The Definitive Guide to Increasing Google Ads Quality Score While Lowering Media Costs

Google Ads is one of the most prominent online advertising platforms around. The ads are ranked through something known as the quality score standard. The quality score is an automatic estimate of the quality of your advertisements, ad groups, keywords, landing pages, display networks, and mobile optimisation efforts.

The cost of your Google Ads campaign depends on your quality score. Therefore, if you have a better score, your CPC (cost per click) will be lower. That way, you can reach out to more people with the same budget. In short, if you’re advertising Google Ads, you’ll have to ensure that your quality score is up to standard.

To do this, you’ll have to know all the things that determine your quality score, which are:

  • CTR (Click-Through-Rate)
  • Keyword relevancy to ad groups
  • Ad relevance
  • Google Ads account performance history
  • Landing page quality and relevance

Knowing all of these factors will improve your quality score, right? Wrong. Google ads are relatively complex, and improving your score isn’t as simple as knowing a few metrics, which is why we came up with a definitive guide to the Google ads quality score where we debunk some common misconceptions and highlight the importance of a good quality score.

Contents

The Importance of Good Google Ads Quality Score

Google ads quality score

What is good quality score?  A good quality score will either make or break an advertisement. The higher the score on the ticker, the better the ad placement. Also, the better the score, the lower the CPC (cost-per-click). Lowering your investment while pumping up the results is not only an excellent way to increase engagement, ROI, and advertisement performance – it’s a fantastic way to save money.

A good quality score on a search advertisement will ensure that it’s placed above everything else, meaning you’re practically guaranteed better engagement.

Your Google ads quality score is directly tied to your PPC success, and for a good reason. By improving your score, you’re letting Google know that you’re putting in the work, which will result in a higher ad ranking – ultimately leading to better placements.

All this might be useful information, but it doesn't answer the question:

“ What’s a good Google Ads quality score?"

How quality score is calculated  involves various factors. Defining the numerical value is a bit tricky due to the many variables. To demonstrate, we’ll take keywords as our quality score example.

Keyword quality score

A good score for a high-intent keyword will vary wildly from a good score for a competitive keyword. 9 is a fantastic score for a high-intent keyword, but a virtually unachievable one for a low-intent keyword. A low intent keyword will require a far lower score than a high intent keyword – as they’re usually informational and navigational rather than direct.

The more important a particular keyword is, the better score it should have. This doesn't mean that you should only pay attention to high-intent keywords, as you should do your best to optimise them all.

The Five Types of Google Ads Quality Score

Types of google ads quality score

Google advertisements are relatively complex. They consist of numerous aspects, all of which are graded and go into your final quality score. We’ve established why a quality score is so important – but it isn't as easy as it might seem.

Getting your quality score up requires you to optimise everything that goes into what affects quality score  – which means working on your keywords, ad groups, landing page quality, display networks, and mobile optimisation quality.

Let’s now move on to the different quality score categories and how you can improve it.

If you’re wondering what Google’s quality score is, it’s mostly keywords. The keywords that you use in your advertisements make up a significant portion of the quality score. The factors that go into your keyword quality score rating are mostly based on the performance of the search queries. The better the keyword match for each search query – the better the overall keyword score rating.

Where Can You See It?

You can see it in the keyword section in your Google Ad Campaign.

Keyword quality score

When Will Your Keyword Score Be Visible?

Your keyword score might not always be visible outright. Your score will track the historical keyword performance on Google until your keywords reach a particular preset number of impressions, measuring up to thousands. Only after your account reaches that certain threshold can you start seeing your keyword score.

A single impression occurs each time your advertisement is shown to the public on search pages or other pages within the Google Network. To put it simply, every time your ad pops up, you’ll get a single impression.

What Is the Data You Can See When Viewing Keyword Score

When viewing your keyword quality score, you’ll see a lot of data such as your

  • Quality Score – The quality score metric is your current keyword quality score.
  • Historical Quality Score – This metric explains the historical quality score throughout your advertisement.
  • Ad Relevance – Advertisement relevance shows how closely your advertisements and keywords correlate one with the other.
  • Historic Ad Relevance – This shows all past data between your advertisements and keywords.
  • Expected CTR – The expected CTR is the proposed estimation of how many people will click through your advertisements and go to your landing page.
  • Historic Expected CTR – This shows all the past expectations regarding how many people will click through your ads to your landing page.
  • Landing Page Experience – The LPE metric shows how well your landing page provides what the advertisement initially promised.
  • Historic Landing Page Experience – Just like with all the prior historical metrics, this one shows the historical performance of the experience visitors had who came via the advertisement.

