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Why Does Your Google Ads Quality Score Matter?

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When you’re designing unique banner ads to get attention, you, of course, want the right people to see them and take action.

Whether or not this happens can depend on your Quality Score.

Below, we delve into what the Quality Score is as it relates to Google Ads and why it’s relevant.

What is the Quality Score?

In recent years, automated bidding has become increasingly consistent in delivering strong performance for search advertisers. Search advertisers no longer have to pick a CPC bid for each keyword. Instead, they can set goals that allow machine learning to calculate the right bid to achieve their goals.

While this is beneficial to help you become more hands-off in your campaign management, it does require that you understand how the system is working that is underlying it.

The Quality Score is a big part of that underlying system function.

The Quality Score is a term Google uses to describe a measure of how relevant a keyword is based on past ad auction data.

When Google has adequate data, keywords in your account as an advertiser are assigned a Quality Score which is a number between one and 10. Ten is the best.

Before there’s enough data, the Quality Score will be shown as null or as a dash.

The number represents the overall relevance of a keyword across the auctions where it’s participating. In a direct sense, the Quality Score isn’t necessarily meant to rank ads, but what is used is the auction-time Quality Score that takes many other factors into consideration.

The numerical score of 1-10 is good for helping you determine how you’re doing at choosing the best keywords and making sure users are going to quality landing pages. More relevant, though, is the real-time Quality Score.

The auction-time QS isn’t shared with advertisers because it’s always changing, and it’s different for each search that happens on Google. There are contextual factors that influence the auction-time QS, like where a user is located, what time of day it is, and the relationship of the search to your keyword.

What’s the Relevance of the Quality Score?

Breaking down what the QS is can be somewhat complex and technical, so why does Google use it?

The goal is to provide more relevant ads to a user every time they perform a search. Google’s reliant on its advertising revenue, so they need to make sure users are getting ads that are interesting to them and that they’re going to end up clicking on.

Google ad auctions are a cost-per-click model or CPC, so the company is only making money when people are clicking the ads.

If Google is letting low-quality ads on, they’re just going to take up space that would otherwise be filled with relevant ads. That’s going to mean less money for Google, plus a potentially poor user experience.

When you’re able to raise your Quality Score, it helps you because you’re getting the leads that might result in a click and a conversion.

The Google algorithms monitor what users are interacting with on the search results page, predicting potential future interactions. If you want to sum it up most succinctly, it’s the predicted click-through rate (CTR).

The Quality Score is a measure of the likelihood that users are going to find your ad relevant for what it is they’re searching for at that moment and also the chances of this leading to a click on your ad.

From an advertising perspective, you should care about your QS because it’s going to decide which ads can enter the auction, the ranking of eligible ads, and what CPC an advertiser has to pay.

Since Google doesn’t want to show ads that are irrelevant, an ad with a low QS might never even be entered into an auction for a search. If you have a higher QS, it can help make you eligible for participation in more ad auctions.

After Google chooses the ads and keywords that are likely to be relevant to a search, those are what is entered into the ad auction. Google looks at how much each one bid, again, how relevant they are, and other factors such as ad extensions that could improve the click-through rate.

Factors Affecting Quality Score

There are three primary factors that will affect your Quality Score, and we’ve briefly touched on them already.

The first is relevance. This metric looks at how closely the keyword matches the messaging of your ads. If you have a score that’s above average, it indicates your ads are related closely to the keywords that are in an ad group.

Below average scores might be due to ad copy that’s overly general, or you might have a keyword that’s irrelevant to your business.

Expected CTR is an estimation of the rate people searching for your keywords will then click on your ad.

Expected CTR can be measured as above average, average, or below average. The calculation of an expected CTR is assessed by looking at past ad performance.

The third relevant factor is the landing page experience. Landing page experience is how relevant your landing page is and how useful it is once someone clicks on your ad. Things that are important here are your site speed and bounce rate.

If you have a bounce rate seen as abnormally high or your landing page takes a long time to load, your Quality Score will suffer as a result.

If you notice a decline in your Quality Score, there are things you can do.

You should start by checking your destination URLs, especially if you’ve made recent changes to your landing pages. If the destination URLs are broken, you can repair them, and this might help fix the problem.

You can check your site speed using Google Analytics or Webmaster tools.

You from there could consider rewriting your ads with a low CTR. Make sure all of your ads have keywords that are top performers in them, and you can also think about using Dynamic Keyword Insertion ads, which can help boost your CTR.

Finally, some people find success with more tightly themed ad groups that are smaller.

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