Quality score – the secret revealed


We have all seen quality score on Adwords, and know that it is a vital metric relating to PPC campaigns. Have you ever sat and wondered how this seemingly random figure is assigned or generated? We have, and likely you and many others too. The current situation is that we know what quality score is (i.e. what figure makes a good and bad number) but not actually how that figure is arrived at in the first place. In our latest blog post, we’ll explore this further.

What is quality score?

Lets start with the basics!

Quality score is a measure of Google’s interpretation of your keyword/s and PPC adverts. To think of an example, we have all heard of our credit score. Credit scores affect your ability to get finance or a good interest rate. In a similar sort of way, quality scores affect your paid adverts in terms of ranking positions, cost, and overall effectiveness.

It follows therefore, that quality score can depend on a number of individual considerations. Some of the most important include your click-through-rate, how relevant the ad text is and the landing page you are targeting (whether this is quality and relevant.)

Quality score is graded from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Depending on whether your score is good or bad, Google will give a boost (or penalty) to your keyword. The net effect of this generally means that the better the quality score, the lower price that will be paid per click of the ad.

How then is it calculated?

To understand this, lets consider the three factors which were mentioned above, as the most important to your quality score:

  • Click-through-rate.
  • Relevance of advert.
  • Landing page appeal.

It would appear that each of these three individual factors are graded in terms of ‘below average’, ‘average’ and ‘above average.’ To quantify what each of these statements mean, ‘average’ would mean that it roughly compares with your competitors who have the same or very similar keyword.

Figures are then assigned to reflect these parameters. For example, something scoring below average may only have 1 point or none at all, while something scoring above average may have 4 points. The sum of these three is added together and an extra 1 point is given. The final calculation then seems to make the actual quality score.

Worked example:

Keyword X has the following characteristics.

Click-through-rate:         average                 2 points.

Relevance of advert:       above average       3 points

Landing page appeal:      below average       0 points

(+ 1 point added)            =                               6 points.

6 would then be the quality score in this example.

What are some of the things that webmasters can take from this newly revealed information?

Some of the main considerations from this might actually help you refine your PPC campaigns further, allowing you to focus on what really matters.

Firstly, (whilst stating the obvious) it seems certain that working on your click-through-rate, ad relevance and landing page appeal are among the most important things to consider. Work on each of these in turn.

Secondly, the old myth that the previous history of your AdWords account somehow affects calculations is well and truly shown as not being the case.

Thirdly, once your metrics are graded as ‘above average’ this would seem to indicate you have reached the ceiling, and rather than trying to improve these further, you should be focusing on the others with a lower grade.

Looking to work with us for setup and management of your PPC campaign? Have a look at our dedicated PPC section now.


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