
Easy navigation and a clear objective is one of the final main factors on judging the quality of your landing page, is there a navigation or a search bar where people can easily search for the content they need on your website? How easy is it for someone to convert, if they want to buy a product from you is there a big button they can find and press easily or do they have to spend time finding it.How Quality Score affects your position
Quality score isn't the only thing that affects where your ad appears as your bid will also be taken into account. Your Ad rank will be calculated using your quality score and your bid, the exact formula for calculating the Ad rank as Google has not released it, likely to prevent people from trying to cheat the system. Some sites theorize that is simply bid times by the quality score, but this has not been confirmed.How Ad rank affects your position
Google will have a minimum Ad rank in order to show up above the search results and below the search results that will vary based on the average Ad rank of everyone bidding in this type of search result. If your Ad Rank is below the minimum to show below the search results your ad will not show at all, if your Ad Rank is below the minimum to show above the search results but above the minimum to show below the search results you will show below the search results. Since Google don't tell you how Ad rank is calculated they don't tell you what the needed Ad Rank is either.
1. The context of the persons search:
The search terms entered, location, device (Mobile or desktop), time of search, nature of the search terms, other ads and search results that will appear as well as the other user's signals and attributes will all come into effect.2. The expected impact from your ad extensions and other ad formats:
When you make your ad you have the option to add additional details such as your phone number or additional links to other pages on your website, these are referred to as ad extensions. Google will then make an estimate as to how they will affect your ads performance and use this to judge your ad position.