PPC Advertising

A Detailed Guide 2020 – How to Improve PPC Quality Score

If you’re running PPC advertising on Google Ads, you can get more clicks without increasing your budget. You can do this by optimizing your Quality Scores.

It’s not only how much you bid on a keyword that determines the position and impression share of your ads. The Quality Score of your keyword also plays a significant role.

Quality Score is broken down into three metrics. To improve your Quality Score; you first need to understand what area needs to be worked on for each keyword.

Read on to learn more about Quality Scores and how you can optimize them to get more traffic for your budget.

What is Quality Score?

Quality Score is a score from 1 – 10 that Google allocates to each of your keywords. This shows how relevant your keyword is to the search. Google uses this metric to decide how much you should pay to appear in a specific position on the page — relative to your competitors.

What is Ad Rank?

It is quite common for advertisers to think that their ad’s position on the page is down to how much they bid.

While the bid that is set does influence the ad’s position on the page, it is not the only metric that Google uses.

Google combines your max bid and your keyword’s Quality Score into an Ad Rank. The advertiser with the highest Ad Rank appears at the top of the page. The advertiser with the second-highest Ad Rank appears in position two, the next appears in position three, and so on.

To calculate your Ad Rank there is an easy formula that you can use. So, for example, if your max bid is £2.00 and your Quality Score is 8, then your Ad Rank would be 2 * 8 = 16.

Quality Score * Max Bid = Ad Rank

8 * £2 = 16

Why is it important to optimize Quality Scores?

Improving your Quality Score means you increase your Ad Rank without increasing your bid. This means you can either achieve a higher position on the page. Or you can get a higher impression share, without increasing bids.

The below table shows how much the Ad Rank increases with Quality Score improvements. We’re going to assume that the max bid is set to £1.00.

1. Ad rank Calculation

In the above example, a bid of £1.00 and a Quality Score of 1 would get an Ad Rank of 1. A bid of £1.00 and a Quality Score of 10 would get an Ad Rank of 10, which would lead to a better position on the page.

We can then reverse engineer this to get an idea of how much we would need to bid to achieve a particular Ad Rank based on our Quality Score.

The below table shows how much you would have to bid, depending on your Quality Score, to achieve an Ad Rank of 5. For example, if you needed an Ad Rank of 5 to appear in position one on the page then. based on your Quality Score, you could be paying anywhere from £0.50 to £5.00 for a click.  It’s safe to assume that all advertisers would prefer to pay £0.50 per click than £5.00!

2. Bid Calculation - PPC - Quality score

We can take the above example further by looking at how the performance of an account would change depending on the Quality Score with an Ad Rank of 5.

The below table shows the changes in the performance of an account if all the keywords have an Ad Rank of 5, a budget of £500, and a CVR of 5%.

3. Performance Change With Quality Score Changes

As you can see above, with a Quality Score of 1, we would have to bid £5 to get an Ad Rank of 5. A budget of £500 and a cost per click of £5.00 means we would be able to buy 100 clicks. With a conversion rate of 5%, this would mean 5 conversions and Cost per Acquisition of £100.

If we were able to improve Quality Scores from 1 to 10, then we would be looking to get 1,000 clicks and 50 conversions at a Cost per Acquisition of £10.

The above is an exaggerated example. But, you can see how the performance of an account can improve with higher Quality Scores.

How does Ad Rank Affect an auction?

We’ve seen how improving the Quality Score can boost your Ad Rank. The below example shows the position of your ads in relation to your competitor’s ads in an auction.

Above, Advertiser 1 would appear at the top of the page despite their bid being the same as that of Advertiser 2. Advertiser 2 would appear in position 2 and Advertiser 3 would appear in position 3.

This is because, even though Advertiser 3 is bidding the most of the three advertisers, their low Quality Score means they have a low Ad Rank.

What metrics does Quality Score comprise of?

Google hasn’t revealed the exact details of how it calculates Quality Scores.

Google has revealed three metrics that it uses in its Quality Score algorithm. These are Ad Relevance, Expected Clickthrough Rate and Landing Page Experience.

So, to raise your Quality Score, you need to look at improving these three metrics.

How do I go about finding my Quality Score Metrics?

To find your Quality Score metrics, you can start by adding the appropriate columns in Google Ads.

To do this, in the Keyword view, click on Columns and then on Modify Columns.

