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Should I Delete My Low Quality Score Keywords?

Author: Zina Kayyali
Last Updated: November 19, 2021 | Paid Search Marketing

When trying to improve Quality Score across the board, it would seem intuitive that eliminating keywords with low Quality Scores would be a step in the right direction. However, blindly deleting all low-quality keywords in your account is not always the best solution.

Think about improving Quality Score the way you would think about eliminating a pest infestation. If you’ve ever had any problem with pest control, you know that killing off your unwelcome visitors is not enough. In order to implement an effective pest control program, you need to identify the variable sources of the problem and find ways to combat/change them. Why are the pests there in the first place? Is it climate-related? Is it material-related? Do they have a readily available food source? Is there a nest somewhere in your home? These are all important questions to examine when identifying a long-term solution to control an infestation. Let’s take that same principle and apply it to combatting/changing our keyword Quality Scores.

Deleting Low Quality Score Keywords

Find the source!

Here are four questions to ask when determining what to do with your low Quality Score keywords.

Is the Problem Really Your Keyword?

Google’s algorithm for Quality Score factors in everything from your keyword’s relevance to your keyword’s past click-through rate, your display URL’s past click-through rate, your account history, the quality of your landing page, your ad relevance, your geographic performance, and your targeted devices. Two very important parts of that algorithm that are easy to start with are landing page quality and ad relevance. If you need some help checking to make sure your landing pages are optimized, check out Ben’s blog post detailing landing page best practices.

Once you’ve checked for landing page quality and relevancy, check your ad text. Are you leading your searchers to the most relevant pages? Are you using high-volume keywords in your ad text? Make sure you are writing compelling ads that connect to your keywords and most importantly, test your ads against each other to continuously improve your ad copy.

Is Your Keyword Performing Well Despite its Low Quality Score?

It is very easy to get hung up on Quality Score and ignore other important metrics. Alongside monitoring Quality Score, you should be monitoring CTR, conversions, and cost per conversion. There are times when keywords with low Quality Scores will still have good click-through rates and convert well within their target CPA. In these cases, though your keyword has a low Quality Score it is still performing well! If your keyword has a Quality Score higher than 2 and meets these conditions, you should keep it around. Ultimately, a good return on investment should always trump a low Quality Score.


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Are You Using the Right Match Type?

If you notice your keyword has a low Quality Score and a low click-through rate, you could be using the wrong match type. In general, less restrictive match types like broad match will pull in a lot more irrelevant traffic than more restrictive match types like phrase or exact. Make sure to test different match types before making any decisions about deleting a keyword. To find out which match type is the optimal choice for you, check out our match type guide.

How Long Have You Let the Keyword Run?

If you’ve just added a new keyword to your account, it will take some time before for your keyword has racked up enough data to support a meaningful Quality Score. I’ve seen many cases where a brand new keyword with a Quality Score of 4 or 5 will induce panic within its first week running. Before getting flustered, take a breath and remember to give your keyword some time to run.

If you’re looking for a general rule of thumb, try waiting until your keyword has generated around 30 clicks before taking any action.

low quality score keywords

Unfortunately, deleting low Quality Score keywords is not a miraculous quick fix for improving overall Quality Score. Remember, even if you do decide to delete all your low quality keywords, the historical performance of your deleted keywords will continue to affect your account history and its impact will only be diminished with time.

Now that you know when to do a little more research to find the true source and long-term solutions for your problems with low Quality Score, you are ready to take on those pesky low quality keywords like a true pest control expert. To help with your research efforts check out Drew’s post on reasons why your keyword quality score is low.

Zina Kayyali works as a Customer Success Specialist at WordStream, conducting software training and consulting with clients on Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter. Originally from Belmont, Massachusetts, Zina returned to the Boston Area after graduating from Kenyon College, a small liberal arts college in Ohio. Zina is a big fan of good cheeses and the state of Vermont. When she’s able to take a break from PPC, you’ll probably find her planning her next visit to the Von Trapp Lodge in Stowe or munching on her favorite, the Vermont Creamery’s Bonne Bouche.

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