AdWords quality score changes

This week Google announced that they are rolling out changes globally to the way AdWords Quality Score is calculated.

What is AdWords Quality Score?

Most people who have had even a cursory look at Google AdWords understand that it operates on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis, and if an advertiser is prepared to spend more money for each click they receive, their ads are more likely to be shown at higher positions, and are therefore more likely to be clicked on by searchers. What is less well understood is that it is not just your maximum CPC bid that determines the ranking order of different advertisements – the other major factor is Quality Score.

Why would Google care about the quality of the advertisements they show – surely they should just show the ads that will make them the most money? Well that might work well in the short term, but if this was how it worked, spammy advertisers would be able to make their ads for porn or gambling sites show up regardless of what searchers were actually looking for, which would pretty quickly annoy a lot of searchers, and convince them to stop using Google and look for a better search engine.

As an AdWords advertiser, every time someone does a search that matches one of your keywords, your quality score for that keyword is calculated. The three main factors that determine quality score are:

  • Clickthrough Rate (CTR) – based on previous historical evidence, what percentage of searchers for this keyword choose to click on your ad.
  • Relevance – how relevant is the keyword to the ad text you have, as well as other relevance factors such as geographical relevance.
  • Landing Page Quality:
    • How relevant is the content on your ad’s landing page to the search query?
    • Is your content original or are there hundreds of other sites with the same information?
    • Does your site load quickly?
    • Do you annoy your visitors with lots of pop-up or pop-under advertisements?
    • Is your website easy to navigate around?

How Have the Quality Score Calculations Changed?

Basically the weighting of relevance and landing page quality have been increased. This will make it harder for advertisers to achieve high ad positions for keywords that are not highly relevant to their websites, and should help to improve the quality of the ads that Google users see when they do a search.

And don’t forget that Google announced September 21 that mobile optimized websites have started to factor into landing page quality (and thus Quality Score) also.

Do you need help optimising AdWords campaigns for your business? First Rate is a Google AdWords Certified Partner with years of experience managing AdWords campaigns for many of Australasia’s leading businesses. New AdWords functionality is added all the time and it’s therefore important to have people who know their stuff working on your account! Contact Us.