One particular aspect that often causes confusion is the Google Ads Quality Score. If you’re not familiar with it, this elusive metric can seem like a mysterious and daunting obstacle standing between you and your advertising goals.
As a small business owner, venturing into the world of Google Ads can be both exciting and overwhelming. While the potential to reach a wider audience and boost sales is enticing, navigating the ins and outs of the platform can leave you feeling confused and frustrated.
But fear not; there are solutions to alleviate this headache. Understanding the elements that go into this score, such as keywords, ad relevance, and landing pages can help you improve your score and maximize your ad spending.
You don’t have to navigate the rabbit hole alone; we’re here for you! So buckle up and get ready to walk away with a deeper understanding of what Quality Score is and why it’s such a critical aspect of your advertising strategy. Let’s get started!
What is Google Ads Quality Score?
When it comes to advertising on Google, the Quality Score (QS) is the ultimate judge and jury. This metric is much more than just a number; it’s a reflection of how well your ad meets the needs of your target audience.
When users search for something on Google, the search engine wants to provide them with helpful ads that are relevant to their query. After all, if the search engine doesn’t succeed in providing users the right “answers” to their queries, then people will cease to use it, and Google will no longer be the number one search engine!
So to ensure it succeeds in maintaining its dominance, Google Ads has set forth a scoring system that allows it to evaluate ads concretely.
To calculate this score, Google takes into account a variety of factors, including ad relevance, landing page experience, and expected click-through rate, which we will discuss later.
The scale ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 representing low quality and 10 reflecting excellence.
How does it affect your ads? Well, if you have a low score, Google may opt to show a different ad instead of yours.
In other words, the QS determines if your ad falls into the privileged list of top-tier searches or gets absent from the radar altogether.
It’s safe to say that the Quality Score holds the key to unlocking the door to success in the world of PPC advertising. So, it’s important to already be in the know about this before you even start running ads so you can avoid irreversible mistakes that can ruin the chances of your future campaigns.
Why is it important for your ads as a small business?
As a small business owner, Google Ads Quality Score holds significant importance for the success of your advertising campaigns. After all, this straightforward metric is essential in determining the overall effectiveness of your ads on Google’s platform.
Here are some of the reasons why learning about it is critical:
Access to the best ad placement.
With a higher quality score, ads are more likely to have a high rank and appear in the top spots on search engine results pages (SERPs), giving them greater visibility and allowing them to gain more views, engagement, and conversions.
Lower cost per click.
A higher quality score means that ads and keywords are more relevant to users’ search queries. Google then rewards you by lowering your CPC when you have relevant ads and keywords in order to keep customers satisfied with their search results. It’s like getting a discount on advertising costs for following what Google wants you to do.
Lower bounce rate.
Having a higher quality score helps you increase overall customer satisfaction, which in turn leads to fewer people clicking off the page quickly or marking your ad as inappropriate content. Low bounce rate means better engagement to the landing page.
Higher Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
For small businesses, increasing your Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) is crucial for survival in today’s competitive marketplace. By achieving a high Google Ads Quality Score, you can improve your chances of success in online advertising.
A higher score leads to increased impressions, lower Cost Per Click (CPC), and ultimately higher Click-Through Rates (CTR). This, in turn, drives a higher ROAS for their advertising campaigns.
Remember: It’s not just about creating ads that grab attention; it’s also about ad relevance and the user’s landing page experience.
- Are your ads aligned with the search queries?
- Does your landing page reflect the promise of your ad?
These are aspects that affect your quality score, and it’s crucial for small business owners to be familiar with them.
We should also mention that repeatedly failing to meet the quality score criteria can lead to dire consequences, such as a low overall Google ads account score or even a ban from advertising on Google Ads — yikes!
So, it’s wise to pay attention to your Quality Score and take the necessary steps to improve quality score for the benefit of your small business.
Understanding the Components of Quality Score
In this section, we’ll be diving headfirst into the nitty-gritty details of what makes up this critical metric. From the components that contribute to it to the impact it has on your overall advertising performance, this guide has got you covered.
(Expected) Click-Through Rate
Expected CTR is an important metric to monitor when it comes to the quality of your ads. It’s called “Expected” because it is Google Ads’ prediction. Once your ad is running, instead of Expected CTR, your historical CTR will be used to evaluate your score.
The ECTR estimate determines the likelihood of an individual clicking on your ad when searching for a particular keyword. If you receive an “Average” or “Above Average” status, you can rest easy knowing your chosen keywords are expected to perform well.
However, if you receive a “Below Average” status, it’s important to take action by changing your ad copy to include more mentions of the keyword. By doing so, you’ll be able to improve your CTR and maintain a high-quality score.
Another technique would be to place this keyword in a separate ad group and run it with a more appropriate ad copy. This way, you won’t be reducing the Expected CTR score of other keywords closely related to your current ad.
