Is your Quality Score hurting your Google Adwords PPC performance?

By Loran Simon | Our Service

When we take over an ad account the first thing we look at is the account’s Quality Scores.

Quality scores are a significant factor in AdWords account success. If your campaigns are not performing as well as you think they should, then perhaps you need look no further than your keyword Quality Scores to find out why.

Did you know that every keyword in your account receives a score of 1-10 - this is a quality score?  The rating it obtains is an estimate of the quality of your ads and landing pages triggered by that keyword.

A high Quality Score indicates Google thinks your ad and landing page are relevant and useful to someone searching on that keyword. A good Quality Score means your ads will rank better and appear higher up in the search engine result pages (SERPs). In other words you’ll achieve a better position in paid search results, attract more clicks, get a better cost per click and ultimately, higher conversion rates for less money.

You see on Google money can’t buy you a better ranking, only quality can!

If your competitor’s campaigns are achieving a higher quality score than yours, its likely they are both outranking you in terms of position for the top spots, and probably for a fraction of the price you are paying for clicks.

So ignore your Quality Score at your peril.

How is my Quality Score calculated?

Three main factors are taken into account when assessing a quality score for a given account:

  • Expected click-through-rate (CTR) ie.the ads themselves
  • Ad relevance ie. relevance of the keyword to the ad and the relevance of the keyword and ad to the search query.
  • Landing page experience ie. its quality

The fact is one of the most common denominators for low-quality scores is landing pages.

It’s still a source of continued bemusement to us when we inherit campaigns not using landing pages. It’s shows little regard for Google’s stated aim ‘to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.’

The fact is Google is as big and ubiquitous as it is, because people trust it to deliver relevant search results. If its search results (including your ads) aren’t relevant, people won’t trust it and will use another search engine.  Google is not going to risk its dominance and reputation on your poorly conceived ads and destination pages.

Instead it rewards advertisers who create relevant ads. And, when you use a specific and unique landing page, deeply relevant to the ad its connected to, it can make a huge difference to the performance of your campaign.

Directing users to anywhere else, particularly your website not only risks losing valuable clicks as users navigate away from the desired page through any number of ‘exit routes,’ but also risks obtaining a poor quality score from Google for low relevance and/or low quality pages, both of which can decimate your Quality Score.

3 actionable ways that you can raise your AdWords quality score today:

#1 Use Message Match from keywords to ads to landing pages

Message match is quite simply carrying over the same information that you promise in the ads to the landing page.  Ensuring a searchers expectations are met precisely with perfect relevancy is guaranteed to help improve your quality score. And, the higher your relevance/quality score, the better your click-through rate and the cheaper your cost per click.

So, why then is a landing page so much more effective in delivering message match than your website?

Typically, a custom landing page is designed not only to deliver exactly on the keywords and ads but also require minimal clicks from arrival to goal conversion. Well designed and written, individual landing pages for each ad group and each keyword can radically improve conversion rates, which means your budget is suddenly going so much further.

#2 Limit the number of keywords per ad group

We don’t say this lightly but you may want to ignore Google’s own advice here.

We think this is too many. Non-search term specific ads won’t deliver against searchers expectations and won’t therefore lead to CTRs that outperform the average.

Limiting your keywords to much smaller groups, even single keyword ad groups can CTRs skyrocket with commensurate increases in Quality Scores.

# 3 Use Expanded Text Ads and 5 Ads Per Ad Group

Google recommends having at least 2-3 ads per ad group. The recommended number of ads should be also based on a number of impressions your ad group will receive. If your ad group receives a low volume of impressions you may want to limit your number of ads per group. But our best advice is create up to five and run them equally.

Having more high-quality ads can generate up to 15 percent more clicks and conversions than ad groups with just one. Improving your CTR will help improve your quality score and so the cycle begins again.

And, if you aren’t using Expanded Text Ads then think about doing so. Currently, the character length limits are as follows:

Headline 1: 30 character limit

Headline 2: 30 character limit

Description: 80 character limit

We’re often asked what difference our landing pages make, or why we don’t just send searchers through to an existing website?. We hope this article as gone that little bit further in explaining this deeply significant relationship between the keywords, ads and landing pages. If there is one word to takeaway - its specificity. The more relevant the connection the better.

If you’re unsure where to find your Quality Score and want to run a keyword diagnosis, follow the steps below:

  • Click the Campaigns tab at the top.
  • Select the Keywords tab.
  • Click the white speech bubble next to any keyword's status to see details about that keyword's Quality Score. You'll be able to see ratings for expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.

Or, if you would like us to do it for you book your FREE FULL Pay-Per-Click Audit today and let us take a look at what you can do to improve performance

Next week, we’ll give you some tips on how to do your own Audit so stay tuned but don’t forget we’re happy to do it for you. Or Click here to give us your details.

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About the Author

After generating more than 85,000 patients for our own dental lab, and for the clients of our digital marketing agency for dental practices, I cracked the code for running successful online marketing campaigns.