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5 Key Characteristics of a Google AdWords High Quality Score

Learn ore about Google AdWords training from ASPE-ROI.


As digital marketers try to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of Google AdWords, sometimes the focus tends to shift to other core metrics like higher click-through rates (CTR) and lower costs per acquisitions. One thing we tend to forget about is the importance of quality score. Quality score is defined as Max CPC x CTR. The following are five characteristics of a high quality score account.

1. High Click Through Rates

The single most important factor in determining a good quality score is a normalized click-through rate. A good benchmark for CTRs is around two percent. When you have results of anything better than two percent, you can consider your account in good standing. Generally longer keyword phrases and brand-related keyword phrases yield slightly higher than average click-through rates.

2. Long Tail Keywords

The extensive use of long tail keywords is pivotal for success in any campaign, as well as increasing your overall quality score. Long tail keywords are typically more effective because they are more specific and better at pre-qualifying traffic as well as overall search intent. They also tend to convert at a higher rate because they align better with the end of the buyer phase. Check out your Search Query report under the keyword details tab in your AdWords campaign to see what long tail keywords are causing your ad to appear. Also, make sure you add those keyword phrases as exact matches inside of your campaign, especially if you see those keywords converting.

3. Continual Ad Text Optimization

Making sure you have the right keywords isn’t always enough. Improving your CTR’s is all about ad optimization. Make sure you are using methods like A/B testing and dynamic keyword insertions (if you have a ton of products) in order to find out what is working and what isn’t. A good rule of thumb is to always test at least two different ads for a specific set of keywords. Find out which one gets more clicks and impressions and get rid of the ones that don’t.

4. Dedicated Account Activity

As an AdWords account manager, we often don’t know exactly which lever to pull and which one to push. Typically several optimization changes are needed on an ongoing basis to get the most out of your campaigns. In this scenario, one of the best predictors of the success of an account other than quality score is account activity. Most small businesses fail to properly optimize their campaigns and quality scores because the person doing the work simply does not do enough work day in and day out. Recent reports show that one in five AdWords account managers do nothing at all within a month and only 10% of advertisers consistently do optimization work every week over a 90-day period.

5. Best Practices Adherence

Google rewards advertisers that are using all of their features properly. Best practices like using ad extensions properly and a modified broad match to get to the lowest level of specificity when optimizing your accounts are critical. Believe it or not, only half of small businesses have conversion tracking turned on. Negative keywords and landing page optimization for relevancy also fall under this list. Make sure as a marketer you are taking advantage of everything AdWords has to offer from a targeting perspective to hone in on the pre-qualified prospect as possible.

When looking at optimizing your entire PPC campaign, what often seems to be missing is focusing on the overall improvement of the quality scores of each particular keyword. When analyzing each quality score, group them into three different buckets: 0-3, 4-6 and 7-10. First, focus on getting anything with a quality score of 4-6 up to around 7 or better. After that, decide on relevance and performance of any keyword that is marked as 0-3. Decide if it makes more sense to pause or delete a keyword from the list because of semantic relevancy and overall ad performance. The tighter and more optimized you can make your campaigns, the higher your quality score will be, and achieving overall success within your entire AdWords campaign will be more likely.

View the full Nov/Dec ASPE-ROI Newsletter to read this full article and more like it.

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