Understanding Adwords Quality Score

When advertising online with Google’s Adwords system you will want to find ways to lower the amount you have to pay to get your advert seen. A key factor in this is the ‘Quality Score’.

The Quality Score is assigned to each keyword within an ad group.  According to Google themselves, “a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click.”

So how do you get high quality scores for your keywords?

Well, the Quality Score is calculated by looking at a number of factors, most important of these being the click through rate (CTR)

As soon as an ad starts displaying on the Google domain (they ignore the content network) Google records the CTR for each associated keyword. As the ctr goes up or down, so does the Quality Score.

Therefore, to save money it is good to remove low CTR keywords.  If that keyword is needed, then it needs a new ad of its own which more closely matches it and thereby generates a better CTR.

Negative keywords are an important part of the Quality Score mix too.

Suppose you only sell Green Widgets, but Blue Widgets are incredibly popular at the moment.

If you have an ad for Green Widgets and one of your keywords is ‘widgets’ then everyone who searches for ‘Blue Widgets’ will see your ad, but won’t click. As a result your CTR and your Quality Score will go down and your cost per click will rise. This is not good.

However, if you add the keyword ‘Blue Widgets’ to your negative keywords list, your ad will be hidden from those blue widget fans and as a result your Quality Score will rise and your cost per click will fall. Hooray!

Finding the right negative keywords is not too difficult to do. Just go to a search engine, type in ‘widgets’ or any generic phrase you have concerns about and see what comes up. If you find pages that are not relevant look for the phrases that you and they have that are mutually exclusive and add these to your negative keywords list.

That process can take a bit of time and effort so consider asking an SEO company (hello!) to do it for you. It isn’t a particularly expensive task and can lead to big improvements in the profitability of your adwords campaigns.