The AdWords Quality Score – What Helps, What Hurts

Quality Score in AdWords determines how much you will pay for each click as well as where Google AdWords will show your ads on the page. It behooves every account manager and website owner to strive for the best Quality Score possible to control costs and improve exposure.

So what can you do to improve your own Quality Score?

1. First you need to find it and know what the number is. You can mouse over each keyword to bring up a speech bubble to see your quality score or you can add the Quality Score to your columns when on the keyword tab. You’ll find the Quality Score in the Attributes Section 3 choices down.

2. If your quality score is below 4, typically your cost per click will be impacted as well as your first page bid. Lower than that and Google may start to minimally serve your program. Get to 2 and 3 or lower and your keyword may get the “shown rarely due to Quality Score” notice – which means you may want to pause or delete that keyword.

3. I’ve seen situations where a on-target keyword gets a bad quality score and Google stops serving ads on that keyword. The steps to remediating this type of problem I’ll cover on Thursday so please check back. There are things you can do to try to get Google to show ads again, but it takes more time to solve those types of issues.

4. Here are a few of the relatively unknown facts about Quality Score.

  • Keyword stuffing on your landing page will not help you improve your quality score. Google determines Quality Score based on scoring of your entire website at one domain, not just based on one site page. So transparency and a privacy policy help your landing page/domain Quality Score.
  • Only the exact match variation of your keyword impacts the actual Quality Score. Broad Match and Phrase Match performance do not factor in to the ranking.
  • Keywords with zero impressions will not affect your quality score. Now, keywords with impressions and no clicks and therefore a low CTR will definitely impact your Quality Score.
  • Quality Score is not updated every day. Although your ability to participate in the AdWords auction is calculated with every search that matches phrases and words in your keyword list, be aware that landing page Quality Score and the first page bid are not recalculated. In fact landing page may only be update every month or so.

In conclusion, AdWords Quality Score is a very important factor of success on AdWords. I recommend keeping your keyword list small, don’t include any single words, and select the very best landing page for each keyword in your ad group.

Check back Thursday to find out how to fix a thorny Quality Score problem on a keyword you really like!