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On Quality Score - An Online Specialist's Guide

Like King Arthur, Jesus, Roswell, and Bigfoot, Quality Score is one of those things that’s hard to separate fact from fiction.


Is it true that saying, “Quality Score” 3 times in front of a mirror causes your account’s total Quality Score to drop to 1?

Is it true that knocking on wood appeases the Quality Score gods, and keeps your Quality Score from dropping?


Certainly not, on both accounts. While Quality Score continues to be a myth and a legend amongst AdWords advertisers, it is a calculation, thoughtfully considered by Google's talented engineers.


There is so much lore and befuddlement around Quality Score, I want to provide all the (public) information about Quality Score. The purpose of this article is to provide a short, comprehensive resource about Quality Score, so that you don’t need to searching through various resources yourself.


I’ll repeat this at the end too, but I want to be clear right away: Quality Score is all about servicing the the end user by providing the best-in-class ad experience to engage users.


That being said, let’s review some more information.

  • What is Quality Score? Quality Score is a measure of how relevant your ad is to users.
  • How do we assess the quality of an ad? This is based on expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience.
  • What’s taken into consideration? Loads of factors, including: Search query, location and time, and device.
  • What’s not taken into consideration?
    • Structural things, such as the campaign ID and Ad Group ID
    • The clickthrough rate (CTR) of your ads on Search Partners
    • The tracking parameter your ads use
  • How often does AdWords recalculate Quality Score?
    • Every time your ads appear on search - Google keeps it fresh to provide the best possible experience.
  • What’s the best way to preserve Quality Score?
    • Testing - ideally, you should always experiment with your new, potential ads, before you make any drastic changes. Don’t “remove” ads. Rather, pause them. See if the ad you’re experimenting with generate better metrics than your old ads, before committing.
  • What’s the biggest misconception of Quality Score, in your opinion? That Quality Score is more of a driver than a diagnosis. If a doctor said your body fat % was too high, you wouldn’t treat that as an absolute and stop eating. It’s holistic and you would look at your diet, sleep, and exercise.

Likewise, Quality Score is wonderful in that it shows how healthy your ads and keywords are, but it’s not something to optimize. Rather, there are better metrics to improve performance: CTR, ROAS, CPA, CVR are all more pertinent and should be examined to reach your advertising goals.

  • What else matters, in terms of Ad Rank? Quality Score is only part of what determines your Ad Rank. The 2 other parts that matter are: (1) Max CPC (2) Expected Impact of Extensions / Format.


Again: Quality Score is all about servicing the end user by providing the best-in-class ad experience to engage users. Remember that, and the rest will follow.

Eric Gehler Badged Google Partner
November 2016

Adding on other resource by  Googler Sean Quadlin


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