Google Adwords Quality Score 101

Google Adwords is a very useful tool and can be very effective for companies without a lot of effort. But for best results, companies should really keep an eye on their Adwords account. Google actually has a lot of great free content on these topics, but I wanted to provide a bit of a summary and start to familiarize clients with the concept of Quality Score. Here are some tips:

Quality Score

Adwords Quality Score is probably one of the most important keyword metrics in Google Adwords, but it is hidden very well. Adwords uses this metric to decide whether or not to display your advertisements and how much you pay for each click. It is also used to determine your position – a metric comparing your keywords to the competitors. So, if you have a high Quality Score, you will pay less to advertise on Google and show up in a higher position in the search results. Quality Score is made up of three things:

  1. Expected clickthrough rate – Google’s guess as to the percentage of people who will see your ad and click on it
  2. Ad relevance – Google’s estimate of how relevant people will find your ad content to be for that keyword
  3. Landing page experience – Google’s calculation as to how likely your landing page is to be relevant and provide a good user experience.

I highly recommend that every Adwords user add Quality Score to the columns visible on the keyword page. Once you make this change, Google will remember it each time you log in. Here’s how you do that:

1. Log in to your Adwords account ( and click on the Keywords tab.

AdWords Keywords Tab 2. Click on the Columns button at the top and click Customize Columns.

AdWords Columns Button
3. Under Attributes, you will see Quality Score listed. Click Add.

Add Quality Score
4. You can now drag the column up in the list so that it shows up easily when you go to that tab. Just click on the 6 dots and drag.

Move the Column
5. Click the blue Apply button.

Now you will see the Quality Score on the Keywords page. You can even click on the column heading to sort by Quality Score and find your problem areas. I work to get a Quality Score of at least 6/10 for keywords which are really important. A higher Quality Score is always better.

How to Know What Is Affecting Your Score

Since there are 3 things which may affect your Quality Score in Adwords, how do you know which of them is causing you to have a low score? The best way is to mouse over the text bubble looking icon under Status. Mouse Over the BubbleThis will show you all three of the criteria on which Quality Score is based and let you know what is causing you problems.

AdWords Keyword Status

How to Fix Your Quality Score

How to fix your quality score depends on what is causing the low score, so I’ll walk you through each one.

Expected clickthrough rate & ad relevance

These 2 metrics are closely tied together and seem to be influenced together. Low scores in these might be fixed by:

  1. Making the headline of the ad match the keywords more closely. If your headline exactly matches the keyword, it will often perform well.
  2. Using more than one word keywords (one word keywords tend to be too general to perform well).
  3. Adding negative keywords (words for which you don’t want your keyword to appear)
  4. Changing the match type of your keywords

Landing page experience

Landing page experience is based on two big things: the relevance of the landing page to the ad and keyword and the speed of the landing page. I recommend all of my clients use landing pages for Adwords, not only to track the results but also so that you can make them highly relevant to your ad. But, in addition, you need to have a page that is:

  • Fast
  • Clearly organized and easy to navigate
  • uses modern coding
  • Explains your products or services fully before asking people to fill out a form

Google recommends the following to improve landing page experience. They have lots of other free tutorials, as well.

If you are looking for help in getting your Adwords campaign working more effectively, Webster Digital Marketing can help. Contact us today or leave a comment below with your question.