Look at how quality in advertising is important, how it’s measured and what you can do to achieve it.

Philanthropist Tony Robbins once said – “Quality questions create a quality life, Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone these days who hadn’t used the phrase “Google it” at some point in their lives. “Googling” has become the default action when you want to have your “Quality Questions” answered. We trust that when we ask a question, Google will have, not just an answer, but THE answer for us.

Google has managed to cultivate this reputation as a leading resource for information by understanding people’s intent and providing their users with reliable, high quality and most importantly relevant information. Quality results are the cornerstone of Google’s success.

Google / Microsoft – Delivering relevant content to users

Organic search results, whilst making up the majority of a search engines results page, are not the only results that are presented after a search. Ad’s also make up a chunk of the search engines results pages’ results.

In order to maintain a high standard of information, relevant to their users, on their results pages, PPC marketing platforms such as Google and Microsoft, also take into consideration the quality of the ads when deciding if and where to rank them on. To do this, Microsoft and Google give the keywords that advertisers bid on a “Quality Score”.

For advertisers this means making sure their ads are as good as they can possibly be, not simply paying more to achieve a higher ranking. Conversely, having a high-quality ad can lead to a cheaper click cost! 

Quality Score – What is it?

When a user types into a search engine, an instantaneous, real time, auction happens. Advertisers bid for their ads to appear for that search for that user.

If an advertiser is bidding on keywords related to the search term used by the searcher, then they will be eligible for the auction. If they bid high enough then their ad will appear on the search engine results page. Where they rank on the page also depends on their bid amount. But, the bid amount isn’t the only factor when determining an ad’s rank in the search engine results page.

The two main factors that affect rank are the Bid amount, and as you may have guessed, the Quality Score! This means that a high quality score can mean a lower CPC for the same ad rank or a higher ad rank for the same cost. Ultimately, the cheaper the click, the more clicks that you can gain for the same budget. 

The true method of determining a keywords quality score is a secret that only Google and Microsoft know respectively. However, we do know that there are three main components to it (Plus a little extra magic). These are:

Expected Click-through-rate

“This status predicts whether your keyword is likely to lead to a click on your ads. Google Ads takes into account how well your keyword has performed in the past, based on your ad’s position. The expected click-through rate (CTR) that Google Ads provides for a keyword in your account is an estimate based on the assumption that the search term will match that keyword exactly. At auction time (when someone’s search terms trigger one of your ads), Google Ads calculates a more accurate expected CTR based on the search terms, type of device and other auction-time factors”. – support.google.com

Landing Page Experience

“Landing page experience is Google Ads’ measure of how well your website gives people what they’re looking for when they click your ad. Your landing page is the URL people arrive at after they click your ad, and Google Ads analyses it through a combination of automated systems and human evaluation”.  – support.google.com

Ad Relevance

“This status describes how well your keyword matches the message in your ads. For example, if someone searches for your keyword and your ad shows up, would your ad seem directly relevant to their search?”  – support.google.com

Each of these factors is given a grade. Below average, average or above average. And in combination give you your overall quality score, which is graded on a sale 1-10. 10/10 being the best and 1/10 being the worst.

You can check the quality score of your keywords by adding the quality score column to your keywords report. You can even break down the report to include, the keywords Ad Relevance, Expected CTR and Landing page Experience.

Common mistakes and how to get quality score right

A common mistake that people make, when setting up their search campaigns, is to have a much too broad range of keywords in one ad group. Having too many keywords makes it hard to keep the content of your ad relevant.

The second mistake that people often make is not having a clear theme to the keywords in their ad group, again, this means that not all of the keywords will be relevant to the ads in the ad group.

The third mistake that people make is to only have their ads going to their home page. The content of your pages is taken into consideration when determining landing page experience. If your bidding on keywords specific to products or services that you have pages for on your website then be sure to direct traffic there. 

Here are my 3 golden rules for Ensuring that your keywords have the best chance of achieving a high-quality score:

1. Have a maximum of 10-15 keywords per ad group.

2. Group your keywords tightly by theme.

3. Send traffic to the most relevant pages on your website.

One extra consideration is that determining quality score does require some historical data, so if your Expected CTR is low to begin with, don’t panic, it may improve over time. My advice would be to wait 14 days to fully understand the quality score of your keywords. Optimisation is an ongoing process, and small tweaks may be all it takes to bring your ads from average to above average.