How Does Google Calculate Quality Scores?

by May 5, 2021Blog

Every Google advertiser aims to get a high number of clicks on their ad for the lowest cost possible, and one of the factors determining the cost is Quality Score (QS). Quality Score is a metric that Google uses to measure the quality and relevance of your keywords in relation to your ad, your landing page, and your customers – ranging from 1, being the lowest, and 10, being the highest.

QS for each of your keywords can affect your cost per click, ad rank, and impression share you will get. While Google never shared how they calculate the QS, Search Engine Land (SEL) did their own investigation with over 15,000 advertisers worldwide, and they revealed the “secret formula” for calculations.

We know that Quality Score is made up of the Click-through rate (CTR), Ad Relevance, and Landing Page Experience, and each of these is rated between average, below average, or above average. It is also essential to understand that QS is created from the sum of its 3 indicators’ values. The following table illustrates these values:

Considering the values for each indicator, we see that improving the CTR or the Landing Page Experience has almost twice the impact as improving on ad relevance. If we already have a score “Above Average” on any of these indicators, we don’t need to spend time improving it any further. On the other hand, your QS being impacted by the history of your Google Ads account is just a myth.

SEL has tested this model for 2+ years, and it is demonstrated with the following example, where the total has started with 1, the lowest possible value, and it has added the sum of the 3 indicators. 

SEL has summarized that the standard Quality Score (ranging 1 to 10) is 6, and not 5 – finding the sum of the average score and adding 1.

Improving your QS is down to improving the indicators that affect it. Starting with your CTR, one way to improve it is to look at what search terms are not relevant to your ad and add them as negative keywords so they don’t waste any of your budgets. You would also want to avoid showing up on irrelevant searches, and one way to improve that is to modify your Match Type – we advise you to avoid the Broad Match type. 

To improve your Landing Page Experience, you need to focus on how users experience your page on both desktop and mobile devices and your page’s speed. For mobile devices, it is vital to check how your text, images, and overall layout appear and whether they match your site’s desktop appearance. We would recommend avoiding large, fixed-width elements and content that only looks well at a specific viewpoint.

You should also consider the relevancy of your page based on what users are looking for. For that, it is helpful to look at the Bounce Rate metric, which will illustrate how interested users are once they get on your page and whether your content met their expectations and requirements. 

Bounce rate refers to the number of site visits that only have single-page sessions, which means that a user has landed on a particular page and exited on that same page. Calculating this rate considers the total number of one-page visits divided by the total number of website entries. A bounce rate between 40% and 55% is considered good, while a rate below 20% and above 90% can indicate a tracking or code installation error. However, different websites tend to have different rates, and for certain sites it can be normal to get 100% bounce rate – for example blog websites, where the reader would land on a single page, read the blog, and exit. 

If you have any other questions on Quality Score or any Google Ads-related questions, get in touch with us today. We will be happy to provide expert advice during a no-obligation consultation.