Liberty Marketing’s Guide to Your Google AdWords Quality Score

Last modified:
Cher Window

PPC Specialist


(image: Scott Digital Media)

Here at Liberty Marketing, our expert PPC team deal with quality scores every day, but many people overlook this handy indicator. So why is this a quality element of good old Google AdWords? And why should everyone start to show a little more interest in it? We’ll tell you why.

What exactly is a Google AdWords quality score?

Quality scores are the key to any successful pay per click campaign. And every AdWords account has them, it’s just about learning how to utilise them.

Every account has quality score measures which looks at key performers. These help to determine bid prices and positions. Google describes quality scores as, ‘an estimate of how relevant your ads, keywords, and landing page are to a person seeing your ad.’

So the job of a ppc professional is to ensure relevance, to keep that great quality score and conquer the world.

But can a poor score do any damage?

A poor quality score can affect you in many ways. The major thing is that it determines eligibility, so a poor score could mean your ad won’t get displayed. Then of course there is the risk of high cost-per-clicks (CPC) and terrible volumes.

A good quality score is the key to affordable and well placed ads, as CPC, broadly speaking, reduces as a quality score increases.

There’s more than one quality score though…

Indeed there is a number of different quality scores and there are a number of ways you can directly influence these. That’s why you need to get to know them in depth. The keyword quality score is the one you want to keep your eye on though!


Keyword quality score – Google AdWords keyword quality score measures effectiveness of a given keyword and presents a result of between 1 and 10. This is calculated using historical data from Google, or if you’ve been running a campaign for some time, from significant historical data gathered in the account.

Account quality score – This looks at the current and past performance of the account, looking at the click through rate (CTR) in particular. If you’ve performed well in the past then it is assumed you will in the future – it’s like a recommendation.

And the better you continue to do, the greater your score will grow, and better the benefits will be. This can take months to do, but trust us, it’s worth the wait.

Ad quality score – This performance indicator is what it says on the tin – it looks at the quality of your ad.

Top tip: Check the CTR for each advertisement and pause those that aren’t performing. If active they can drag your score down.

Mobile quality score – Last but not least is mobile. With an increasing number of people using their smartphones, rather than a computer, to trawl the web, it is important to analyse an ads performance on these devices.

What else could be affecting my quality score?

You can’t start building your quality score without first learning what factors determine it. We’ve mentioned click through rate and relevance, but have you thought about your landing pages?

A sites landing pages should be optimised to encourage interaction, and should direct users through the site and the buying journey. You can direct a horse to water, but if the water’s dirty, you can’t make it drink. Even the best ads will have poor results if a site cannot convert the interest.

Keyword relevance and loading time of these landing pages will also affect your score, so make sure to have your site copy well written, optimised and without site errors.

So, how can I improve my score?


Now you know why a poor quality score is a bad thing, we’re assuming you’ll want to know how to improve it. Well, there are a number of ways of doing this, but here are a few top tips to get you started:

Know your score – Find out what your score is by logging into your Google AdWords account and clicking on the keywords tab. On the right hand toolbar, click ‘customise columns’ and ensure that ‘qual’ is ticked. This will assure that your score appears when you view your account.

Track your score – Check your score on a regular basis – has it gone up or down? What could have influenced this? This is a great way of finding out what works for each campaign.

Keep it small – If you are going to play around and run tests to see what influences your quality score, do so on a small scale. Or even make a duplicate to use.

Improve your CTR – Do keyword research, use quality content and think about your target audience.

Change match type – Think about match type. Google AdWords has a broad choice for you to use, but ‘broad match’ is generally the most widely used as the default option.

Relevant Ad Groups – Depending on the number of ads and keywords you have, you should have several Ad Groups set up. These allow you to micromanage your campaigns and make small changes, while tracking results.

Negative keywords – CTR is all about success rates, so eliminate the chance of your ads appearing when you don’t want them to, with negative keywords. This can cut out irrelevance, and superfluous views, improve your bounce rate, and consequently enhance your CTR and quality score.

Track your keywords – Keyword popularity can change and often appear in patterns, so make sure to keep an eye on them. Regular keyword research is essential.

Liberty Marketing’s Guide to Your Google AdWords Quality Score

Hopefully after reading this guide you have a better understanding of what a quality score is and how it can help your business. Google doesn’t like to share its secrets, so the exact formula for quality score success is a mystery. But after years of experience, we think we’re pretty clued up.

If you have any further questions about Google AdWords quality scores or would like to enquire about our PPC services, get in contact!


(image: LinkedIn)

Share this on:


Cher Window

PPC Specialist

Cher has worked for both in-house and agency teams, and has experience in education, social enterprise, beauty, law and conservation. As a part of her current role she enjoys analysing data to predict for the future, increasing campaign relevancy through testing, having the responsibility to organise each step of paid plans, running content on different…

See more written by this author: Cher Window

We’ll be your
proactive partner