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Google Adwords Quality Score: The Key To Getting ROI

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Digital Vidya in partnership with Google India has launched trainings for Google Partner Agencies under which it trains them to enhance their performance in Google Advertising and Google Analytics. Under this training programme, Digital Vidya conducted its first successful session on Google Hangouts on Air. Attendees were Google Partners and Certified Google Adwords Experts.

The title for the first training session was Google Hangouts On Air: The Key To Adwords ROI with Mr. Manuj Bajaj as the lead trainer and Kumar Gaurav as the host. The session was meant to elaborate on and resolve the common set of problems that people face while implementing Google Adwords in their campaigns. The most common objections that clients have are:

  • Adwords are too expensive.
  • There are companies with deep pockets and most people do not have a big budget and therefore hesitate to use Google Adwords for their advertising campaigns.
  • It’s not profitable.
Google Adwords - Budget Myths

Google Adwords – Budget Myths

Bursting The Myth:

Any person who has little money can utilize the power of Adwords by targeting keywords based on bidding system and working upon the quality, extensions and various other factors.

What Is The Quality Score And Why Is It So Crucial?

Quality Score is a number that is assigned in your account to give an estimation of:

  • How relevant your ads are
  • How are your keywords performing in context with the search terms
  • The relevance of your landing page for the user and her experience.

Google wants that when a customer is looking for chocolates, she should find an ad with a proposition that she finds compelling to click, goes to the website and ends up buying the product. Her Google Search experience should be uncluttered and hassle free. Hence, the quality score is calculated based on how good or bad the experience of the end-user is.

What Are The Components Of Quality Score:

Every time someone does a search on Google and an ad is triggered, it calculates the Quality Score and assigns Ad Rank. There are various factors that are taken into account while calculating the Quality Score.

Google Adwords - Quality Score

Google Adwords – Quality Score

Click-Through Rate (CTR):

CTR has 50-60% impact on Quality Score. It is calculated as:

CTR = Number of clicks/Number of impressions of your ad.

Expected CTR is calculated based on:

  • Historical CTR of your account
  • Account history
  • Keywords and ads you are using
  • The CTR your keywords and ads have been receiving
  • Landing page experience for the visitors.
Relevance Factors:
  • How closely related your keyword is to the search term the user is searching for.
  • Ad which the user sees.
  • The landing page the user lands on through your ad.
Landing Page Factors:
  • Loading speed which should be quick and less than 5-6 seconds.
  • Relevancy of content to what the user is looking for.

What Is Ad Rank And What Is Its Importance?

Every time a user enters a search term, Google looks up for relevant ads and displays them. Thus, each time that your keyword is triggered, the Ad Rank is calculated based on the Quality Score and Max CPC Bid

Ad Rank = f (Max CPC, QS)

Since Ad Rank is calculated based on max CPC bid and Quality Score, even if you do not bid a high amount, you can still get a high ad rank by improving the quality score. The better your quality score, the less CPC bid amount Google charges from you to display your ad.

Google Adwords - Quality Score Wins Over Max Bid

Google Adwords – Quality Score Wins Over Max Bid

Quality Score Ranges:

1-4                                          Bad

5-6                                          Average

7-10                                       Good

Striving for a Quality Score of 10/10 can drive your campaigns quite well in the race and beat your competitors.

Google Adwords - Checking Quality Score

Google Adwords – Checking Quality Score

What Is The Role Of Quality Score And Its Relation With ROI?

The ultimate aim of improving Quality Score is to get a satisfied user. So, when your keywords and ads are of good quality and relevance, and get a high number of clicks, the user, you and Google benefit from it.

Thus, when your Quality Score is good, your CPC becomes low and hence your Cost Per Acquisition for a single customer becomes lower. Thus your profits increase. In simpler words, by getting a higher Ad Rank, you can get a better Ad Position and more visibility, better CTR and hence a lower CPC. Lower cost means more profits and hence greater ROI.

How Do I Optimize For Quality Score?

Another advantage of a high Quality Score is that Google shows your ad often as it is more useful for the user. The various ways you can achieve this is through optimizing the factors that lead to a successful campaign.

