When it comes to Google, quality is king. The average digital marketer can double their annual return with a solid Google Ads approach—and even the most ambitious PPC campaign can be incredibly cost-efficient when a keen eye for high website performance is applied.
Is it possible to estimate keyword, ad and landing page quality? Much of a PPC campaign can be boiled down to analytics—simple metrics—but targeting the right keywords isn’t a simple matter in and of itself. Great ads have great calls to action, but creating visual displays capable of invoking such attention can be tougher than it seems.
The Google Ads Quality Score: What Is It, Exactly?
We’ve all heard about the potential of Google Ads, but many of us haven’t approached the platform in great measure—if at all. For every advice snipped about fixing one’s quality score, it seems there’s another pressing question inevitably asked:
What is your Quality Score, anyway?
As Google puts it, the Google Ads quality score is the measurement of your brand’s landing pages, keywords and—of course—advertisements. While high-quality ads result in better ad real estate and lower ad costs, a low Quality Score results in the opposite.
The Quality Score is ranked from one to 10, and it includes a number of useful digital marketing insights—such as:
- An expected ad clickthrough rate
- Overall ad relevance
- Your landing page’s user experience
Really, Google supplies an all-around outlook on your current ad campaign’s design—boiling down a number of metrics to provide easily accessible, clear-cut approximations of potential. The more relevant your ads are, the more likely you’ll have a higher Quality Score.
Don’t worry: While your Quality Score serves as an aggregated estimate of your campaign’s performance in ad auctions, it won’t be used to determine Ad Rank at auction time.
To check your Quality Score, follow Google’s guide here.
A Closer Look at the Quality Score: The Top Two Factors
Google’s Quality Score, at first glance, may seem like a funnel which translates incredibly complex metrics into simple, point-by-point numbers for ease of digestibility. While the scores are accurate, it can seem impossible to figure out the moving parts beneath the hood so to speak.
While the analytics driving Google’s Quality Score are indeed complex, it’s still possible to examine these moving parts.
CTR and Landing Page Experience
The first way to do this is to understand which factors the Quality Score prioritizes the most: your expected CTR and landing page experience. Research suggests that expected CTR accounts for as much as 39 percent of your score. Landing page experience, meanwhile, accounts for another 39 percent. Ad relevance accounts for 22 percent.
Getting Cheaper Costs Per Click
As such, focusing on the weightiest metrics can seriously impact your quality score. Because placing a higher bid than someone else doesn’t necessarily result in a higher rank, it’s important to maximize your quality score when possible. A competitor outranking you can pay half the pay-for-click price and have a much more sustainable campaign.
More or less, the goal is to get more traffic while paying less for said traffic by producing a higher Quality Score than other marketers. Combined, solid Quality Scores increase the number of clicks you get in relation to your ad campaigns overall impressions.
Deeper Indications: A Word on SEO and Conversion
Google’s most-considered factors aren’t the only insights to be gleaned from deeper examinations of its ranking system. A higher Quality Score is, normally, an indication of well-optimized user experience on your brand’s website.
You needn’t have the fastest website—or even the most user-friendly site—to boost optimization. You only need to address user expectations backed by successful organic keyword usage and landing page conversion.
A number of industry experts have weighed in on this, discussing the importance of measuring one’s SEO quality against affiliate, competitor and reseller bid competition. One needs to not only monitor a Quality Score’s resulting Bid Positioning but also keep an eye on the top search terms in the mix.
This is because it’s incredibly easy to fall into Google search oblivion—wherein even your number-one or number-two search ranking position can fade away into obscurity. Google Ads competition is fierce, and increased saturation will only make successful PPC strategies more difficult to maintain.
The Best Ways to Boost Your Quality Score
Your Quality Score is a dynamic variable, and you can achieve a higher ranking relatively easily—although it’ll require a creative approach going forward. The strategies below are adaptable to any Google Ads campaign, whether you’re a fledgling digital marketer or an established brand operator.
Strategy One: Start With Landing Page Keywords
Your landing page should be a top priority, utilizing target keywords to enhance each ad group. While it might not be completely practical to optimize your website this way, doing so will pay off in relevancy scores.
It’s important to remember that highly relevant landing pages directly increase visitor conversions. If prospective researchers see one of your advertisements, click through it and arrive on a page which fills their expectations, you’ll have a happy customer. This, above all, is what matters.
While having a professional landing page analysis service is ideal, you can get a feel for your website’s effectiveness by using the Google Ads Keyword Tool. Simply type your website’s URL into the search box to get a look at the keywords Google considers the most relevant.
Strategy Two: Decrease Landing Page Load Times
Next, focus on making the visitor’s experience as speedy as possible. Website users who experience fast load times are more likely to feel they’ve directly impacted a page’s response. Understandably, having a nearly instantaneous response is ideal.
Remember: Landing Page Load Times are incredibly important to your Quality Score. Spend some extra time to calculate each of your landing pages’ load times—and try to reduce them as much as possible. For starters, consider the factors below. They have the most impact on a webpage’s loading speed:
- A slow server
- Large page size
- Meta Refreshes
To get a rough estimate of your landing page’s loading speed, check out the Google Search Console.
Strategy Three: Narrow Down Your Audience
Consumer segmentation is already a vital practice to any marketing strategy, but it’s twice as important when targeted ads come into the picture. Structuring your next campaign into targeted ad groups, as such, can really benefit your relevancy scores between every query and ad view.
If you create campaigns with a lot of ad groups—ad groups that have specific, relevant keywords—you’ll find your campaign has a much higher degree of relevancy all around. Don’t settle for a couple of ad groups stuffed with every keyword you have. This approach is tough to maintain, relevancy-wise. You’re better off utilizing keyword variations, instead.
Strategy Four: It’s About Search Intent, Not Brand Keywords
This step trips up a lot of digital marketers. While it makes sense to front-load an ad campaign with brand-specific keywords, such an approach can result in landing pages that don’t see a lot of visitors.
This is because the average Internet user isn’t searching with these keywords. They’re searching for their own. Winning digital marketing campaigns use the power of search intent to their advantage, taking care in understanding not only what Internet-goers want—but how they describe it.
Strategy Five: Making the Most Out of Your Ad Headlines
A good way to boost your Quality Score is to use high-value keywords in your copy—and taking advantage of your headlines is an even better one. Google Ads encourages brands to use their keywords in ads as it is—supporting the use of its Responsive Search Ads every step of the way.
Your website’s headlines pack a punch when it comes to keyword scores. Use them wisely. Additionally, use your best keywords in your extensions and description. This strategy requires a keen approach to the above-mentioned ad group creation strategy. The idea is to attract users to your relevant landing pages—but to avoid falling into the group of general promotions.
The Power of a Good Theme
A reliable way to avoid the “generalist pitfall” is to center your ad groups around a single, attractive theme. In doing so, you’ll directly boost your ad relevance. Too many advertisers try to use their ad groups to net as many visitors as possible—failing to secure long-term strategies that reduce both website bounces and budget costs.
To create a theme, start with refining your ad group keywords as much as possible. Then, audit your existing ad groups liberally. When auditing an account, don’t be afraid to restructure your campaign entirely. Your landing page might’ve been effective in the past, but ad group keyword relevancy changes often.
It’s all about making the online shopper’s search path easier. Even single-word ad groups have a place in the grand mix of ad campaigns. To make every keyword count, however, you’ll need to build a strategy contingent on relevancy from the ground up.