Anyone of these factors can be shaky, and the issue is that Google won’t show you which one it is. If you improve all of them to a desirable level, your marketing campaign is bound to be a total success. If it is currently suffering, perhaps it’s time to reconsider what might be wrong with your keyword score.

How to Fix Low Keyword Quality Score and Impressions

Fixing low keyword quality scores and impressions is not that complicated. All you have to do is remember the metrics mentioned above and a few golden rules. The golden rules are:

Don’t make keywords too tightly focused – This could significantly tarnish your content’s quality, making people avoid the advertisement as a whole.

Add broader keywords and use less restrictive match types – This will broaden your target demographic, and using less restrictive match types will reduce unwanted costs.

Overview and optimise your impression share data – Impression share data is available in the campaign itself, and it will directly show you where your advertisements are falling through. Optimising this will not only result in better conversions, but it will also increase visibility and ranking.

Your advertisement group score is a crucial metric that makes up your general quality score. This is where many campaigns fall through, as inexperienced marketing executives might not understand the full potential of this metric.

The continually running advertisements on each of your ad groups will all have a different CTR, reflecting massively on your overall quality score.

Where Can You See It?

This metric is a bit tougher to spot, as it’s not available under the ad groups tab. Instead, it appears as an average of your keyword scores in a particular ad group.

The ad group quality score is an incredibly complex thing to understand – as it could be impacting your overall quality score negatively without you even realising it. Improving your ad group quality score will result in lower CPC, better conversions, and a more successful marketing campaign.

How to Fix Low Ad Group Quality Score and Impressions

Fixing your low-quality ad group score isn’t much more complicated than repairing your low-quality keyword score – it’s just more behind the scenes. While faulty keywords might be apparent after a brief overview, low-quality ad groups are a bit tougher to determine.

To help you fix your low-quality score and impressions, make sure to:

Audit your Ad groups – Auditing your ad groups to discover how many ads are in each group is a fantastic way to fix your score. Organising your ad groups into fives, three of which are expanded text ads, makes everything much cleaner, allowing you to define your keywords better, and improve your quality score.

Cluster them together – Increasing the overall number of high-quality ads results in more clicks and ROI. Organise your advertisements into groups of five according to quality, and run all of them equally.

Optimise extended text ads – Every advertisement group needs at least three extended text ads to flourish – as it gives you many more characters to establish your advertisement. The limit is 30 characters per headline (there are three of them), 90 characters for each of the two descriptions, and 15 for each path.

Theme and target your ad groups – Making tightly themed ad groups in smaller, more versatile packages will ensure that you approach the right demographic with your advertisement, ultimately resulting in a better quality score.

Your landing page’s quality is mostly derived from how well your landing page serves the visitors’ needs. This includes the following metrics:

  • The relevance and originality of content on the landing page
  • The overall transparency of the landing page itself
  • The navigability of the page

Where Can You See It?

Evaluating the quality score of your landing page is not as easy as, for example, keywords. This is done under your landing page tab and evaluating the mobile-friendly click rate and valid AMP click rate columns.

landing page quality score

The landing page quality impacts the overall Google Ads quality score by a considerable margin. The better the landing page, the bigger the chances of converting prospects into customers.

Landing pages are one of the most common factors that tarnish quality scores across most marketing campaigns because they’re usually set aside in favor of other metrics.

How to Fix Low Landing Page Quality Score and Impressions

Landing page needs to be ad relevant – If you want to ensure that your LP (landing page) has a fantastic score, you’ll have to make it ad relevant. This means that the landing page should provide an answer to the advertisement.

It needs to load quickly  – When a website loads fast, it adds to the UX by a considerable margin. Quick loading webpages mean users are getting what they want quicker, improving the overall feel of the website as a whole, and increasing the ROI in return.

Landing page requires easy navigation  – A landing page should have easy navigation to drive the viewer to become a prospect by browsing the rest of your website.

