Google Updates Its Quality Score Criteria

Up until recently quality scores were quite vague in their detail.

The quality score of any keyword vastly affects the bid you need to assign to it as well as how Google favours that keyword against other keywords (whether you have different match types or a competitor has higher quality scores).

In the ‘old’ days the only immediate information you were given were hidden in those bubbles in the status column. They simply told you if your keyword or ad was being displayed or not. And the reason for the ad not being displayed was down to keyword quality score, and the keyword quality score being affected by ‘ad relevance’.

Last month Google did something to make quality scoring assessment much, much clearer by introducing these new columns:

  • Expected CTR
  • Landing Page Experience
  • Ad Relevance

You can add these by doing the following:

Quality Score Image


Having these three columns on display gives you a very quick overview of the performance of your keywords. It works simply by using average as its measurement benchmark

Let’s concentrate on Landing Page Experience and Ad Relevance as these are the ones which most directly affect your keyword quality score.

If all these are above average you can enjoy lower CPCs, greater exposure and better use of your budget.

If any of these are below average then you have work to do.

Ad Relevance:

  • Are you sending the right messages to your audience in the ad copy?
  • Call To Action – is your ad copy encouraging visitors to ‘buy today’?
  • Seasonality – are there any Summer promotions you haven’t mentioned in your ad copy?
  • Relevance – are you showing an ad for red wine to people searching for red wine?
  • Product type – are you showing a generic ad for ‘vacuum cleaners’ when someone actually wants, and searches for upright vacuum cleaners’

Several factors come into play when determining ad relevance:

  • Tightly themed ad groups with only related keywords
  • Content relevance – does your ad copy mention any of your keywords?
  • Include one of your keywords in your URL ‘path’ – basically the new version of the Display URL

 Landing Page Experience – how relevant and ‘good’ is your website?

  • If you have an ad group with keywords about buying red wine, you want to make sure the landing page you are sending users to is about buying red wine – relevant content is crucial!
  • How ‘good’ is your site? Google consider several factors in determining landing page experience:
    • Speed – most users are known to lose interest if page loading speed is more than 4 seconds for each page
    • Compatibility – not everyone uses the same browser; is the site compatible with the most popular browsers?
    • Mobile – is your site mobile friendly? Search has seen a fundamental shift towards mobile over the past couple of years; phones are getting bigger and better as are mobile connections. Mobile is by far the leading device in terms of the first search. If your site is not mobile friendly then you risk distancing a lot of those initial users

Landing pages are the job of the web developer so it’s important to communicate with them (either directly or through your client) to create a better page experience for the user. The above factors are key components. Dedicated, relevant mobile friendly landing pages will help lower CPCs, and ultimately CPAs.

Google has a tool that will help you ascertain how well your website works across mobile and desktop –

Ahmed Chopdat
Commercial Director

An expert in high volume, highly competitive markets with a keen eye for trends, motivated by client profitability and success.

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