what is a (good) quality score in google adwords for your keywords

The Quality Score of a keyword is one of the many factors in Google Adwords that you need to keep track of in order to make sure that you are marketing to the right audience with the right advertisements. Google Adwords has several different statistics that measure the effectiveness of your ads, keywords and your landing page relevance and the quality score is a cumulative stat that captures the effectiveness of all of this.

Quality score can actually be viewed as a made-up statistic that is an amalgam of various other statistics and a single score that rates as to how you fare in several other “actual” numerical stats. It is a Google Adwords specific stat that rates as to how Google algorithms view and rate your ads.

It takes into account your CTR, bid amount, ad position etc., including the historical performance of your ads. Quality score basically is Google’s analysis of how well your keyword, ad and the landing page co-relate. CTR is a major factor that rates the user interactions with the ad and the keywords.

Advantages of a high quality score

So, why do you need to have a high quality score, if your ads are still showing with a low quality score?

  • Low CPC: A high Quality score gets you a better price on bidding compared to an ad and keyword with a lower quality score. Ideally you will pay less for an ad for the same ad position than one with a lower score.
  • Higher Ad Position: It will also let you get a higher ad position over a ad with a lower quality score. This can viewed as being an indirect effect of a lower CPC with the same bid price.
  • More impressions: Getting a lower CPC and higher ad position can only mean that you will also have plenty of more impressions. Of course, all within the budget that you have specified.
  • Perks: Your ad may also get some extra perks such as location display on your ads, extra site links or more space to list your products etc.

A good quality score is obviously 10 (out of 10). Eventually, you want to rank at least 9 or 10 for your most important keywords, if not all of them. It is actually not very difficult to get a high quality score as it is not a relative score dependant on your other ads or your competitor’s ads. If your ad, the keyword and the landing page are relevant, co-related and competitive then you will get a high ranking.

Regardless of your niche, you should have a quality score of at least 7 for all your keywords. If your quality score is not 7 or above, you might be spending too much for that particular keyword than you probably should be.

Typical Quality score in Adwords


Reasons for a Low Quality Score

Your Quality score could be low for several reasons. You should try to find as to why it might be lower and fix them before deleting them. Some of the reasons could be :

Irrelevant Keyword: Is the score lower because the keyword is not really relevant to what you are advertising for? If that is the case, you might be better off by deleting the keyword and finding a much more relevant one.

Bad or Irrelevant Landing page: The landing page that the ad is linked to is not highly relevant to the ad or the keywords and this can result in a very high bounce rate for the ad. Try optimizing the landing page in this case by making the landing page much more interesting and relevant to the keywords.

Bad Ad Content: This is a tough call and not so easy to determine. Compare your ad to the competitor ads for the keywords and see if there is anything you can do to improve them and entice clicks. The ad click through rate (CTR) is the important thing here. Regardless of your keywords, industry and the bid amount if your ads are good enough, it should not have a CTR below 2%.

Having identified the main cause for your low score, you should determine if there is anything that you can do to improve the quality score? Sometimes, a combination of fixes and tweaks to the landing page as well as the ad content works the best.

Improving the Quality Score

One thing that you have to do is give enough time for the fixes and improvements to take hold and the score to be recomputed before deciding if your fixes have actually worked. Set at least a minimum a 1000 impressions before assessing the impact of your changes.

If you are unable to improve on your quality score, then deleting the low performing keyword might be a better option in the long run. Of course, this depends on how many other keywords you already have which are performing well and what other alternatives you have.

All said and done, you do have the final say on how relevant and important a keyword is for your marketing efforts. Sometimes, it is worthwhile to keep a keyword with a low quality score just because you find it important to your marketing. It might even be worth paying that extra for that reason. Also, you might find that the traffic from these low quality score keywords actually converts quite well on your website which make quite profitable to keep it around though you pay more for the ads itself.

Remember that the quality score is a statistic computed by the Adwords algorithm, hence it doesn’t matter as to what you might think about the relevance of the keyword but what the algorithm  thinks as to how it is performing.

Improving the quality score is not achieved by improving a single statistic but it involves working on multiple direct statistic associated with the Adwords campaign. An improvement of multiple statistics such as the CTR, Bounce Rate and bidding amount to maintain a reasonable ad position results indirectly in a better Quality Score.