Quality Score Questions Answered

“What is quality score?” I hear you cry, “and why does it matter to my PPC (pay-per-click and ad-words are two other names used) campaigns?” Good questions!

Quality score is an important part of Google’s calculations when it decides where your ads will show on the page (ad rank). You can have everything set up to the book, but if your quality score is low at auction, you’ll lose out to your competitors.

Quality Score is made up of 3 components; expected click-through rate, landing page experience and ad relevance. Essentially, it’s how your ads are performing vs. how Google thinks they should be performing.

Many users of PPC, agencies included, will look past Quality Score as a minor roadblock, with the attitude that if they bid more and more, eventually they will beat competitor ads anyway. It’s true, Max. CPC (cost per click) bid and budget is a big part of how Google decide where you are placed at auction. You can bid all the money in the world, but if your competitors have better quality ads that follow more of Google’s best practices, they’ll still win. The phrase “money isn’t everything” can be well applied to this situation.

Here are some of the top questions I get about quality scores.

“Where can I find my exact quality scores?”

The short answer to this is, you can’t. Quality Score is calculated in real time, and could change at every auction. However, if you want to get an overall idea of how your keywords are doing, you can see this under the Keywords tab in AdWords.

“Can I move my products around in my Shopping campaigns without resetting my quality score?”

Yes! Quality Scores are attributed to a product, and not the campaign, ad group or product group they are in.

“Why is my quality score so low when it’s got one of the best CTR’s in my account?”

Your CTR for any given keyword will be compared to the same keyword across multiple accounts. So, if your competitors all have a 25% CTR for the same keyword, and yours is only 10%, your expected CTR will be below average, hence affecting your Quality Score.

“I’m concerned about my Ad Group/Campaign/Account Quality Score”

Don’t be. There’s no such thing. All Quality Scores are at keyword/product level.

“Will my low search volume keywords affect my Quality Score?”

No. One of your keywords may have a low Quality Score, but this won’t affect any of the other keywords in that ad group. Each keyword’s Quality Score is calculated individually.

“What happens to my quality score if I need to pause and restart
campaigns?”

This makes no direct difference. Rather, if you have campaigns that have been paused for a while, the auction environment could have completely changed. There could be a new competitor, or a previous one that has revamped their paid search strategy. This could cause a change on your quality score.

“Will my low search volume keywords affect my Quality Score?”

No. One of your keywords may have a low Quality Score, but this won’t affect any of the other keywords in that ad group. Each keyword’s Quality Score is calculated individually.

Why follow these tips?

You might have read all of that and thought “surely bidding more competitively and increasing budgets makes the most logical sense, why hasn’t he written about that?” Well, yes. Google loves it when people spend more money on their platform. Why wouldn’t they? And it’s not to say that with a healthier budget your campaign performance wouldn’t increase. I’m sure they would. But why not let your competitors spend all the money, whilst we implement these tips and tricks that save you money, and make you more likely to beat your competitors at the same time? Sounds good to me!