What is Quality Score?

Quality Score indicates how relevant the experience will be to users and plays a big role in what position ads appear in the search results and how much an advertiser will pay per click. Advertisers don’t see an ad’s actual Quality Score, but Google does show an external Quality Score of 1 (bad) to 10 (excellent) at the keyword level in AdWords. When Quality Score improves, cost-per-click may (CPC) go down and/or average position improve.

Google looks at three things when calculating Quality Score:

  1. Expected click-through rate (CTR), which reflects the likelihood a user will click on an ad.
  2. Ad relevance to the query. The ad copy should clearly relate to what the user is looking for.
  3. Landing page experience. Are the users directed to a page that reflects the intent of the query, and does that page provide a good user experience?

How does Google weigh each Quality Score factor?

Google only recently began exposing the factors of Quality Score to advertisers. After analyzing a large set of Quality Score data exported from the AdWords API, Brad Geddes, founder of AdAlysis, [reverse-engineered the formula for the Quality Score surfaces in AdWords accounts. This is still relevant today in understanding where to focus your attention when optimizing your ads and landing pages.

Here’s how the weighting of each quality score factor looked:

  • Landing page experience: 39%
  • Expected CTR: 39%
  • Ad Relevance: 22%

This gives us a blueprint for prioritizing paid search optimization efforts aimed at increasing Quality Scores.

Advertisers should focus first on improving CTRs by testing ad copy and landing page experience (that may mean improving speed, choosing a more relevant page and so on) to improve site engagement and reduce bounce rates. Then focus on ad testing to improve relevance to the query.

In 2017, Google began [showing historical Quality Score data]n the interface to help advertisers analyze how changes affect their scores.