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Google Ads is a paid (PPC) marketing platform that’s one of the most popular and powerful in the industry. At its launch, in 2000, only 350 advertisers were using the service to build brand awareness. Today, Google Ads has more than 2 million marketers using it and is a multi-billion dollar extension of the company.

With so many marketers using the advertising service to increase traffic and ROI, Google Ads has become a highly-competitive landscape. Those who don’t use every resource available to their advantage are less likely to succeed. One of the ways Google determines your importance to the consumer audience is through your quality score. The quality score multiplied by the pay per click bid equals the Google Ad rank. This is an important equation to remember throughout your marketing journey.

Throughout this guide, we’ll dig deeper into:

  • The true definition of a Google Ads quality score
  • The various types of scores to focus on
  • Why they matter
  • How you can change yours

What is a Google Ads Quality Score?

A google quality score is a combination of factors which describe your ads overall relevancy to the customer. Marketers with high-quality scores have better ad ranks. Just like organic search traffic is ranked on a results page, paid ads are ranked as well. The outcome of your score depends on three main criteria:

  • Expected Clickthrough Rate: The chance that your ad campaign will be noticed and clicked by a consumer.
  • Landing Page Experience: How convenient and organized your layout and sitemap are, as well as the overall pertinence of the site to the consumer.
  • Ad Relevance: The level at which your advertisement matches a user’s search query and intention.

The score is reported from 1-10 and is meant to help marketers refocus energies on increasing customer impact. Google describes the score as “a warning light for a car’s engine.” It tells you, the driver, that something’s wrong with your ad or website so that you can fix it.

How to check your Google Ads Quality Score

To see the current quality score for your Google ads, marketers run a keyword diagnosis. You can do this by selecting “campaign” and then “keywords.” A white speech box should be visible next to the keywords on the page. Use this to see if there is already a score, including the ad relevance, landing page experience and expected clickthrough rate of the keyword.

If no white speech boxes are visible, it could be that you’ve disabled the quality score columns. Enable them by clicking “campaigns,” and “keywords,” and then selecting “modify columns” from the drop-down menu. From here, you can choose to see your quality score, landing page experience, ad relevance, or expected click-through rate.

Alternatively, you can view the history of these QS components by selecting quality score (history), landing page experience (history), etc. and clicking, “apply.”

The different types of quality scores

Any marketer worth their salt knows about quality scoring at the keyword level, but there’s more to QS ranking than keywords alone. In fact, there are a few different types of quality scores to monitor. These include:


Keyword Quality Score

The most trusted and recognized quality score of all, keyword QS can be seen from your Google Ads dashboard. The goal, of course, is to get as close to 10 in ranks from 1-10 as possible. It’s based on the number of consumers who search using your keywords.

Google uses the whole history of a keyword to score it accurately, which is helpful in choosing your keywords. As your keyword is defined by the Google user base, you’ll begin to see a rank form, and it’s low or high rating will impact how you rank online. Keywords are ranked on several contributing factors, including:

  • Keyword relation to content, and the proper use therein
  • Keyword relevance to consumers viewing your ad
  • Previous scores for a keyword
  • Expected click-through rate based on previous use of the keyword

Landing Page Quality Score


Google has always marketed itself as a user-first company. They strive to provide high-quality results to their searchers, which means site owners must deliver high-quality content to rank. The landing page quality score helps you monitor how closely you fit this specification. Factors influencing your LPQS are:

  • Relevancy of content
  • Ease of navigation
  • Transparency of policies
  • Unique copy

Again, your search for a better score and higher ROI comes back to keyword QS. When you hover over that speech box, one of the indicating factors for rank is landing page experience. While never expressly mentioned by Google, it’s obvious that the landing page plays a big role in the success of other areas of your ad.

The upside to Google ranking your landing page, whether it’s official or not, is that you pay closer attention as a marketer or business owner. Your landing page is the face of your company, which means improving it will only improve your customer’s experience. This increases brand loyalty, traffic, and, in turn, revenue.


Mobile Quality Score

Mobile devices are defined as any tool which can be used on the go without an anchor. A tablet or mobile phone is the most common, but iPods, Chromebooks, and other devices count as well. Of the world’s internet traffic, 52% is mobile, making this an important QS for which to rank successfully.

This is the only score that factors location into its decision-making process. Where a device is located via the GPS tracker accounts for the ranked ads seen on the viewfinder. Therefore, your ad might rank differently on a mobile level than it does on a desktop device.

Account Level Quality Score

Google hasn’t officially confirmed this score, but many advertisers believe that it exists. The ALQS grades your overall account success, including the performance of ads and keywords used over time. Your account’s quality score reflects the other scores you’ve collected. This means a poor click-through rate or bad grade for keyword usage will negatively impact you at the account level.

One of the reasons marketers came to believe this faction of the quality scoring system exists is because of the higher performance of longstanding accounts. Old accounts vs. new accounts seem to have an advantage in QS rank. This could be due in part to Google’s policy restricting the creation of multiple AdWords accounts.

When a company sees an ad account performing poorly, all they can do is pull back marketing endeavors and restructure. It’s a long-term process, but the payoff is worth the effort. Restructuring your strategy could involve deleting old and using new keywords or improving ad relevancy to your audience.


Ad Group Quality Score

This score is the total rank at the ad level. It includes anything that might impact how an ad is perceived and accepted by your audience. Marketers who tackle the ad score, focus on groups of advertisements and their marking indicators. Consumer perception, relevancy, and keywords are all reviewed, starting with the ad group with the lowest performance.

By focusing your attention on low-performing ads first, you boost the overall average of your ads. You can monitor this score by adding up keyword QS for an ad group and averaging them.

While most of these scores rely heavily on keywords, there’s obviously more to it than this magic formula alone.

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