Ad relevance is a measure of how well the message in your ad matches the search queries you’ll likely appear on. You’ll also get a quality score of either Average, Above Average, or Below Average based on your ad relevance.
To stay in the top tier, it’s important for your ad copy to be relevant to the search query.
For example, if your ad is for “fix kitchen plumbing”, you should not bid on keywords for “buying kitchen sinks.” While it is related, it is not relevant, so watch your keywords closely.
By thinking of your ad’s relevance to the query, you’ll ensure that they are both suitable and compelling to potential customers. In turn, you’ll see higher engagement rates.
Landing Page Quality or User Experience
When it comes to improving your Quality Score, Landing Page Quality and Experience should be at the top of your list.
Essentially, this refers to how helpful, and user-friendly your landing page is for those who click on your ad.
Some important factors to consider are:
- how coherent and clear your landing page is;
- whether or not the content on the page relates to the search terms of your visitor and your ad copy;
- how easy it is to follow the directions provided on the landing page;
- if the landing page provides the answers to what the user seeks.
By ensuring a positive user experience through your landing page, you can greatly impact the overall success of your keywords and ads.
So, if you want to increase your Quality Score, start by taking a closer look at your landing page and seeing how it relates to your keywords and ad copy.
Historical Performance is a crucial factor in determining an ad’s Quality Score in Google Ads. The metric measures how well an ad has performed in the past, including its actual click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and overall engagement.
The higher the historical performance, the better the quality score, and the higher the ad’s ranking will be.
How to Improve Your Quality Score
You might be asking: “you mentioned I should know about quality score beforehand. But I didn’t and now I have a low score! What do I do?”
Keep calm: A low Google Ads quality score doesn’t necessarily mean it’s game over.
As long as your Google Ads account has not yet been banned, then you still have a chance to do it right. With some strategic tweaks and optimizations, even the underdog ad can rise to the top.
As with most things in life, it’s all about the effort you put in — and if you can make it work, your ad can shine brighter than the rest.
Here are some things that can help you, grouped into various sections. I suggest you apply improvements to different aspects of your ads simultaneously for your campaigns to improve.
When choosing and managing keywords:
- Identify the keywords that best describe your business. Use keyword research tools to find the most appropriate keywords, even the ones your competitors are using.
- Use targeted keywords that prompt action. Familiarize yourself with the different types of keywords that you can use so that you know which to use and which ones to discard. Very broad keywords might give you more impressions but may also result in lower click-thru rates. And as we already know, if you have low CTRs, chances are your score will lower down, too.
- Group similar keywords and its variations together. Not only does this allow for better organization and management, but it also enables you to create highly relevant ad copy for each ad group. By grouping together keywords with similar themes or intents, you can create targeted ads that speak directly to your audience’s specific needs and interests.
For instance, if your business is in real estate, create separate ad groups or ad campaigns for audiences that are looking to rent, those looking to sell, and those looking to buy.
- Utilize negative keywording. Negative keywords are the terms that you don’t want your ad to appear for. While it may seem counterintuitive, eliminating irrelevant or non-performing keywords can actually improve your overall campaign performance, since it ensures that your ad is only visible to users who are searching for relevant topics.
For instance, if you are into automobile repair, you might want to blacklist keywords such as “discount auto”, “secondhand automobiles”, and “automobile tires for sale.” While they may seem relevant, they will not give you the customers you want to attract.
Additionally, reducing the number of clicks from irrelevant searches can help you save money on your ad spend in the long run. By carefully reviewing your existing keywords and identifying any that aren’t delivering results or are attracting the wrong audience, you can create a list of negative keywords and significantly improve the efficacy of your Google Ads campaign.
- Implement dynamic keyword insertion to make your ads more relevant. Dynamic keyword insertion allows you to replace certain parts of your ad with specific keywords, making the ad feel tailor-made for each individual user.
Let’s say you have a bakeshop, you might want to dynamically insert the different types of cakes you offer. You will place your keyword like this:
You will then receive traffic from:
- Buy Chocolate Cake
- Buy Red Velvet Cake
- Buy Pound Cake
- Buy Chiffon Cake
When creating ad copy:
- Keep your headlines short and sweet. Make sure that it accurately reflects the product or service you offer. Include the keywords in your description lines as well as in your display URL when possible. This way, users know exactly what to expect when they click on the ad.
- Create unique ads for each keyword or group of similar keywords and regularly refresh them to keep them relevant (as is also mentioned under keywords section above).
- Make sure your ads are clear and action-oriented. With only a few short words to work with, it’s crucial that your ad conveys not only what you have to offer, but also directs the user to the right landing page for further engagement. The last thing you want is for potential customers to be confused about what it is that you’re offering, or worse – to click on your ad only to be directed to an irrelevant landing page. So, before hitting the “publish” button, take a moment to ensure that your message is crisp, concise, and geared towards action.
