Improving Quality Scores in Google Ads: Here's How To Do It

Three metrics determine your Quality Score. Here they are.

The Quality Score your Google Ads are given is one of the most important metrics to determine how successful your campaigns will be.

Unfortunately, Google isn't quite transparent about which metrics influence Quality Score the most. But a consensus has emerged among PPC marketers that there are three overall factors that influence your Quality Score. These are:

  1. Click Through Rates (CTR)
  2. Ad Relevance
  3. Landing Page Experience

Of course, these three metrics do not stand mutually exclusive of each other. Your ad relevance, for example, will have a significant impact on your click-through rates. People are unlikely to click on an irrelevant ad.

The landing page experience is also an important factor. Google will track the behavior of a user when they reach your site. Do they stick around, click on different pages, or do they immediately bounce? All this has an effect.

We will analyze these three factors in this blog post, and then offer a key strategy you could use to improve your Quality Scores for your Google Ads.

1. Click-Through Rates (CTR)

When you create an ad for a company, Google will immediately compare how the CTR for your ads compares with your competitors.

If your CTR is higher than your closest competitors, this will give you a higher Quality Score, and if they are lower, your Quality Score will get downgraded.

The process is somewhat more complicated because Google does not always make fair comparisons between advertisers.

For example, one advertiser might get a lower Quality Score than that of a similar advertiser, simply because their ads were compared with a third advertiser who had three times the ad budget and bid more aggressively.

In any case, the expected CTR your ad gets remains an important metric to improve if you want to get a higher Quality Score.

2. Ad Relevance

The best way to get a high CTR is to ensure that the ads you show potential customers are relevant to what they are searching for.

To do this effectively, a tight match has to be created between keyword and ad copy.

You want to create a stable and consistent customer journey from the moment a user searches for your keyword, to the ad they are shown, to the landing page they are taken to.

That means that, ideally, you have your keywords appear on your landing page as well.

Spending the extra time to make creative, engaging ads will pay dividends in the long run.

The key thing to keep in mind is to include your keyword in your Headline, Description and Display URL.

When I say keyword here, I don't mean something similar to your keyword. I mean your exact keyword.

While this may mean you have to sacrifice how 'pretty' your ads sound, it is worth it in order to create this tight match between search term and ad shown.

Searchers are naturally wired to click on the exact term they searched for. CTRs have been shown to increase time and time again the more your keywords and ad copy are bound to increase the more your keyword and ads are an exact copy of what a user searched for.

For example, if you have a horseriding business and you bid on the term "horseriding courses", you need to ensure that this term is included in one of your headlines, preferrably the first one, one or two times in the description, and also in the URL.

Next, you should ensure that this exact term is displayed prominently on the landing page the user then goes to.

It may seem a bit robotic to repeat 'horseriding courses' a few times in your ad.

After all, we are taught in school and college to vary sentence structure as much as possible. Synonyms exist to engage your reader.

Google doesn't make things easier. The way they present their Google Ads certificate course suggests that ads should use bubbly language and read like poetry. In reality, the most important metric is to have as close a match between keyword and ad copy without worrying how good the ads sound.

3. Landing Page Experience

Finally, there is the landing page a user is taken to after they click on your ad.

In addition to having your keyword appear prominently on the landing page, advertisers need to make sure their website is optimized to ensure a pleasant viewing experience, especially on mobile.

This means having fast loading times and an easily navigitable setup.

You can have the best ad in the world, but if a user spends only one second on your landing page and bounces immediately, this will not help your Quality Score and Google will punish you for it.

Taken together, these three components is what Google uses to determine your Quality Score. In order to get the highest Quality Score possible, we will know go over a a quick strategy with SKAGs you can implement to get your Quality Score up to the 9-10 range.

SKAGs and Quality Score

Single Keyword Ad Groups remain the most consistent and reliable way of ensuring a tight match between keyword and ad copy, which as we mentioned before, is a key factor that goes into determining your Quality Score.

There are countless articles on the internet about what they are, so we won't go over them here.

But the short version is SKAGS are an account structure where you include only one keyword in your ad groups in multiple match types, instead of having several keywords per ad group as Google recommmends.

When you find a high-traffic, high-converting keyword, create a SKAG for it and then increase your budget on that keyword.

The higher budget will ensure that when Google compares your ads for that keyword with competitors, you keep an edge over your competitors.

In addition, the SKAG structure makes it quite simple to assign landing pages and ads to the keywords you bid on.

Implementing dynamic pages where the keywords are automatically included in the landing page based on your Google Ads is also easy to implement with SKAGs. You can read more about this strategy here.

The great thing about SKAGs is that, although they are extra work to set up, they pay off down the road because the high Quality Score eventually leads to lower CPCs, which means your higher budget will go to more clicks and impressions.

The only downside to SKAGs is they can be time-consuming, especially when it comes to applying negative keywords to different ad groups.

To help with this, we created our own tool to automize the creation and management of SKAGs.

Conclusion

In sum, being aware of the three factors that go into determining your Quality Score is key in determining how well your Google Ads campaigns will perform. These three factors are:

  1. Click-Through Rates
  2. Ad Relevance
  3. Landing Page Experience

Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS) are a good strategy you can implement to improve all three of these metrics, and thus achieve high Quality Scores for your Google Ads and keep your campaigns healthy with plenty of conversions.

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