For the rest of the week, we’ll be posting excerpts from our new free white paper, “Improving Quality Score: The Value of Being More Relevant.” To download the full white paper (you’ll only get about half of it here), fill out the form below.
Google determines Quality Score slightly differently for each of the different advertising networks that it runs. Here we’ll learn how Quality Score is calculated for Google Search, which is the largest source of traffic for most advertisers.
According to Google:
Quality Score is calculated in real-time, every time your keyword matches a search query—that is, every time your keyword has the potential to trigger an ad. Quality Score is used in several different ways, including influencing your keywords’ actual cost-per-clicks (CPCs) and estimating the first page bids that you see in your account. It also partly determines if a keyword is eligible to enter the ad auction that occurs when a user enters a search query and, if it is, how high the ad will be ranked.
The following are factors that Google says go into computing the Google Quality Score.
Clickthrough rate (CTR) is the number of clicks your ad receives divided by the number of times your ad is shown (impressions) via Google search only. Your ads and keywords each have their own CTRs, unique to your own campaign performance.
Clickthrough rate is the most significant component of Quality Score because it directly indicates which ads are most relevant to our users. For example, a well targeted keyword that shows a similarly targeted ad is more likely to have a higher CTR than a general keyword with non-specific ad text. The more your keywords and ads relate to each other and to your business, the more likely a user is to click on your ad after searching on your keyword phrase.
This simply means that the keywords in your ad group must be relevant to your ads. Keywords in the ad group should be repeated in the ad text.
The keyword that a customer searches for (the search query) needs to be relevant to the keywords in your ad group and the ad itself. The match type is not taken into account when Google computes Quality Score.
Google takes your entire history into account when determining CTR. Some advertisers have mistakenly interpreted this to mean that they should make as few adjustments to their existing keywords and ad text as possible. In fact, Google favors the recent history and give advertisers plenty of room for improvement through constant refinement. According to a posting on the Google AdWords Agency Blog’s Fact of the Day, “A few bad days of test performance will not ruin your Quality Scores. In order to optimize your clients’ accounts, we encourage you to run targeted tests on your bids, creatives, and keywords.”
This point refers to the URL that is displayed in the ad, not the URL that the customer is directed to after clicking the ad. This should be relevant to the keywords in your ad group.
Google says that the three main components of a quality website are relevant and original content, transparency, and navigability.
A Google crawler periodically visits your landing pages to calculate these and other usability factors.
Now that we’ve covered the basics on how Quality Score is calculated, let’s turn our attention back to why it’s so important.
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