The Professional Guide to Adwords Quality Score
Google Adwords Quality Score: How to Overcome and Succeed.
Google Adwords Quality Score can be your worst enemy if you don’t know how to influence it, but if you have the right strategy it will allow you to cut your cost per conversion by as much as 80%, according to data from Wordstream.
In this in depth article I am going to provide you with a data driven approach to increasing your Quality Score, so you can consistantally achieve high Quality Scores time after time and make huge savings within your account.
In the first three chapters I am going to explain the 7 different types of Quality Score, yes that’s right there are 7, not just the 1 that you see within Google Adwords. I am then going to explain what the biggest factors in the quality score algorithm are using some fancy data analysis and finally in chapter 4 I am going to show you how to improve your Quality Score.
Chapter one: The 7 different types of Quality Score
Historical Quality Score:
Account level Quality Score, also know as historical quality score is a reflection of all of the performances of the keywords and adverts in your account. Although Google have never confirmed its existence, there is significant evidence to suggest that this exists. A study by Mark Ballard showed that there is a very strong correlation between the average account level quality score and the initial impressions weighted quality score of new keywords. This would strongly suggest that there is some form of account level quality score operating.
If you have an account that has a large number of low quality score keywords this will not only negatively affect these keywords individually, but I will also affect the rest of the keywords in your accounts. Thus making it harder to introduce new keywords into your account.
Account level quality score is not a visible metric in the adwords interface so to track your account level quality score you will need to use an adwords script. A free way to track account level quality score is to use this script written by Fredrick Vallys a former Google employee which will email you your account level quality score every day.
Ad group level Quality Score:
Ads group level quality score is a good way to determine areas of your account which you can work on, for example if you have keywords within your ads group which are below the average for the ads group you may want to look to move these to a more suitable ad group.
Similarly your historical quality score, Ad group level quality score is not visible in the adwords interface and therefore you will need to use a script to track it. Russell Savage has written this script which allows you to track you’re ad group level qualiy score and will write it into a Google spreadsheet.
Keyword level Quality Score
Keyword level Quality Score is the visible Quality Score that you see in the adwords interface, which is a number between one and ten. Quality Score at keyword level is only based on search queries which match your exact keyword.
You should also note that the initially quality score of your keywords will be based upon your historical account performance until the keyword has reached its impressions threshold. Once the keyword has accumulated several thousand impressions it will start to reflect its performance in the account as opposed to your historical quality score. Until your keywords have reached the impressions threshold there is very little which can be done to improve their quality score.
To view your keyword level Quality Score, go to the keywords tab and hover over the speech bubble. Google will display an estimate of your keywords Quality Score. When optimising your keyword level quality score it is a smart idea to track how your keyword level Quality Score performs over time. Martin Roettgerding has written a script which I strongly recommend that you use, which writes the Quality Scores of your keywords into a spreadsheet and emails you changes over time.
Advert level quality score
Each of your adverts will have their own respective Quality Score, as their click through rates will vary widely between adverts. If a large proportion of the adverts in your ad group have a low Quality Score then they will bring down other adverts around them as Google takes this into account.
Quality score will also determine whether your ads show or will show extensions, which I will be talking more about in the why Quality Score is important section of this guide. This is because Quality Score is part of the ad rank forumula.
Landing page quality score
The user experience of your landing pages is a key element in the calculation of your Quality Score. It is however worth noting that this does not have any effect on the CTR of your adverts which is the largest contributing factor in the Quality Score algorythm, which I will go into more detail later on in this guide, and therefore does not carry as much weight. The Quality Score of your landing pages is assessed algorithmically which can lead to uncertainty and is only in rare cases assessed by a Google representative. Poor landing page experience will lead to lost conversions and increased costs.
Landing page experience is calculated by looking at several different factors. Google considers the relevance, usefulness and originality of your content. The ease of navigation around your website and also the transparency and trustworthiness.
To view an estimate of how your landing pages are performing by hovering over the speech bubble in the keyword tab.
Your landing page experience will either be above average (good), average (room for improvement) or below average (your landing page experience needs to be improved).The Wordstreams landing page tool is another way to grade your landing page and will give you an indication of how good your landing pages are is in respect to landing page experience and conversion rates.
Mobile Quality Score
Mobile quality score is calculated the same that Quality score is calculated on desktop devices, however it is calculated in a separate calculation so they are independent and will not effect each other directly. This means that your mobile quality score will not negaticly effect your desktop level quality score if your mobile devices do not perform as well
When calculating Quality score on mobile devices, Google will take into account the location of the device. So to optimise mobile Quality Score so it is crutial that you do everything that you can to optimise location based Quality Score.
Location Quality Score
Location has a major factor on your quality score because the click through rate of your ads will vary from location to location. This is based on a number of different factors such as the amount of disposable income that residents in that area have. For example if you were advertising high end products in an area where residents have a low disposable income the chances of them clicking are much lower than they would be if they were in a high disposable income area.
Google have stated that location has a large effect on device level Quality Score and your account Quality Score as a whole so you should make sure that you use all of the settings available to maximize location based quality score. I will be talking in depth later in this guide about how you can optimize your account to improve your location based Quality Score.
Chapter two: Why is quality score important?
There are two main reasons for optimising your quality score the first is that you will appear higher in the googles search results and secondly you will pay less per click.
Quality score is an important factor in a metric called Ad Rank, this is calculated by Google every time your advert is triggered and determines whether your adverts will show and the position of your adverts in Googles search results. The higher your Ads rank the higher you will appear in Google’s search rankings.
Ads Rank = CPC Bid x Quality Score
You can see from the equation above that by increasing your Quality score your can reduce your CPC bid and achieve the same Ads Rank, therefore appearing in the same position on Google but paying much less. Google’s display network works using a similar formula
Ads Rank = Display Network Bid x Quality Score
The effect of Quality score on cost per click and CPA
There have been several studies done into how quality score effects you actual cost per click and cost per conversion. The first one was done back in 2009 by craig danuloff who works for Aqusitio. He analysed data from the accounts which were managed using the Aqisitio software and came to the conclusion that by increasing your quality score from 7-10 would result in a reduction in cost per click by 30%.
Quality Score & CPC
The latest study by wordstream in 2013 shows a similar results. This was generated using data from several thousand accounts which are using the Wordstream platform. The data below shows the results of Wordstreams study, The data is based on impression weighted visible keyword level quality score.
The data clearly shows that a quality score above 5 will result in a discount in your cost per click, and for Quality Scores below 5 you will be penalised. One of the most striking factors of this research is that it shows that by increasing your quality score to 10 you will half your cost per conversion, making your campaigns considerably more profitable.
Quality Score & CPC 2013
Wordstream have also conducted research into the effect on quality score on your overall cost per acquisition. The results are shown below, you can see that by increasing your Quality Score you will considerably decrease your cost per acquisition. The data below shows that by increasing your quality score from 5 to 10 you will decrease your cost per conversion by 80%
Quality Score Impact
Here is the table form of the graph above that shows the discount per conversion as a percentage at different Quality Scores.