Google Adwords: Back to Basics – Quality Score

Google Adwords: Back to Basics – Quality Score

When it comes to running an AdWords campaign, you’re probably a pro by now. You rock at bidding on the right keywords, and you know what placements work best for your ads. That said it never hurts to go back to the basics. With this in mind, maybe it’s time you take a look at your Quality Score and why it is what it is.

Your Quality Score measures the relevance of your ad to your audience, or the person who is reading your ad at given time. You want your ads to target those potential customers who are likely to have a need or interest in your products or services. That’s not rocket science. Having a high Quality Score is reflective of having ads, keywords, landing pages etc. that are enticing and useful to those who click them. Most importantly, higher Quality Scores usually means better traffic to your site and increased sales. Higher Quality scores are indicative of a streamlined user experience.

If it’s been a while since you last checked your Quality Score, consider checking your AdWords account. Log into you AdWords account and click on your “Campaigns” tab. From here, click on the Keywords tab then click the word bubble (looks like the comic strip image for “speak”) to see your QS and the specific details that played into the current rating including ad relevance, expected CTR and user’s landing page experience (Were they able to navigate through your site?, Did they convert?, Did they make a purchase?, etc.) and more.

You can also enable a new Quality Score column in your statistics table located under the Keywords tab. If it’s not already visible, you can add the column by clicking the “Columns” dropdown menu in the toolbar above the stats table. Select Customize Columns, then Attributes. Click “Add” next to the Qual. Score option, then click Save. Here you can easily track the performance of your ads and how they affect your overall QS.

All keywords have a QS rating between 1 and 10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest). Each time your ads go into auction they will be rerated, meaning that positive experiences can increase your QS at that time. The Quality Score that you are presented is an estimate based on that keywords most recent search query performance.

QS is calculated by AdWords every time a search query is entered which results in the display of your ad. Several factors play into this measurement including the historical CTR of the keyword in question, or how often the display of your ad results in a click, the historical CTR of your URL, or how often your URL display resulted in a click and your overall account history, which includes the CTR of all ads and keywords that are part of your campaigns over time.

User Experience also plays a huge role. Factors like the quality of your landing page, or how relevant the first webpage your customer sees is to your ad itself, keyword/ad relevance, or how relevant your keywords are to the ads that are shown, keyword/search relevance, or how relevant the ads are as a result of the search queries that trigger them. Things like Geographic performance, or how your success rate in the geographical regions in which your targeting your audience, also help to determine QS. Your ads’ performance on a specific webpage or site factor in, as well as how your ads perform across a spectrum of devices such as desktops, laptops, as well as mobile phones and tablets.

A high Quality Score can benefit you greatly because it ultimately saves you time and money. Better QS’s make bidding for keywords cheaper as the actual Cost-Per-Click that comes with each of your ads will be lower as a result of higher Quality Scores. Ads with higher rating are also more likely to show up on the first page of a search results page, and it is less expensive to get them near the top, where eyes see them first.


It’s worth it to keep track of your Quality Scores because they translate to money saved and money earned. And who doesn’t love more moolah? If you’re struggling with low QS’s right now, there are plenty of things you can do to improve this rating today. Try writing more relevant ad copy, or choose keywords that are more likely to match common search queries. You’ll find your groove over time. Remember relevance is key!


Zach Etten

Zach is a seasoned leader with nearly 10 years of digital marketing experience. His analytical and goal focused approach has helped businesses achieve lofty growth initiatives through search, social, and content marketing. Outside of work, you can usually find Zach cheering on any of the Boston sports teams.