Poor Quality Score Could Be Doubling Your PPC Costs

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How to Cut Your AdWords PPC Cost in Half

Most Local Business Advertisers Pay No Attention to Quality Score. Is that you?

Is a poor Quality Score wrecking your PPC efforts? Do you know anything about Quality Score — what it is, its purpose and its impact on your budget and results? Let’s have a look at the fundamentals.

What is Quality Score?

Each major search engine uses a secret, proprietary and fancy formula to come up with their version of Quality Score, under various names specific to their engine.

Here, I’m going to concentrate on Google AdWords but much the same goes for Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

Google has a clear business objective to deliver the tightest fit between the results it gives and the original search that was typed into their engine. They call it relevance.

As a user, you want to quickly get the answer to your query without wasting time and effort being sent to irrelevant results. You certainly don’t want to be sent to a page that has little or nothing to do with what you are looking for.

So it makes sense that Google wants their searchers to be happy with the results it gives them. Although those searchers are not paying Google (yet?), that’s what Google is selling to you as an AdWords client. That’s what you are paying for — happy searchers who are looking for what you are selling.

How is Quality Score Calculated?

Google says it calculates Quality Score based on click-through rate (CTR) — historical keyword CTR, the past CTR of your display URL, overall CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account, the relevance and clarity of your landing page and its relationship to the keywords in your ads and how they fit with the keywords used in the search itself.

They also take into account how well your ad is doing in the geographic locations you have targeted and on the devices you have chosen.

What is The Purpose of Quality Score?

Quality Score is a complex mechanism designed to encourage advertisers to make their ads synchronize with the landing page to which clicks are sent. In other words, if the ad is about yellow shoes, then the clicker is going to expect to see yellow shoes available at the page they land on after they click the ad.

Google uses a classic reward and punishment feedback that should motivate the advertiser to improve that relevance. The punishment is higher cost of clicks and lower positioning of the ad.

How Does a Better Quality Score Benefit Your Budget?

Take care to build a higher than average Quality Score and you could shave your ad costs by a significant amount. You might cut your cost per click in half.

But that’s not all. A higher Quality Score improves your keyword bid and increases your ability to appear higher up on the page where you can expect more clicks. It will boost your Ad Rank and open up top ad positions that money can’t buy. You are more likely to have your ad show with extensions and other ad formats which improve visibility and engagement.

Six Key Ways You Can Improve Your AdWords Quality Score

Relevance and Relevance

Make sure your keywords match up from your ad and into your landing page. Keep the Ad Groups in your account well organized so that they contain only commonly connected keywords that you monitor for consistent performance.

Use Negative Keywords

Google is an elephant that never forgets. It will punish you for poorly performing keywords so keep alert for keywords that are not getting you clicks; add them to your negative list and protect your CTR for better Quality Score and Ad Rank.

Optimize Landing Page

Cut out any distracting links that risk taking people away from your main objective. Make sure your keyword and ad are directly reflected in your landing page. They all must serve the one goal, clearly and directly. The page should load quickly and contain contact information, privacy policy, terms and disclaimer links.

Select the Right Device

Take intelligent care to pick the device that delivers you the best CTR because some will suit ads better than others. What devices are your target market using to access your ad?


It’s not clear how Google values the geographic location but you should use the one that suits your results best anyway.

Click Through Rate

CTR is the name of the game for Google and for you. You both want a high CTR and that will require you to keep on top of your ad’s performance so that you can continually monitor and tweak for better performance. And remember that the performance is not just a competition with yourself for building a higher Quality Score. It is also a comparison made against your competitors.