Understanding Google’s Quality Score has a significant influence on your paid search campaigns’ cost and effectiveness. A low score can translate to poor campaign performance, a higher score means a better ad rank and CTR at a lower price. If your scores are below average, fortunately, there are many ways to improve it and get your campaigns back on track.
What is the Google Quality Score?
Quality Score is a measurement used by Google Ads to give advertisers a better sense of their ads’ quality. Assigned on a scale from 1-10 based on keywords, ads, and landing pages–this metric indicates the likelihood a campaign will perform well with lower cost and better ad positions.
You can check your current rating by adding the Quality Score column to your Google Ads report:
Quality Score vs. Ad Rank
Both metrics are often confused, but they’re not the same. Quality Score provides advertisers an evaluation of their campaign keywords, ads, and landing pages. Plus, how to adjust and improve their campaigns accordingly.
Ad Rank also considers keyword, ad, and landing page experience. However, it takes other factors into account to determine where your ad will show up on SERPs, including:
- Bid amount
- Auction-time ad quality (including expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience)
- Ad Rank thresholds
- Competitiveness of an auction
- Context of the person’s search (location, device, time of the search, the nature of the search terms, other ads and search results that show on the page, and other user signals and attributes)
- Expected impact of extensions and other ad formats
Combining these factors helps Google determine where to show your ad with other ads on SERPs or to show it at all.
Notice Ad Rank does not directly incorporate Quality Score, so just because you may have a high score, doesn’t mean Ad Rank follows suit. For example, if you have a high score, but you bid low, your campaign may not show in high-visibility positions.
However, since both metrics factor in the same variables, Quality Score is an extremely valuable self-diagnostic tool for advertisers. An advertiser can bid more than another for the same keyword, and still rank lower, simply because their score is lower:
What are the Quality Score components?
To calculate Quality Score, Google uses three different factors related to keywords, ads, and landing pages:
Expected CTR is a keyword-related measurement of how likely someone will click through from your ad to the landing page when searching for the keyword associated with the ad. While this metric doesn’t evaluate current ad position or sitelink extensions that may make your ad more visible, it does consider past keyword performance based on ad position.
Google wants to know how likely your keyword will entice people to click-through because it wants users to have great ad experiences. If you have an above average expected CTR, that means your expected CTR for this keyword is better than all other keywords on the Google Ads network, and vice versa. If the latter, consider adjusting your ad text to match your keyword better.
Ad relevance measures how well your ad message matches the keywords in your ad group. The more relevant your ad copy and message is to keyword groups, the more likely you will see a high ad relevance. If ad relevance is low, your ad group themes may be too broad, and you may want to split the ad group into tighter themed ad groups.
Relevant ads translate to a more valuable campaign experience for the searcher, so this metric is emphasized.
Landing page experience
Google defines this as, “how relevant and useful your website’s landing page will be to people who click your ad.” When searchers arrive on your page, do they find what they came for, or will they bounce immediately?
An excellent landing page experience is clear and useful, related to your keyword, and personalized to your customer and what they’re searching for. For the highest level of personalization, each audience should have its own landing page, with essential targeting factors like location and behavior factored into every design.
If Google rates your landing page experience too low, make sure your page is closely related to what the user searched for and delivers on the ad’s promise (more on this below).
What is the Quality Score formula?
With the three components outlined, we can understand the formula and what it means for your campaigns. Landing page experience, ad relevance, and expected click-through-rate are individually ranked above average, average, or below average. Each is assigned a number value. So if you had an above average ad relevance (2), but only an average LPE (1.75) and CTR (1.75), your Quality Score would be:
Note: In this example, 6.5 is rounded to 7, since Google doesn’t show fractions.
Therefore, if you could improve your landing page experience or CTR from average to above average, your score would increase another 1.75 points to 8.25 (displayed as 8).
What does a high Quality Score indicate?
Having a high score means Google views your ad and landing page as relevant and useful to someone viewing your campaign. This can ultimately mean a lower CPC because the Google Ads auction is partly based on relevance to encourage advertisers to create relevant ad campaigns. A highly relevant ad with a high Quality Score is typically granted a higher position. Naturally, this will earn you more clicks for the same budget:
How to improve Quality Score
Improving expected CTR and ad relevance is relatively straightforward compared to improving landing page experience. The first two involve selecting the right keywords and writing persuasive ad copy. You can enhance the landing page experience component by the following:
Decrease landing page load time
When a prospect clicks an ad and the resulting page loads slowly, they won’t stick around longer than a few seconds. 53% of traffic abandons a page if it doesn’t load in three seconds.
