29 Google Ads Quality Score Factors – Facts, Myths, and Quick Fixes

Johnathan Dane
Johnathan Dane
Founder/CEO

The Google Ads quality score has been shrouded in a Bermuda Triangle-style mystery for far too long.

SPOILER ALERT: It’s real.

For years, however, people have been obsessed about quality scores and ways to improve them, and rightfully so.

If you can improve your quality scores, you stand to save (and even make) more money.

But Google has been known to mystify things a little too much. People disappearing and YouTube videos going private is just where it starts.

These things don’t just happen randomly, people.

But today, I’m going to separate fact from fiction.

We’ll be talking about what the Google Ads Quality Score actually is, why you should care about it, and when you shouldn’t care (too much) about it. We’ll cover the facts, the myths, the flat-out conspiracies, and the quick fixes that surround this “Holy Grail” of Google Ads.

Let’s get started.

What Is The Google Ads Quality Score?

In the simplest of definitions, the Google Ads Quality Score is a numerical value between 1 and 10 given to a keyword. That value tells the advertiser how relevant Google thinks your keywords, ads, and landing pages are in combination.

The lower the score, the more you pay per click. The higher the score, the less you pay per click (notice that I said “click”, not “conversion”).

Here’s a look at WordStream’s math behind it – image source

Sounds almost too simple, right? It’s not.

It’s a bit more complex, and there are some emotions involved too. Emotions that I’ll step on here in a bit (more on that later).

See, a higher Google Ads Quality Score doesn’t just help with a lower cost-per-click. It also helps you with a higher ad rank.

In fact, the combination of bid, ad extensions, and Quality Score are what make up the ad rank equation.

If you have a competitive bid, high enough Quality Score, and relevant ad extensions, then you have the best chance at having the highest ad position.

Why Quality Score is Important

Let me explain it to you with some ROI factoids:

  • Improving your Quality Score can lower your cost per click.
  • Lowering your cost per click can lower your cost per conversion.
  • Lowering your cost per conversion can make you more money.

See where I’m going with this?

Benefits of a Good Quality Score

  • An improved Quality Score can lower your cost per click, but it can also help you lower your cost per acquisition (CPA). This is one thousand times more important.
  • The higher your Quality Score the higher your click-through-rates (CTR) (usually)
  • A higher Quality Score also leads to a higher ranking in paid search results 
Portent was awesome enough to run the numbers for us – image source

So if you have the ability to improve your Quality Score, it should definitely be a focus as you optimize and improve your Google Ads account management.

Issues With Bad/Low-Quality Scores

  • Low click-through rates 
  • Shows a lack of relevancy within your ad 
  • Lack of proper use of keywords in your ads

How to Find Quality Score Breakdowns

Google Ads (formerly AdWords) allows you to see a breakdown of Quality Score by the three major factors: Expected CTR, Ad Relevance, and Landing Page Experience. These are helpful for knowing what you need to improve.

Go to the Ads tab and click Customize Columns.
You can see the columns added once you hit Apply.

It’s important you know what makes up the Quality Score.

Here’s a broader list of factors that could impact your score directly or indirectly:

  • Your ad’s CTR (current and expected)
  • Your display URL’s past CTR
  • Ad to search term relevance
  • The overall quality of your landing page
  • Your ad’s geographic performance, down to the city level
  • The difference of performance per device

Here are the main factors that we know are tied directly to Quality Score:

The main factors that impact Quality Score

Now, let’s dive into the facts, myths, and conspiracies that surround Quality Scores as well as what you can do to improve them.

Types of Quality Score

Account

Your account-level Quality Score is determined by the historic performance of all your ads and keywords with the account.

Ad Group

The Ad Group-level Quality Score is used to look at the different areas of your campaigns that need help. 

Please note that  the Ad group quality score is not visible within an account on the ‘Ad Groups’ tab but is an average of the keyword quality scores in the specific ad group you are looking at

Keyword

This is the Quality Score of the individual keywords you are targeting. Your keyword-level score is calculated by the performance of search queries that exactly match your keyword.  

