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Using Quality Score to Guide Optimizations: Google Best Practices

Six things that matter (and don’t) when it comes to ads quality


Remember that there are differences between auction-time quality and the 1-10 Quality Score number in your account. Learn these ad quality tips.

Understand what does and doesn’t matter when it comes to ads quality

To speak to some common misconceptions, here’s a short list of things that do and do not matter when it comes to Quality Score. Understanding these will ensure you’re focused on meaningful optimizations around ads quality.

The User’s Device: Does Matter

The user’s device (laptop, tablet, smartphone or whatever) is taken into account when ad quality is calculated. Make sure your site experience is optimized for mobile, and if you haven’t already, try targeting users on mobile devices with specific mobile-friendly ads and pages. Google doesn’t require that you have a separate mobile site, but you should make sure that information is easy to find and the navigation is intuitive for users on a mobile device.

Relevance to a User’s Intentions: Does Matter

Relevance to users’ searches and intentions is the heart of ads quality. That means ads and sites that help users gather relevant info, complete a sale or other task, and navigate with ease are more likely to result in high ads quality. This is why we suggest you focus on delivering relevant ads to answer queries rather than trying to optimize to manipulate your score.

For Newly-Launched Keywords, Performance on Related Keywords: Does Matter

Instead of measuring new keywords from scratch, we start with info about related ads and landing pages you already have. If your related keywords, ads and landing pages are in good shape, we’ll probably continue to have a high opinion of them. Always invest in growing your coverage on relevant searches, especially in areas where your ads have the potential to be high quality.

How You Structure Your Account: Doesn’t Matter

If it doesn’t affect user experience, it shouldn’t affect quality or Quality Score. Set up your account in whatever way lets you manage it best, and feel free to restructure things like campaign names or the number of ad groups as needed. There is no such thing as ad group-level, campaign-level or account-level Quality Score. Note also that breaking keywords into new ad groups or campaigns (without changing the ad text or landing page) has no effect on their Quality Score. But moving a keyword to a new ad group that has new ad text could change your Quality Score, because that can affect user experience.

Running Your Ads in Other Networks: Doesn’t Matter

Targeting the Google Display Network or Google’s search partners in your AdWords account won’t affect your ads’ quality on Google.com. As with keywords, use your existing performance metrics—conversions, cost-per-acquisition, etc.—to test out search partners and the Display Network if you want to drive more volume.

Your Ad’s Placement on the Page: Doesn’t Matter

While it’s great to have a high position on the page, doing so doesn’t increase the expected CTR rating of your ads. The expected CTR is normalized for your actual position on the page. The top position is expected to receive more clicks than the third position on the top, and so on. We also normalize for other factors that affect visibility, like ad extensions and other ad formats.

You don’t need to bid for higher positions to increase Quality Score, so you’re free to bid to performance: the clicks, conversions and costs that work best for your business.

 

Conclusion

The old advice to college graduates is, “Do what you love and all else will follow.” In the world of AdWords, the advice is “Do what’s best for your users and your bottom line, and all else will (or at least should) follow.” Those business fundamentals are more important than Quality Score. Remember, too, that there are differences between auction-time quality and the 1-10 Quality Score number that appears in your account. Your Quality Score will give you insight into how you’re performing, but “chasing the number” shouldn’t be the focus of your optimizations. Be relevant, be compelling and drive traffic to landing pages that deliver on what you promise in your ad, and you can feel confident your score should reflect that quality.

 

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