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Digital Marketing

Here’s how Google rates your ads (and how we use Google Ad Quality Scores to improve ad performance)

March 25, 2022

Google 👀 is 👀 watching 👀

There’s a rule of thumb I like to remind our clients when it comes to our Google advertising….

Google wants users to have a fantastic ad experience, as it encourages them to click more ads more often (cha-ching!).

You won’t be surprised to hear that Google is constantly checking your Google Ad quality to ensure it’s providing a good experience for users. 

Google Ads reward campaigns and adverts with higher quality scores (combined with a higher cost per click bid) and give those campaigns a higher ad rank.

If you can improve your Quality Score, your brand stands to save (and even make) more money.

This article will uncover the Google Ads Quality Score and why we need to care about it (and how to spot when it becomes too much of an obsession).

Ok, let’s do this.

The Basics: What Is The Google Ads Quality Score?

A Google Ad Quality Score is the metric we use to see how relevant Google sees your ads, keywords, and landing pages, but more importantly, it’s how likely the searcher is to see and experience your ads. 

Advertisers get a quality score value between 1 (ahh!) and 10.

We’re aiming for 10’s here (obviously) as higher Quality Scores can lead to lower overall ad costs and better ad positions. (or Ad Rank. More on that later).

On the flip side, when we see lower Quality Scores, it tells us that we’ve got some fantastic opportunities to tackle. 

So to recap - the lower the Google Ad Quality Score, the more you’ll likely pay per click. The higher the score, the less you are likely to pay per click.

Now, remember that we’re focusing on clicks here, which means focusing on getting traffic to your website. Getting a conversion is a different conversation, which involves planning around the entire user experience, landing page optimisation, calls to action and the offer!

It can all sound a little complex, but when you break it down we’re trying to achieve a higher Google Ad Quality Score, which doesn’t only work to lower your cost per click but can also help increase your Google Ad Rank.

So What Is Google Ad Rank?

Your Google Ad Rank rank is, as the name suggests, how Google ranks your ad and campaign alongside your competitor's campaigns. 

We’re always aiming for a high Google Ad Rank, as it helps you to appear near the top of search results.

When we look at a Google Ad Rank, three central components make up the equation of a positive score. They include:

  • Having a competitive bid 
  • Achieving a high-quality Google Ad score 
  • Including relevant Google Ad extensions. 

You’ve got the best chance of ranking in the highest ad position on Google searches if you can nail that trio.

Why Google Ad Quality Score Is Important

I’m guessing that you’re starting to see that having a good Google Ad quality score affects your ROI (your return on investment), which is essential when we look at your entire advertising campaign spend. 

Improving your quality score will lower your cost per click; a lower cost per click reduces your potential cost per conversion. Lowering your cost per conversion helps you either make more money or it will help you save money on wasted Google Ad spend.

How Does Google Define Your Quality Score?

We’ve covered how you can increase your quality score, but how does Google break down your Google Ad Quality Score? 

It’s broken down into three key factors:

Your expected click-through rate measures how likely it will be for someone to click your advert when it shows up in a Google search. 

Your ad relevance shows how closely matched your advert copy is to the intent of the user's search phrase.

Your landing page experience determines whether your landing page is helpful to the searcher and connects the content of your website back to the original search phrase. 

Remember, right at the start of this article, we mentioned how Google wants users to have the best search experience possible. 

If someone jumps on Google with a problem, Google wants relevant searches to appear as close to the top as possible, which means that the user is more likely to click an advert, which means it’s more likely Google will make money. 

You’ll also have a better chance of increasing your sales and revenue.

Three key factors seem far too simple, though, right?

As you would’ve guessed, Google is far more complex, and there is a broader list of factors that can also impact your Google Ad Quality Score directly or indirectly. They include:

  • Your ad click-through rate (including your current click-through rate and your estimated click-through rate). 
  • Your display URLs and the keywords contained in these.
  • Your past click-through rate history.
  • The relevance of your advert copy to the user's search keyword.
  • The overall quality of your landing page (Is it mobile friendly? Is it adequately optimised? Is it fast loading?). 
  • Google considers your ad's geographic performance, broken right down to performance at a city level.
  • And finally, Google assesses your ad performance per device. 

So the aim of the game is to create the best damn Google Ad you can that’s relevant to your searcher's intent, that leads through to a kick-ass landing page.

Best Practices For Better Quality Score

So now we know what Google is looking for when ranking your ads; what are the quick things you can do right now to help improve your Google Ad relevance and Google Ad quality?

  • Focus on improving your click-through rate.
  • Ensure your choosing, tracking and testing relevant keywords.
  • Make sure you have a decent budget allocated to your campaign, and you are bidding enough per click. Google allows us to use some tremendous automated bidding strategies, which help this process, but you also need to ensure that you allow a high enough daily budget for this to be effective.
  • Build a good quality negative keyword list. While it’s not directly affecting your quality score, it makes sure your ads target the right audience and saves on wasted Ad spend.
  • Consider building a proper Google Ad Structure. Be careful with your choice of Campaigns, Ad Groups and Keywords. Create tight Ad Groups, and when you see an extensive list of keywords in a single Ad Group, consider breaking them down into smaller, manageable keyword lists.
  • Look at your landing pages! Get a fresh set of eyes and look at what your users see. Make sure the landing page content matches the user's search intent and doesn’t make the user go searching for answers. For example, if the user is looking for ‘Baby Strollers’, make sure your Ad links directly to your ‘Baby Stroller’s’ landing page. A quick tip: chances are your landing page is not your homepage.
  • Improve your overall Google Ad Campaign structure.
  • Do a quality score audit and make sure you get rid of the keywords with a low-quality score (as long as they’re not driving your conversions and making you money.)

When Should You Ignore Quality Scores?

Google Ad Quality Scores aren’t the be-all and end-all of your campaign management. It’s a tiny piece of the puzzle, but it can have tremendous impacts on your overall Google Ad cost per click and your cost per conversion when done correctly. 

Many businesses use Google Quality Scores to measure how their account performs. 

However, remember that the absolute accurate measure of your Google Ad Campaign is whether the chosen keywords drive relevant traffic to your website and support sales and conversions.  

For example, a branded search campaign or a competitor bidding campaign can bring you a lousy Ad Quality score. But typically, these types of campaigns can also drive high sales. 

Make sure you check the whole data story and not judge your decisions purely based on Google’s recommendations.

The Unbounce conversion glossary says it best – “Quality Score is a helpful diagnostic tool, not a KPI. Relevant ads and keywords are at the heart of a good quality score.”

Obsess on improving your conversion rates, sales funnel, tracking and reporting, and lifetime values.

Above all else, use relevant keywords, write great ads and create a beautiful landing page experience, and you’re onto a good start to having a killer Google ad campaign.

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