Intro to Quality Score and Keywords

QS

By definition, a Pay Per Click Ad costs you money every time someone clicks on it.  The factor that determines how much you pay per click, is Quality Score: a 1-10 ranking Google gives your AdWords Account to determine the quality of your ads.

Google is pretty damn thorough about Usability, Relevance, and Authority, so it applies Quality Scores to many elements of AdWords accounts: from keywords, to ad groups, to landing pages.

One thing that is true of all account-level Quality Scores is that history matters: the longer your account has existed and the better your ads have performed over time, the higher your QS; the higher your QS, the less you’ll pay per click for future campaigns.

Your keyword-level score is calculated by how often an exact match for your keyword shows up in search queries. Keyword-level QS matters because keywords that perform well within an Ad Group will improve your account’s QS and thus decrease the amount your company pays per click.

A quality keyword has a historically high Click Through Rate (CTR). CTR is calculated by the number of times your ad has appeared in a search, divided by the number of times it has been clicked. A CTR of 1.5 is average, but a keyword that is highly relevant to those who are searching for your ad, may yield a CTR of 4 or even 10!

Conversion rates matter when you’re bidding on keywords, because a high CTR doesn’t mean jack if your conversion rates are low. Spending on high performance keywords when customers don’t make it past the landing page is a waste of your company’s marketing budget.

A good landing page (which we’ll talk about in a few posts) and a well-written ad with relevant and well-placed keywords (placed in the H1 tag and description meta tags), will help improve your ad’s CTR, and thus your overall keyword-level QS.

If you find your keywords aren’t performing well, you may want to try adding broad matches, eliminating niche keywords, or using Google Adwords: Keyword Planner to find new alternative keyword phrases. High quality keywords mean they aren’t used in the right ad groups, which is why next week, I’ll discuss how to manage your Ad Group QS.

Have tips on improving your keyword-level QS? Share in the comments below!

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