Landing page needs to link back – Your landing page needs to link back to the rest of your website, preferably your lead capture page or homepage.

It has to be Indexable  – If your page is not indexable, it’s not going to show up in regular search results, harming your advertisement’s overall quality score.

The Google Display Network is where your advertisement pops up. This includes Google or websites that work with Google. The point of these ads is to market towards new or existing customers. The relationship between the display network and your advertisement determines your overall rating.

Your display network score will vary depending on your advertisement’s historical keyword and landing page performance and bidding options. Other things that come into play are your historical CTR and LPQ (landing page quality) if you are using the CPC method. However, if you opt for the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) model, the only thing that goes into the overall score is your LPQ.

Where Can You See It?

Just like the Search Network, Quality Score is calculated for Display Network as well. However, it isn't visible in the interface as a column to check.

Your display network quality score is by far the hardest to determine, as it’s the most complex metric out of all the others that go into your quality score – but if improved upon correctly, it could have massive benefits.

How to Fix Low Display Network Quality Score and Impressions

Test Continuously – Continually testing your display network quality will give you key insight into what’s going wrong and what can be improved – leading to a better quality score overall.

Review Relative CTR – Continually reviewing relative CTRs will give you a good idea of how your advertisement is performing as opposed to other advertisements – allowing you to optimise your advertisements to improve your overall quality score. Taking an advertisement apart and testing it against the competition will give you a good idea of what might not be performing too well.

Use Placement Reports – Placement reports will tell you where your advertisement is popping up. Based on the existing placement reports, you can target better placement. By placement targeting, you can set your ads up to appear only at places you’ve approved priorly – thus increasing your conversion, ROI, and quality score by a considerable margin.

The mobile market has surpassed the desktop market in popularity. More users are accessing Google from mobile devices than desktop devices, so this is a crucial metric you need to pay attention to if you want to improve your Google Ads quality score.

Google uses user-friendly features to measure your mobile quality score. Google takes the distance between your own and the users’ location when calculating the mobile quality. They do this through device location data, and other data garnered from location extensions.

The things that affect your mobile quality score are mostly based on your advertisement’s mobile optimisation and the UX (user experience). Improving mobile optimisation will result positively in your overall score. The main reason why Google uses quality score ratings is to improve the UX – and nowhere is that more apparent than on mobile devices.

If the score itself is low, you can be sure that it will tarnish your mobile ad performance. As mobile devices are the top platform now, messing up means missing out on a significant demographic.

How to Fix Low Mobile Quality Score and Impressions 

Use mobile-friendly well-understood extensions – Mobile friendly extensions have a very positive impact on your mobile quality score, as they make the whole process far simpler, faster, and better suited to smartphone users. Some popular mobile-friendly extensions include reviews, telephone numbers, text messages, geo-locations, and additional links to your website.

Fast site loading speed – Optimising your website to run on mobile will ensure that the page loads quicker, significantly reducing the bounce rate and resulting in a better UX, and in turn, quality score.

Misconceptions About Quality Score

Like anything in marketing and advertising, there are many misconceptions and myths about Google’s Ad Quality Score.

1. Changing Match Types Alters Quality Score

Google measures your quality score without considering the keyword match type at all. This means that, as long as anything matches the keyword in your account, all three types will have the same quality score.

Simply changing match types doesn't affect the quality score at all. The thing that will affect it is the quality score of the keyword itself. Both exact matches and broad matches will have an exact rating if they’re referring to the same thing.

2. Quality Score Suffers when Ads or Keywords are Paused

This is untrue, as your keywords’ quality score is based on how well the keywords themselves perform concerning the advertisements –  which is entirely unrelated to keyword or ad pausing. If keywords are paused, they don’t show up in the auction, meaning that they have no impact on the overall score.

3. Display and Search Quality Score Affect Each Other

Another prevalent myth is that the display and search quality score factors interact with each other in any way – which is a bogus claim. The two don’t interact as they have entirely different criteria for their respective quality score. They are two completely different things. The performance of one will not affect the other and vice-versa.

4. Higher Positions Benefit Your Quality Score

This is one of the most popular misconceptions about quality score. The quality score isn’t universal for all advertisements – as it’s automatically adjusted to compensate for the differences in advertising positions. A small advertisement on an obsolete part of the page won’t perform nearly as well as a header advertisement – and Google understands that.