Ad

The click-through rate of each ad you are running will determine the Ad Quality Score.

Display Network

Display Network Quality Score is determined by your ad’s historical performance. 

Mobile

For Mobile, Google states that Quality Score is calculated the same way, regardless of which device platform you choose (computers, iPad and smartphones, etc.); however, the system does take distance between the user and business location into consideration, when available, for mobile ad Quality Score by using device location and location extensions data.

How to Calculate Quality Score

Quality score is calculated every single time your keyword receives an impression. This means that both your quality score and ad rank are calculated multiple times a day, depending on the number of impressions your keyword receives.

Remember that each keyword has its own quality score, and Google only allows you to see quality scores at the keyword level. (I’ll give you a trick to see your ad group, campaign, and account quality score in a little bit.)

Many factors involve the creation of a quality score, but here are the main big ones that dominate the increases and decreases in quality score:

1. Click-Through Rate…

…of both your ad and keyword. The higher the CTR, the higher your quality score, and the higher your quality score, the higher your ad rank.

This is the BIGGEST factor in quality score calculations. Bar none. And the biggest factor in how quality score and ad rank are calculated.

So what do you do?

Test out different ad variations that are extremely specific to the keywords you’re bidding on.

And your best option for that?

Single Keyword Ad Groups.

One keyword per ad group makes your ads insanely relevant to the keyword.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a bounce house rental company called “Jumper Castles,” and your keyword is ‘bounce house rental’.

The keywords in your one ad group would look like this:

  • Broad Match Modifier (+bounce +house +rental)
  • Phrase Match (“bounce house rental”)
  • Exact Match ([bounce house rental])

And your ads would look something like this:

 Notice how the keyword is in the ad title and the display URL

This is often enough to increase your quality scores right away, as long as you take the visitor to a page regarding your offer.

If you advertise 20% off, for example, then make sure the 20% off is visible on the landing page. Relevance is most important to Google. If they see consistent relevance from the keyword to the ad and from the ad to the landing page, they’ll reward you with a higher quality score.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Want a quick fix for too many keywords in one ad group? Try the Dynamic Keyword Insertion tool. It adds any of your keywords to your ad copy dynamically (as long as it fits the character limit).

You can read more about it here from Google.

Now, couldn’t you just increase your bids to increase your ad rank, and then increase your click-through-rate, which in turn might increase your quality score?

Sure.

But is that sustainable?

Not really, since you’ll be paying for higher cost-per-clicks. Plus that’s just a lazy way of doing things.

2. Historical Click-Through-Rate

Whether it’s fair or not, Google takes input from your competitors’ bids on the same keywords to determine the quality score you receive. It also looks at the history of that keyword from other accounts, and the general history of that keyword in its entirety.

If your competitors’ CTR has a stronger history than yours, then you have some work to do.

3. Relevance

Both quality score and ad rank are calculated in regards to relevancy. As mentioned in #1, relevance plays a huge role in how you’re positioned and how much you’re paying per click.

Therefore, it wouldn’t make sense for you, Google, or the person looking for you, if your one ad group is filled with these keywords:

  • bounce house rental
  • bounce house
  • bounce house for sale
  • bounce houses for rent
  • bounce house buddies
  • bounce house blower
  • bounce house birthday party
  • bounce house business
  • bounce house company
  • bounce house buy
  • bounce house business plan
  • bounce house birthday

How can you possibly be sure that every ad impression is right on the money based on the keyword that was typed in? You can’t!

Make sure your keywords are in their own ad groups with their own ads. Then take it one step further by making the landing page relevant to the keyword and the ad.

4. Account History

In my experience, account history is not a HUGE factor in quality score. It may help with very minor changes, but it isn’t something you can’t combat if you have a new account. Simply follow #1 & #2.

If you’re trying to improve a 10-year-old account suffering from quality score neglect, however, it might be difficult to dig your way out.

Google recommends that you don’t create a new account if that is the case. I agree with them on that point. Your long term history will help you later once you start making the right changes.