5. Find Quality Score 1 - PPC-pay-per-click

From the list of sub-menus, click on ‘Quality Score’ and then add in ‘Quality Score’, Exp. CTR, Landing Page Exp., and Ad relevance.

You should now be able to see the Quality Score, Ad Relevance, Landing Page Experience and Expected Clickthrough rate of all your keywords.

PPC-pay-per-click-6. Find Quality Score 2

The following Quality Score metrics are scored as Above Average, Average, and Below Average:

  • Ad Relevance
  • Expected Clickthrough Rate
  • Landing Page Experience

As a starting point, you should be looking to address all the ‘Below Average’ metrics in your account.

Calculating weighted Quality Score

You can find the Quality Score of your individual keywords within Google Ads.

If you want to gauge the average Quality Score of your account, you’ll need to calculate the weighted average of your keyword Quality Scores.

To calculate your account’s weighted average Quality Score in Microsoft Excel, you’ll need to download all your keywords into Microsoft Excel. You’ll need to include the Impressions data.

You can then use the SUM() and SUMPRODUCT() formulas to calculate the weighted average Quality Score.

The SUM() formula returns the sum of all the cells that are selected in a range.

PPC-quality score

SUM(B2:B6) = 2,8421

The SUMPRODUCT() formula will multiply a cell within the first set of rows with the consecutive cell in the second set of rows. It will then calculate the sum of these numbers.

So, in the below table, the SUMPRODUCT() formula would be (1025 *1) + (5214 * 4) + (12 * 8) + (20158 * 4) + (2012 * 1). It would then return 122,729.

8. Sumproduct Formula - PPC

SUMPRODUCT(B2:B6,C2:C6)/SUM(B2:B6) = 122729

Combining the SUM() and SUMPRODUCT() formulas, we can calculate the weighted average Quality Score. Using the below data, the weighted average Quality Score would be 4.32.

= SUMPRODUCT(range of impressions,range of Quality Score )/SUM(range of impressions)

=SUMPRODUCT(B2:B6,C2:C6)/SUM(B2:B6) = 4.32

Identifying how to improve the Quality Score of each keyword

Now that you know that each keyword’s Quality Score comprises of an Ad Relevance, Landing Page Experience and Expected Clickthrough Rate, you can start identifying how to improve your Quality Scores.

Download the keywords along with the Landing Page Experience, Expected Clickthrough Rate and Ad Relevance into Microsoft Excel.

Once you’ve downloaded your keyword data, you can segment out the keywords with a ‘Below Average’ Expected CTR, Landing Page Experience and Ad Relevance.

The way to improve the Quality Score of your keywords will vary depending on the metric that needs improvement. Some keywords may need more than one metric to be worked on. Here is an example of how you could choose to segment out your keywords based on how well they score for each Quality Score metric.

10. Quality Score Metrics Table

Ad Relevance

The Ad Relevance metric looks at how closely the message in your ad copy matches the search term.

How to improve Ad Relevance

Include keywords in ad copy – Ensure that the keywords being searched for are present in the ad copy. For example, if the keyword is ‘illuminated bathroom mirrors’, then try to add in ‘illuminated bathroom mirrors’ into the ad copy.

This would ideally be added to Headline 1 because this is where you get the biggest impact on Quality Scores. It’s important that you don’t use the keyword too much in the ad copy, and end up lessening the quality of the ad.

 Granular account structure – To be able to add the keyword into the ad copy, you need to have a granular and well thought out account structure.

For example, if you have grouped the keywords ‘large bathroom mirrors’, ‘bathroom mirrors with Bluetooth’ and ‘round bathroom mirrors’ in the same ad group. It is going to be difficult to use all the relevant keywords in the ad copy while still maintaining a high-quality ad.

If these keywords were split out into their own tightly themed ad groups, then it would be a lot easier to add the keywords into the ad copy while maintaining a high-quality ad.

For example, You could group all your ‘large bathroom mirror’ keywords in the same ad group. Then in your ad, you would be able to talk about stocking large bathroom mirrors. In another ad group, you could group all your ‘mirrors with Bluetooth’ keywords. Then in the ad copy, you could talk about Bluetooth mirrors.

Expected Clickthrough rate

Expected Clickthrough Rate looks at how likely it is that your ad will be clicked on as opposed to a competitor’s ad.

