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Quality Score—What’s All the Fuss?

In placing your display ads and selecting keywords, you may have heard or read about Quality Score and its importance. A lot has been said and written about Quality Score but there still remains a lot of misunderstanding or under-understanding about what it really is, how it can help or hurt you and how you can improve it so. Given that, I thought it was worth a look at this admittedly important factor in your AdWords campaign.

What It Is

Quality Score is essentially a way that Google rates different things that ultimately impact both the position and cost of your online ads. In developing Quality Score, Google looks at the user experience once at the landing page associated with a given ad, the overall relevance of the ad to the topic and audience and the anticipated click-thru-rate. Scores are given on a scale of 1 at the low end to 10 at the high end.

Quality Score should be considered as important as cost-per-click bids, display network bids, ad group bids or individual ad bids in your ultimate ad rank.

Many Different Flavors

The most commonly known about Quality Score is for an individual keyword. However, that is not the only element that can be scored. Despite lack of admission on the part of Google, it is commonly believed that an account overall can receive a Quality Score—and that multiple individual keywords with low scores can drag down an overall account score. In addition, landing pages, ad groups, display campaigns and individual ads can all be scored. Mobile and desktop versions of ads will be assessed separately.

How to Improve Your Quality Score

If you want to boost your Quality Score—any flavor of it—there are some very clear things that you can do. Some recommendations include the following:

  • Fix Broken or Bad Link Structures

Redirecting or even cleaning up URLs can make a big difference. Eliminate all apostrophes and parenthesis and replace any forward or backward slashes, ampersands and quotation marks with either a dash or a space.

  • Speed Up Your Site

This directly impacts the landing page experience, one of the factors that impacts your Quality Score, which impacts your ad placement and cost…see the connection?

  • Edit or Pause Low-Performing Ads

Review your analytics and highlight those ads with click-thru-rates lower than 1.5%. Revising or putting on hold these under-performers can yield positive results for your Quality Score.

  • Review Your Landing Pages

Because the landing page experience is central to a Quality Score, it is more than worth your time to take a fresh look at these pages. Make sure they are as good as they can be—it really does matter.

All of these activities are things you should be doing regularly even without Quality Score in mind. They impact so many things that, well, you could say there’s really no reason not to be doing them.

Yes, Quality Matters

As you can see, all of the discussion about how Google is giving more weight to overall user experience and the relevance of content is accurate. Quality Scores focus directly on both of these things, reiterating the importance of focusing on what your customers need.