Understand How Quality Score and Ad Rank Are Calculated

Dominic Sergi

April 18, 2020

What do advertisers want the most? To get as many (relevant) eyes as possible on their ads at a low price.

What you don’t want to see is your ad barely getting any worthwhile traffic even though you’re paying big. We’re here to help you get closer to your goal, and far away from emptying your pockets without results. 

When you’re putting out ads online, you’re at the mercy of Google, Facebook, and other major platforms. If you’re not playing their algorithm games, you’ll be left behind. 

To start on the right foot, you need to understand how Google calculates your quality score and ad rank, and how mastering this helps you to get higher rankings at lower CPCs and CPAs.

If you’re asking yourself (or better yet, if you’re asking us), “How do I improve my quality score?” you’re in the right place. We’ve got the answers.

What Can I Do to Improve My Quality Score?

The Quality Score is Google’s way of seeing how relevant your keywords and ads are. It’s like an audit for your ad to see if it follows the rules—and if it follows them better than other ads. 

Here’s the basic Quality Score formula:

Source: Local Digital

Based on that information, you’ll have a certain CPC and ad rank. If your ads look good to the algorithm, you’ll pay less for more traffic. 

Your quality score depends on multiple factors, including:

  • Click-Through Rate
  • The relevance of your copy and keywords
  • The quality of your landing page (images, content, links)
  • Your Account History – how your ads performed before, what type of ads you implemented, etc.

These four points determine your quality score. But there’s no certainty when it comes to each factor’s importance. Still, the CTR and the Landing Page quality are often the most relevant. 

Why those two? Because the more people click on your ad, the more Google wins. More clicks means a better quality ad, and a higher chance for conversions, which leads to higher ad investment—another win for you and Google.

More clicks for you and for you and for you! (Source: Local Digital)

If you have a high Quality Score, you’ll get more eyes on your ads and better rankings at lower costs.

A better Quality Score comes with other benefits as well. Of course, getting high ad rankings while paying less is the goal, but top Quality Scores are a requirement for getting extensions to show on your ads. 

Extensions, like business contact information, locations, sitelinks, and ratings, are available for anyone. However, they won’t appear unless you have a high Quality Score and a superior ad rank.

How Google Ads Calculates Quality Score

Quality score calculation comes down to how many impressions your ad gets. More precisely, it comes from how many impressions you have on each specific keyword you use. Certain algorithms calculate the quality score multiple times per day.

When it comes to what factors influence the score you get, there are four you need to focus on the most. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Click-Through Rate

The click-through rate is renowned as the key factor in the life of your quality score.

If people click your ad, they do it because it’s relevant to them. So, the higher the CTR, the better your quality score. Nothing complicated here. Now, how can you make sure your ads get lots of clicks?

Make Sure Your Headline is On Point

A catchy headline draws those eyeballs you want on your ads. When you’re looking at any copy, the headline is your deciding factor. If it seems interesting, people will click the ad. If it’s not, they’ll scroll on.

High-quality content

Once you have a captivating headline, people will look more carefully at your ad. They’ll read the description, and that’s where you seal the deal. 

In the description, you reinforce what you said in the headline in a way that’s persuasive enough for them to take action. Keep it short and to the point—people’s attention spans are small on the internet.

Catchy URL

Analytical consumers will look at your URL to give them an idea of what they’ll get once they’re on the landing page. Make it relevant to your business.

You can also use your URL to grab attention faster by using specific keywords in the site name. All the keywords are bolded once you add them in the link, and that’s a surefire way to get more eyes on the ad and increase your CTR.

Relevance

Relevance is a more theoretical component than a practical one. To improve your quality score, Google needs to see your ads as relevant for your target audience. If your target audience loves what you’re putting out in the world, so does Google, and you will be rewarded.

To make your ads relevant, you need to be super-specific. You need to go in-depth with your copy in a way that resonates with your audience’s needs and pain points. 

Make sure your keywords are niched. Your keywords will lead people in your industry right to your ads. Those keywords need to show up not only in your ads and ad groups but also in the content you have on your landing page. That’s the real key – consistency.

Landing Page Quality

The way your landing page looks and functions affects your quality score and ad rank. 

Source: Local Digital

To see the effectiveness of your landing page, Google shows you three different stats. 

  • Below Average: If you see this, you’re in trouble, or you will be soon. Low landing page stats mean your quality score will suffer. Pay attention and boost your content and design efforts to get it where it needs to be.
  • Average: This means you’re not doing great with your landing page, but you’re not in hot water yet either. Still, there’s room for improvement.
  • Above Average: Your landing page is looking excellent. If you keep going like this, your quality score will improve. That doesn’t happen overnight, though. You have to maintain an above-average ranking for a while before you see results.

How to Make Sure You Have an Above-Average Landing Page

Make sure your landing page has the same message as your ads. 

Remember how we talked about consistency? You need it to make your ads relevant and improve your quality score. 

Don’t neglect conversions. 

Start by building your landing page in a way that converts traffic. If you’re not converting, Google will punish you in the long term, even if you get plenty of traffic on your site.

Source: Local Digital

Speed is everything. 

In a world where we’re used to getting everything we need in an instant, your landing page needs to keep up the pace and load quickly

Compress images, cut down on fancy design, and do everything you need to do to make it fast without sacrificing quality.

Make your landing page user-focused. It needs to be easy to navigate on any device, so your customers can access it anywhere.

Account History

Your Google ads account history has less influence over the quality score of your ads, but it still matters. If you’re just starting out and your account is brand new, then what you do from this point will affect your quality score. 

On the other hand, if you have history, your quality score will reflect how well you’ve done with your ads so far. If you’ve done poorly, the search engine won’t want to show your ads to anyone. Make up for that with better performance going forward.

Don’t stress too much over your account history. Out of all quality score components, this one is the easiest to recover from.

If you find yourself scrambling to keep up with search engine algorithms, just reference this guide. 

Improving your quality score may be a simple fix. Track your stats, and you might find that changing your copy or design and adding a few relevant keywords can make all the difference!

About Dominic Sergi

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