5. Landing Page Quality

Google mentions that there are 3 factors they use when grading a landing page. These are:

  • Relevant, useful, and original content
  • Transparency and trustworthiness
  • Ease of navigation

 These scorecards work with any website or landing page that you create. This should always be your guide.

One major idea you can draw from this is ease of navigation.

Sending a PPC visitor to your homepage instead of the specific product or service landing page hurts your ease of navigation because the visitor has to search for the information.

Remember that any visitor on your site is like a Cinderella trying to get home before midnight. It’s a time crunch!

Your carriage would turn back into a pumpkin, your dress would disappear, and the prince would know you’re poor.

Take the visitor directly to the product or service your ad is mentioning, and make sure that the copy in the ad is consistent with the messaging on the landing page.

A great way of looking at it would be to exaggerate quite a bit and ask what would happen if you took a mom looking for a bounce house rental to a landing page about hardcore punk music?

They’re obviously completely different and have nothing in common. Your quality score would be crap and your ad rank would suffer.

It’s therefore important to understand how landing pages affect how quality score and ad rank are calculated.

Quality score and ad rank are calculated in many more ways than what I’ve covered here, but these are the biggest things you can change right now to improve your quality score.

How Ad Rank Is Calculated

Ad rank is much easier to understand than Quality Score. Also, it doesn’t have 236 unknown factors like Quality Score does.

It’s the simplest thing. Ad rank is calculated based on your quality score and your max bid. That’s it.

SEOServicesGroup published an interesting formula to determine what your bid and quality score should be to rank in your desired position. You can read about it here.

Take it with a grain of salt, though. The Google Ads landscape is so dynamic that a formula like this can never guarantee any position. Bid modifiers and strategies from new enhanced campaigns must be considered as well.

Best Practices for Better Quality Score

Now that you know what your quality score is, you’ll want to make sure you’re improving it in every way possible. Below are 4 easy and effective ways to improve your score to run better ads.

Improve Click-Through Rate

  • Choose relevant keywords
  • Bid enough, especially at the start, so that Google gets some solid data that can show how good your ads really are
  • Match type doesn’t matter, but you should use it to target the right search terms
  • Negative keywords don’t matter for your Quality Score–but they’re incredibly helpful to help with targeting and cost control, so use these

Improve Ad Relevance

  • Create tight ad groups. There’s no need to have single keyword ad groups, but it can help out with the ad relevance. When an ad group has more than 20 keywords, you can probably split it up a bit more
  • It usually is helpful to use the keyword in the ad somewhere

Improve Landing Pages

  • Once you got the click, don’t make the user search. That’s why they came to Google
  • Take them to the most relevant page on your site or direct to your landing page. Sometimes, that’s a product page, but it could also be a category page. It’s usually not the homepage though
  • Monitor bounce rates and time on site as these factors tell Google whether or not your pages impressed the visitor enough for them to hang around.

Improve Structure

  • Get rid of low Quality Score keywords, either ones with lots of impressions or the long tail because that can add up to a large portion of your account’s overall traffic, which hurt your account level QS. But don’t get rid of them if they drive conversions and make you money
  • Feel free to move things around. Google always keeps the history, so you can always revert
  • Pausing or the use of ad scheduling is okay. No new data = no change to Quality Score
  • The naming of your campaigns or ad groups do not affect Quality Score

As you know, correlation does not equal causation. It’s a good thing, then, that the Quality Score facts below are actually causation focused.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR) Impact: High

Click-through-rate (CTR) is the biggest part of a Quality Score. The Chief Economist at Google, Hal Varian, said that it’s as much as 60%.

If you can improve your CTR (clicks divided by impressions), Google will most likely reward you with a higher Quality Score.

Keep in mind, however, that CTRs are subjective. They’re relative to each keyword, the history of that keyword, and the current competition levels. A keyword with a 2% CTR might have a 8/10 quality score, while a keyword with a 10% CTR has a 4/10 quality score.

Keyword to Ad Ratio Impact: High

This is one of the newer facts on the block that I’m claiming. Not only with our own clients, but also from the 250+ comments this idea got when I wrote about it a few years back.

