Do Low-Volume Keywords Always Have Low Quality Scores?

June 13, 2019

Yesterday, one of our resident AdWords experts, Andy Stefano, led a webinar called "Five Myths About Quality Score." He received the following question from one of the attendees. Below you'll find Andy's answer.

Is it possible that some businesses inherently get a low keyword Quality Score because they are in low-volume industries? For example, we are in the horse topical treatment industry – that will never get as much interest as, say, the golf or football industry. – Jane

Here's Andy's response: 

Hi Jane, 

This is a really interesting question. I think “low-volume” won’t be a determining factor, but “low-interest” might be. Let me explain.

I started tackling your question by looking at the data I had access to. I had a sample of about 6,700 keywords that were all labeled with the status “low search volume.” If your idea is true, then I would expect that almost all of these keywords would have very low quality scores. Instead, here’s the distribution that I found:


Quality Score Distribution



Quality Score Distribution Graph

So you can see I’ve got some extra threes and fours, but otherwise, it’s the same as a normal distribution. That leads me to believe that “low-volume keywords” aren’t really being punished in terms of Quality Score.

On the other hand, I can imagine that there are “low interest” keywords where regardless of the number of searches done, people just don’t click on ads. For example, sometimes I do a Google search where I’m really hoping Wikipedia will be first because I just want to know one fact: “Tylenol inventor.” (Perhaps imagine that “Tylenol” is a horse cream of some sort.) I want a fact, I don’t want to be sold anything. So I won’t click on an ad, no matter how good that ad is. I think those are the keywords that get a low Quality Score no matter what.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any thoughts, counter-arguments, or questions. Thanks for the great question.


Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert

Elisa Gabbert is WordStream's Director of Content and SEO. Likes include wine, karaoke, poker, ping-pong, perfume, and poetry.