How to improve keyword quality score in Google Ads

How to improve keyword quality score in Google Ads

Definition: Quality score is a value between 1 and 10, Adwords gives to each keyword. It is best to have a high score. The quality score consists of 3 component: Landing page experience, Ad relevance, and expected clickthrough rate (CTR). Each component is marked with: Below average, average and above average. Adwords quality score is an important component in deciding if your ad is shown, in which position and how much you pay per click.

How quality score is calculated
There is consensus among experts, that Adwords calculate a more detailed quality score internally. For the purpose of optimizing your Adwords account, the quality score you are given, is sufficient. If you want to go even further, beyond a quality score of 10,  seen what works and do more of the same.

Her is the formula of how quality score is calculated:

Quality score formula:

Quality score = 1 + Landing page experience + Ad relevance + Expected clickthrough rate (ECTR)

Each component are given a value if you are below, above or average compare to the competitors for that keyword:

How to improve quality score for expected clickthrough rate (ECTR)
Expected clickthrough rate is an estimation, so even if Adwords don’t have data for CTR for that keyword, they are still able to make some kind of estimation. If they have lots of historic CTR data then ECTR is approximately equal to CTR.

Adwords can look at historic CTR for the ad group, similar ad groups, the campaign, similar campaigns, all similar types campaigns, the account. They can even look at other account that are using a similar approach as you are to calculate ECTR.

If you want to improve ECTR you need to improve CTR. The most common methods are:

  • Make better ads
  • Split ad groups into more specific ad groups, so you can make ads that is tailored to the users search term and intention
  • Make better and more specific landing pages, so you can make better and more specific ads
  • Make a offer searchers can’t say no to
  • Do anything to get CTR up

If you give searchers what they want, they rewards you with a high CTR.

How to improve quality score for ad relevance
A quick fix is to use the keyword in the ad text, but there is more that goes into this variable. Google also analyze the intentions, so if you say “buy this” and the user search for “how to fix”, you might want to have you ads say something like “How to fix…by buying…

How to improve quality score for landing page experience
This is a lot like SEO a page for onpage factors. Like the ads it helps if you use the search term and match the intention. Google are probably using the ranking factor from there search results to decide the quality score for landing page experience. The important here is that you are not competing against all relevant pages on the the web, but only the one that are willing to pay for clicks through Adwords.
Bounce rate and time on page is good factures to optimize for, among the many onpage components that Google take into account.

Strategies to improve quality score
We use two main strategies to improve quality score. The first is to optimize for the low hanging fruits in the existing structure and the other is to make a new Adwords structure that is optimized for quality score.

Optimizing an existing Adwords structure for better quality score
We alway start with the landings pages. We know it is the achilles heel for most Adwords specialist, because it is usually a slow process to have the site changed, especially if you are working with big clients.

If you have good landing pages and you are not competing against super optimized Adwords competitors, it should be easy to get a quality score close to 10. You do that by:

  • Specify the demand in many thousand keywords (use search terms to find them)
  • Add negative keyword (ex. So you don’t get “how to” traffic to a product page)
  • Make small very targeted ad groups, so you can write very targeted ads

Most of the work getting a perfect quality score, is done at the landing pages. You can still try to promise a little more, than you can keep, in the ads, but it is not something we recommend if you have other options.

Marking a perfect structure for optimizing the quality score
Imagine you have a long tail keyword and you want to get a perfect 10. So you make an ad group with just one keyword, so you can make very targeted ads. You also make a landing page that is only focused on solving the searchers problem, that use the long tail keyword. You add background information, video, a special offer that is too good to turn down. Because you made such a good landing page, it is easy to write an ads that stand out. You get a high CTR and a high ad relevance, when it compete against ads that is more general in their message. It is because the searches know they can solve their problem fast and easy, when you are able to articulate their problem in the ad.

To do one long tail keyword at the time just take to long time. What you need is a system that works at scale.

Let’s say you have a webshop and in that you have a filter. The webshop is selling spare parts for cars. You make a spreadsheet with a list of the difference options:

Now you make ads that is combinations of the difference lists. Her are some examples:

As you might see from the final URL, we use a category pages as landing pages, where we have filtered the results, so we get the products the searcher is searching for. If we show a picture of the car model, write some text about choosing the right spare part, add instructions with video etc. we have a pretty good landing page.
Because of the very specific ads, we get a great CTR and ad relevance. The landing page will not only get a high quality score, but also convert well, because all good options and information are served on a silver platter.

If the competitors are not doing the same thing, we should have a perfect quality score, which we can use to get low CPC and a high impression share. The high CTR and conversion rate insure a big market share.

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