The more keywords you have in an ad group, the more likely you’re to dilute the chances of message between the keyword and ad.

This leads to lower click-through-rates, and you guessed it, lower Quality Scores.

Analyzing your Quality Score on the ad group level can help you restructure ad groups with low quality score keywords. The history of calculating Quality Score will remain even if visible history is erased. It may be better to pause keywords than to delete, so that Google doesn’t see the addition of the keyword later as a duplicate.

While we’re on the topic of ad groups, ads running in each will have varying CTRs. Using Dynamic Keyword Insertion is one way to help resolve this issue. It just happens to be one of KlientBoost’s Google Ads copy hacks.

Search Term to Keyword Ratio Impact: High

Have you ever seen an iceberg in real life? No, not the lettuce, an actual ice iceberg?

I haven’t either, but I’ve seen the equivalent in countless Google Ads accounts.

The ocean is a scary place.

Depending on the keyword match types you use (mostly phrase match, broad match modifier, and broad match), you’ll find that what you’re bidding on (keyword on the surface) is far from what you’re actually paying for (search terms below the surface).

Since the discrepancies vary among certain keywords and certain match types, it’s important to note that your click-through-rates could be bleeding from this Iceberg Effect.

Once you tighten up the ratio, you’ll find more often than not that your click-through-rates will improve as well.

Quick Bounces Impact: Low

I spoke with Brad Geddes over at CertifiedKnowledge.org and he dropped this nugget that not a lot of people think about:

Quick Bounces: How often someone goes to your site and quickly leaves and reloads the search results. These are low-quality visits that go to the landing page [experience] portion of Quality Score.”

In a post for our blog, Frederick Vallaeys of Optmyzr.com (and a former Google employee) said:

My personal recommendation is to also keep a close eye on bounce rates and time on site, two metrics you can see in Google Ads when you’re linked to Analytics. A high bounce rate or very short time on site both provide a great way for you to find keywords that are not relevant in the minds of users.

Keep this in mind when you’re trying to diagnose why some of your keywords have low Quality Scores.

Many people think that they can use exit popups to improve time on site. What they fail to realize, however, is that they don’t do all that much to keep people on site longer.

And even if they do, they’re just a temporary band-aid covering a broken landing page and/or website.

Landing Page Experience Impact: High

This one is a little mysterious but true at the same time.

Over the last couple of years, the landing page experience has become and bigger and bigger factor of Quality Score, as there are more automated systems and human eyes judging whether or not your landing page experience is good or not.

Since much of landing page design is directly related to user experience, you have to be aware that this portion of Quality Score can be highly subjective.

The biggest things that you need to care about for improving this portion of your Quality Score are:

  • Is your content original and unique to your site/landing page (i.e. you didn’t copy it from somewhere else)?
  • Do you give enough information to be considered trustworthy? Biggest factors here are an About Us section, business address, phone number, and social media profile links. PLEASE NOTE: This is mostly scrutinized when advertisers try to promote sites that are within industries that are kept under a close eye (medical, health, IT support, etc.)
  • Do you make it easy to navigate to find information and to convert?
  • Does your landing page allow the Google bot to easily crawl your text?
Landing page relevance criteria to assist with Quality Score.

You can read more about the landing page experience portion of Quality Score on Google’s official page.

Landing Page Load Time Impact: Low

Just like the navigation is part of the landing page experience, so is the time it takes to load your site and page.

It’s been said that the regional average plus three seconds is considered a slow load time and therefore, may hurt your Quality Scores. As you probably know, load times vary greatly depending on where in the world you ad is being shown.

To see how fast your Final URLs are, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

You can also get ideas on steps to take to shorten your load time.

Ouch. We have some work to do…

Long-Tail Keyword Usage Impact: Low

The more short tail keywords you use, the lower your chances are for getting higher click-through-rates. And with that, come low-quality scores.

Let’s say you’re bidding on the short-tail keyword “desk”.

You’d think the search intent is strong since people are looking to buy a desk, but what if the search term report reveals something different? Remember the Iceberg Effect?

