Adwords Quality Score Basics

What is Adwords Quality Score ?

A quick bit of Google history first – back in the days before 2005, Google adwords was much simpler, if you bid a higher price per click than your competition, your advert appeared higher up in the sponsored listings (usually across the top and down the right of a page of Google search results) so therefore was likely to get more clicks, unless of course the visible advert itself put users off clicking it somehow.

Since then Google Adwords has been improved to make sure users are given the best possible results, one facet of this is the “quality score”, a major component of the pay per click algorithm. The quality score is only visible to the webmaster or agency managing the campaign and now has a very big impact on what you must pay to be above the competition, so that little QS score from 1 to 10 really is worth paying attention to.

So now if you have a smaller budget, but can dedicate a little more time into managing your account, you could be appearing higher up the page(s) along with much larger competitors who have still not realised it’s importance. I know this sounds unlikely, but I regularly see adverts appearing for quite expensive keywords which are simply not optimised for quality score, so therefore could be paying double the price per click of those competitors which are.

A Quality Score vs Pricing Example

Please bear in mind that the figures quoted below are a theoretical example, there are many other factors to consider, but it’s essential that you understand the principle.

We will use the example of “SEO Swindon” as our keyword. So if I have a QS of 5, I may be paying £5 per click. However, if I were to increase this to a QS of 10, I may have to only pay £2 to maintain the same position, whilst if it were to drop down to QS of 1, I may have to pay over £10 to keep it up in that placement.

It’s also worth considering that Google much prefers to place adverts/campaigns in the top 3 positions if they have a high quality score, so this is even more important if you are after the top 3 placements.

Types of Quality Score

There are two types of quality score, one for the search network and one for the content network, we are specifically looking at the search network here, although the basics of each are fairly similar anyway.

How is Quality Score Calculated

The following percentages show the weighted importance of each factor in determining your score:

The historical CTR or click through rate of the keyword and matched ad on Google – 60%. This is by far the most important metric by far!

The relevance of the keyword and the matched ad to the search query – 10%

Account CTR history – 5%

Historical CTR of display URL’s – 5%

Landing page quality – 5% (I was surprised how low this one is!)

Relevance of a keyword to the other keywords in it’s group – 5%

Account performance in the geographic region in which it’s displayed – 5%

Other factors totaling 5%

So, once we understand this, how can we then use this understanding of our quality score to improve the cost per click and or positioning for our PPC campaigns? I will address this in another post. Please remember that PPC and QS will not have any impact on organic search engine optimisation, this is specific to PPC campaigns. If you need help with seo on any aspect of your site and are in the Swindon, Devizes, Newbury or Salisbury areas, please get in touch.