Google Adwords - Quality Score Optimization

Google Adwords – Quality Score Optimization

Keywords Optimization:
  • Do not target very generic keywords like one-word keywords. For Example, Chocolate
  • Target more specific keywords that the user is looking for. For Example, Dark chocolate candy bars.

This will get you targeted traffic instead of generic traffic whose intent to buy your products will be stronger.

Ad Optimization:
  • Include great and genuine offers.
  • Include your USP.
  • Include a strong Call-to-action (CTA).
  • Include compelling text.

Make sure that your offers are targeted at the people you would like to buy your products instead of generic traffic which is not relevant. It’s not the CTR that drives your business, but the sales you get that gets you ROI.

Landing Page Optimization:

Landing pages should be designed to provide great user experience. Here are some best practices for optimizing your landing pages:

  • Should be quick to load.
  • Use smaller size images that are optimized for web.
  • Use CSS strides to improve download time.
  • Minify your scripts/HTML/CSS
  • Clean up unnecessary code and content from the page.
  • Use rich media.
  • Use static assets from Content Delivery Network.
  • Include relevant and original content on your web pages.
  • Mention privacy policy and disclaimers if any.
  • Be transparent with the use of information.
  • Keep navigation on the page easy.
  • Include contact information on your landing page that is easily visible.

How Do I Improve Relevance?

Keyword Relevance: Differentiating your keywords in distinct Ad Groups will help you do targeting of keywords better. For example, dividing them into Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and others will help you have specific and well-defined keywords.

Ad Relevance: Distinct Ad Groups will also help you write better ads with text that is tailored specifically and accurately to what the user is searching for. This gets you better CTR.

Landing Page Relevance: Having distinct Ad Groups with keywords and ads that lead to a landing page specifically designed for a product is recommended. Making it relevant to the proposition made in your ad and making available accurate and necessary information for the completion of say a transaction for a great user experience will make the landing page successful.

Here’s Some More:

Google Adwords - Tips

Google Adwords – Tips

  • Use negative keywords for the irrelevant keywords that your ad show for after reviewing the search term report. You can reduce irrelevant ad impressions to improve CTR, hence improving the Quality Score.
  • Use Ad Extensions like sitelinks (you can create upto 20 for each ad group). With sitelinks you can make more information about your products visible. This improves CTR. It is recommended that you use sitelinks in your ads. If you’re ranking in top three ads, you can have 2-4 sitelinks. You can also use callout extensions to appeal users with offers and USP and other extensions like location extension, review extension. Structured Snippet extension is a new extension that is similar to callout extension. With extensions you get more real estate on Google which increases the chances of higher CTR. By using these extensions the probability of getting clicks increases, which in turn increases quality score, reduces CPC and account becomes profitable.
  • Use Privacy Policy and Disclaimers on your page for transparency and authenticity.

Use of Google Adwords Editor is recommended to speed up your work on Google Adwords. It has many useful features.


Quality Score is real-time. It should be tracked diligently on a regular basis. To check Quality Score regularly, you can download weekly, fortnightly and monthly reports to analyse data. You can measure performance and improvement of your Quality Score. This report can be shown to the clients to show how your efforts have made the campaign better.

Q&A During Hangouts Session:

Q: If I take over an account that has bad keywords and ads that lead to a low CTR and low Quality Scores does this affect the future of ad campaigns? Is it wise to carry on that Adwords account or should I start over with a new account?

A: If you’re targeting one domain you can only target from one account. You cannot use the same domain from multiple accounts. The history is very important for Google Adwords. It would be better if you start improving the existing account.

Q: How do you define CPC and CPA combined and how will that improve?

A: CPC stands for Cost-Per-Click and CPA stands for Cost-Per-Acquisition. You’ll have to actually set up your account so that you can set conversions. CPA would only start coming after you have put a conversion code generated by Adwords in ‘thank you’ pages of your website.

Q: How can I set Quality Scores in Adwords?

A: You cannot set the Quality Scores. Google awards the Quality Scores based on various factors.

Q: Do we generally get a 10/10?