  • desk calendar
  • desktop
  • desk chairs
  • desk lamp
  • front desk
  • desk fan

As you can see, the more words you have per keyword, the better you get at narrowing down exactly what people are looking for.

But don’t just add them to your ad group. Make sure your ad copy and landing page match too.

Match Types Don’t Matter Impact: Low

Did you know that your Quality Score isn’t actually reflective of the keyword you’re bidding on?

Let me explain.

The Quality Score you see at your keyword-level is actually based solely on the search term that exact matches your keyword.

Because of that, your keyword match types don’t affect Quality Scores.

Account History Performance – Did you know that people used to sell old and empty Google Ads accounts, because people thought having an AdWords account from 2002 was a sure way to beat everyone else?

Kinda crazy to think that right? Well, it’s a good thing that the age of a Google Ads account does not affect Quality Score, but the length of high performance does.

Now, it hasn’t been confirmed by Google in their official documents, but high-performance account momentum does have a positive impact on Quality Scores.

This can also be sealed as true since erasing poor performing keywords does not remove your Quality Score history, but it’s kept in the account along with Google’s logs of performance compared to your competitors.

Display URL’s Past CTR Impact: Low

Not to be confused with your root domain, like abc.com, your display URL (abc.com/this-is-it) is an official component of Quality Score as revealed by Google.

This means that your root domain, and any other display URL you have in your account, all have their own historical impression and click performance kept in a log.

Having a specific display URL DOES NOT automatically improve your Quality Score, but it could easily help increase your click-through-rate and therefore, your Quality Score.

Device Performance Impact: Low

Your Quality Score can increase or decrease depending on how well your ads have been performing on mobile, desktop, and tablets.

There can also be a difference in performance based on the type of mobile devices (Samsung vs. iPhone) and operating systems (Android vs iOS).

This fact was confirmed by Frederick Vallaeys in the post we mentioned earlier, in which he states that Quality Scores on different devices do not affect each other.

Keyword History Impact: High

When you’re a brand new advertiser with no history, Google does take the historic performance of certain keywords you’re bidding on (from outside your account) into consideration.

What happens when no one has ever bid on the keyword you’re about to bid on? No one knows, yet.

But with the historical performance Google knows based on keywords that have been bid on before your time, it’s up to you to exceed that performance by improving your click-through-rates.

When you launch brand new keywords in your Google Ads account, Google doesn’t only consider the keyword history outside of your account but also looks into your historical CTR for the account and how it’s been performing (hopefully above average).

That being said, when it comes to keyword level Quality Score, historical performance is a bigger factor in the beginning. Once you’ve accumulated enough impressions and performance data, you can rely on that.

If you’re looking to boost impressions, you can do so in the following ways:

  • Add more broad match keywords, so there’s a less restrictive pool for which you’re showing ads.
  • Add more broad themes, to begin with, to assist with adding in more broad match keywords.
  • Examine Impression Share data, the percentage of times an ad shows out of total impressions available.

Expected Click-Through-Rate Impact: Low

In addition to keyword history and account history CTR, Google also has another name for grading quality score potential. It’s called “expected click-through-rate”.

As Craig Danuloff writes on Search Engine Land:

Google uses factors to provide clues about the potential performance of a keyword that hasn’t yet proven itself.

But, once your own account and keywords have enough history, that will replace the expected click-through-rate and you’ll hopefully have two thumbs up from Google.

Geographic Performance Impact: Low

Just like your devices have individual Quality Score metrics, so do the cities, counties, countries, and regions that you’re targeting.

Here’s a look at Texas.

And although you can’t see the geographic breakdown within your Google Ads account, you can run your own test by splitting up campaigns by geography and tracking the difference in performance.

Here’s a look at North Carolina.

“What the F’ North Carolina?!” – me

Now, keep in mind that an experiment like this is never pure.

There might be more competitors or higher bid prices in one geography versus another.

Still, it’s very clear that ad performance and CTRs varies greatly by geography, and therefore, affect Quality Score as well.

