How To Improve The Quality Score in Adwords

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What is quality score and why does it matter

Your Adwords Quality score is a measure of the quality, relevance and performance of your Ads. It is important because it affects the position of your Ads and their profitability. It is an area that you have direct control over so you can enhance quality score.

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It is a 1-10 ranking for your Google Adwords Keywords and is based on campaign organisation and performance. It matters because it can really reduce your cost per click and make your account more streamlined and profitable.

How quality score is calculated

Your quality score can be influenced by:

  • Keyword relevancy
  • Ad copy relevancy
  • Landing page relevance
  • Click Through rate

These decide what quality score you get. Quality score is a measure of how relevant the keywords you have chosen are in relation to your landing page and the copy on those pages.

So very simply put if you select mountain bike as your keyword then you need to talk about mountain bikes on your landing page and optimise that page in terms of title tag, alt tags, copy, product description etc.

Quality Score Components

Expected Clickthrough Rate – your expected clickthrough rate versus that of your competitors. Clickthrough rate is absolutely key because this is users stating that your Ad resonates with them.

Ad Relevance – The more relevant and specific your Ad is the better. So targeted Ads for niche products work best. General keywords are less relevant because they are more vague and more of a catch-all. Separate Ads for separate keywords builds relevance.

Landing Page Experience – How good is your landing page and does it meet your users expectations. The content again needs to be relevant and completely in keeping with the promises and statements your Ads have made.

The general example of a mountain bike landing page can now be broken down further based on that insight. You can enhance your quality score by choosing the right keywords for the right landing pages.

Target your Ads based on niche, more specific keywords. In this instance they might be:

  • Raleigh mountain bike
  • Aluminium lightweight mountain bike
  • Blue and silver male mountain bike

You could not possibly satisfy all of those searches with a generic landing page for mountain bikes. You can make their shopping experience much slicker by putting an Ad in front of them that sends users to specific product pages which are more relevant to them, specific brand pages they are most interested in or gender-specific pages. This makes your chances of a click-through stronger and the chances of a bounce greatly reduced. This in turn leads to a greater quality score.

The Science Behind Quality Score

AdRank is the strength of an advertiser (so you) and it is a score that is made up of your quality score times the max cost per click you are willing to pay.

AdRank = How good your Ad is (QS) x How much you are willing to pay per Ad (MaxCPC)

So if you have a high-quality score then you can afford to pay less to get the same AdRank score.

Are you with me so far?

Then we have our effective CPC (how much we actually pay for the Ad) which equals the AdRank of the competitor you are trying to beat divided by your QS plus £1.

Effective CPC = Competitors AdRank / QS + £1

You might be having a lightbulb moment right now because chances are the problems you are having with your campaigns boils down to quality score.

Your area of focus for enhancing quality score is click-through rate. It is time to look at keywords, CTR and Landing Page guidelines.

How to improve the quality score of keywords

Your quality score in Adwords begins with keywords. They are still the pillars of your campaigns so immediately you need to ensure that you have conducted strong keyword research. Assumptions need to be laid to one side. Keyword research is all about finding the actual words and phrases that real people use to find the products or services you sell. It eliminates guesswork and defines your campaigns because once you know what people are searching for you need to create the perfect funnel experience around that data.

You can improve the quality score of keywords by enhancing the landing pages that the Ads link to. You must make sure that the copy reflects the keywords used, including product title where possible. You can enhance a page with alt tags, strong H1s, relevant copy that talks around the subject matter and repetition of the keyword. Be careful though as you never want to spam your site! Every 250-300 words can contain 1-2 keyword mentions and no more. You do not want to put the keyword in more than four times on any given page unless you have thousands of word on there in which case the ratio increases.

In Google Shopping utilising negative keywords enhances the relevancy of your Ads because you are not attracting clicks that will return a certain bounce. You can eliminate the lowest hanging fruit pretty quickly by sorting the search queries by impressions and removing any that you instantly know you do not want to appear for.

You can then go on to eliminate generic search queries – keywords that are too general and will dilute your quality score. A few manual checks here do not hurt. Take a look at what your Ads are appearing against and weigh up their relevance. But, ultimately let the data do the talking. Any keywords which have a low click-through could be damaging your quality score so either eliminate or syphon them out to another campaign that you can reduce bids on.  

How To Improve Your Landing Pages

Google gives a very succinct overview of what they expect to find on your landing pages so meeting their expectations is a very logical first step.

You can improve landing page experience by:

  • Offering relevant, original and useful content
  • Be specific in the information you offer – the more niche and relevant that landing page the better the quality score because the more likely you will get a click-through and satisfy user intent
  • Be transparent and trustworthy by stating exactly what your business does, where you are based, make communication easy, have a valid privacy policy, trust signals like buying options and reviews
  • Have a great mobile experience and create a clear navigation so they can browse pages with ease
  • Avoid using pop-ups that can disrupt the user journey and put what your users will be most interested in above the fold so they reach it quickly
  • Provide them with a fast site which loads quickly to prevent them from bouncing

If your competitors offer your audience a better experience they will shop there.

How to improve your Click-through rate

Your CTR is:

Ad Clicks / Ad Impressions x 100 = Click-through Rate


It is a key metric and certainly the most important metric in improving quality score. Your Ad needs to be engaging to warrant clicks. It needs to be relevant to a users search. So all of the above that we have already talked through applies.

The best way to improve your Ad to attract better click-through is to take two simple steps:

  1. Look at the Ads in your account that are working well and take tips from these as to what people respond well to
  2. Look at competitor Ads that are outranking yours. They may be paying more but equally they could have a higher quality score because their Ad is relevant so use what you see to enhance your Ads

The content and design of your Ads is key and in the instance of Google Shopping Ads you must also consider:

  • Strong imagery
  • Your unique selling points: are you cheaper than your competitor, are your products better quality and is this reflected in the image, could you run an offer?

You have very little space to get over a big message: buy from us because…

When it comes to Google Shopping one of the biggest wins that we pursue with every client is having multiple campaigns with the same products which allow targeting to a specific set of search queries with each one. This relies on your campaign structure being super organised and granular. We will tell you more about structuring your campaigns and optimising Google Shopping in coming blogs!


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