Quality Scores and Quality Score Drivers

A cornerstone of High Resolution PPC is the fact that there is a true but over-simplified view of just about every aspect of paid search marketing. With Quality Score, the popular notion is that there is one single specific metric calculated based on a few simple variables and attached to each keyword in your Ad-Groups. Google fosters this impression, but a careful reading of their materials (and the comments of some very knowledgeable folks) suggests it’s not that simple. There are a number of different Quality Scores or QS components which are calculated independently and used separately or collectively in different situations. And these scores aren’t static. Quality Score is computed in real time for every search. The calculation is based not just the keyword but on the unique combination of search query, keyword, the text-ad selected, the searcher’s geography, and other variables. While we don’t know everything about the Quality Score calculation(s), we can rank and summarize the main influencers:

  • CTR is by far the largest factor, and considered at many levels – from the historic overall average CTR of your account, to the CTR of the Ad-Group the keyword is in, to the recent CTR of the specific query-keyword-textAd combination.
  • Relevance is important – this requires you to keep tight topical and even literal groupings for your keyword within an Ad-Group and ensure that the specific terms (or clear & common synonmns) appear within each matching text ad and on the target landing page.
  • ‘Other Factors’ are also considered although they probably play a generally minor role – these include the geography of the user (do you’re ads get higher CTR’s in FL, you’ll get a higher QS for FL searchers), the load time of your pages, the content on and linked to your landing pages, and more.

Around these basics there are a lot of details to chase down and act upon. But the basic lessons should be learned first.

  1. The impact of Quality Score on your campaigns in enormous. Even without knowing exactly how it’s being calculated or applied, we need to understand the general goals of Quality Score and execute our campaigns accordingly. Selectively or occasionally doing these things isn’t going to to work.
  2. Quality Score rewards things you want to do anyway. Do not tolerate poor performing click-through-rates. Narrowcast your Ad-Groups from query to landing page. Treat your visitors with respect. Doing the basic right takes you a long way, and yet of the hundreds of accounts I review each year, very few uniformly get these things right.

Applying these lessons in a rather simple fashion could in many cases deliver excellent Quality Score results. Want a quick-fix Quality Score strategy example? Try this:

  1. Go through your Ad-Groups, look at the text-ads that are running. Delete any ads getting CTRs 50% lower than your top performers.
  2. Go through the keywords in each Ad-Group. If there are keywords getting performing 2X worse than your average CTR, pause them or move them to a new ‘Rehab’ Ag-Group.
  3. Visit your landing page. Think like a prospect and fix anything that would stop you from understanding, trusting, or moving forward.

To learn more about Quality Score, and hear a more detailed approach to applying the deep facts to improving your campaigns, attend our Quality Score Webinar today (Tuesday Nov 25) at 12:00 EST.



The First Machine Learning Marketing Platform
Built to Scale Search for Local Resellers & Agencies

Automate, optimize and track more campaigns, more profitably.