How to Improve your Quality Score on Google Ads

by | May 17, 2018 | Marketing

When tackling the quality score problem in your account, it is important to look at the specific areas Google recommends you improve. By hovering over (or tapping on) the “Eligible” status of the keywords in your ad groups, you will see the following data

  • Expected clickthrough rate (CTR)
  • Ad relevance, and
  • Landing page experience

An “Average” or “Above average” status for any of the above fields indicates that there are no major problems with that particular area of the keyword. A “Below Average” status indicates that this is the area you should focus on for improvement.

Fixing your expected clickthrough rate

When looking to improve your expected CTR, it is important to remember that the expected clickthrough rate is not the same as the actual clickthrough rate.

The expected clickthrough rate is determined by how the keyword is performing within your account and across all other advertisers’ accounts. It is also influenced by historical data, so improving your current clickthrough rate will have a positive effect on your CTR in the long run.

You can use the following strategies to improve the clickthrough rate:

  • Play around with various match types: Include different match variants of your keywords in your ad groups to see which versions have a higher clickthrough rate and conversion rate.
  • Use Title Capitalisation in Your Adverts: We’re not sure why it works, but it does. Because I’m not always familiar with title capitalisation rules, I make use of Capitalize My Title to ensure that my headlines and descriptions have the correct capitalisation.
  • Use all the relevant extensions: Site links, structured snippets, call extensions, location extensions, reviews, price extensions, use everything you can get your hands on to improve your ad’s visibility on the search results page.
  • Write relevant and compelling ad copy: This seems simple, but include your keywords in your ads and add a call to action that will provide the user with a clear indication of what they’re going to find on the landing page. Consider “Learn More” versus “Get a Quote”.

If you’ve implemented all of the above, and you’re still not seeing an increase in the clickthrough rate, you can take a drastic last step:

  • Negative keyword research. It sounds daunting, but by making use of Google’s Keyword research tools ( is my research tool of choice) you can see what users are searching for.

If the searches and intent aren’t relevant to what you’re offering, you should reconsider your current keywords. If the intent is still relevant, but there are a lot of irrelevant long tail keywords popping up, add these as negative keywords to stop your ads from showing for them.

Improving ad relevance

This is Google Ads’ measure to determine how well your ad message relates to what a user searched. To improve ad relevance could be as simple as including keywords in your ad text, or as complicated as restructuring your account. Here are some pointers to improve your ad relevance:

  • Create tightly themed keyword groups: Though Google is okay with 10 – 20 keywords per ad group, I’ve seen the best results on ad groups with 4 – 6 keywords that contain minor variants for the search query.
  • Create highly relevant ads and landing pages: Once you’ve split your ad groups into smaller groups with related themes, create ads that contain the keywords in each specific ad group.

These tips are simple enough, but implementation will take time and patience. The rewards for the effort will be well worth it as it will also improve your expected clickthrough rate in the long run.

Improving the landing page experience

According to the Google Ads’ Help section, Landing Page experience is the measure that Google Ads uses to estimate how relevant a website’s landing page will be to the person who clicks on your ad.

The key here is that Ads looks at whether or not your landing page will provide users with a good website experience. Therefore, the idea is not to try and manipulate the system into giving you a good quality score by stuffing your keywords into the landing page copy, but to create a landing page that helps users find what they’re looking for.

With that in mind, Google does provide helpful guidelines for Ads experts on what could be improved upon when considering how to create a good landing page experience:

1. Offer relevant, useful and original content

This is Google’s rule for all things search engine, including improving your SEO rankings. Google wants to provide users with content that is relevant to their search.

Some key things to look at:

  • Make sure that the content on your landing page is relevant to your keywords and ad text.
  • Send a user to a specific landing page when they’re searching for a specific product option.
  • (Alternatively) Send a user to a general landing page when they’re still considering different options.
  • Provide useful information on your landing page about what you’re advertising – add features, benefits and prices where necessary.

2. Promote transparency and foster trustworthiness

Have you ever walked into a store that was in a dingy back ally, with bad lighting and no sign or clue to say what the shop sells? No, because you’d be afraid of losing a kidney. The same is true for websites.

Promote transparency by:

  • Openly sharing information about your business and clearly stating what your business does.
  • Explaining your products or services before asking visitors to fill out forms.
  • Making it easy for visitors to find your contact information.
  • When requesting personal information from customers, make it clear why you’re asking for it and what you’ll do with it.
  • Distinguishing sponsored links, like ads, from the rest of your website’s content.

3. Make navigation easy

Navigation between pages needs to be simple on both computers and mobile devices.

The rules for this are:

  • Organize and design your page well, so people don’t have to hunt around for information.
  • Make it quick and easy for people to order the product mentioned in your ad.
  • Don’t annoy customers with pop-ups or other features that interfere with their navigation of your site.
  • Help customers quickly find what they’re looking for by prioritizing the content that’s visible above-the-fold.

4. Decrease your landing page load time

If you have a high mobile bounce rate on your landing pages, investigate the site speed by visiting Page Speed Insights. According to Think with Google, 53% of mobile users will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Page Speed Insight’s recommended changes might require the help of professional website developers, but at times it may be as simple as reducing the image file size for some of the image elements on the landing page.

Last words to the wise

It’s easy to worry yourself sick about a highly relevant keyword that just doesn’t bump past that 4 or 5 mark, no matter how much you wrestle with the QS elements. But it is important to remember that Quality Score serves as a diagnostic tool to establish where you can improve, and ultimately pay less per click and lead.

If a keyword is converting, and providing a good ROI for your client, stop pulling your hair out and implement the best practices options that are available and move on. It is not the most important Google Ads metric, just one of them.

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