3 things you need to know to improve your Quality Score
Google Ads is an effective tool to rank highly on Internet searches and thus increase traffic, leads, and sales for your business. To rank highly, your ads need the best exposure and positioning possible – something your Quality Score plays a key part in.
But what is Quality Score and how does it affect your Google advertising campaigns?
As we explained in previous posts, Quality Score is an estimate measuring the quality of your ads, which takes into account not only factors related to the ads themselves, but also factors of the landing pages triggered by these ads.
Overall, Quality Score only gives you an idea of how good, and relevant your ads and landing pages are in relation to the queries triggering them into Google Search Engine. The highest your Quality Score:
- The lower your ads CPC will be
- The higher your ad ranking will be.
How this metric is calculated, and how much relevancy each factor has, is still quite opaque. To shed some light here, we ran extensive research during 2 years based on our experience with our customers, and we came up with some interesting findings about the relationship between the factors determining the Quality Score. However, in this post we are going to tackle how to improve the Quality Score of your Google Search ads, and campaigns.
Which is a good Quality Score?
Google has a 1 to 10 scale to rate the Quality Score of your ads. However, unlike most school grades, reaching a 50% of the total points is not enough to pass the threshold of what Google considers a good Quality Score.
These are the ranges of this complex metric:
- 1 to 3 points: Very bad. You need serious work to improve your ads Quality Score.
- 4 to 6 points: Average but not good yet. These ratings won’t yet have a positive impact on your CPC and ad rank.
- 7 to 10 points: Congratulations! Your ads have a good Quality Score, and they benefit from lower CPC, and higher ad rank than those of your competitors having lower Quality Score rating.
How can you work on improving your ads with an opaque metric?
The Quality Score of your ads plays a determining role on your ads performance… And your ads quality influences your Quality Score. This seems like a paradox, right? Let us explain the components of the Quality Score and you will see how improving them will positively affect your Quality Score, and thus, your ads performance.
Let’s start by when does Quality Score start to apply to your ads: Google needs at least an average of 3 days of data to assign a quality measurement to your ads, as it needs some data to calculate how good an ad, and landing page experience are to the queries triggering them.
Now, let’s detail the components of the Quality Score, and follow by sharing how you can improve them all to positively impact your ads quality rating:
- The expected CTR of your ads, having into account historic data in comparison to your competitors’.
- Your ads' relevance to the search queries triggering them.
- The landing page experience the user clicking on your ads has.
Top 3 ways to improve your Quality Score
Now that you understand the basics of what a Quality Score is and how it’s measured, you’re probably debating the best ways to improve a low Quality Score in Google Search. Although there are a lot of elements you can consider, below we detail the top 3 areas to start out in for easy, yet effective improvement to your ad campaigns:
1) Keyword Research and Optimization
The first thing you must realize is that your keywords are the foundation of your PPC activities, and they have a huge impact on your Quality Score. Before even running Google Ads campaigns, you should have a well-defined keyword research strategy.
A great source to help you find keywords relevant to your audience is your own CRM and web analytics. These sources provide you with real customer data, so you can see the words, trends, and pathways that customers use to find your business, products, or services. You can then use this information to develop new keywords ideas in combination with search volume data, keyword match types, and bid levels from the Google Keyword Planner.
A strong and organized keyword research defines your success before you even begin. If you see that your ads have a low Quality Score, the first step is to go back and analyze your keywords, paying special attention to metrics like clicks and click-through-rate (CTR). Plus, count on the Keyword Planner and keyword optimization tools to help you curate your list of keywords and narrow it down to the top ones.
2) Ad Group Categorization and Alignment
Ad Groups high quality score is the optimization of your keywords in order to be relevant.
Ad Groups have to do with the structure of your Google Ads account. Basically, Ad Groups are how you categorize your ad campaigns and they can affect your Quality Score and other metrics. Improving your QS is as simple as aligning your keywords, ads, and landing pages within each Ad Group! Let’s learn how:
- To create effective Ad Groups, start by dividing your keywords into small groups of similar keywords.
- Now use the keywords within each Ad Group to write highly-relevant and convincing ads, maintaining relevancy no matter which keyword is shown to the searcher. This will increase your expected CTR, an estimate of how likely someone is to click on your ad when it appears for one of your keywords. CTR is a key factor Google uses in determining Quality Score.
- In line with your keywords and ad messaging, create a unique landing page for each Ad Group. Remember, your landing page must always offer what was promised in your ads.
When your Ad Groups share a high degree of relevance, you will achieve a higher Quality Score. Moreover, by implementing an effective and organized Ad Group structure, you’ll be able to more easily identify and adjust low-performing campaigns.
For example, if you see an Ad Group with a Quality Score of 7 compared to another with a QS of 4, you know which one to focus your efforts on. Furthermore, if you are struggling to obtain a high CTR for ads, you can try pulling keywords from an Ad Group and creating a new group for them.
3) Landing Page Experience and Design
Just as you must maintain relevance between your keywords and ad copy, your landing pages must achieve a similar congruence. Right when landing on your page after clicking an ad, the user must feel that their purpose is justified. Primarily, the entire landing page experience and design must revolve around what was promised in your advertisement.
One best practice is to design a different landing page for each Ad Group. This will ensure that the keywords, messaging, CTAs, and offer or objective are all in complete alignment. Remember, Google is a “user-first” company, so their main goal above all is to provide high-quality content for user searches.
Your landing pages are the face of your company. They should remain aligned with your company branding so that users immediately recognize your brand. Furthermore, as their main objective is to capture leads (or data or purchases), they should be simple, organized, easy and quick to navigate, and have a single, clear offer. You don’t want to confuse visitors with too much information or mixed messaging.
Other elements to consider when creating your landing pages include:
- One core message and CTA
- High-quality, relevant content
- Strong images and headlines
- Keywords included in copy and alt-text
- Short loading time
- Device responsiveness
- Minimal distractions such as pop-ups or menus
By constantly testing and optimizing your pages, your performance will improve and you’ll see more conversions. This signifies to Google that the quality of your ads and landing pages is high, and your Quality Score goes up.
Increasing your Quality Score requires studying an array of factors, starting as small and specific as your chosen keywords and growing to include more tangible elements like the overall landing page experience. What’s clear is that conducting optimization efforts in the 3 key areas mentioned above will help you slowly and steadily improve your Quality Score. This, in turn, will increase the performance of your ad campaigns, lead to better ad positioning and lower costs, and result in relevant, quality leads for your business.
If this article incited you to wanting to know more on how to monitor, and keep improving your Quality Score over time, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!