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Google Ads Quality Score: Holy Grail or Overhyped Metric?

0 · by Dennis Moons · Updated on 28 March 2023

Many advertisers look at quality score as the Holy Grail to making Google Ads work. As a result, they spend too much time obsessing over trying to optimize it.

Others are skeptical and take everything they hear about it with a pinch of salt.

So who is right?

Today, we’re going to find out.

So, after reading this article, you’ll have all the practical information about quality scores that you need to improve the performance of your Google Ads campaigns.

What Is the Google Ads Quality Score?

According to Google’s definition, quality score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, landing pages, and keywords.

Google gives a numerical value – between 1 and 10 – to each keyword, and it influences how much you pay for each click (CPC) you receive on your ads.

The higher your Quality Score, the less you have to pay for a click.

Quality Score is also one of the main variables that make up your Ad Rank, something we’ll see later that is essential if you want your campaigns to do well.

Without the Quality Score, advertisers using irrelevant keywords could get on top of the search results by simply increasing their CPCs.

Which would lead to very low-quality ads appearing, and thereby hurting Google’s cash cow.

So, it made sense for Google to create a metric like the quality score to force advertisers to create better ads, use more relevant keywords, and use optimized landing pages.

In short, good quality scores make Google happy, users happy and advertisers happy 😊

What Are the Benefits of a Good Quality Score?

A good quality score for a keyword can get you a nice CPC discount, which is why it’s so important.

So what does this discount look like?

Google Ads Quality Score CPC influence
Quality scores and their impact on the cost per click

As you can see in the image above, the current average quality score is 5.

Keywords with a quality score between 6 and 10 get a significant cost per click discount, while advertisers with a quality score of 4 or lower on their keywords have to pay more for each click.

The Problem With Very Low Quality Scores 😱

Low quality score warning

If your quality score is too low, Google may decide not to show your ads.

If your keyword has a score of 1/10 or 2/10, Google shows the following warning”Rarely shown (low Quality Score)” in the status column.

But even if your ads get shown, you’ll be wasting your money as the cost per click is increased by at least 150% compared to advertisers with a quality score of 5/10.

It’s crucial to optimize the Quality Scores of these keywords, which we’ll look into later in the article.

Since the Quality Score influences your CPCs, it also has an indirect impact on your overall Google Ads performance. Which means:

  • If your Quality Score is higher, you pay less for clicks.
  • If you pay less for your clicks, your conversions will be cheaper.
  • If you can get more conversions for the same cost, your Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS) will increase.

All this means you can look forward to greater profits from your Google Ads.

And, in addition to the discounted CPCs, a good Quality Score can also boost the position of your ads.

We’ll show you exactly how that happens in the next section.

Ad Rank: Why Quality Score Matters

As we’ve already discussed, the Quality Score influences the actual cost per click you’ll pay.

But to explain why this is happening, you need to know a little more about how the ad auction works inside of Google Ads.

Here is what the ad auction looks like:

  1. Someone puts in a search query into Google
  2. Google looks at which advertisers want to show ads
  3. Google calculates the Ad Rank for the keyword that matches the user’s search query
  4. Google uses this ad rank to decide which ads will show, which position they get assigned and how each advertiser needs to pay
  5. This Ad Rank score determines the placement of your ads amongst the search results.

From this list, the term Ad Rank might be new to you.

Let me show you the formula Google uses to calculate Ad Rank:

Ad Rank = Max. CPC x Quality Score (x Expected impact of ad assets)

While Max CPC is very important, quality score is the most important component. Because if your score is too low, Google may simply not show your ads.

Google also predicts whether your ad assets (extensions) would give you a boost in CTR that indirectly improves your Quality Score and directly influences Ad Rank (more on this later).

It’s clear that the Quality Score plays a central role in this. So let’s take a look at it in more detail.

What Are the Key Components of the Quality Score?

Contrary to ad rank, Google’s formula for calculating Quality Score isn’t public. They only share basic details about it (probably to prevent advertisers from manipulating it 😎).

But over the years, there have been many experiments that have helped to pin down its key components.

In this section, we’ll explore all essential elements that contribute to the Quality Score to give you a deeper insight.

How to Calculate Your Quality Score?

