Pay Per Click

What PPC managers don’t know about AdWords Quality score

AdWords Quality Score is highly misunderstood concept. Most of the times, even the experienced PPC professionals correlate bid strength with quality score. It is a loose relationship that doesn’t have any firm base.

What is AdWords Quality Score?

It is a grading system formed by Google to determine eligibility of ads to get displayed in the sponsored search results pages. Simply put, it is measurement used for determining quality, relevance and performance of PPC marketing campaigns.

Where to find AdWords quality score?

Every keyword in campaigns targeting the Google pages is assigned a QS and it is hidden by default. It can be made visible by:

  • Go to “Keywords” tab in AdWords account
  • Click “Columns” and they click “Customize Columns”
  • Columns section will give some options; choose “Attributes”
  • Find “Add Link” in the Quality Score line
  • Select “Apply” when ready to save

The QS column with the data will open

Why does AdWords Quality Score matter?

Quality Score determines success and cost of PPC marketing campaigns. High keyword quality score reduces cost per click, increases exposure of the ads and the conversion rate.

How is it calculated in AdWords?

It is calculated in real time when matching keywords appear in searches. Every time a keyword appears in an ad, its QS is determined. The QS is used to influence cost-per-click and also to determine if the keyword can be appeared on first page bidding that can be viewed in the AdWords account. Also the QS is used to determine whether a keyword can be used for auction. It happens when keyword phrases appear in searched queries. The auction determines how high an ad can be ranked.

What are the factors that go into calculating it?

  • Past CTR (click-through-rate) of the keyword and the ads matching with the keyword: Click-through-rate is calculated by dividing the number of clicks an ad receives by the number of impressions
  • Relevance of the keyword with the ads in a group: The keyword used for making ads must be relevant with the ads. It must be used in the ad copy
  • Relevance of the keyword with the advertisement and the search: Internet users will search ads using keywords. The keywords used in the ads must be relevant to the keywords searched
  • History of AdWords account: It includes CTR of all the ads in the group and the keyword used in the ads. Google relies on the history for determining CTR. Performance is important for ad groups.
  • Past CTR of URLs displayed in the advertisements: It is to be noted that only the URLs displayed in the ads are considered and not the URLs the visitors are taken to. Relevance of the keywords with the ads is important
  • Quality of landing pages: Google considers four factors that are originality, relevancy, transparency and navigability to determine quality of landing pages

How to diagnose QS issues?

A QS Column is added to diagnose the issue. See how this column is added

  1. Select a campaign level view of the campaign
  2. Click on the keywords tab
  3. Select “Columns” and then “Customize Columns”
  4. Go to “Attributes”
  5. Add Quality Score and apply the changes made

How to increase it?

Improving ratings AdWords account by working on the account can help increase the QS. An account cab be boosted by improving the following areas:

Keyword research – Search relevant keywords and add the keywords to existing campaigns. Focus on long-tail keywords as they have the potential to divert high traffic

Organize keywords – Break keywords into such groups that they become relevant for individual ad campaigns

Refined ad text – Write an ad copy with individual ad groups in mind. What you need keeping in mind is that effective ad copies increase CTR and the CRT in turn increases QS

Optimize landing pages – Follow best practices for creating landing pages. The pages should be directly connected to the ad groups and also they should keep the visitors engaged right from searching keyword to conversion

Add negative keywords – Remove all irrelevant keywords and phrases from your ad groups. Do research to identify the unwanted words in the ad groups

This is how QS impacts online advertisement for a business or product. It is crucial for a business to become visible in the competitive market and stand out in the crowd.


PPC has become a game of Quality Score. PPC managers must try achieving higher QS for their keywords as it is the only way to reduce cost and improve performance.


Udit Khanna is a Digital Marketing Course professional at Expert Training Institute, an expert in Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Social Media, etc. who helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Udit worked as a marketing professional for various startups and tech companies. He graduated with B.Sc from IGNOU with a dual degree in Business Administration (Marketing & Finance).

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