Quality score is one of the few constants in PPC marketing. It is a score calculated by Google and Microsoft alongside your bid to determine your ad rank.
Yet, the factors of quality score and how much each lever impacts them is often a subject of debate.
We will dive into each quality score factor and explore how they impact your overall campaign and account success.
This article is written from a Google-first perspective. However, many of the strategies and mechanics carry over to Microsoft Ads.
Google calculates quality score based on the combined performance of three components:
Important note: Quality score is calculated based on the exact impressions of your keyword’s search terms. If you decide to test a new match type, the quality score data won’t be lost.
However, if you change a keyword without copying it over and making the change in the copy, you will remove the original keyword (which can stunt performance).
Be careful when making any adjustments to keyword match types or syntax.
Expected CTR is tough because it’s a third of quality score but out of your control. Google gives the keyword a score based on how it performed previously, which can either be:
These scores are determined based on how your campaign did against comparable advertisers. However, depending on the advertisers Google chooses compare you with, it is possible for a good CTR sometimes to get downgraded to average (or even below average).
This is why focusing on the other two quality score criteria is much more critical. Optimizing for good CTR is more important than optimizing for good expected CTR.
If you’re curious how your account is faring on this metric, you can pull the expected CTR column in Google Ads’ UI and sort keywords by their status. (Remember not to discount keywords with a lower expected CTR, they might be winning in other ways.)
A higher expected CTR indicates that you are good at getting people to engage with your brand – and making the ad network money.
The discounted costs per click (CPCs) are a way to reward you for the volume you’ll represent in the auction. This is why lower search volume industries can struggle to achieve above-average CTR (and shouldn’t let that influence their opinions on the campaign).
Ad relevance is the easiest lever to control and influences the other two quality score factors.
Here, Google examines how well keywords are featured in the ad copy and how closely the keyword idea matches the query. The closer the match, the better the score.
Moreover, it’s vital to differentiate ad strength from ad relevance.
Ad strength is a score given to the creative quality of the ad and does not impact quality score. It is calculated based on:
Ad relevance looks at the relevancy between the keyword, ad, and landing page. This is calculated by assessing:
As match types relaxed to cover intent over exact spellings and order, the rules of engagement shifted. It’s no longer important to have every single keyword to ensure ad relevance matching.
Even though broad match keywords struggle a bit more with getting higher quality scores, they also have an easier time securing cheaper spots in the auction.
|Row Labels||Average of Quality Score||Sum of Conversions||Average of Avg. cost|
Essentially, these campaigns target the same keywords and use the same ads. What’s different is the localization of search, search volume in these locations, and auction prices.
Phrase and exact will enable a more specific matching (and typically higher match types). However, the search volume and actual conversions might drop.
Landing page experience is the closest PPCs will get to technical SEO. Both digital marketing channels must use this metric as a guide. Google crawls the page and looks for the following:
The ad bot must be able to access the page to calculate this component of quality score (i.e., crawl budget is allocated for it).
However, PPC landing pages are not required to be followed and indexed. More often than not, it is ideal that paid landing pages are no-indexed and no-followed so they can use templatized content and not be forced to carry through the navigation bar.
Typically a good landing page experience is where a high conversion rate comes from, so you will naturally see conversion rates improve with this score.
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Generally, quality score is more of a health indicator than a KPI. That said, it unlocks meaningful workflows and data in accounts.
Here are five tactics to get the most out of quality score:
Part of the reason Performance Max campaigns perform so well is they blend branded and non-branded search. Branded terms will have higher conversion rates, cheaper CPCs, higher CTRs, and near-perfect keyword to ad to landing page relevance.
Building a branded campaign allows your account to achieve a few important things:
Having this campaign in the account will allow net-new campaigns/ad groups/keywords to benefit from the halo effect of your branded campaign (starting from an average of 6-7 instead of 5).
With the rise of ChatGPT and AI in search, search patterns have evolved beyond formulaic queries. While it's true that broad and simple queries might have search volume, they also represent quality score traps due to auction price and expected CTR. This is because:
By investing in conversational terms, you'll ensure:
Behavioral analytics is one of the easiest ways to understand what is causing joy and despair for your users. Struggling with landing page experience, but you're not sure why? Tools like Microsoft Clarity (free) or Hotjar (paid) can tell you exactly what is causing the friction.
Whether it's a slow load due to a big image/video or a "hidden" form, these insights will help you fix the user experience issues getting in the way.
One of the most common reasons for friction is cookie consent modules not jiving with the rest of the page. This can mean the module is too big, or it's hard to see how to get out of it once completed. Adjusting for this will improve the landing page experience score and help the customer experience.
A good keyword with data typically will settle between 7-9.
While it might maintain a high score throughout its existence, it's also normal for a keyword to get closer to the 5-6 average score as it gains thousands of impressions and clicks.
This is also why low search volume industries tend to struggle to get out of low quality score land if they can't establish high equity through branded campaigns.
A keyword can drop a point or two and be okay. If it's going from 5 to 2, that likely speaks to an underlying problem to fix.
Your SEO team must be part of your quality score conversation.
Between enabling quality score via crawl budget for the ad bot to the foundation for the landing page structure, SEO is integral to a healthy PPC performance – and a holistic search marketing strategy.
At the onset of the campaigns, discuss whether your brand will be better served by using a subdomain, the same pages as organic or no-follow/no-index pages on the main site.
Quality score is still here and a viable account optimization guide.
While it should never be treated as a KPI, the rules of engagement must be factored into account management.
from Search Engine Land https://searchengineland.com/quality-score-ppc-394513
via free Seo Tools