A Refresher on Quality Score

This week the Google AdWords Team improved how Quality Score (QS) is displayed in the interface. It is important to note there will not be changes to the way QS is calculated. In any case, now is probably a good time to take a look at your accounts to see how your scorecards look.

One of our clients did just that and asked us:

“We are seeing QS below 5 for some of our top spending keywords. Should we optimize these keywords and try to increase our QS?”

It’s a great question, so let’s do a quick refresher. QS is still mostly made up of CTR, and there is often a give-and-take between quality score and conversion rates. In other words, ads with higher CTRs show lower conversion rates.  You may be able to write a more click-friendly ad, but the marginal clicks you will receive are from less qualified folks. Now when you mouse over the little bubble (on the Keywords tab) you will get a bit more detail regarding QS. For example, one of our main keywords has an AdWords QS of 4, which means “average” for CTR, ad relevance and landing page.

Quality Score Refresher

Let’s say we want to test a price in the 1st line of ad text (ie, $24.95), which Google also will include in the headline of the ad. By putting price upfront, we might exclude folks who want to see something like “up to 50% off”. Sure, a 50% off ad may have a better CTR (QS), but it may not be as profitable for you (the advertiser).

To sum it up, we generally do not “optimize for quality score” and instead prefer to optimize on harder metrics such as CPA or ROAS.

  • Sergio

    For exmp. If I have kw with higher CTR, I think conversion will also be higher (more relevant traffic, more relevant folks, more conversions). I did not mean more like quantity. With good phrases and exact keywords you will get more -relevant- traffic.

    Higher positions are in connection with better QS. Higher QS, usually means less money for click, and in the same time better position, wich means, in the end, better CTR, better conversions.

    Bottom line, if u have a low budget, QS i very important.

  • Hi Sergio. This is true, higher positions are connected to higher CTR and thus higher QS. But I would argue it is quite difficult to link ad positions with conversion rates.

    We’ve done a bunch of testing on this. Always interested to hear others’ results though!