Last updated: April 2, 2020

Tenscores

What Is Google Ads Quality Score?

A grading system used by Google to decide whether an ad is good enough to be shown in the sponsored space of the search results, at what position it will be shown and how much to charge for each click.

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WHY DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

Your ad's cost-per-click (CPC) depends on it, as shown in the formula:

This formula was revelead by Google in 2009. Today, we do not know everything that goes into the number a, but we can assume that whatever goes into it is divided by Quality Score, which results in wide differences in costs as shown below:
Here's how it translates into percentage increases and decreases in cost-per-clicks (CPCs).

Your ad's position (AdRank) on Google's search results depends on Quality Score. The higher the AdRank, the better the position. The first ad on Google is always the one that has the highest AdRank.

This formula was also revelead by Google in 2009. Today, we do not know everything that goes into the number b, but we can assume that whatever goes into it is multiplied by Quality Score.
Below is a real world example of the cost-per-click at each quality score of one advertiser. Join Tenscores to see this data for your own Google Ads account.
CPC At Each Quality Score For one Google Ads advertiser
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WHERE CAN I FIND IT?

In campaigns that are targeted on Google Search, each keyword has a Quality Score. But it is hidden by default. Here's how to show it:

  1. Click the "Keywords" tab in your Google Ads account.
  2. Click "Columns" then "Modify columns".
  3. In the section that opens up, choose "Quality Score".
  4. Select "Quality Score" in the list of options.
  5. Click "Apply" to save. You should now have a Quality Score column in your data.





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WHAT ARE THE FACTORS INFLUENCING IT?

External factors are the things that happen on your website. Internal factors are what goes on in your Adwords account.

1.

EXTERNAL FACTORS
LANDING PAGE QUALITY
& Relevance

There are two sides to a good landing page: quality and relevance. "Quality" means that users have a great experience when they reach your website. "Relevance" means they find what was promised in the ad.

LP RELEVANCE

Your landing page must be closely related to your ads and keywords. Absolutely.

Landing page relevance
LP QUALITY

Your landing page should provide a good user experience. Not great, but good enough.

landing page quality


2.

INTERNAL FACTORS
CLICK-THROUGH RATES
& KEYWORD RELEVANCE

Historical click-through-rates have an overwhelming impact on Quality Score. Users vote on the quality of your ads with their clicks.

SEARCH
80%
Historical CTR
factors
15% Relevance
factors
5% Other
  • Historical CTR Factors
  • Relevance Factors
  • Other
  • Ad/Keyword
    History
    Historical click-through rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on the Google domain.
  • Account History
    Account history, which is measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account.
  • URL History
    The historical CTR of the display URLs in the ad group.
  • Geo History
    Account's performance (in terms of CTR) in the geographical region where the ad will be shown.
When there's no history in your account, Google will use other advertisers' historical performance on specific keywords to evaluate what Quality Score you should be granted. It is up to you to exceed performance.
SEARCH PARTNERS

Sites such as AOL.com, Google Images, etc

80% 15% 5%
Quality score for Search Partners works the same way as Google.com. Although performance on these sites varies considerably from performance on Google Seach, it has NO impact on quality scores of your Google Search campaigns. It usually is good practice to separate your Google Search campaigns from Search Partners campaigns. Learn how.
DISPLAY
AUTO Placements
  • Historical CTR Factors
  • Relevance Factors
  • Other
80% 15% 5% Semantic relevance of the ads and keywords in the ad group to the site. connect The ad's past performance on similar sites in terms of CTR. connect
Managed PLACEMENTS
CPC BIDDING
90% 10% Landing page quality.
The historical CTR of the ad on similar sites. CPM BIDDING
100%
Landing page quality.
  • Landing page quality plays an on/off swith role in the display network campaigns as well.
  • Quality score for display network campaigns is not visible anywhere in the AdWords interface.
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WHAT DO THENUMBERS MEAN?

