How to Improve Your Google Adwords Quality Scores

By: Katie Stout

Digital Marketing Strategist


One of the most unknown, and yet, most impressive Google creations is the Adwords auctioneer. Every time something is searched, Google holds the fastest auction imaginable to determine which ad will take the coveted top-three ad spots.

Unlike traditional auctions, there is more to winning than simply spending more money than the competition. In addition to determining who is willing to pay the most, Google also calculates what is known as an “ad quality score” for each contender and uses this score, in conjunction with the max bid, to pick a winner. We’ll let you in on a secret: the higher your ad quality score is, the less budget it will take to win a top spot.

What Is Ad Quality?

An ad quality score is a number between one and 10 that is assigned to your ad, based on how relevant and valuable your ad is to the searcher. While the exact recipe for this score is unknown, there are a few key ingredients that we know work together to make or break your score, including:

  • Click-through rate
  • Relevance of Adword keyword
  • Account history
  • Quality of landing page
  • Use of ad extensions

Adjusting any of these factors can impact your overall ad quality score, however, making a significant improvement to your score will take an extra effort by focusing on all of these items.

Click-Through Rate

There is no better way to determine how an ad is performing, than by tracking the actions that the audience takes when served an ad. With digital ads, clicks will be the most telling action that a user can make because it shows that they are intentionally trying to learn more about what is being advertised. Click-through rates are determined by the ratio of users who clicked on your ad, compared to the number of total users who viewed the ad.

In order to increase your click-through rate, we suggest these simple steps in your Adwords strategy: add a more urgent call to action, ensure that the main keyword you have chosen is the best fit and adjust the ad copy to be as relatable as possible for your desired audience.

Account History

How often a searcher has clicked on any of your ads has always been one of the biggest indicators that your ads are giving searchers exactly what they are looking for and Google isn’t just using the data on a single ad group to evaluate a particular ad. Your overall account click-through-rate and the history of that rate could be pulling your top ads down. So, it’s important to work to improve your ads across your account.

Relevance

When crafting your message, you need to be able to anticipate what your audience will be searching for, in order to present the most relevant information in your ad.

An important factor in optimizing your message will be organizing keywords correctly. Within Adwords, the way you do this is by constructing groups of related keywords that your ads are served to. Each ad group should contain no more than 20 closely related words. Breaking up and segmenting all of your keywords can seem daunting, but it will make crafting your ad copy simpler and more effective in the long run. If you are going back to optimize your ad groups focus on the top 5-10% of the keywords that are spending the highest amount of your budget that need to be optimized. By focusing on this small batch of keywords you will see the largest improvement and you won’t have to re-adjust each and every ad group all at once.

Landing Page Optimizations

If your sole focus is the content of an ad, you are only taking half of the situation into account. What happens after a consumer clicks on your ad, is just as important. Google is just as concerned with the messaging of the ad’s landing page as they are with the content of the ad itself.

Leave a Keyword Trail

In an ideal world, each of your ad groups would have their own specialized landing page. The URL, title of the page and headers on the landing page should all include a core keyword, as well as have relevant and informative content that relates to the topic of the ads.

Stay a While

In Google’s eyes, one of the main indicators of an effective landing page is the amount of time searchers spend on a page, or if they are immediately jumping back to the Google search results page. When pulling website metrics, keep a close on the key performance indicators (KPI) of time on page and bounce rates. If these metrics are both lower than desired, adding more content, even if it is just general information, can help to improve both of these items, while also providing Google with more context to evaluate the relevancy of your landing page.

Don’t wait for your Adwords campaign to fail before evaluating your ad quality score. Your score is sure to increase if you consistently devote time to improving your overall paid search efforts on a regular basis.

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