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Quality Score – Fair and Just

I recently read a book about Quality Score entitled Quality Score in High Resolution by Craig Danuloff. The book really shed light upon the different factors that influence Quality Score calculations. This made me realize that there are currently an endless number of amature and professional blog posts that have created a lot of confusion in this area. This confusion appears to have led account managers, amatures and experts, to the conclusion that Quality Score is the enemy; however, this is not the case.

Quality Score is Google‘s way of helping the good and punishing the bad. It serves as a motivation for advertisers to create well organized and honest PPC campaigns, ensuring that there is more to online auctions than just over bidding.

Look at it this way, Quality Score is Google‘s way of telling you whether or not you should be advertising under a specific keyword. If you feel that a keyword should not be receiving a low Quality Score and it is totally relevant to your campaign – and you are certain that you don‘t have any landing page penalties –  then it is most likely your campaign. By improving your ad texts, optimizing or switching your chosen landing page, upping the bids, or organizing your campaigns from scratch etc., you are well on the way to improving your initial Quality Scores.

There are many factors taken in the equation of Quality Score calculation and almost all of them are invisible. The only Quality Score metric that is visible to advertisers is the column we see in Google Adwords, which serves as more of a guideline than an actual rule – an approximation if you will. The “real“ Quality Score is calculated every time a user enters a search query that is identical to any one of the keywords within your keyword list.

Among factors that influence Quality Score calculations are ad rank, ad text quality score, account quality score, landing page quality score, and most importantly, relevance and click-through-rate.

According to Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google, these last two factors play the biggest role in Quality Score calculation. In other words, in order to achieve higher Quality Scores in your account, making you eligable for auctions that Google deems more likely to convert, you need to optimize your account towards small, tightly themed ad-groups that make your keyword selection within a specific ad-group match your ad-texts and landing page. This is a great tactic to boost your click-through-rates which in return increases your chances of conversion. This is of course assuming that your landing page fits Google‘s standards and if so, most importantly, the searchers needs.

The bottom line is that Quality Score ensures that you as a honest advertiser within the Google channels have an equal chance of success in the big league. Google wants to rule out those with foul intentions, giving the searchers the most relevant ads as possible. This should serve as a driving force for you to optimize your campaigns towards success, which will again increase your chances of conversion.


  • Build tightly focused ad-groups with ad texts that match your keyword selection
  • Instead of having 1 ad-group with 1000 keywords, try to break it down to 10 ad-groups with 100 keywords
  • Choose a landing page that gives the searchers exactly what they expected from the ad text
    – Having said that, write ad texts that are straight to the point, limiting the risk of irrelevant clicks, and don‘t promise anything you can‘t deliver
  • Take your time, building up a successful PPC campaign takes time, start with a strong core and slowly implement changes

Haukur Jarl Kristjánsson – Nordic eMarketing @haukurjarl

3 thoughts on “Quality Score – Fair and Just

  1. I simply wished to thank you so much yet again. I am not sure the things I would have sorted out without these information shared by you relating to such a situation. It had become an absolute terrifying situation in my opinion, nevertheless discovering the specialized approach you treated the issue made me to jump for happiness. I am grateful for the work as well as hope that you know what a powerful job you were providing training people through your web page. Most probably you’ve never met all of us.

  2. Well done, Hauk! I would add one caveat: 100 keywords per ad group is often too many. 10-15 is usually sufficient and helps ensure a tight correlation between keywords and ad text.

  3. @marketing münster – thank you so much :) glad it helped you!

    @David – Thanks for the feedback my friend :) maybe i should have worded the example in another way:
    ‘Instead of having 1 ad-group with 1000 keywords, try to break it down to 100 ad-groups with 10 keywords’

    Haukur Jarl

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