Before deep-diving into each component, let’s take a deeper look at the three major components Google takes into account when calculating the Quality Score:

  • Expected CTR
  • Landing page experience
  • Ad relevance

These three components don’t carry the same weight:

Google Ads Quality Score components weights weight chart – image source AdAlysis
Google Ads Quality Score components weights weight chart – image source AdAlysis

The chart above shows ad relevance being half as important as each of the other two metrics when optimizing your Quality Score:

The Quality Score Formula

The same research that discovered the different weights from the pie chart above also took a crack at the Quality Score formula:

Quality Score = 1 + landing page experience weight + ad relevance weight + expected CTR weight

Example 1:

Let me illustrate this with an example. Let’s say you have the following metrics for a keyword:

  • Landing page experience: Above average (3.5)
  • Expected CTR: Above average (3.5)
  • Ad relevance: Below average (0)

Based on the formula, you get a Quality Score of 8:

1+ 3.5 (landing page) + 3.5 (expected CTR) + 0 (ad relevance) = 8

A decent score, despite getting a zero for ad relevance.

So if the CPC for your keyword is $1 if you had a Quality Score of 5, your current score would mean a 37% discount and a resulting CPC of $0.625.

Example 2:

Now, let’s check what would happen if you score the maximum for ad relevance (2) with your other metrics being average (1.75):

1+ 1.75 (landing page) + 1.75 (expected CTR) + 2 (ad relevance) = 6.5

While there are no major issues with your CTR and landing page experience, your Quality Score is lower by 1.5 due to the increased weight of both metrics.

However, it’s not a big issue as Google rounds this value to 7 (as it doesn’t show fractions), which is still considered decent.

While ad relevance is an important factor, it seems you’d gain a greater boost to your Quality Score by focussing on your landing page and expected CTR improvements.

Component #1 – Expected CTR

Expected CTR measures how likely searchers will click your ad if it is shown for the exact same search term as your keyword.

According to Google, expected CTR’s value is irrespective of the position of your ads, ad extensions, and other factors that may affect the visibility and rank of your ad.

It is important to note that CTRs are quite subjective in Google Ads. This means you can get an above-average Quality Score for a keyword with a 2% CTR while Google can rate another keyword as average with a 5% CTR.

Component #2 – Ad Relevance

Ad relevance measures how relevant your ad copy is for a specific keyword.

Basically, Google measures how tightly your ads match the user intent for the search terms triggered by your keywords. The more relevant your keywords are to your ads, the better you score.

Let me illustrate this Quality Score component with two examples:

Joe sells T-shirts with animal graphics and decides to run a Google Ads campaign to advertise his products. Joe thinks the best way to increase the visibility of his ads is to stuff his ad groups with hundreds of keywords, not caring how relevant they are to his ads. Joe’s keyword of “lion” is completely irrelevant to his T-shirt ads, resulting in a below-average score.

On the other hand, James sells the same T-shirts as Joe but creates tightly themed ad groups with only a few keywords inside to match user intent with his ads. Due to James’ efforts, he gets an above-average ad relevancy score for the keyword “lion T-shirt,” which increases his Quality Score by two.

Search Queries to Keyword Relevance

Your ads are shown to search queries that trigger your keywords.

Therefore, the more relevant your search queries are to your keywords, the better you can match the intent of the searchers who see your ads.

If you closely match their intent, they are more likely to click your ad. As a result, your CTRs will improve. As well as your Quality Scores.

In the opposite case, an irrelevant ad will hurt the metrics mentioned above. Let me show you an example:

Searching for “mens sunglasses uk”

If you check the ad above, I searched for stores in the UK that sell men’s sunglasses for a discount (as part of a sale).

I already had a bad feeling about this ad as the copy didn’t include “sunglasses” (not even “mens”).

Landing page without sunglasses

After I clicked the ad, the store’s landing page showed me shoes instead of sunglasses (even though it sells the latter too).

If Yoox included my search query as a keyword for that ad, then I’m sure its Quality Score would be very low as well as the CTR and conversion rate for the term.

Even if the store didn’t include the term as a keyword – but instead, the latter triggered the query – it will negatively affect its search terms to keywords ratio and Quality Score.

Short vs. Long-Tail Keywords

Short tail, generic keywords like “smartphone” have very high traffic, but they are also expensive with low conversion rates. People searching for these terms also have different things that they actually want to see, with many being irrelevant to your keywords and ads.

Specific or long-tail keywords (consisting of multiple words) reflect search intent. While they have lower traffic, these keywords are more likely to convert, cost less, and you can use them to narrow down what people are actually looking for.

