It’s one of the topics that floats to the top in the search marketing world and generates intense discussion — even though no one knows exactly what it means: “Quality Score.” In the usual, Google AdWords sense, Quality Score is the measurement of several variables, such as keyword clickthrough rate (CTR), ad text relevance and even the perceived quality of landing pages.
An individual keyword’s score (and by extension, its bid price) is not set in stone on Google. It can go up or down based on changes to the ad, keyword, or landing page. This score can also be increased with a good CTR, which benefits both Google and the advertiser.
As recommended by Google
Google offers a number of suggestions to improve landing pages and drive bid prices on keywords down. Primarily, Google wants advertisers to meet these baseline goals:
- Provide “relevant and substantial content,” by linking your ad to a page that offers precisely what was offered in the advertisement.
- Treat a user’s personal information responsibly by careful handling of the information you collect.
- Develop a highly navigable site with easy access to information and simple purchase procedures.
The AdWords system checks and evaluates advertiser landing pages frequently. At this point, the system bot will visit your site at least once a month, but may possibly visit more often in order to review any changes you have made.
Recently, Google also implemented another feature that informs advertisers of their keyword ratings, via an additional comment column in the AdWords account interface. This feature must be enabled manually, as by default it is disabled.
Each keyword is rated with one of three possible quality scores: “Great,” “OK” or “Poor.” Keywords with a poor quality score may be made “inactive for search” or replaced with more specific keyword choices in order to bring down bid prices. If you don’t want to replace poor-quality keywords, you can try to optimize the associated ad text and landing pages instead.
In addition, AdWords advertisers also see the minimum bid prices for all of their active and inactive keywords. This can be very helpful, since you can track your progress by monitoring the decline of bids.
Quality score is yet another step for Google in its never-ending pursuit of search perfection. More importantly, the score indicates Google isn’t keen to accept anything less from its advertisers.