Quality Score is a metric used by major PPC platforms like Google AdWords, Bing Ads and others that helps determine the eligibility of an advertisement being shown in the search results, its ad position, and the cost the advertiser will be charged for that ad position.
The higher the Quality Score (QS), the less an advertiser will pay per click in relation to others bidding on the same keyword. Seems simple enough, but there are many factors that go into calculating the QS.
Quality Scores are graded on a 1 to 10 scale. A Quality Score of 7 or higher for a keyword is considered above average. If a keyword’s QS is too low (2 or less), an ad might not be eligible to show at all. For advertisers with low budgets, it’s especially important to focus on QS to lower cost and improve their return on investment.
Although understanding and optimizing for QS can seem confusing, here are five easy steps to focus on in your PPC account that will boost your QS, save you money, improve your ad position, and improve the performance of your PPC campaigns:
1. Account structure
Building a well-organized and systematic account structure is key to the health of your Quality Scores. Ensuring that ad groups and campaigns are arranged into tightly-knit themes of keywords will provide a foundation for strong QS. To learn more about account structure, check out this post that outlines how to construct a successful PPC account.
2. Keyword/ad copy/landing page relevance
Are all the keywords relevant to their corresponding ad copy? Does that ad copy align with the content on your landing page? The keywords you are bidding on should relate closely to their corresponding ads. In turn, those ads should direct visitors to a landing page experience that relates to their search query.
Platforms like AdWords value a high degree of relevancy between your keywords, ad copy, and landing pages. This will not only help improve your QS, but will help improve your conversion rate as well.
3. Improve landing page experience
It’s important to follow best practices for PPC landing page user experience when optimizing your QS. Keywords and ad copy text should be reflected in the first content a visitor sees when entering your landing page. Content should be clear, useful, and engaging for the user. Basically, the landing page should fulfill the needs the users are searching for when they originally performed their search query. The desired action should also be obvious when they first land on the page, which may be to make a purchase, complete a lead form, or call your sales team. Test what works best for your users!
4. Clickthrough rate
Expected clickthrough rates (CTRs) are also taken into consideration when assigning Quality Scores. Typically, keywords with a strong CTR will carry a strong Quality Score, which makes improving CTR a key area to focus on when optimizing QS. Target your keywords well by bidding first on exact and phrase match keywords before deciding to widen targeting to broad match. Using broad match modifiers (+) can also give you some added control and ensure that your ads aren’t triggered by unqualified search queries.
Having strong keyword targeting is the best place to start. For those who already have strong keyword lists, ad copy writing is the next thing to focus on. For tips on creating successful ads check out this post on tips for writing great PPC ad copy.
5. Keyword research
As an active PPC advertiser, you should always be on the lookout for new and more valuable keywords to bid on. Keywords are your audience targeting so bidding on the right keywords can make or break the performance of your PPC campaigns. For tips and tools on how to perform successful PPC keyword research, check out this post with 8 free keyword research tools for PPC advertising.
Quality Score optimization can seem daunting at first, but making some small changes can have a major impact on account performance and improve results. Although it shouldn’t be used as a standalone key performance indicator, QS can help you evaluate the relevancy and overall health of your PPC account and should be monitored closely.