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How to Stop Fretting About Your AdWords Quality Score

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Google AdWords / August 03, 2017

How much time do you spend worrying about your AdWords Quality Score? Hopefully, none. If you’re focused on giving your user a good experience, your Quality Score is probably already stellar. High or low, learn how Quality Score works, and how you can make it even better.


It’s not witchcraft or rocket science. AdWords Quality Score is simply AdWords’ way of telling you how you’re doing. Or put a different way, the higher your Quality Score, the more you probably care about the user’s experience.

You probably know by now that your Quality Score is based on three factors: expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. But Quality Score does not determine your ad’s position on the search results page: Ad Rank does.

Every time your ad competes for a position on the page, AdWords looks at a whole bunch of factors to figure out what it calls your Ad Rank.

In other words, your Quality Score alone does not determine your Ad Rank. But the factors that determine your Quality Score (expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience) do contribute to your ultimate Ad Rank.

Here is a complete list of the elements that determine your Ad Rank:

  • Your ad’s expected clickthrough rate
  • Your display URL’s historical clickthrough rate
  • The relevance and usability of your landing page
  • The relevance of your text ad to the user’s search term
  • How well your account has performed in the regions you’re targeting
  • How well your ads perform on various devices

Which is why Quality Score is a barometer of your campaign’s health, not (as many believe) the sole factor that determines how your ad will rank.

Stop Freaking out about your low Quality Score

Google rewards you if you care about giving your visitors a quality experience. In other words, if your Quality Score is low, Google is trying to send you a message: you’re either deliberately or inadvertently giving your visitors a poor experience.

So how do you fix it?

  1. Group your keywords based on website sections & subsections

Think about the connection between keyword > ad > landing page. Make sure your AdGroups are based on actual sections of your website. This way, if your website makes sense (and we hope it does) then each AdGroup will contain keywords that relate to one product or service.

  1. Use keywords that actually refer to your product

AdWords doesn’t like hyperbole. Even if your product or service really is the best, if you’re using keywords such as “best shoe shining” and “favourite shoe shining”, you are not going to get the love. Focus instead on real details, such as “Boston shoe shining” or “ski boot repair”.

  1. Write unique ads for each keyword list / AdGroup

Similarly, write your ads based on the keywords in each of your AdGroups. So each AdGroup contains keywords and ads that are relevant to one another. When the user searches, she will see an ad that contains her keyword (or one similar to it). It’s common sense, really.

  1. Drive to the best possible page (or better yet, build landing pages)

And third, pay a lot of attention to your landing pages. If you don’t create landing pages (and we argue that you should) drive ads from each AdGroup to the most relevant landing page. Drive to a product category page, or point each keyword to the relevant product.

  1. Add relevant content to your landing pages, and make them usable

But here’s the rub: You need content on these pages. If your category or product pages are thin on content, do your keyword research and make sure you have a paragraph of relevant content on each landing page.

  1. Focus on landing page usability

Google will also penalize you if your landing page delivers a poor user experience. Take the time to learn best practices, and implement them.

Happy user = happy AdWords

Mislead your users with hyperbolic keywords, generic ads and ugly landing pages, and your Quality Score will tank. Improving your AdWords Quality Score simply means paying more attention to a searcher’s experience: from the search query to the ad, to the landing page. As we said, it’s not nuclear physics.

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