Long-tail keywords get a higher CTR – image source: Profitworks

The image above shows that the more specific your keyword is, the better your CTR, positively influencing your Quality Score.

Component #3 – Landing Page Experience

The third Quality Score component, landing page experience measures how well your landing page resonates with the users’ intent after they click on your ad.

To determine your landing page score, Google uses a combination of automated systems and human evaluation.

However, despite the substantial weight of this metric, your overall landing page experience is quite subjective.

With that said, to avoid any problems, focus on making your landing page relevant to your ad, and provide original content to your searchers that will make you trustworthy in their eyes.

Landing Page Speed

When measuring the landing page experience, Google keeps a close eye on your page speed.

This doesn’t mean Google will refuse to show your ads if your landing page doesn’t load at the speed of light.

But to provide a good experience, your page needs to load smoothly, both mobile and desktop devices.

Later in this article, I’ll show you how to optimize the speed as well as other parts of your landing page.

Bounce Rates

Users who click on your ad and quickly leave your landing page will count as low-quality traffic, negatively affecting your landing page experience.

Google sees if a user clicks on an advertisement and clicks on another one a couple of seconds later. In SEO, this is called “pogo-sticking“.  But the same is the truth for any ads in the search results. A high bounce rate or a high rate of quick bounces can indicate that your landing page is irrelevant for specific keywords.

To fix your Quality Scores for such keywords, I recommend including relevant content on your landing pages to keep your visitors engaged.

Other Components

The formula that we discussed earlier in this section offers a good way to guide our optimizations. But it is important to keep in mind that this is just part of the truth. Besides these three main components, there are also a lot of other factors that play a part in calculating the Quality Score.

Historical Account Performance

A few years ago, some advertisers thought to have an aged Google Ads account was key to outperforming their competitors.

While this may have been a bit extreme, they were right in one thing.

Google doesn’t care how old your Google Ads account is, but its historical account performance can influence your Quality Score.

If your ads have been performing well with great Quality Scores and related metrics for a long time, Google will trust you when you introduce new keywords, resulting in better scores.

On the contrary, if your account has a history of low Quality Scores and CTRs, your account’s overall Quality Score will suffer, and you’ll get lower scores when you introduce new keywords for your ads.

This inherent quality of Google Ads accounts that have been performing well is the reason why a black market has emerged with people selling accounts that have been around for a while.

The Geographical Factor

Google calculates a different Quality Score for the different regions you are targeting.

While Google doesn’t display the geo-based Quality Scores in your Google Ads account, you can see the metric if you split up your campaigns for different target regions.

I’ve run an experiment in Google Ads to illustrate this location factor for you with the following details:

  • Two campaigns
  • Same keywords
  • Same website and landing pages
  • Same ads
  • Different target regions (Belgium and Netherlands)
Quality scores for 3 keywords in Belgium

As you can see in the image above, my keywords for the Belgium campaign had an excellent Quality Score (9).

Quality scores for the same 3 keywords in the Netherlands

On the other hand, Google has given the same three keywords a worse Quality Score (8), despite every condition being the same (except for the region) with all three Quality Score factors getting the same score.

I have a longer history and more sales for Belgium than for the Netherlands, which is why my keywords performed worse in the latter region.

This proves Google takes geographical performance into account when calculating the Quality Score.

Device Performance

Google gives different Quality Scores for specific devices based on how well your ads perform.

Your Quality Scores can also vary by the model (e.g., iPhone 11) and the operating system (e.g., Android, iOS) of the devices your searchers are using.

You can see device-specific Quality Scores if you replicate a keyword (with the same set of ads) and modify the device information (e.g., for mobile only).

How to See the Quality Score Inside Your Google Ads Account

With all this talk about Quality Scores, I’m sure you’re eager to discover how your keywords score. So in this section, I’ll show you how you can find it inside your Google Ads account.

When you’re inside your account dashboard, expand the “Keywords” tab on the left and click “Search Keywords” to see all your keywords within your account.

As Quality Score is not shown by default, you’ll need to customize your columns to add the metric.

As illustrated in the image above, you first need to click the “Columns” tab.

All the quality score metrics available in Google Ads

As you hover down on the next page, you’ll see a menu called “Quality Score.” After expanding it, different metrics will show with their historical counterparts:

  • Quality Score
  • Expected CTR
  • Landing page experience
  • Ad relevance
  • Historical metrics

The historical metrics reflect the last known Quality Score for each of your keywords for the reporting period.

