Quality Score: The Key to Making AdWords Work

Sam Martin-Ross
Sam Martin-Ross
quality score
quality score

Just as backlink building is the key to SEO, Quality Score is the key to AdWords.

It’s often not given the attention it deserves, however when Quality Score is used effectively it can make a serious difference to your AdWords’ performance.

Given its importance, we wanted to share our knowledge with you. So here’s our summary on what Quality Score is, why it matters, and what you can do to improve yours.

What is Quality Score?

Quality score is an AdWords metric that signals the ad relevance and quality for each keyword as a number out of 10.  As such, it gives a good indication of the health of your AdWords account, with a higher Quality Score meaning a healthier account.

Why Quality Score matters

During each auction, your Quality Score is multiplied by your Max Bid to give you another metric: Ad Rank, and it is your Ad Rank that determines your ad position (ads are displayed in order of their Ad Rank).


“Quality Score” X “Max Bid” = “Ad Rank”

This means that if your Max Bid stayed the same, a higher Quality Score would allow you to appear in a higher position and pay the same cost-per-click.

Alternatively, if you wanted to stay in the same position (imagine you are in position 1), a higher Quality Score would mean you paid less per click to be there.


The effect that Quality Score has on cost per click can be leveraged to improve AdWords’ ROI.


If you are now paying less per click, you can afford to get more clicks with the same budget. More clicks should mean more sales and leads, therefore increasing ROI.

Of course you will need to be targeting the right keywords to make this work, find out how to do that here.


What you can do to improve your Quality Score

A Quality Score of 10/10 on all keywords would be ideal, but without experience or trying, it can be hard to reach 5/10, and so almost all accounts could do with improving. Here is some information on how you can improve yours.

Firstly, how to find out your Quality Score

You can quickly find each keyword’s Quality Score by hovering your mouse over the Status column.


find quality score


If you want to find the Quality Score for several keywords you would be better off modifying your columns to include the Quality Score metrics. This can then be exported for analysis in Excel – fun times!


Custom Columns


There are three areas to Quality Score detailed below, and each part needs to be looked to identify how to improve your Quality Score overall.

1. Ad Relevancy

Google wants to make sure it shows ads that are relevant to what users are searching. The trick here is to include the keywords you are targeting in the ad copy, while not making the ad appear spammy.

It helps to have ad groups as granular as possible, so we would recommend one keyword per ad group. This is so that different keywords e.g. “london courier” and “same day courier” can be shown with different ads that include the respective keywords.

With the new expanded ad format, there is plenty of space to include the target keyword in the description and the headline, along with brand messaging and call-to-actions.

Here is Google’s definition of Ad Relevancy.

2. Landing Page Experience

This comes back to Google wanting to show relevant ads. It would be a poor user experience to click on an ad and go to a landing page that has nothing to do with what you searched.

While the landing page may seem relevant to you, for Quality Score, it is better that the landing page includes the keywords targeted, as well as further relevant content.

A couple of other pointers include:

  • Speed – ideally the page loads in under 4 seconds.
  • Having a privacy policy can help

Here is Google’s definition of Landing Page Experience.

3. Expected Click Through Rate

It’s worth spending the time to create appealing ad copy, not only because it represents your brand but also because it can help improve your Quality Score.

If your ad is getting a high CTR, this is a good indicator to Google that users like your ad and so you’ll be rewarded with a higher Quality Score.

Our tips for ad copy writing are:

  • Stand out from competition
  • Use your unique selling points
  • Include an attractive CTA e.g. “Free Consultation”

This part is also based on historical performance, and so resetting ads can impact this, and should therefore be done carefully.

Here’s Google’s definition of Expected Click Through Rate.


Finally, here is Google’s official guide to Quality Score for more information on the topic.


We hope you found this guide helpful! If you need further advice on how best to structure and optimise your AdWords accounts, get in contact with our team at Digital Uncut today.