Calculating Quality Scores: What Does it Influence?

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Knowing how to calculate your quality score is crucial to the success of any online marketing campaign you put forth. Why? Google uses its Quality Scoring to communicate with you, the advertiser, what they think about the quality of your keywords. Therefore, it would behoove you to learn how your quality score may or may not be impacting the success of your online marketing campaigns and business.

Quality score is Google’s way of aligning the interests of three different parties within the online advertising ecosystem:

  1. The Publisher (aka: Google) – Google wants to monetize your ads
  2. Advertisers – want to get new leads/sales/customers
  3. Users – those seeking information

What Does Quality Score Influence?

Quality score determines the eligibility of an ad to go to auction to appear on Google. If your quality score isn’t good enough, Google won’t allow you to participate in the auction at all. Therefore, the relevance of your ad matters! Similarly, if you have two advertisers competing for an ad placement, the ad with the higher quality score (more relevance) will win out. Other areas that the quality score influences includes:

  • PRICE: the price you need to bid in order to maintain a given position
  • TOP SLOT: only available to high quality ads (minimum threshold for ad to show above the organic search results). If no ad meets those requirements, then Google will show the organic results.
  • DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion): There is a minimum quality score threshold before Google will allow DKI.

Quality Score = CTR + Relevancy + Landing Page

What Contributes to Quality Score?

It’s not necessarily a linear curve that determines quality score. Instead, the following three things contribute to your quality score:

  1. CTR
  2. Relevancy
  3. Landing Page

Click-Through-Rate (CTR):

By far, CTR is the most important factor contributing to your quality score. Have a new account? Your keywords will be used to determine the quality score. Google also looks at a number of different factors to determine what your expected CTR will be. A couple of other things worth noting here:

  • **Google does not use the campaign ID or the adword ID to determine your quality score.
  • **You do not have to have an account full of exact match keywords to get a good quality score.


Google has a notion about how the different words in the query are going to change the CTR of your ads. It is constantly performing correlations. If they find that there is something that has a strong correlation, then Google can use it as a determining factor. Google knows, at the exact moment that a search is done, how it will affect your quality score.

Key Takeaways:

  • Google uses relevancy signals unique to the specific query to help inform quality predictions
  • Google looks for correlations to use as “utter relevance factors” — aka “does CTR vary based on these factors?”

Landing Page

Your landing page is the last part of determining your quality score; it is also the smallest part of the trifecta. Google measures the user experience based on how relevant your landing page is to user engagement and how the website is dealing with the user’s information.

Changing your landing page to drive conversion rates is one of the biggest impacts you can have. However, too many people make the mistake of only worrying about their landing page when it comes to their quality score.

**One way to determine if you have a landing page problem: In your Analytics and Adwords accounts — check pages with the highest bounce rate, exit rate, time on page etc.

layered_puzzle_pieceGoogle Ad Extensions

Do your ad extensions boost your CTR? If you use ad extensions and another competitor doesn’t but has the same bid, then you will have the upper hand.

Which ad extensions will actually give my users more information and increase my CTR?This is the question you need to be asking yourself.

  • Ad extensions typically improve CTR and overall campaign performance because they make ads more useful.
  • Google does not care if you use ad extensions if it doesn’t improve your CTRs.
  • The only thing that matters is if you are using an ad extension relevant to your ad and it, in turn, improves your CTR.

8  Quick Optimization Tips

  1. Build better ad groups. Create tightly-themed ad groups. don’t put everything into the same group!
  2. Use multiple ad texts in each ad group.  A one-word change can make a huge difference, but you won’t know that until you test it. [Ex: eBay in the Netherlands changed their wording from “Find” to “Buy” and saw an immediate increase in conversions]
  3. Use all ad extensions that make sense, but only if it makes sense. [Ex: If you have a client that does not take phone calls, then don’t set up a phone call extension for them! However, you may want to set up a ‘review’ extension, put it in your ad and see if it will boost your quality score.]
  4. Create a compelling Call To Action (CTA) in ad texts. Don’t make an ad text that no one will want to click on!
  5. Fix keywords with lots of impressions and low CTR.  Optimize with ad text to try to raise up quality score [Ex: If so many people are searching for this keyword and I have a low quality score, then what am I missing?]
  6. Fix keywords with very few impression and low CTR. These could really affect your account level quality score [Ex: If you have  a lot of long-tail keywords, make sure you pay attention!]
  7. Set bids based on your business goals. Focus what matters to your business first. Your Quality Score should only be used as a guiding metric, not as an end-all-be-all metric.
  8. Use Search Query Reports (SQR) to discover what users look for. Look for negative keywords as well as new keywords to add. The more specific you are with your negative keywords, the less guesswork Google will have to do.


In An Ideal Ad Group:

Keywords Should:

  • …contain 5-30 closely related keywords
  • …not always use different match types for same key word

Ads Should:

  • …have at least 2 ad texts
  • …use the keyword in the ad text
  • …deliver relevant information!

Some Final Thoughts to Consider:

  • Be patient. Give Google at least 100’s of impressions before you start drawing conclusions.
  • Respond to bad Quality Score ASAP.
  • Optimize or delete poor Quality Score keywords.
  • Experiment. Always experiment with your Adwords account; never let an account become static.
  • Track the history of your Quality Score.

For more information about Quality Score, or to speak with a certified Google Adwords specialist, contact C0MPLÉX1 today at 919-926-8733.

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