To see the scores for the end of each day, you can apply the “Day” segment to your keyword reports.

Example of the full quality score report

After adding the Quality Score metrics, your report’s columns should look like the image above.

If you see a “–” in your report, that means you have a Null Quality Score.

You get this score for new keywords because Google needs to collect more performance data to evaluate them. As soon as your keyword gathers enough impressions, your Quality Score will change from null.

There can be cases when you have lots of impressions on your keywords, but they still show Null Quality Scores.

The reason for this is you need to get recent exact match impressions (when your ads show for a user searching for the exact match query of your keyword) for your keyword to maintain a Quality Score.

In the next section, I’ll show you different methods you can use to optimize your Quality Score and related metrics that influence its value.

How to Optimize Your Quality Score?

If you know the factors that contribute to your Quality Score, you can use that information to optimize the metric.

For every Quality Score point, you go up, you’ll pay less for your bids with potential ad rank improvements.

In this section, we’ll explore the different optimization methods you can use to boost your Quality Score.

The Quality Score Optimization Process

Since we can’t influence the quality score directly, our optimization process also works that way.

To guide you through this process, we’ve put together the following flowchart:

Flowchart to guide your Quality Score Optimization (click to enlarge)

If you take a look at the image above, you can see the flowchart displays the major Quality Score-related problems with the methods you can use to solve them.

Now let’s take a more in-depth look at these optimization methods.

Add Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are an advertiser’s best friend.

They help you get more relevant and higher quality traffic by eliminating irrelevant queries.

So while negative keywords do not directly impact the Quality Score, getting rid of irrelevant and low-converting traffic will give a boost to the overall CTR, which will indirectly improve your Quality Score.

Let me show you an example to see them in action:

Your ecommerce store sells phones and you include the keyword “+black +friday +deals” in your campaign.

While Google shows your ad for a number of phone-specific search terms, your ads also show for “black friday mattress deal”, or “black friday deal on nike shoes” , queries unrelated to the products you are selling.

To avoid your CTR and conversion rate suffering from these irrelevant terms, you add those queries as negative keywords.

After adding them, your ads won’t show for those terms. And you’ll get a nice CTR, conversion rate, and Quality Score boost.

This isn’t a hypothetical example, Verizon, a huge telco in the US, made exactly this mistake this past Black Friday:

Search term <> ad mismatch for Verizon

Although in this case, they would do a lot better if they tighten up your keywords match types.

If you want to learn more about negative keywords, I recommend checking this guide I’ve created here.

Improve Campaign Structure

A good campaign structure makes your ads much more relevant to searchers, resulting in a substantial CTR boost.

For people that have been reading this blog for a while, they’ll know how I consider campaign structure to be at the heart of Google Ads optimization.

You can have the perfect copy for your ads with a great selection of relevant keywords for each, but if your campaign structure is flawed, you’ll face major issues with the performance of your ads at some point.

Optimizing campaign structure can be tedious, but it’s absolutely worth your time and energy, as this is where you’ll see the biggest improvements.

And to see those improvements, you should find a good balance between granularity and time-efficiency.

You need a high level of granularity to match the intent of your searchers, which results in a significant boost in CTRs, conversion rates, and Quality Scores.

But an overly granular structure can consume (too) much of your time, making it harder to manage your campaigns.

Create More Ad Groups Via the IBAGS Approach

To make your ads super relevant to your searchers, you can either use Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGs) or its evolved approach called Intent-Based Ad Groups (IBAGs).

As SKAGs are not as effective as they were before Google’s updates to keyword match types, let’s focus now on IBAGs—an account structure strategy I created.

IBAGs is an evolved structure that allows advertisers to 100% match the intent of your users, resulting in excellent CTRs – leading to Quality Score boosts – as well as increased control over your bids.

IBAGs switches the focus from keywords to user intent. To match the latter, we create looser ad groups that include keywords with the same intent.

For example, keywords like “exercise bike price” and “exercise bike cost” reflect that the searcher is price-conscious.

We identify that, include both keywords in one ad group with the IBAGs approach, and focus on addressing the price consciousness of the user with our ads.

Check out this article to learn more about the IBAGs approach.

Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) is an advanced feature in Google Ads that allows you to insert a user’s search query dynamically into your ad copy.

