What Is an AdWords Quality Score & How Do You Improve It?

A profitable AdWords campaign requires a good Quality Score. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs do not entirely understand the concept behind AdWords Quality Score or how to improve it. Truthfully, in the world of pay-per-click advertising, it’s one of the most vital metrics in existence. While it may seem irrelevant to advertisers who’re yet to sign up to Google AdWords, it’s an incredibly crucial indicator of quality that can make or break an AdWords-based PPC campaign. Continue reading to learn more.

What Is AdWords Quality Score?

AdWords Quality Score is a ranking system that determines if a specific AdWords ad would end up in the sponsored segment of the search results, the position it would take in the search result and the amount of money per click that the campaigner has to pay for the advertisement. Quality Score rankings range from 1 to 10, one being the lowest and ten the highest possible score. The score indicates how relevant an ad is compared to keywords that are being searched.

A higher Quality Score not only improves the reach of your campaign but also determines its cost-per-click (CPC) figure. To reward advertisers, Google has come up with a system where better ads (scoring between 7 to 10) enjoy a lower cost-per-click while low-quality ads (scoring between 1 to 4) pay a premium on cost-per-click. The good thing is that with the right guidance anyone can improve their AdWords Quality Score and make the most out of his or her PPC campaign.

Tips to Improve your AdWords Quality Score

A basic understanding of the factors that influence the Quality Score can enable an advertiser to run an effective pay-per-click campaign. According to Google, the Quality Score is based on three factors.

  1. Ad relevance
  2. Landing page experience
  3. The expected clickthrough rate (CTR).

While Ad relevance is the easiest of these factors to manipulate, the other two require a good understanding before you go on about implementing minor. Below is a detailed explanation on how to master these factors for the best results.

Ad Relevance

Ad relevance can be easily optimized through the use of keywords. You need to be careful in the selection of the key phrases for your planned campaign. Ensure that the keywords being used follow the same theme as the Ad Group and those keywords are present in the Ad copy. One of the measures you could take here is put the keywords in the ad headline and body. This will improve your Quality Score considerably and direct the ads to the relevant audience.

Additionally, you could use Ad Extensions to improve the Quality Score as they are a useful tool for enhancing the clickthrough rate. The use of Sitelinks and Callout Extensions that provide insights into product features can have a profound impact on the CTR and hence the Quality Score of your Ad, ensuring that you get a competitive position in SERPs.
Top Tips

  • Keywords should be carefully selected to ensure the relevance between the keywords and theme of the Ad Group.
  • Use keywords in the body, headline and the ad copy.

Landing Page Experience

AdWords campaigns are not all about clicks – how many of those clicks convert into sales (conversion rate) is a key determinant of the success or failure of the whole campaign. Landing page experience plays a vital role in improving this conversion rate. Although there are no hard and fast rules that Google lists for landing pages, there are some measures you could take to optimize landing pages better.

“Site flow” should be the top priority when it comes to enhancing the landing page experience. Start by ensuring that the site doesn’t mislead the visitor and there are no excessive pop-ups. Additionally, the advertised product should be prominently placed on the page, and the landing page content should be useful for the visitor.

If you offer a distinctive set of products, consider using a collection of pages for consolidating similar products under a single heading. This helps to reduce clutter on the website and enhance the user experience which ultimately leads to a better Quality Score. In case that the landing page uses forms, the post filling out procedure should be mentioned to facilitate the searcher. For improved Quality Score, there should also be a link between the keywords in the Ad copy and the content on the landing page. This will enhance the landing page experience and consequently improve your campaign’s overall conversion rate.

The last aspect of landing page experience is the time it takes to load a landing page. It has been observed that more than 50% of the users leave a landing page if it takes too long (more then 3 seconds) to load. The main reasons for longer load time include flawed page design, too many redirections, and slow serves. Hence, optimize the landing page so that it is free of bloat and loads quickly. If you’re using WordPress, you can use a page speed plugin for the purpose.

Top Tips

  • The landing page should clearly mention the product showcased in the advert and should not be cluttered to avoid potential confusion on part of the visitor.
  • The keywords used in the ad should also appear on the landing page.
  • The landing page should clearly mention the steps that would follow after an action is taken i.e. in case a visitor has to fill in some form then it should say that someone will get back to them as soon as possible.

Expected CTR

AdWords calculates the expected CTR for estimating the number of clicks that an ad is likely to generate. It is an essential factor in the determination of the AdWords Quality Score. The expected CTR is calculated based on the performance of the keywords being used compared with other advertiser accounts that use the same keywords. The expected CTR tries to gauge how good your keyword use is, how strong competing ads are and how likely you are to compete with the competitor for the same keywords.

Although this particular factor is not all under your control, as it depends on other competitors as well, there are some steps that an ensure that you are competitive and likely to receive a higher score. Make sure that your bids are high enough to make you eligible. Low expected CTRs usually occur when ad copy and keywords are not tightly knit or the keywords don’t follow a specific theme and hence are prone to be triggered by irrelevant searches. To avoid dragging down your expected CTR due to these reasons, try using negative keywords and keyword match types. Additionally, you can also focus more on keywords that are less competitive and stay away from generic terms and words.

Top Tips

  • Bid high enough to ensure that you stay competitive.
  • Try using keywords that are not too broad or generic

DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion)

The DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion) feature in Google AdWords allows advertisers to place their exact search term into the copy of their ads. While this sounds straightforward, it isn’t likely to bring an improvement in AdWords Quality Score. That said, Dynamic keyword insertion offers immense value if you use it in the right manner and at the right time. The fact is that you won’t require dynamic keyword insertion if your campaign is based on limited ad groups.

For example, if your Ad Group is based on two keywords: couches and sofas, you can use Dynamic Keyword Insertion to show relevant ads to visitors. However, it won’t make sense if there are more keywords such as “purple color couch” or “leather sofas”. Ever saw an AdWords campaign with an ad featuring 26 characters in the headline instead of 25? These are the headlines that might have been using DKI. While Google tends to be a little lax with its rules when it comes to DKI, it’s the best practice to use it sparingly.

Top Tips

  • Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion only when there are limited ad groups in your campaign
  • Avoid using DKI if your Ad Groups primarily contain long-tail keywords of similar nature (refer to the couches and sofas example above).


Anyone who wants to use AdWords needs to have a grasp over AdWords Quality Score. The underlying factors which determine the AdWords Quality Score can be manipulated and used to a campaigner’s advantage if used right. Ad Relevance, Landing Page Experience, and Expected CTR can all be improved over time through careful analysis of actual click-through rate and the click to conversion rates.

The analysis can help you to identify the factors that might be pulling down your AdWords Quality Score leading to less effective campaigns. Historical Quality Score data is the best source to identify the shortcomings and optimize the use of keywords, ad relevance or landing page experience. Use the data to study what went wrong and use performance analysis to make smarter decisions that enable you to run better pay-per-click campaigns.