How to Improve Your Quality Score with Google Ads

Zac Johnson

Let’s be honest. The shotgun approach to Internet advertising is a waste of both your time and your money. You can’t just throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks, just as much as you can’t just “wing it” with a PPC campaign and hope it performs. Instead, the only way you’ll be able to maximize your ROI and minimize your cost per conversion is with incremental improvements over what you’ve already done. And this is very much true with PPC and Google ads too.

This is where Quality Score (QS) comes into play with your Google AdWords campaign. Quality Score is the rating system that Google uses to define the relative quality of your keywords and PPC ads. Each and every one of your ads is assigned a score between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest. It’s not just a vanity metric either; ads with a higher Quality Score also lead to lower cost-per-click (CPC) and higher ad rank. In short, if you can improve your Quality Score with Google ads, your ads will appear higher, more often, and for less money. That sounds pretty good, right? So, how do you do it?

keywords and adwords

It’s important to point out that as important as Quality Score is, and how it represents the overall performance of your ads in ad auctions, it is not used at the actual auction time to determine your ad rank. That being said, if you can consistently improve your Quality Score with each subsequent iteration and campaign, your overall ad performance should also improve as a result. You can check your QS by adding the column in your keywords tab.

Broadly speaking, the two most influential factors that go into determining Quality Score are the click-through rate (CTR) and the user experience. There are other factors at play, but these are the biggest and they both relate to quality and relevance. There are a number of ways you can improve both.

In terms of boosting the CTR on your ad:

  • Refine your keyword list. If your keywords are too broad or irrelevant to the ad copy, your CTR will suffer. By targeting the most relevant, specific keywords, you’re zeroing in on users who are more likely to click your ad.
  • Shoot for the long-tail. This relates to the first tip. Long-tail keywords can be much more specific and thus much more relevant to the end user. This, in turn, improves the CTR on the ad.
  • Improve your ad copy. Even if your ad gets shown in front of the “right” user, the ad copy — that includes both the headline and the main text — needs to be enticing enough to attract a click. High quality ads lead to a higher Quality Score.
  • Expand your ad groups. Create and use as many ad groups as is useful when setting up your campaigns. By going with smaller, more specific ad groups, you’ll be able to focus in on the relevant keywords and groups that lead to a higher CTR. Try to use fewer keywords per group to avoid diluting the relevance.
  • Include negative keywords. These are the keywords that will prevent someone from seeing your ad. There’s no sense in showing your ads in front of users who won’t click (or you don’t want to click) on your ads.

And for improving the user experience:

  • Improve ad relevance. If someone clicks on an ad and it takes them to a landing page that is not at all what they expected or what they wanted, that’s a rather poor experience. Make sure that the keywords you are targeting are right on point with what your landing page is showing.
  • Create a better landing page. If someone clicks on an ad and your landing page is perfectly relevant, but the landing page loads slowly, is poorly designed, or doesn’t provide a pleasing experience, that detracts from how the user perceives the page too. This means better writing, better images, a better layout, faster load times, and many other considerations. The Google Page Speed Insights tool can highlight some areas to work on.
  • Ensure your landing page is mobile-first. At this day and age, being mobile-friendly or even mobile-optimized isn’t enough. Google is very much taking a mobile-first approach to web design at this point, and your landing page needs to reflect these shifting priorities. Check the Google Mobile-Friendly test for possible areas of improvement.

Are you ready to put these tips into action? A great place to start is with the search offers right here on Aragon Advertising. With higher quality ads, you’ll improve your performance across the board, from clicks to conversions to dollars in your back pocket.