Therefore, you can use generic ad copy for a wide variety of keywords, and DKI will make them more relevant for search queries that are the exact match of the inserted keywords.

If your ecommerce store sells a wide range of products, you’ll find this feature super useful as it’s a real time saver when setting up the actual ads for your ad groups.

Illustration of Dynamic Keyword Insertion

In the example above, the keyword that would normally show in the ad’s headline is “Chocolate.”

However, Google will try to replace this code with another keyword from your ad group with DKI when users search for the exact matches of those keywords.

As you can see in the “Dark Chocolate” and “Sugar-Free Chocolate” examples, this little customization gives a personal touch to your ads, making them more relevant to the searchers, resulting in a CTR and Quality Score increase (indirectly).

Also, if you check the “gourmet chocolate truffles” example, you can see that Google couldn’t insert the keyword in the ad copy as it was above the character limit. To set up Dynamic Keyword Insertion, I recommend reading this Google article.

While DKI can help you get up and running quickly, it often pays to create custom ads for the specific ad groups that reflect the searcher’s intent.

Optimize Your Landing Page

Earlier in this article, we discussed that Google considers your landing page as one of the most significant factors contributing to the Quality Score.

Therefore, landing page optimization should be a top priority for ecommerce stores as it directly affects your profitability.

The more customers that bounce from your site right after clicking your ad, the less money you’ll make. You’ll not only have fewer sales, but your profit margin will also decrease, and your CPCs will be expensive due to the lower Quality Scores you get from Google.

Two key metrics you can use to get a picture of the quality of your landing page are conversion rate and bounce rate.

If you have a lot of sales, you can use your conversion rate to spot problems. But for most advertisers, it actually is a lot more actionable to look at the bounce rate.

Using bounce rate as a landing page quality indicator

The image above is a great example of what I’ve just mentioned. Keyword #2 has a 17% higher bounce rate and lower than half the conversion rate than keyword #1.

While keyword #1 has an above-average landing page experience score, Google only rates keyword #2 as average, negatively impacting its Quality Score.

A high bounce rate could be a result of content, usability, and technical problems of your landing page.

Fixing Content Issues

Maybe the most important factor that makes a user bounce from your landing page is its content.

After someone clicks on your ad, they want to see a page that corresponds to what they just read in the copy. If the user sees something irrelevant, they will leave your site asap, resulting in a quick bounce.

On the contrary, if the content on your landing page is what they were expecting for (or better), it will keep them on your website, increasing the likelihood of a sale.

As per Google’s destination requirements, landing pages must offer unique value to users as well as being functional, useful, and easy to navigate.

If you fail to comply, Google might reject your ads and – in worse cases – decide to suspend your account.

It’s important to avoid content mismatch by making sure:

  • Your ads accurately reflect where the user is being directed
  • Your landing page features original content
  • Users can easily read the content on your landing page
  • The content of your landing page reflects the message of your ads (that redirect them there)

Therefore, it is crucial for your landing page to match the message of your ad as well as to comply with Google’s destination requirements.

Let me show you an example where a store nailed it:

Example search for “make business card”

When I was looking for a business card maker, Placeit’s ad showed. When I clicked, it took me to this landing page:

Ads took me to an online business card maker tool

As the landing page perfectly matched the ad I’ve clicked, it met my expectations and kept me engaged.

Improving Landing Page Speed

It’s crucial to have speedy landing pages as users won’t wait for your website to load — even if your landing page has the best content on the web.

For this reason, Google penalizes advertisers with slow landing pages.

So, if you want to avoid your Quality Score taking a hit, you should first assess the speed of your landing pages.

As mentioned earlier, Google’s PageSpeed Insights is an excellent tool for evaluating your final URLs and investigating related technical issues.

PageSpeed Insights report for Purple Mattresses

After copy-pasting the URL of your landing page into the search bar and hitting the “Analyze” button, Google will give you a score of between 1 and 100.

You’ll receive a score for both mobile and desktop devices (you can switch between the two in the upper left corner of the page).

I recommend focusing on optimizing your landing page speed for mobile-first, as Google’s guidelines are much stricter for these devices. After you’re ready with mobile, fixing desktop issues will be a piece of cake.

A score between:

  • 0-49 is considered slow (red)
  • 50-89 is average (orange)
  • 90-100 is fast (green)

You should aim for a score above 50 (for mobile) to avoid any Quality Score penalties.

To learn more about your landing page speed score, click the little information icon under your score to the right as seen in the above image.