In this case, consider eliminating all excess images to speed it up, since images hold the most “weight” in page designs.
Another way to speed up mobile landing pages is by building them with the AMP framework. AMP pages allow for more compelling mobile user experiences through near-instantaneous load times and smooth scrolling, while still supporting some styling and branding customizability. Unlike traditional mobile pages, AMP pages are automatically cached by Google AMP Cache for faster load times on Google search.
Optimize your page for mobile and desktop
An optimized page is more than just fast. It’s also easy to navigate on both mobile and desktop. Be sure to fully optimize your page for both device types by:
- Organizing and designing it so people don’t have to search for information
- Making it quick and easy for people to redeem the offer mentioned in your ad
- Eliminating pop-ups and other elements that interfere with navigation and conversion
- Prioritizing above-the-fold content to help customers quickly find what they’re looking for
- Creating a mobile page tailored to the small screen
- Eliminating Flash content, as this is not supported on iPhones or iPads, and has only limited support on Android and other high-end mobile devices
Offer relevant and useful content
Maintaining relevance from ad to landing page is paramount because conversions take place on the landing page. For maximum relevance, the page content must continue the story narrative from your ad. Try incorporating these suggestions:
- Identify yourself with a logo in the upper-left corner
- Match the headlines
- Expand on the copy
- Use infographics and other skimmable content (bulleting, bolding, italicizing) to help visitor comprehension
- Personalize content to each audience segment
- Eliminate navigation to keep visitors from getting distracted
LinkedIn does a great job matching their ad and post-click landing page:
Be transparent and trustworthy
Since advertisers are often perceived as untrustworthy, it’s essential that you’re not only transparent with consumers, but that you can prove trustworthiness.
To convey transparency:
- Be honest about your business and what it does
- Explain products or services before asking visitors to complete forms
- Make it easy for visitors to find contact information
- Make it clear why you’re asking for prospects’ information, and what you’ll do with it
- Distinguish sponsored links from the rest of your website’s content
Ways to secure your page and send signals to be more trustworthy include:
- SSL protection, indicating your site is safe for secure data transfer
- Security icons (like Norton Secure badges or locks) where visitors are required to input information
- Social proof, like testimonials or case studies, showing that other customers have found your offer valuable
- Authority indicators like awards or well-known partner logos
Here are a few social proof examples on a Typeform landing page:
All three components are tied together by a common thread: relevance.
Achieving high relevance requires maximum campaign personalization–and, while scaling keywords and personalized ads is possible with Google’s self-serve tools, there’s no adequate solution for landing pages. For this level of post-click personalization, automated creation is necessary based on conversion learning insights.
How does Postclick help increase Quality Score?
Postclick focuses on improving the landing page experience component by creating more personalized ad-to-page relevancy. We prioritize the story narrative because every customer wants to understand the product or service they’re interested in before converting.
Before our team begins to work on your campaigns, they understand your brand on a personal level. This includes your tone of voice, design style, customers, etc. so they can operate as efficiently as your team.
To fully understand the client persona and establish the narratives, the Postclick team asks each customer:
- What are we looking at? This helps the Postclick team understand what you’re offering with the search query and review both the keyword and ad intent to identify a narrative and create a persona. Thus, helping them create optimized post-click destinations focused on conversion-centric design and storytelling.
- Who is the post-click destination for? Each landing page must be tailored to a specific segment with narrow targeting parameters, and delving into this information helps us create the most personalized pages.
- Why should your customer care? Every offer has a unique selling proposition. Asking this helps Postclick determine the most persuasive aspects of your offer to highlight on the landing page.
- How does it work? Every post-click page’s goal is to convince visitors to take action; however, that action is different from every campaign. So when prospects click the CTA, where do you want them to go next? This helps the team decide whether a two-step form, click-through sales page, etc. are most appropriate.
With this communication level between Postclick and our partners, personalization is scaled throughout all campaigns, and Quality Score improves. It’s also why our team and technology establishes unique profiles to match ads and landing pages:
Raise your Quality Score with Postclick
With your campaigns in the hands of an expert conversion team that operates as an extension of your brand, Postclick can help improve your landing page experience, Quality Score, and overall campaign results.
We would like to offer you a complimentary analysis of your ad campaigns, including competitive insights against your top 5 competitors and the top sites in your industry. Our team will share insights on how we can increase your conversion rates, in addition to a comprehensive competitive analysis.
We will review your campaigns to analyze your post-click health, compare your site against industry and competitive benchmarks, and identify the most effective opportunities to increase your ROAS. Request your analysis here.