Andrew Raso October 29, 2018

For businesses ready to drive serious revenue, Google AdWords is an essential part of your digital strategy.

An average advertiser can double their return with AdWords.

Targeting the right keywords and creating amazing ads are simply the first steps to generating serious ROI online.

You need to address a variety of important factors. Some of the most crucial ones include:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Landing page quality
  • Ad relevance

However, there’s one metric that encompasses all the important factors – Quality Score.

Your ad’s Quality Score has a direct impact on your ROI. The higher your score, the lower your cost per conversion. A conversion is any action that you want the customer to take, such as making a purchase or signing up to a webinar.

Figure 1 –

A better Quality Score means more people see your ads for a lower cost per click. Less money, more conversions. That’s the dream!

If you’re burning through the big bucks without getting the traction, now’s the time to review your PPC strategy.

There are several things that you can do to improve your Quality Score.

To understand what will make the biggest impact, let’s first dive into what Quality Score is.


What is Google Adwords Quality Score?

A Quality Score is essentially the Google AdWords rating system. It’s a number ranging from 1 to 10 that ranks your ad based on its relevance to your landing page and the quality of the ad itself. 1 represents low relevance and quality. 10 represents the highest relevance and quality.

Aside from CPC, this is what decides how effective your campaign is.

A good Quality Score means that you’ve managed to maximise the three main components mentioned above.

To determine your score, Google also uses other factors, including:

  • On-page content
  • On-page architecture
  • Historic keyword CTRs
  • Historic ad CTRs

Here’s something that you’ll like to hear:

You can influence all of these factors, which will increase your score and the performance of your campaigns.

An improved score can increase your profits by a lot.

Here are some reasons why:


1. High Quality Score decreases your CPC

By satisfying Google’s criteria, you’re better at converting new customers and your ads will deliver more effectively. This means lower cost per click and a lower cost of customer acquisition.

A lower CPC ultimately affects your ROI because you spend less on acquiring the customer. When spread across an entire ad campaign, low CPC leads to higher profits.



2. You get better ad positions

Google knows how to recognise a high-quality landing page. The higher its quality, the better spot you can expect.


3. You get access to more extensions

Using ad extensions is a great way of increasing your CTR. If you have a good Quality Score, Google will let you set up more of them.

Now that you understand the influence that the Quality Score has on your campaign performance, you probably want to know how to increase it.

Luckily, there are many things that you can do to make this happen, so let’s go over some of the best ones.


How Do You Check Your Quality Score

You’ve seen the factors that Google takes into account when determining your score.

Now it’s time to dig a bit deeper.

Before you can improve your score, you need to identify the aspects of your campaigns that need the most tweaking.

To do this, you need an overview of your current score so that you can find your starting point.

Here’s how to check your score:

  1. Sign into your AdWords account.
  2. Select the campaign that you want to check.
  3. Click on the ‘Keywords’ tab.
  4. Click on ‘Columns’.
  5. Select ‘Modify columns’.
  6. Click on the ‘Qual. Score’ box.
  7. Select the measurements that you want to see.
  8. Click ‘Save’.

The end result should look something like this:


Now that you know the position that you’re in, here are some things that you can do to improve it.


How to improve Quality Score: 5 tips for right now


1. Keep keyword groups small and super relevant

Well-organised keyword groups can make a huge difference.

Here’s a thing to remember:

Every ad group needs to have a tight theme, and every keyword needs to be relevant to the ad group.

If you see one keyword that deviates from the theme, create a specific group for it. When you create a clear structure of your keywords and keyword groups, you improve relevance between the keywords and the ads you serve. That then improves your Quality Score.

Let’s take the Ice Cream Campaign from this image.

You’ll have the overall campaign. Within that campaign you’ll have multiple ads. For example “Chocolate Ice Cream” and “Vanilla Ice Cream”.

For each of those ads, you need to use relevant keywords. So, the “Chocolate Ice Cream” ad could have keywords like:

  • Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Flavoured Ice Cream

And so on.

What you don’t want is to create a huge list of keywords that you try to apply to all the ads. This could lead to your chocolate ad displaying for a keyword like “Vanilla Ice Cream”. This lowers relevance and affects Quality Score.

Your aim is to only deliver the ad that’s relevant to the keyword used. The more specific the keyword, the more specific the ad must be to attain a high Quality Score.


2. Master long-tail keyword research

This is something that you’ve probably heard a lot of times.

You’ll hear it a lot more.

This is because search engines are constantly evolving, so there’s always something new to learn.

Probably the most important thing to know though has to do with long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords have 3+words and are very specific to what you’re offering. They’re what allow you to catch the searchers who use more than just the most popular phrase when searching.

Even though they might be less popular in terms of search volume, they can bring a load of traffic.