Recommended fixes for landing page issues with PageSpeed Insights

If you scroll down on the page, you’ll see tips from Google that you can use to speed up your landing page and boost your performance score.

While the “Opportunity” section provides you optimization tips for your landing page, “Diagnostics” gives you suggestions to speed up your web application and your website in general.

As you can see, in the image above, the landing page used in this example has multiple image-related speed issues (“properly size images” and “defer onscreen images”).

While this might look different for you, most advertisers will see the biggest improvements from optimizing the load times and image size.

I recommend starting with these, especially if you have an ecommerce store where you use tons of high-resolution product images. At some point, you’ll need to do more technical tweaks to (further) optimize your landing pages. So if stuff gets too technical and you don’t have any coding or programming skills, I recommend hiring a developer or getting help from an expert to avoid making things worse.

Run a Usability Test

Now that your landing page is both fast and relevant to your ads, you need to make sure that it’s user-friendly.

By optimizing the usability of your pages, you ensure searchers will know where to go if they want to buy your products or learn more about them.

A single-person usability test is an effective and costless method to evaluate the user-friendliness of your landing pages.

I recommend prioritizing mobile devices always.

Grab your smartphone and open an incognito tab via your preferred browser app to visit your website.

You should pay special attention to your:

  • Homepage – the most important page on your website
  • Landing or product pages – you’ll make your sales here, and they directly affect your Quality Scores
  • Category pages – users navigate here to learn more about your products

When reviewing your pages, you should ensure that:

  • The most important information is visible on your page
  • It is clear for users what the next step is and how to proceed with it

And don’t forget the “extras” you’ve included on your pages, such as:

  • Pop-ups
  • Cookie warnings
  • Welcome mats
  • Banners
  • Customer service chat window
  • Push notifications
  • Buy notifications

Determine whether they add to the user experience or make it worse.

You don’t want to overwhelm your users with unnecessary extras as you risk driving them away.

Be ruthless. Eliminate everything that could annoy or distract — especially on your landing pages.

Pro tip: If you have videos, podcasts, or other media on your page that users can play, don’t forget to check whether they actually work on different devices (mobile, desktop) and browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.). Do the same with links and buttons. It only takes a broken link or a stuttering video for a visitor to leave and never return.

How to Run a Usability Test (Example)

Let me show you the website of Camera Land, a photography-specialized ecommerce store that desperately needs a usability test and several (major) tweaks.

A dated homepage

The first thing I noticed on the homepage is the numerous mentions of Camera Land — three times in the header and once in the hero image text.

Camera Land even created a separate logo for its Christmas promotion next to its “standard” one on the top left side of the page.

Furthermore, the store’s owners placed their slogan next to the promotion logo, which makes the homepage even more confusing.

What makes it even worse is that the owners even sacrificed a part of the Call-to-Action (CTA) button (“contact us”) to feature the “Welcome to Camera Land NY” text.

Example of poor usability

Furthermore, it’s not clear to the user where to proceed next as most CTAs are very weak (as illustrated in the image above), while they are entirely missing from some hero images and other parts of the homepage.

I also found Camera Land’s choice of colors confusing. In the header, they use a mix of black, white, red, orange, grey, and brown.

Oddly, the operators use grey for the newsletter sign-up and Facebook button, which makes them hard to notice.

In its current form, Camera Land’s homepage is more likely to confuse users and drive them away.

While I like that there aren’t pop-ups or other extras that would annoy users. Due to numerous issues, Camera Land’s homepage needs a complete overhaul to optimize usability.

To improve user experience, I would clean up and simplify the entire page with one obvious CTA.

Here is how I would go about this:

  1. Eliminate the Christmas promotion and “SportsOptics” logos, as well as the Camera Land slogan. Optionally, the slogan and the standard logo can be merged.
  2. It’s also a better choice to showcase the Christmas promotion with a small(er), more visible button with a clear CTA (e.g., “Christmas Sale Is On, Claim Your Discount Now!”).
  3. To increase sales, I’d include one of the top-selling products or the Christmas sale promotion (with clearly displayed discounts) in the first hero image.
  4. There’s also a contest giveaway – that I only discovered after spending 10 minutes on the page – that I’d include as a hero image to increase conversions.
  5. And, obviously, I’d move the CTA buttons up on the hero images, so they are clearly displayed.
  6. Regarding the colors, I’d use less and more matching colors, especially in the header. Using bold colors (like red) for the CTA can help to make it stand out.
  7. It’s also crucial to include buttons in the right places with clear copy that guides users to where you want to take them. Which, ultimately, is the checkout.

