Understanding Quality Score and Its Use in PPC Campaigns

understanding quality score and its use in ppc campaigns 5

Quality score is the bread and butter of PPC marketing, the reliable sidekick that helps you soar to the top of the ad ranks. It’s a score that’s calculated by Google and Microsoft, taking into account your bid and a few other key factors.

But understanding those factors and their impact on your campaign success can be a bit of a mystery. That’s where we come in. In this article, we’ll break down each quality score factor and show you how it can make or break your overall campaign and account success.

We’ll be focusing on Google Ads, but fear not Microsoft Ads fans, many of the strategies and mechanics apply to you too.

What factors are used to calculate quality score in PPC?

Quality score in PPC is determined by Google based on the following three components:

  1. Expected click-through rate (CTR): This is the expected CTR of the ad compared to similar ads on the ad platform.
  2. Ad relevance: It measures the relevancy of the keyword to the query that triggered the ad and how well the landing page delivers on the ad’s promise.
  3. Landing page experience: This factor considers if the keyword, ad, and landing page are relevant and whether the landing page provides a good user experience (e.g., fast loading, easy navigation, no excessive pop-ups).

It’s worth noting that quality score is calculated based on the exact impressions of a keyword’s search terms. Testing a new match type won’t affect the quality score data, but changing a keyword without copying it over and making changes to the copy will remove the original keyword and may harm performance. Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution while making any adjustments to keyword match types or syntax.

Expected CTR: How it’s calculated and why it’s not worth losing sleep over

Expected CTR is one-third of the quality score and one whole headache for PPC marketers. Google’s algorithm dishes out scores based on how your keywords have performed in the past compared to your competitors, and it’s not always easy to improve them.

But don’t let the stress get to you. Instead, focus on the other two factors of quality score that you can control: ad relevance and landing page experience. Optimizing for those will have a more significant impact on your overall campaign success.

That being said, a higher expected CTR can still earn you some sweet rewards, like discounted CPCs and a bigger presence in the auction. So if you’re curious about your account’s performance, check the expected CTR column in Google Ads and sort your keywords by status. But don’t get too hung up on it – a lower expected CTR doesn’t necessarily mean your campaign is failing in other areas.

Cracking the Code: Understanding How Ad Relevance is Calculated and Its Impact

Ad relevance is like the ultimate wingman for your ad campaigns, influencing the other two quality score factors and making sure your ad is hitting all the right notes. To score big with Google, you need to make sure your ad copy is in sync with the user’s search query and that your keywords are front and center. But don’t let ad strength steal the spotlight. Sure, it’s important to have a creative and catchy ad, but it won’t make or break your quality score. When it comes to ad relevance, Google’s looking at the whole package – from the landing page to the keyword density. And with match types becoming more relaxed, you don’t have to be a perfectionist with every single keyword. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out some broad match keywords and see if you can snag a cheaper spot in the auction. Just remember, it’s not about the size of your keywords, it’s how you use them.

Unleashing the Power of Landing Page Experience: How it’s Calculated and the Impact on PPC Success

Google crawls landing pages like a curious toddler exploring a new toy. It checks for load time, layout, and even the relevance of your keywords. And just like a toddler, it can throw a tantrum if your page doesn’t meet its standards – aka, the CLS rules of engagement.

But fear not, PPC wizards! By optimizing your landing pages for these technical SEO factors, you can achieve a higher landing page experience score and watch those conversion rates soar. And don’t worry about following the herd with generic navigation bars – no-indexing and no-following can give you the creative freedom to showcase your brand’s unique personality.

Five tips to squeeze the most juice out of quality score and make it work for you

  1. Use branded campaigns to lift the equity of the account
    • As mentioned before, branded campaigns are a great way to improve the overall health of your account. By sequestering branded traffic from non-branded and providing data points to the algorithm that you have high-converting terms, you can communicate meaningfully to your warm audience and ensure that your net-new campaigns, ad groups, and keywords benefit from the halo effect of your branded campaign.
    • In addition to these benefits, a branded campaign can also help establish your brand as an authority in your industry. By bidding on your own branded terms, you can show customers that you are a reliable and trustworthy source of information, products, or services.
  2. Focus on conversational keyword champions over search volume
    • While it may be tempting to target high-volume keywords with broad concepts, doing so can often result in quality score traps. These traps occur when you underbid and get impressions on low-value SERP placements that don’t lead to clicks, or when you bid on broad concepts and catch a lot of random intent instead of the intent you need/want. To avoid these traps, it’s better to invest in conversational terms that optimize for conversational voice search and the intended transactional intent. By targeting keywords that are more specific and relevant to your business, you can avoid voluminous cheap clicks that clog up your budget or unintended expensive auctions that don’t result in conversions.
  3. Use behavior analytics to improve landing page experience
    • Behavioral analytics tools like Microsoft Clarity or Hotjar can be incredibly useful for understanding what is causing joy and despair for your users. By using these tools to track user behavior on your landing pages, you can identify pain points that are causing friction and fix them to improve the user experience.
    • Some common sources of friction on landing pages include slow load times, “hidden” forms, and cookie consent modules that don’t jive with the rest of the page. By addressing these issues and improving the landing page experience score, you can improve the overall customer experience and boost your quality score.
  4. Allow for fluctuation in quality scores as keywords age
    • Quality scores can fluctuate over time as keywords gain impressions and clicks. While a good keyword with data will typically settle between 7-9, it’s normal for a keyword to get closer to the 5-6 average score as it gains more impressions and clicks.
    • However, if a keyword drops significantly in quality score, it may be a sign of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. For example, the keyword may no longer be relevant to your business or your landing page may not be providing a good user experience. By monitoring your quality scores and allowing for some fluctuation, you can identify potential issues early and take steps to address them before they impact your overall performance.
  5. Partner with your SEO team on quality score insights
    • As mentioned before, SEO is integral to a healthy PPC performance and a holistic search marketing strategy. By partnering with your SEO team, you can ensure that your PPC campaigns are aligned with your broader marketing goals and that your landing pages are optimized for both paid and organic search.
    • Your SEO team can also provide valuable insights into how crawl budget can be allocated for the ad bot and how the foundation for the landing page structure can be optimized for both search engines and users. By working together, you can achieve greater synergy between your PPC and SEO efforts and improve your overall quality score.

Unlocking PPC Success: Mastering Quality Score Optimization in Paid Search

Forget about quality score at your own peril! It may not be the belle of the ball, but it’s still a VIP in the world of paid search optimization. Don’t treat it like the prom queen, but give it the respect it deserves in your account management strategy.

Look at you, being all adventurous and outgoing.
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