Take a look at this example:


The highlighted website ranks #3 for the keyword ‘website traffic’, which gets roughly around 10,000 monthly searches.

According to research, the 3rd result should get slightly more than 11% of that traffic.

However, this page gets close to 7000, much higher than expected.

There are almost 600 keywords that make this happen, so let’s take a look at them:


As you can see, these are all long-tail keywords which bring almost 7000 pure, organic visits.

Imagine what would happen if you added them to your PPC campaign. Their potential might catch you by surprise.

A great way of finding these keywords is by using the Keyword Tool API. It’s based on Google Suggest, which is definitely a feature that you should take advantage of. It helps you find the best long-tail keywords that you can incorporate into your campaign.


3. Optimise landing pages to create a brilliant experience

User experience is one of Google’s top priorities, and it should be yours as well. Google aims to deliver the best possible experience to the searcher. After all, they’re Google’s customers. If your landing page doesn’t offer a good experience, Google gives it a lower Quality Score.

You can create the best ad campaign, but if you don’t optimise your landing page, you won’t get a good Quality Score. An optimised landing page sends positive signals to Google, which leads to a higher Quality Score. Plus, it guides the visitors who land on that page to the actions that you want them to take.

Unless you can provide great user experience, your CTR will not be anywhere as high as it can be.

There are two rules to remember:

  • The landing page needs to be relevant to the keywords.
  • The landing page needs to be easy to navigate.

Let’s break these rules down.

When it comes to relevancy, the main thing that you need to do is include the search term in all the right places on the page.

The keyword needs to appear in the headline, intro, and at least once more on the landing page.

These are really the basics of SEO, but many people overlook them because they’re paying for ads. They think that SEO is less important if you’re not going for organic visits.

This is not true.

If you fail to follow the rules of SEO, not only will you rank lower, but you might also mislead your visitors.

For the second rule, you need to make sure that your visitors will enjoy looking at your content.

This means a couple of things.

First of all, you need to ensure that the loading speed is fast. This can both affect the search ranking and make a world of difference to user experience.

It goes without saying that the page needs to be mobile-friendly. 96% of mobile searches happen on Google, and we all know that the world is going mobile. This is why it’s necessary to optimise your pages for mobile devices.

Of course, the content of the page needs to stand out and be engaging. Even though this won’t affect the CTR by a lot, provided that the keywords are there, it will affect something much more important.

That something is your conversion rate.

If you fail to provide value to your users, you might lose them, which can make all your efforts in vain.

To avoid this, make sure that the content on your landing pages is inviting and can motivate the users to engage with you further.


4. Customise landing pages for specific ad groups

Tailoring your landing pages to specific ad groups is a great way of achieving a higher Quality Score.

We’ve already established that relevance is one of the key things that ensure a high score. Customising your landing pages to fit appropriate ad groups ensures relevance.

In customising a landing page, you need to focus on message matching. This means that you need to ensure the landing page delivers exactly what the related ad says it will.

Here’s an example from the Hootsuite blog. Imagine you’ve conducted a search for the keyword “blue track jacket”. You see the following ad:

Figure 3 –

Note the message matching in the headline and the body of the ad. So far, so good.

The searcher clicks on that ad and expects to see a landing page like this:

Figure 4-

This is a highly relevant landing page that matches the message from the ad. As a result, it gets a higher Quality Score.

Now, imagine that page just showed a few generic jackets of all different colours. That’s not relevant to the user’s search. Plus, it doesn’t match the message you delivered with the ad.

That makes the landing page less relevant, which brings your Quality Score down.

Does this mean that you have to create an entirely new page?

Fortunately it doesn’t.

You can use an existing page on your website, as long as the content matches the keywords. If you manage to do it, you have a much better chance of generating traffic.


5. Customise ad copy for specific ad groups

You can, and should, run multiple ads within a specific group.

The reason for this is that you can create a small competition to see which one performs better.

When you create ad copy, you get to set up the rotation schedule. This allows your ads to automatically switch over, so you can get insight into how they’re performing.

This is what makes A/B testing possible. It lets you compare the ad copy and identify the one that works the best.

You can do this easily by using the A/B Testing Significance Calculator. Simply put in the number of visitors and conversions for both ads, and you’ll see the impact that the changes have had.

This allows you to tweak and refine your ads until you find the perfect one.


The Takeaway

With these best practices at your fingertips, you’re onto bigger and better results in no time. Adwords is one of those platforms with brilliant potential that’s not always unlocked.

Keep in mind that this is not something that you can master overnight. It might take some experimenting, and you might not see immediate changes.

Go ahead and find those things that are causing trouble to your campaigns.

Once you identify them and do some tweaking, you can expect your online strategy to yield much better results.

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About the Author

Andrew Raso

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