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I would bet their quality scores jump up after making these changes.

Quality Score in Google Shopping, Display, and YouTube Campaigns

While Google clearly displays the Quality Score on the keyword level in the Search Network, this metric is hidden for Shopping, Display, and YouTube campaigns.

Despite it not showing, the Quality Score is present, and Google uses it as a factor to calculating CPCs and ad rank for these campaigns as well.

As with Search Ads, Google’s business will thrive if they can perfectly match an ad with a person looking for it. So they build their system to benefit advertisers that provide this match while making other advertisers pay more for the same click.

In this section, we’ll take a look at the Quality Score for campaigns where it is hidden.

Google Shopping Quality Score

Google Shopping Ads is a great choice for ecommerce stores as this campaign type allows them to show visually appealing product ads to relevant search queries.

Instead of keywords, Google uses product attributes (e.g., product ID, product title, and product description) to pair your ads with relevant search queries. So, your Shopping Quality Score indicates how relevant your product ads are to the queries of the searchers.

As Quality Score is hidden for Shopping campaigns, we have to work with what we got. And we have a metric called Search Lost IS (rank), displaying the number of impressions you lose due to low ad rank.

When this metric is high, then either your CPC or Quality Score is too low.

So, if you improve this metric – such as by refining the search terms that trigger your Shopping ads that can increase your CTRs – your Quality Score can also get a boost.

One of the quickest ways to boost your quality score through more relevant clicks is by optimizing your product titles.

Display Network Quality Score

The Display Network allows advertisers to integrate targeted ads to millions of websites, reaching users while they read, shop, or browse.

Google calculates a separate Quality Score for not only the Search and Display Networks but for automatic (you choose the targeting, Google chooses the websites to show your ads) and managed (you choose both websites and targeting) placements.

Google takes different factors into account for different bidding options.

For CPC bidding, the calculation is very similar to the Search Network that includes both historical CTR and landing page experience as influential factors.

However, for CPM (cost-per-mile or cost-per-thousands-impressions) bidding, the Quality Score you get is mostly determined by the quality of your landing page.

YouTube Quality Score

For YouTube Ads YouTube, it’s also not clear how Google comes up with a quality score.

But if we start from the same principle: Google wants to show the best ads for a specific user in a specific situation.

On YouTube, this means showing ads that relevant to the videos users are watching at that moment, or if it is relevant to their viewing history. If the relevance is higher they more likely to be interested in the ad.

If we translate this into the different components, I think this is a good guess:

  • First exposure: CTR for ads where people need to click, or View length for the ones that autoplay.
  • Landing page: if the ads point to a YouTube video, View duration will be key. If the ad promotes an advertiser’s site, that CTR will be essential.

Track Your Quality Scores With A Google Ads Script

If you understand the importance of Quality Score, but you don’t want to be checking it daily like a maniac, this next tip is for you.

Google Ads scripts can be used for different purposes, including enhanced split testing, bid management, and reporting. Furthermore, they are highly customizable to (better) suit your needs.

This Google Ads script tracks Quality Scores makes tracking those metrics a lot easier.

After you add the script into your account, it will check the different Quality Scores every day and log it into a spreadsheet for you. That way you have a log of your previous quality scores which allows you to see possible trends over time.

Example of a Quality Score Tracker

This article will explain to you in detail what to do.

Quality Score: Not the Holy Grail But a Way to Reveal Real Problems 

There are clear benefits to optimizing your quality scores, your clicks are cheaper and you can rank higher with your ads.

But focusing blindly on your quality score while ignoring other more important metrics like ROAs or profit will hurt your efforts over the long haul.

There’s no point in having extremely low CPCs with high CTRs if your ads don’t convert. And, in ecommerce, conversions are what matter the most.

Instead of the ultimate goal, think of the quality scores as something you can use to help fix issues within your account and optimize the performance of your campaigns.

Dennis Moons

Dennis Moons is the founder and lead instructor at Store Growers.

He's a Google Ads expert with over 12 years of experience in running Google Ads campaigns.

During this time he has managed more than $5 million in ad spend and worked with clients ranging from small businesses to global brands. His goal is to provide advice that allows you to compete effectively in Google Ads.

Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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