A 7/10 Quality Score is the recommended number and is sufficient. Going above 7 is great but not always achievable and may not be worth the effort. Anything below 7 is a sign that something is wrong and should be worked on.
  • 1 Dead
  • 2 Sick
  • 3
  • 4 Weak
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7 Good
  • 8 Excellent
  • 9
  • 10
  • Dead If you get a 1/10, you're in trouble. Google has or is about to ban your website. You'll hardly get any traffic and your costs will be exorbitant.
  • Sick At 2/10 and 3/10, your keywords are suffering. You're not getting all the traffic you could and you'll be charged very high prices for such bad scores. To go from 2 or 3 to 7/10 will require quite some expertise.
  • Weak These keywords need your attention and getting them above 7 should be accomplished without much trouble. Simply follow the flow chart at the bottom of this page. You'll most likely need to regroup your ad groups and write better ads.
  • Good You've accomplished what you needed in terms of quality. Google likes what you're doing and you're not being penalized in terms of traffic or costs.
  • Excellent The holy grail. At this point, you've surpassed Google's expectations and your performance is above average. Your costs are being discounted and your ads are appearing in prominent positions and more frequently.
  • The jump from 7/10 to anything above is not linear and sometimes doesn't make sense. Keywords often go from 7/10 immediately to 10/10 with no transition to 8 and 9.

HOW DO I INCREASEMY QUALITY SCORES?

Follow the flowchart below.

JPG | PDF
How to increase Quality Score - Flowchart

What is Google Ads Quality Score?

Google's Quality Score system is a scale that ranges from 1 to 10 and that measures the quality of an ad on Google Adwords. That quality grade is then used to determine how much an advertisers pays and what his AdRank will be (position of the search results page.)

What is Quality Score in digital marketing?

All digital advertising platforms use a version of Quality Score to rank ads and decide how much to charge advertisers for them. Facebook ads use the same logic, so does Microsoft ads quality score. The most important factor in each is click-through-rate, or anything that measures user engagement. User engagement, like CTR, is the strongest signal of the quality of an advert.

Why does Quality Score matter for Google Ads?

It matters because it greatly influences how much you pay on every click on a Google ad and how much exposure you get (Impression Share).

What is a good Quality Score?

A 7/10 Quality Score is the recommended value and is sufficient. Going above 7/10 is great but not always achievable and may not be worth the effort. Anything below 7/10 is a sign that something is wrong and should be optimized, click costs are being penalized.

What are the three main factors that determine ad quality?

  1. Click-through-rates (CTR) at every level: keyword CTR, ad CTR, display url CTR, account CTR, etc... (90%)
  2. Relevance: are your keywords closely related to your ads and landing pages?
  3. Landing page quality: does your website load quickly, is it transparent and do people find what they're looking?

What about display network quality score (content network quality score)?

Although display campaigns don't have a visible quality score in the Adwords interface, they do have one internally. This invisble quality score is felt when campaigns fail to gather impressions. The factors influencing it are the same a search campaigns, however, the CTR required to compete on display network are much lower.

What does it mean when I see the message "Rarely shown due to low quality score"?

This message is an indication from Google that your quality score is so low that your ads are rarely displayed. In order to remedy such a situation, it is recommended to evaluate the keyword first. Should you really be advertising on that keyword? If the answer is yes, then start by bidding agressively at the beginning in order to gather some impressions and clicks then make sure that your ad is attractive enough to earn the click. Read this article for help with ads.

How to improve Quality Score?

First make sure that you meet all the requirements: decent landing page with privacy policy and keywords that are grouped in tight themes relating to a particular intent for a particular ad (Tenscores can do this automatically for you). Then second, focus 100% of your time on testing new ads for your top 3 keywords. Do this until their Quality Scores are above 7/10, then move on to next top 3 keywords. If you have low performing keywords in terms of CTR, pause them for a while. If you can advertise on high performing keywords like your brand terms or highly specific keywords for your niche, start with those and use them to build a good history of high CTR. It's not that hard if you follow that advice, and most importantly if you improve your ad writing skills.

How is Quality Score and Ad Rank calculated?

The formula for Ad Rank is: Max. CPC x QS

The higher your Quality Score, the higher your Ad Rank meaning that your ads will be seen in higher positions on Google.