Time of Day/Day of Week Performance Impact: Low

Have you ever tried advertising late at night while all your competitors are sleeping?

It’s a smart idea, but how did it work out? Did your CTR increase or decrease?

As an official part of Google’s own Quality Score docs, time of day and day of the week do impact CTR, which in turn helps or hurts your Quality Scores.

If you’re running campaigns 24/7, try splitting up a few campaigns with different time ranges to see if your Quality Scores and cost per clicks are affected.

Common Quality Score Myths

If you’ve ever been part of a hot topic debate like the Bermuda Triangle, the moon landing, or Quality Scores, then you know there’s a lot of information out there that isn’t true.

Let’s bust some of the myths that still surround Quality Scores.

Ad Extensions Help

Contrary to popular belief, ad extensions do not directly impact Quality Scores. They’re part of the newer ad rank equation, but again, have no causation when it comes to Quality Scores.

The confusion may have started with the fact that ad extensions help increase the real estate space of your ad. More real estate can increase your chances of clicks and, therefore, increase your click-through-rates and Quality Scores. Ad extensions themselves, however, won’t have a direct effect.

Pausing Hurts

Pausing your ad groups, campaigns, or entire Google Ads account has no direct impact on your quality scores.

While certain campaigns (display and search) may lose momentum because of pausing, your Quality Score and related data stay intact.

Only One Quality Score

To the visible eye, you’re only able to see keyword level Quality Scores inside your Google Ads account.

However, there’s also an overall account Quality Score that you can uncover with hidden Google Ads scripts, like this one from Optmyzr.

This will help you see how healthy your account is – image source

But be extremely careful.

Quality Score is not a key performance indicator. Cost per conversion and conversion rates are.

Sometimes, you can have mutual Quality Score and conversion goals. But sometimes you can’t.

Higher Quality scores don’t always equal more money being made.

Display & Search Competition

Believe it or not, there’s also a hidden Quality Score for display network campaigns.

The only downside? You can’t see it.

But that hasn’t stopped from people saying that display performance affects Quality Scores on the search network.

It’s not true. It hasn’t been proven. Just like on the search network, your display performance is reliant on different metrics depending on your targeting.

Negative Keywords

Similar to the assumption that ad extensions affect Quality Scores, adding or removing negative keywords has no direct impact on Quality Score.

Adding negative keywords may help you improve your click-through-rates, however, and improve your Quality Score indirectly.

[Tweet “Adding negative keywords may help improve your CTRs and then indirectly improve your Quality Score.”]

Keywords on Landing Pages

As Brad Geddes himself has said (and our own experience supports this), keyword stuffing or trying to use more keyword insertions on landing pages does not help improve Quality Scores.

Covering Up Dead Bodies

AKA, does deleting low quality keywords help improve overall keyword level quality scores? Not at all.

Since Quality Score is based largely on historical performance, the only thing that deleting low-quality keywords does is make it easier to manage your account.

Pausing them does the same thing.

You might have some keywords with low Quality Scores and decent cost per conversions. If that’s the case, don’t sacrifice an important KPI for a mediocre metric.

Bidding High To Maintain

You’d think that a higher average position could lead to a higher Quality Score.

But artificially bidding to a higher level in the hopes of capturing and then maintaining a higher Quality Score after you lower your bids back down doesn’t do much.

In the ad auction, you’re always competing on the CTR against competitors in the exact same ad position.

This means that you can easily lower your bids without the fear of lowering your Quality Score if your ad copy stays the same.

The following formulas depict how bid along with Quality Score can impact Ad Rank:

An Ad Rank formula for Google Search Network.
The Ad Rank formula for keyword targeted ads.
The Ad Rank formula for placement targeted ads in Google Display Network.

Account Structure Doesn’t Matter

It so matters!

But again, this isn’t a direct impact on Quality Score, but more so, the factors that make up Quality Score such as click-through-rate.

Like the Iceberg Effect, the more you care and focus on making your keyword-to-ad and search term-to-keyword ratio 1:1, the better your chances are of getting a stronger click-through-rate and therefore, a higher Quality Score.