This metric doesn’t look at the clickthrough rate of a keyword in comparison to other keywords in your account. It looks at how the clickthrough rate of your keyword performs against the competitors that are also bidding on this keyword.

Google claims to exclude the impact of an ad’s position on the page from the Exp. CTR, alongside other factors that would make the ad take more space than another ad.

How to improve Expected Clickthrough Rate

Write amazing ad copy – Focus on writing compelling ad copy that is going to catch the user’s attention. Have a think about your unique selling points and include them in the ad. Think about creating ad copy that includes features, benefits and also emotional triggers.

Split test ad copy – You should always be split testing ad copy messages to find the best performing message. Once you have enough data, you can pause the ad that performs the worst. Then, have a think about what made the winning ad better and use that information to come up with a new message to test.

Through a process of continuous ad copy testing, you can find the ad copy messaging that best resonates with your audience. This should increase the clickthrough rate of your ads.

Granular account structure – A tightly themed account structure allows for ad copy to be created that is better tailored to the theme of the keyword.

For example, if you’re bidding on ‘tummy tuck on finance’ and ‘tummy tuck near me’, then you should include different messaging in the ad copy.

For the searches that include ‘finance’, you want to be highlighting your finance options. Additionally, for the ‘near me’ keywords, you want to be talking about how close you’re situated to the customer. This assumes that you are situated close to the customer.

Creating a better-targeted ad copy can be done with a well-themed account structure.

Look at competitors’ ad copy – Have a look at your competitors’ ad copy to get inspiration of messaging to test. If your expected clickthrough rate is low, then there must be something that your customers like better in your competitor’s ads.

Landing page experience

Landing Page Experience looks at how relevant or useful your landing page is to the people clicking your ad. In short, it looks at how relevant your landing page is to your keyword, alongside the general user experience.

How to Improve Landing Page Experience

Address high bounce rate keywords – If the bounce rate of the users visiting your landing page from a specific keyword is high, then it could be because your landing page is not benefiting people searching for that keyword.

Have a think about the intent behind the particular keyword and decide whether your landing page is useful to a user searching for that keyword.

For example, if a user searches for ‘large bathroom mirrors’, then it would be better to send them to a large bathroom mirrors page and not a page containing all your bathroom mirrors.

Work on your site speed – Creating a fast website, in general, will not only help your conversion rates but will also help to improve your Landing Page Experience.

Include keywords on landing pages – Including the keyword being searched for on your landing page can help to improve the Landing Page Experience of your keyword.

It is important that you don’t sacrifice the quality of the landing page to improve the Landing Page Experience of your keywords though.

Consider creating specific pages for each topic – You may decide to create new landing pages for high volume keywords that are tailored to the intent of the particular keyword or group of keywords.

Dynamically add keywords on landing pages – You could also take a look at tools like Unbounce that allow you to dynamically add keywords into a landing page so that you don’t have to create many versions of the same landing page.

For example, you could set your landing page up to highlight your finance options at the top of the page if the user’s search contains the keyword, ‘finance’.

You could also set your page up to highlight the ‘high quality’ of a product or service at the top of the page if the search contains the word ‘quality’.

Make it easy for visitors to find the information they need – Think about what the user wants from your landing page and what action you want the user to take.

Google’s own guidelines mention that the contact information should be easy to find on the page.

Make it easy to navigate through the site – The user experience on both mobile and desktop devices should be well thought out.

Consider using – AMP is a Google solution that can make websites load much faster. Google claims this is because AMP HTML is more streamlined and is designed to help developers avoid common coding issues.

While not for everyone, if you’re trying to increase the speed of your website, then AMP is worth taking a look into.

Wrapping up

These are a few suggestions on how you can improve the Quality Score of your keywords. Focus on the three metrics used to calculate Quality Score. Landing Page Experience, Expected Clickthrough Rate, and Ad Relevance.

Once you understand the concept behind the three Quality Score Metrics, you will be able to segment out keywords that need improving. You will also have an idea of what area to optimize.

Start getting more clicks from your Google Ads advertising budget. Optimize the Quality Score of your keywords.

About author

Rashed is the PPC Director at Leeds-based PPC agency called Pepper PPC Agency. With 8 years of experience in digital marketing, Rashed works on a profit growth rather than just traffic growth approach to PPC advertising.