- Test different ad variations to optimize performance. Trust us, your target audience is not a monolith, and what resonates with one person may not resonate with another. Testing various ad formats, headlines, and calls to action will allow you to gather data on what drives the highest engagement and conversions.
The beauty of testing is that it’s not a one-and-done deal. Continuously refining and optimizing your ad campaigns will help you stay ahead of the competition and ensure that you’re maximizing your advertising budget. So, don’t be afraid to try new things – your audience will thank you for it.
When creating your landing pages:
- Ensure that your landing page matches the ad copy and keyword used. Simply put, if your landing page doesn’t match the expectations set by your ad copy and keyword, users will likely feel misled and confused upon arrival. This can lead to frustration and a high bounce rate, ultimately impacting your overall conversion rate, and, as we all know, your quality score.
- When it comes to commanding attention and standing out in a sea of brands, having a unique selling proposition (USP) is vital. A USP is a statement that conveys a clear and compelling reason why your product or service is different from the competition. By including a USP in your marketing materials, you not only differentiate yourself from others but also connect with potential customers on a deeper level.
- If you want to drive conversions and boost sales, a call-to-action (CTA) is essential. This is a phrase that encourages consumers to take a specific action, such as “Shop now” or “Subscribe today.” By adding a CTA to your marketing materials, you give customers a clear path to follow and drive them toward the desired outcome. You might want to keep testing the type of CTA and its placement(s) on your landing page.
- With the majority of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it is imperative that your landing page is not only fast-loading but also mobile-friendly. Studies show that a vast majority of visitors will abandon a page that takes longer than two seconds to load, and in today’s mobile age, the stakes are even higher. You must avoid having your audience click the back button (remember the bounce rate!).
When optimizing your campaigns:
- Track all of your campaigns, ad groups and keywords using Google Ads account reports dashboard or by utilizing a third-party tracking tool. A good Google Ads management tool will provide comprehensive insights into your campaigns, giving you a 360-degree view of your marketing efforts. This will enable you to make data-driven decisions that lead to better engagement, higher conversion rates, and ultimately, increased revenue.
- Keep track of your actual CTR and make adjustments based on performance. By tracking your CTR, you can gain insight into the effectiveness of your messaging and make changes accordingly. The beauty of CTR is that it is a real-time indicator of how well your ads are working, allowing you to pivot quickly if something is not resonating with your audience. In the ever-changing landscape of digital media, it’s more important than ever to stay nimble and responsive to the data.
- Monitor your competitors’ campaigns and adjust accordingly. So you already know your performance, what about the competition? If they’re doing better than you, then maybe you can still improve yours! Spying on the competition is an integral part of any marketing strategy.
- Analyze your search query reports for new keywords to target. The search term reports show what user query actually triggered your ad to be shown. No matter how knowledgeable you may be on your business or niche, you are bound to miss something, and that something might just be the key to your success. As such, you should routinely check the search term reports provided by Google Ads and see if there are keywords that you missed and should include in your ads.
- Take advantage of remarketing campaigns for better results. Remarketing campaigns are a savvy way to boost your advertising outcomes. By targeting previous visitors to your site or those who have interacted with your brand in the past, remarketing campaigns have the potential to achieve better conversion rates, increased click-through rates, and higher engagement levels. They’re also an excellent method to help encourage customer loyalty and retain existing customers.
- Analyze user behavior data and incorporate the insights into your ad strategy. If you have a website, then it would be best to add a heatmap. It’s like having a secret window into the minds of your potential customers – you can see exactly what they’re doing, where they’re clicking (or not clicking), and what’s ultimately leading them to make a purchase or bounce from your site.
Incorporating these insights into your ad strategy can be a game-changer, helping you optimize your ads for maximum effectiveness and ultimately boosting your bottom line.
- Utilize A/B testing to optimize the performance of your ads. By running experiments comparing different versions of your ads and your landing pages, you get valuable data that can help you optimize your campaigns.
As your campaign performance improves over time due to increased click-through rates and customer conversions, this will positively impact your overall quality score as well. Therefore, it is important for advertisers to continuously monitor their campaigns and adjust any necessary settings or messaging in order to ensure maximum outcomes from each ad set.
Also, once you apply any of the tips mentioned here, check if there’s been an improvement in your score (if you have a low one).
Small businesses looking to advertise on Google must not overlook the importance of Quality Scores. It is not just a mere number, but a crucial factor that can determine the success of a PPC campaign.
By understanding what Quality Score is and how it is calculated, businesses can use various strategies to improve it. From optimizing landing pages to refining ad text and targeting the right keywords, every effort counts towards achieving a higher Quality Score.
If you’re still scratching your head about how it all works, Braxy can help you out! Our AI expert is seasoned in all things Google Ads and can provide you with the guidance and knowledge you need to take your campaigns to the next level.
Let Braxy take care of the technicalities, so you can focus on what you do best – growing your business. Don’t let confusion hold you back – schedule a demo for Braxy today and start seeing the results you’ve been dreaming of.