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6 Things That Matter (and Don’t) When it Comes to Ads Quality

Today I want to talk more about what matters and what doesn't when it comes to Google's Ad Quality Score. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to quality score so to help clear the air here are 6 things that matter (and don't) when it comes to Google's Quality Score.


1.) The User’s Device: Does Matter

Your device (laptop, tablet, smartphone or whatever) is taken into account when ad quality is calculated. Make sure your site experience is optimized for mobile, and if you haven’t already, try targeting users on mobile devices with specific mobile-friendly ads and pages. Google doesn’t require that you have a separate mobile site, but you should make sure that information is easy to find and the navigation is intuitive for users on a mobile device.


2.) Relevance to a User’s Intentions: Does Matter

Relevance to users’ searches and intentions is the heart of ads quality. That means ads and sites that help users gather relevant info, complete a sale or other task, and navigate with ease are more likely to result in high ads quality. This is why I suggest you focus on delivering relevant ads to answer queries rather than trying to optimize to manipulate your score. I know it can be tempting but in the long run, you will be better off.


3.) Newly-Launched Keywords, Performance on Related Keywords: Does Matter

Instead of measuring new keywords from scratch, Google starts with info about related ads and landing pages you already have. If your related keywords, ads and landing pages are in good shape, they’ll probably continue to have a high opinion of them. Always invest in growing your coverage on relevant searches, especially in areas where your ads have the potential to be high quality. I cannot stress this point enough!


4.) How You Structure Your Account: Doesn’t Matter

If it doesn’t affect user experience, it shouldn’t affect the quality or Quality Score. Set up your account in whatever way lets you manage it best, and feel free to restructure things like campaign names or the number of ad groups as needed. There is no such thing as ad group-level, campaign-level or account-level Quality Score. Note also that breaking keywords into new ad groups or campaigns (without changing the ad text or landing page) has no effect on their Quality Score. But moving a keyword to a new ad group that has new ad text could change your Quality Score because that can affect user experience.


5.) Running Your Ads in Other Networks: Doesn’t Matter

Targeting the Google Display Network or Google’s search partners in your AdWords account won’t affect your ads’ quality on Google.com.


6.) Your Ad’s Placement on the Page: Doesn’t Matter

While it’s great to have a high position on the page, doing so doesn’t increase the expected CTR rating of your ads. The expected CTR is normalized for your actual position on the page. The top position is expected to receive more clicks than the third position on the top, and so on. Google will also normalize for other factors that affect visibility, like ad extensions and other ad formats.

With some of my automotive clients, we see much better results in position 2 & 3 in some cases.



The old advice to college graduates is, “Do what you love and all else will follow.” In the world of AdWords, the advice is “Do what’s best for your users and your bottom line, and all else will (or at least should) follow.” Those business fundamentals are more important than Quality Score. Remember, too, that there are differences between auction-time quality and the 1-10 Quality Score number that appears in your account. Your Quality Score will give you insight into how you’re performing, but “chasing the number” shouldn’t be the focus of your optimizations. Be relevant, be compelling and drive traffic to landing pages that deliver on what you promise in your ad, and you can feel confident your score should reflect that quality.

3 things that matter with your quality score & 3 things that don't! 

Please leave your questions and comments below.

about Mike Blackmore

I manage and consult for large Automotive Groups. Everything SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) advertising strategies to maximize ROI.