Conversion Rates

Since conversions are subjective and can be made up anywhere (your conversion code could be planted on your homepage to get a 100% conversion rate), Google doesn’t care or take that into account when determining your Quality Score.

If they did, there would be so much Quality Score manipulation that it would be ridiculous.

Keyword Insertion Always Works

Keyword Insertion is a feature you can use to automatically insert your keyword into the ad copy to save time and effort. (If you aren’t familiar with Keyword Insertion, you can read more about it here.

Because of this “relevancy bump”, many people think it has a direct impact on their Quality Score, without considering that it could help improve the CTR first, and then the Quality Score after.

Further, it’s also important to keep in mind that DKI adds in the keyword, not the search term. So if your search term-to-keyword ratio is around 1:30, then your CTR improvement chances are lower than if that ratio was closer to 1:10.

How to Improve Quality Score Quickly

Now that you know fact from fiction, let’s dive into the two biggest ways you can systematically improve your click-through-rate, and therefore, your Quality Scores.

Single Keyword Ad Groups

The article that gave birth to the Iceberg Effect was one I wrote for the Unbounce blog: You’re Doing AdWords Wrong (Here’s How to Make It Right).

(It then turned into 5+ upgrades to our Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) blog post).

Aside from professing my love for Nutella, I show why and how you create single keyword ad groups to improve your CTR.

  Here’s the gist of the article:

  • Each ad group you have can only have one keyword in it.
  • The keyword can and should have the three match types of exact, phrase, and broad match modifier.
  • The ads should be specific to that one keyword.

When that happens, you immediately improve both the ratios we talked about earlier, and your Quality Scores start going in.

Geographic Specificity

Just like Single Keyword Ad Groups make sense, so do geographic specific campaigns that have city/county wording in ads and landing pages.

Granulating geographic areas helps you see what their individual Quality Scores are. It can also help you manage your ad and landing page message. This will not only improve your CTRs and Quality Scores but your conversion rates too.

Timeliness

The other aspect we’ve found to help improve quality score has been around the time of year or holidays you mention in your ads.

You don’t have to run a specific sale, but having an ad that showcases an aspect of time helps the prospective Google searcher quickly see that you’re more relevant than the other ads.

An example from KlientBoost could be us mentioning how many marketing plan requests we got last month.

Why You Shouldn’t Care (Too Much) About Quality Score

Let me be the first to say that Quality Scores are EXTREMELY overrated.

Many people who don’t know they can improve their conversion rates, decide to obsess over Quality Scores as the “last PPC frontier” that they’ve yet to conquer in their account.

Some of your keywords (like bidding on competitor names) will always have low Quality Scores, but their cost per lead and conversion rates are great.

Keep in mind that a Quality Score is just a metric, not something that truly affects the money you’re making.

The Unbounce conversion glossary says it best – image source

If you know the value of conversion rate optimization, then instead of obsessing over Quality Scores, obsess over-improving your conversion rates, your sales funnel, your tracking, your lifetime values, etc.

Closing Thoughts on Google Ads Quality Score

Quality Score is a metric that unfortunately leads to a lot of premature hair-loss.

I hope that after reading this post, you’re fully aware that there’s only so much you can do to improve it (if you’re interested in exploring the topic even further, read iSpionage’s take on QS here).

If you want even more information about Google Ads Quality Score, SEMrush created a video on cracking Google’s “black box” below:

Think of it as a measuring stick for your competition. If you’re at a 5/10 or lower, your CTR is crap compared to the rest. Put on your big boy pants and fix it.

What parts of the Quality Score did I miss?

Let me know with a quick comment.

Chapter 2:
Google Ads Search

What You’ll Learn: Get more people to buy from your store, increase your average order value, all while spending less on acquiring new customers.

Chapter 3:
Google Ads Shopping

What You’ll Learn: Get more people to buy from your store, increase your average order value, all while spending less on acquiring new customers.

Chapter 4:
Google Display Ads

What You’ll Learn: Take advantage of cheaper clicks with unknown strategies many people don’t use when it comes to the Google Ads Display Network.

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