Google Adwords Factors for Quality Scores Read On »
By Safiyyah Lanier March 2, 2010

Wondering what Google Adwords look for when grading your ads and landing pages? Well, there are a couple of factors that play a part in the quality scores that are handed out. If you’re wondering how you can get a better score or how you can stay on top, you’ll need to get familiar with the factors that play a role in how you’ll be graded the next time around.

First off, you should understand why you should care so much about the quality scores given out by Google. When you place your ads on their search engine, they use the scoring system (and max bid) to rank your ad, which can decrease or increase your position on the search results page. This means that you need to get your ad together, so that you can get the best quality score possible to stay high on these lists. Also, don’t think for one second that your ad can’t beat competitors who bid higher than you — this isn’t true. Keywords are still king here, so if you can get the right keywords, this too could boost your quality score.

Google Click Through Rates

One of the top key factors in quality scores for Google Adwords is click through rates, or CTR. Google not only looks through your recent CTR, but your all time history as well. Your CTR rate on Google is what counts — no other search network or content network is relevant here. Makes sense since is the only search interface they are able to measure and control completely. Now, the position of your ad can either make or break you. If you have a #1 ranking ad in the search results and you have a lower click through rate than an ad that is ranked #4, you could get penalized for it. Then ads that have a lower rank, like #5 and below, won’t face any penalties for low CTR because it is only common sense that they will have fewer CTR since they are lower on the list.

The predictions for CTR is determined by keywords. For instance if you pick a generic keyword like TV, which could be used for a variety of searches like TV installation, TV guide, etc, you would have a lower rate. So in this case, the CTR would be around 2 percent, which in some cases could be a good percentage, but not in the case of generic keywords. Your aim is to go for keywords that have an 8 percent CTR or higher. Now, although the all time CTR history counts, it’s not as important as your most recent history.

Copy for Ads

The keywords you choose should be reflected in your ad copy in a relevant way. Of course, all of the keywords can’t be placed in one ad, and that’s okay. Google is familiar with stemming, themes and latent semantic indexing. Just make sure that the ads you write are using the keywords in the user’s intent to ensure that you get more CTR. If your ad doesn’t have the closest matching keyword, ensure that it has the overall theme of the keyword. Just placing a keyword in ad copy doesn’t mean much without context.

Your Landing Page

This is where all of the users go when they click on your ad. When it comes to your landing page, you should ensure that it offers a good user experience, while still catering to the needs of your business. This is especially important since Google is more worried about their searchers having good search experiences. Just as with your ad copy, your landing page should have keywords and/or keyword themes. When users land on this page, do they get a unique experience? And are they getting the answers they are seeking?

For instance, if you placed an advertisement about a 10 year fixed mortgage loan, when the user gets to your landing page, they shouldn’t reach just a form to fill out. You should thoroughly explain the 10 year mortgage loan and the difference between that and a 10 year adjustable mortgage loan, along with any other relevant information they need to know.


Your account will also receive a quality score. What happens here is, all of the keywords, impressions and clicks you have received, will all be rolled up into one quality score. Try to avoid under-performing keywords because this could have a negative effect on your quality score.

How to Improve Your Quality Score

Now, that you know some of the factors that play a role in the quality score of your ads, you may be wondering how you can boost it. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Break up your keywords into small targeted ad groups
  2. Develop content that is relevant for each group
  3. Create various ads for each group (then test them all and see which performs the best. The weaker links get deleted)
  4. Try using exact matches for your keywords vs. broad match
  5. Place as many keywords as possible into the copy (without overloading it and making it unreadable)
  6. Make several landing pages to see which of them offer the best conversion rates
  7. Add pages that are essential, such as an “About Us”, “Contact Us” and “Terms and Conditions” page
  8. Make sure the landing pages you have are very related to the keywords you are using, to ensure that Google believes your site is relevant.

In order to help boost your quality score for Google Adwords, it takes lots of testing and eliminations. It is important that you know what to keep and what to trash to ensure that your ads and landing page are high in performance and best of all, high in the Google rankings.

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