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Using Quality Score to Guide Optimizations: Google Best Practices

Diagnose keyword quality using Quality Score and other metrics


Keyword-level Quality Score in your AdWords account alerts you to potential problems. It's a way to guide your keyword optimization process.

Focus your efforts on high-value areas where you can affect change

Another way to think of the Quality Score reported in your AdWords account is as warning lights in a car: something that alerts you to potential problems.

This number shouldn’t be the main focus of your account optimizations. Yes, it should align with your performance if you’re doing the right things. But trying to use tricks or short-term solutions to force the number up isn’t the way to go.

Instead, you should focus on your long-term performance goals and look for ways to reach them by improving your user experience. Then check the Quality Score to see how you’re doing. Google is dedicated to measuring these positive experiences, so when you focus on them as well, both our goals (and the goals of users) are aligned.

For real specifics, pay attention to all the other metrics shown in your account, like clickthrough rate, conversion rate and site engagement. They’re more clearly connected with your performance and should help as you look for specific areas to improve.

As you review your performance, you can use Quality Score as a filter to tell you where to focus your efforts. Some key thoughts:

  • Look through your high-value keywords and use Quality Score to identify the ones that are lagging behind.
  • Use low Quality Scores to find components (or trends across components) that are doing worse than in other places in your account, and set priorities for improvement.
  • Remember that even if your score is 8, 9 or 10, you may still be able to improve your results. A Quality Score of 10 won’t go up if you improve an already above average click-through rate, but your performance and results can still get better.

     

Pay attention to the three components of Quality Score above the overall 1-10 score. They’re a better indicator of your account’s health. As mentioned earlier, your 1-10 score is not plugged into the Ad Rank formula at auction time. Instead, we use an auction-time calculation of the three components, with other factors included, to compute Ad Rank.

Some of those other factors that are a part of your ad’s quality without being directly reflected in your Quality Score include:

  • Geographic signals (like the country of the search)
  • The differing qualities of multiple ads in an ad group (since one ad may get better results than others)
  • Non-exact query matches. The 1-10 number estimates your Quality Score for a query that exactly matches your keyword. But it doesn’t reflect match types or negative keywords you may use. Negative keywords are a very good thing for your account, but Quality Score doesn’t include them as a factor

Example

Suppose your ads for a keyword are above average in expected CTR (meaning that users find the text compelling), but below average in landing page experience (meaning that the users are having a hard time doing what they arrived at your site to do). In that case you might work to make sure you are directing users to the best landing page possible for your ad rather than testing new calls to action.

We’re continually improving the way that we calculate the quality of your ads, and that calculation will never be captured by a simple 1-10 number. That’s why we call it a guide, not a precise metric.

 

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