A: Yes. You can work relatively harder to get keywords with a score of 6 or 7 and try to move them towards 8 or 9. One strategy is to use different landing pages for different sets of keywords. It becomes easy to get 9’s and 10’s on Quality Score as ads and keywords can be controlled easily.

Q: If I place iframes in the landing pages for the forms how will it impact the bounce rate on the page?

A: Iframes are not going to hurt because if you click on ‘submit’ and you’re taken to the next page which is a ‘thank you’ page. The rating of bounce rate with the forms and iframes should be reconsidered.

Q: What are the factors that improve the Quality Score?

A: There are several factors the most important being the Click-Through-Rate. The CTR is the easiest to control by structuring your account in a better way, using keywords which are closely linked with your ads, writing new and good ads that include offers and USPs that you are offering, creating multiple landing pages that are closely related to each of the keywords, removing irrelevant keywords and using site links. Using privacy policy and disclaimers on your landing pages will help you get a higher Quality Score.

Q: Is there a chance of Quality Score to decrease without changing keywords, ad copy and landing page. The bid is not decreased after two weeks. The CTR is around 2%. Can you tell me the reason of decrease?

A: Quality Score is dependent of various factors like the geography, daily budget and what competitors are doing. In a specific market if your competitors have started improving their Quality Score then your bids might change. It doesn’t change on its own unless there is a change in your account.

Q: Why is Quality Score so dynamic? What steps can ensure a consistent Quality Score?

A: Quality Score is calculated every time your ad is eligible for a keyword. You see the average of the entire day of the Quality Score that has been calculated multiple times throughout the day for the keywords. For a consistent Quality Score, CTR and other factors need to be worked upon. You need to frequently review the Search Term Analysis Report to see what changes made it go down and preferably undo the changes.

Q: Is Quality Score calculated in the same way for display and rich media ads?

A: The Display Network has a different mechanism. The Quality Score is not displayed in the account for the Display Network. It is only for the Search Network.

Q: If a client does not want to change the ads and landing page, how can I improve the CTR?

A: You will have to educate the client that to get a better CPA and get more profits from business the changes are important. You can include the privacy policy of the company and disclaimer on the landing page. Instead of changing ad text you can use sitelinks, callout extensions, structured snippet extensions or review extensions.

Q: I have some real estate keywords which have a high Quality Score but the cost is also higher. What can be done?

A: For all niches that have high bid rate, Quality Score is a must. If you find a client who is not working on Quality Score and is bidding very high rates, you need to educate the client.

Q: Can I use one keyword for two ad groups as broad match or phrase match? Is cost of keywords responsible for the Quality Score of other keywords?

A: Account history is going to contribute as you’re optimizing your account. You can use one keyword for two ad groups provided you set the negative keywords in the respective ad groups. For example, if you are using one keyword as a broad match and the same keyword as a phrase match in some different ad group, you must ensure that you have moved it from the previous ad group. Otherwise, they will start competing with each other. When you go for exact match and phrase match keywords, you can increase the bids slightly (15%-20%) as compared to when you are targeting broad match or modified broad match. While bidding higher, Google will give preference and they will be displayed more.

Q: How to use conversion optimizer along with Quality Score?

A: As you improve your Quality Score your cost of conversion will go down. You can get more conversions at a lower cost. Instead of switching over to conversion optimizer, taking the Quality Score higher up to 7 and then opting to use conversion optimizer is a good strategy.

Q: What is a CSS stride and how will it lead to a good Quality Score?

A: CSS stride is a method of coding images into CSS. With CSS strides, the number of server requests is reduced. The page download time will be quicker. User experience becomes better and hence Quality Score improves.

Q: Many times I have experienced that Adwords show the status ‘Below first page bid’. However, the ad shows up on the first position on SERP.

A: It’s because your competitors have run out of their daily budgets therefore Google shows your ads.

Image Credits:,,,,,,

  • search-engine-marketing-training

  • There is 1 comment

    • 4 years ago

      Neeraj Kumar   /   Reply

      Learning and practicing different Keyword Matches can contribute to betterment of Quality Score. Keyword matches (exact match and phrase match) improve your CTR by filtering out possibility of irrelevant impressions.

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