5. Deleting or Restructuring Low QS Elements Erases Their History

This myth is a bit more elaborate, but it’s pretty widespread around articles based on Google Ads quality score. No matter what anyone might tell you – deleting or restructuring low-quality score elements doesn’t erase them from your history.

While it won’t erase your history, you should still remove elements that perform poorly. There is a reason why they aren’t performing up to par, and they can hurt your score even further.

Basic Quality Score Checklist

The last thing to cover is a rapid-fire quick quality score checklist to help you ensure that everything is running as smoothly as possible.

Check Your Destination Urls

You’ll have to check your destination URLs to improve your overall quality score. A good way to do this is to check if any recent changes have been made to your landing pages, if any destination URLs are broken, and if all the leads are working.

Below, I’ll list a couple of things that could break your destination URLs and give you some suitable replacements.

  • Forward slashes (/) – replace them with either a blank space or a dash;
  • Backward slashes (\) – replace them with either a blank space or a dash;
  • Commas – replace them with either a blank space or a dash;
  • Apostrophes – don’t replace them;
  • Parentheses – don’t replace them;
  • Ampersands – replace them with either a blank space or a dash;

Check Your Site Speed in Webmaster Tools or Google Analytics

You’ll have to make sure that your site is as fast as possible if you want to have a good quality score. You can do this by going to your webmaster tool or Google Analytics.

Remember, Google considers anything over the regional average plus three seconds as slow, so make sure your loading time and site speeds are faster than that.

Some things that might impact your speed are:

  • Numerous unnecessary page extensions
  • Elaborate website design
  • Animations and media
  • Embedded content

Check Out Google’s Page Speed in Chrome & Firefox Extension

A good way to check your Google's Page Speed is via Chrome and Firefox extensions, which you can find built into the browsers themselves.

Rewrite Low Click-Through Rate Ads

While this won’t remove them from your history, rewriting low CTR advertisements is going to increase their efficiency, thus improving your quality score rating overall.

Google considers everything below 1.5% CTR as low, so make sure to pump up your CTR to an above-average rating if you want to maintain your Ad relevance.

Ensure That You Have at Least 3 Extended Text Ads in Every Ad Group

Every advertisement group should consist of at least five ads. Three out of those five should be expanded text optimisation. Doing this will result positively in your overall score.

Ensure Top-Performing Keywords Are in Your Ads

SEO has changed the digital marketing world, and ensuring that there are top-performing keywords in your advertisements is only going to reflect positively on your keyword score and overall QS.

Consider Incorporating Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) Ads to Boost CTR

A fantastic way to boost CTR is to include DKI. Dynamic Keyword Insertions are updated to keep up with the users’ search query, meaning they’re going to amp up your keyword score, resulting positively in your general QS.

Conduct an Account Audit and Restructure Where Needed

While deletion and restructuring aren’t going to affect the history of your performance, they are going to ensure that the future performance is as good as possible.

A good way to restructure is to create more tight groupings for advertisements that have their theme-specific relevant landing pages. If you have no match keywords in your ads, consider including them. New keywords are given a new baseline Quality Score based on the account history – and they don’t start developing until they reach the impression threshold.

Conclusion

We’ve covered how to fix low-quality scores, but if you’re wondering how to get a perfect quality score – it’s as easy as putting in the necessary work. Continually working on your quality score is a bulletproof way to increase your ranking while decreasing your CPC. Using the tactics mentioned above can help you fully and continuously optimise all the factors that go into your final quality score calculation.

If you’re having some issues with your Google campaigns, Heroes of Digital is here for you. Our services stem from intricate expertise and experience in the field – which we are more than glad to share with you to improve your Google campaigns.

We are a Google Premier Partner, meaning that the skills exhibited by us aren’t only superb – they’re verified by Google. This means that our ad skills and expertise excel in terms of efficiency and that we’ve delivered agency and client revenue growth and maintained and sustained the growth of the client-base! Contact us today.

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Xavier Tan
Co-Founder
Xavier is the Co-Founder of Heroes of Digital. He started social media marketing and SEM long before it became popular in Singapore. His passion is in helping businesses grow through effective lead generation. He has overseen campaigns for Amara Hotel, NTU, Marina Bay, L'Oreal, and 100+ SMEs.

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