Google Takes the Mystery Out of AdWords Quality Score

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Ingvar Bjork / Shutterstock.comPeople often think of pay per click ads as simply a matter of money, where the more they pay, the more people will see the ad. While this is true in a general sense for Google Adwords, internet marketers should know that there are other factors that go into play when Google decides what ads get shown to whom. It has been known for a while that Google takes the quality of ads into consideration, but it was unknown to what degree. To help demystify the subject, Google released a white paper that explains what the quality score is and how it’s used.

Though Google wants to get as much revenue as possible from advertisers, they have to make sure that people enjoy the ads they see while browsing. This is partially solved by keywords and demographic targeting that the advertiser selects. However, Google also takes into consideration Ad Rank and a Quality Score.

“People are happier with their search results, including the ads, when those results are relevant,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Advertisers are more successful when they show relevant ads, as they’re more likely to see engagement. It’s with this in mind that we factor the quality of your ads into our AdWords auction.”

According to the white paper, Setting the (Quality) Score, Google points out that there are three big components to determining ad quality:

  1. Ad Relevance – How much the ad matches the user queries

  2. Click Through Rate – Using the number of clicks to determine how effective an ad is

  3. Landing Page Experience – Once users arrive on the landing page, what is therir behavior? Time spent on page, number of links clicked, bounce rate, etc.

Business owners should be glad that Google does this, otherwise, they might end up paying for a lot of ads that weren’t performing. In the white paper, Google takes time to note that ad quality isn’t a key performance indicator but still something business owners should take notice of.

“Your Quality Score is like a warning light in a car’s engine that shows how healthy your ads and keywords are,” the paper’s authors stated. “It’s not meant to be detailed metric that should be the focus of account management.”

Now that people understand the general importance of ad quality, the paper also takes the time to explain what does and what doesn’t matter when it comes to ad quality. As with just about everything else on the web, device types matter. Google notices which ads are best for mobile devices and have good mobile landing pages. The way that keywords relate to one another and the overall performance on relevant searches also matter.

It’s also important to note what isn’t considered in the quality score. The structure of ads, the backend things like campaign names and ad groups, aren’t a factor for the quality score. Similarly, users can feel free to test the various networks like Google Display Network or those of search partners. Though expected click through rates are a factor, these estimates aren’t based on traffic. Also, the ad position doesn’t matter. This means that bidding up to higher positions won’t improve the quality of the ad.

There is a lot of valuable information in the white paper, and business owners should check it out for themselves when they get a chance. There’s even an explanation of how to use the quality tool Google provides for AdWords users. We will be back in the near future with a list of things that marketers can do to improve the Quality Score for their ads. In the meantime, read this article with tips on ways to increase the quality of the copy in ads.


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