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Is Keyword Quality Score Not Truly A Keyword Quality Score?

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# 1
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So while quality score is calculated per KW it is not based soley on factors related to that keyword. In fact there are three factors in the QS calculation that can have absolutely nothing to do with the individual keyword's performance at all ( )


- Display URL performance

- Geographic account performance

- Targeted device performance


These are metrics that are effected by factors beyond the performance of just that KW.  So the KW QS isn't truly a KW quality score it is a 'keyword centric' quality score.


So in theory, if the same display URL was being used across the account for multiple ads in different ad groups and had very poor performance for most other keywords in campaigns with significantly different advertising subject matter but very good performance for this KW, if the Display URL performance is calculated based on aggregate performance acrosss the account it could negatively effect the KW where the display URL performance is acutally good.


Geographic account performance.  You could have broad match keywords (especially early in the campaign to help uncover best performing long tail keywords and determine negative keywords to add) that have poor CTR and conversion in the same geographic location targeting as good performing exact match keywords. So these broad match keyword performance  due to sharing same geographic target, effect keywords in Campaigns and Ad Groups with completely different subject matter in the same account?  You must be kidding Google.


Target device performance.  So if your worst performing campaigns were mostly only mobile targeted then your best performing keywords in campaigns that would other perform well on target mobile would be negatively effected by these keywords in Campaigns and Ad groups with unrelated subject matter just because of sharing device target?


I am very surprised ifthese three factors are used account-wide considering you can have campaigns and ad groups with very different subjects.  I would think it would be more accurate to at least limit the effect within the campaign, not across the entire account.  Otherwise say you are a retail store that sells a variety of different category products.  This would mean it would be most optimal to create a separate Adwords account for each product category (sporting equipment, clothing, automotive, etc.)  But of course the only way you could do that is to create different domain names for each category and manage multiple accounts for the same store.  


I find this very troubling that Adwords auction calculations are using account-wide performance factors to calculate an individual keyword performance in the auction.



2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Is Keyword Quality Score Not Truly A Keyword Quality Score?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor
HI Jeff C;
Google published a comprehensive document explaining what matters and what does not about QS:
Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: Is Keyword Quality Score Not Truly A Keyword Quality Score?

[ Edited ]
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# 3
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This thread is about a subset of the quality score calculation being based on factors that are effected by performance indicators outside of the keyword, it's ad, it's landing page, it's ad group performance , and it's campaign performance.


In the other document discussing quality score (link in my initial post) it states:


How the components of Quality Score affect Ad Rank... and includes the following three factors...


Your display URL's past CTR: The historical clicks and impressions your display URL has received

  • Geographic performance: How successful your account has been in the regions you're targeting
  • Your targeted devices: How well your ads have been performing on different types of devices, like desktops/laptops, mobile devices, and tablets

Are these three things not potentially greatly effected by other keywords/ads/ad groups/campaigns account-wide?  It doesn't matter if they effect QS or Ad rank, they are account-wide aspects and there are advertisers that could be advertising a wide variety of products or services that their company offers where some categories perform much better than others.  To me this is saying, if you have a department store and you sell electronics really well but don't sell clothes very well, if you have any of the same Display URLs, geographic targets, or targeted devices between your electronics and clothing campaigns, the poor performance of any of these three factors in the clothing campaign will effect the account performance which then will effect the ad rank of your electronics campaign.


Re: Is Keyword Quality Score Not Truly A Keyword Quality Score?

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Hi @Jeff C unfortunately, we're really not in a position to explore this issue as fully as we could because we're never going to know the precise details of how QS is formulated.  We have a lot of indicators but we don't know exactly how the various factors interact and what relative importance they play in the equation.  That said, I can chime in on some aspects.


Firstly, as the very useful white paper referred to by @MosheTLV says, no one should be obsessing over Quality Score.  While it's true it has an impact on Ad Rank, there's really no way to know how your QS compares to others in the same auction.  As a very simple example, if there are three advertisers in the same auction, and each advertiser has the same QS, it's impact on Ad Rank is effectively irrelevant.  Neither should we be obsessing over attaining the magical 10/10.  Google considers 5/10 to be average so pretty much anything above that means you're doing OK.  Perhaps most importantly, one of the key metrics of measuring ecommerce success - conversion rate - is not a factor in QS at all.  


To specifically address your "account-wide" concerns, the three elements you've mentioned - past CTR, geographical performance and device targeting, do have Account-wide metrics, but they also have metrics for an individual Ads.


As the white paper says, rather than obsessing over Quality Score, you should instead look to optimising the performance of your Account along your chosen goals, while providing your customers with a great experience, using the Quality Scores only as a broad guideline to how things are going.



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