This series of blog posts did eventually become a book about quality score – in June 2011 ‘Quality Score in High Resolution‘ will be released. More details and ordering information can be found here. The official Google descriptions of Quality Score do a masterful job of explaining and positioning the important component of Adwords, and yet leave us just a little confused and uncertain of what we should do. Let’s look at some of the most complete and visible Google official statements regarding Quality Score – with some commentary. A Quality Score Overview In this page from Google Adwords Help, we get a great overview of Quality Score. It begins with four clear and reasonably definitive statements:
- The AdWords system calculates a ‘Quality Score’ for each of your keywords.
- It looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user’s search query.
- A keyword’s Quality Score updates frequently and is closely related to its performance.
- In general, a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).
This gives us proof Quality Score exists, assurance that it’s not an entirely one dimensional measure, confidence that it can change at any time, and a promise that a higher Quality Score is in our interest. But it also begins building the uncertainty; quality is based on relevance which itself is undefined and based on numerous (soon-to-be-named) factors. But then it’s based on performance, an entirely undefined term. And finally it turns out we can’t completely count on higher positions and lower costs if we earn high Quality Scores, because that’s only true in general. How Quality Score is Used In that same help file, we’re also told of four different ways that Quality Score is used:
- Estimating the first page bids that you see in your account
- Determining if a keyword is eligible to enter the ad auction that occurs when a user enters a search query
- Affecting how high your ad will be ranked (AdRank = Bid x Quality Score)
- Influencing your keywords’ actual cost-per-clicks (Actual CPC = (Ad Rank to beat ? Quality Score) + $0.01)
This section confirms that Quality Score drives how often, in what position, and at what price your ads appear. That should be enough to convince us Quality Score is VERY important. How Quality Score is Calculated In another page from Google Adwords Help, we get to the heart of the matter. We knew Quality Score existed and we knew it was important. What we really want to know is what drives the calculation and ultimately what can we do to get the best Quality Score possible. While we continue to refine our Quality Score formulas for Google and the search network, the core components remain more or less the same:
- The historical clickthrough rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on Google
- Your account history, which is measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account
- The historical CTR of the display URLs in the ad group
- The quality of your landing page
- The relevance of the keyword to the ads in its ad group
- The relevance of the keyword and the matched ad to the search query
- Your account’s performance in the geographical region where the ad will be shown
- Other relevance factors