Things you should know about Ads Quality

When it comes to Ads Quality, there's a lot to learn. Based on what we've heard from our advertisers writing in, at conferences, and on forums, we've taken the time to put together what we believe you should know about Ads Quality.

There might not be ads on all search results, even for queries that advertisers are bidding on.

In order to be consistent with our philosophy of showing the right ad to the right user at the right time, we'd rather show no ads on a page than show low-quality ads. That's why you might find that there are no ads on a page, even when an advertiser is bidding on the query that generated those results. You can find out why your ad may not be showing for a given query by using keyword diagnosis.

Just because there is low competition for a keyword doesn't mean that it will be inexpensive.

Remember that competition is only one of the variables that determines your actual CPC. The price you pay for a click is also determined by your relative keyword Quality Score for that query. If your keyword has a low Quality Score relative to the other ads on that page, you may find that your actual CPC is close to your maximum CPC, even though there is low competition for that keyword. Keep in mind though that you'll never be charged more than your maximum CPC for a click, no matter how low your Quality Score.

Ad extensions and other ad formats impact your Ad Rank.

To show more relevant information to users, we include the expected impact from your extensions and other ad formats when calculating your Ad Rank, which also takes into account your bid and the quality of your ad and landing page. This means that if two competing ads have the same bid and quality, the ad with the better expected impact from extensions will generally appear in a higher position than the other.

We consider several factors when determining whether to show an ad extension on Google, including the position of your ad on the Google search results page (for example, some extensions only show in ads above search results). We also require a minimum Ad Rank (factoring in your extensions) before showing extensions. Keep in mind that raising your bid, improving your ad quality, or both, can improve your Ad Rank. And improving your Ad Rank increases the chances of your ad extensions showing with your ads as well as the likelihood that your ad will get more clicks.

Your ad position is not a factor in your Quality Score.

While we do use clickthrough rate (CTR) to help determine score, a higher ad position will not actually help you get a higher Quality Score. As you might have seen, ads in high positions typically earn better CTR than those in low positions, because ads in high positions are more visible to users. Therefore, to calculate the most accurate Quality Scores, it's important that the influence of ad position (as well as other factors that affect visibility, such as extensions and other ad formats) on CTR be taken into account and removed from the Quality Score. Your ad's position on the results page is taken into account when we use its CTR to determine Quality Score. So even if your ad isn't the first one of the page, it's still possible to get a great Quality Score.

Your bid primarily impacts your rank, not your Quality Score.

Quality Score is broadly calculated based on your expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Your bid is not a factor in your Quality Score determination.

Quality is given extra consideration when determining which ads appear in the top slots.

For ads in top positions above Google search results, we use the same Ad Rank formula, based on your bid, the quality of your ad and landing page, and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats. However, only ads that exceed a certain Ad Rank threshold are eligible to appear in these positions. The higher the ad quality and the better the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats, the lower the CPC threshold. This ensures that quality and relevance play an even more important role in determining the ads that show above search results.

Your ad conversion rate doesn't affect your Quality Score.

Some advertisers using AdWords conversion tracking mistakenly believe that they should set an easy conversion event on their landing pages to artificially boost their conversion rates. In reality, this will not have any effect on your Quality Scores. Feel free to use conversion tracking responsibly, and don't worry about its impact on your Quality Scores.

Quality Score doesn't suffer when your ads are showing infrequently or not showing due to pausing or budgeting. A few days of bad performance will not ruin your Quality Scores.

When your ads are paused or not showing due to budget or low bids, your Quality Score is not affected.

In order to optimize your account, we encourage you to run targeted tests on your bids, creatives, and keywords.  These small tests are a useful way to measure the impact of changes before applying them to the rest of your account. You should carefully track the performance of your experiments. If you notice that they don't perform well after a few days, you can revise your experiment or remove those changes.  The short-term impact on your Quality Score will eventually be outweighed by the previous and future performance for that keyword.

Restructuring your account doesn't cause you to lose your historical Quality Score information.

The history of keywords, ad texts, and landing page is preserved when you restructure your account. This is also generally true when moving keywords and ad texts across accounts or into new ones (as the experience from a user's point of view remains the same). Experiment with improved account structures. You can always go back if they're not successful.