Understanding Google Adwords Quality Score

August 26, 2009

We get questions all the time on how to improve Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns. One issue that comes up a lot is related to how Google ranks Adwords ads. What we find is that small businesses as well as large businesses do not understand that Google Adwords has it's own algorithm that is entirely separate from their organic search algorithm. It used to be that which ever advertiser bid the most on a keyword would have their ad show up the highest. This is no longer the case. Google has now gone to a Quality Score to rank your Adwords ads.

Ad Rank Formula

The ultimate factor in how your Google Adwords ads rank is based on your Ad Rank. Ad Rank is generated by combining your Quality Score with your Cost Per Click (CPC) bid.

Ad Rank = CPC Bid X Quality Score 

So How Is Your Quality Score Calculated?

The first thing to note is that the Quality Score is calculated every time your keyword matches a search query. As in typical Google fashion they do not provide the entire library of variables that goes into calculating your Quality Score.

However, they do offer several factors that go into the calculation.

  • Keyword's historical click-through rate (CTR)
  • Historical CTR on all ads and keywords in your account
  • Historical CTR of the display URL in the ad group
  • Relevancy of your keyword to the ads in its ad group
  • Relevancy of your keyword and ad to the user's search query
  • Relevancy of your keyword to your landing page
  • Account's performance in the geo-targeted region where the add will be shown

How To Achieve A High Quality Score?

 Here are several tips to help you achieve a higher quality score.

  • Include your keywords into the ad copy. 
  • Group related keywords together. Makes it easier to place similar keywords into ad copy. 
  • Your landing page should contain information related to your keywords you are bidding on 
  • Use keywords that are relevant to your customers


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