Discover the Secret of Quality Score and Why it Matters

PPC ch 6
PPC Guide ch 5

Three Cheers!

Welcome to Chapter 5 of AreteBlogs Complete PPC Guide.

You might have heard that Google uses Quality Score for PPC.

In this chapter you will learn about quality score, how it’s calculated and why it matters.

Let’s begin!

Today there is no longer a need for picking a CPC bid for each keyword. Instead, CPA and ROAS goals can be set and machine learning is allowed to calculate the bid automatically to achieve the stated goal for every single search that happens.

However, although the things have been more automated, a knowledge of the underlying workings of the system still pays off.

Although there are many levers to optimize automated campaigns and bids, here we will discuss one of the prime factors, that is Quality Score.

Let’s uncover the mystery of how Quality Score lowers the costs.

What is Quality Score 

Quality score is Google’s measure of both the quality and relevance of your keywords and PPC ads. 

In essence, it measures how relevant a keyword has been based on the data from past ad auctions.

As soon as Google has enough data, keywords in an advertiser’s account are assigned a QS number between 1 and 10, with 10 being the best.

The number represents the combined relevance of the keyword across all of the auctions in which it participates.

The purpose is to guide advertisers.

It is not used to rank ads.

A 1-10 number helps advertisers figure out how good their keywords are, how well they write their ads, and how well they drive users to helpful landing pages, but it’s the immediate QS that matters most.

The auction-time QS is more granular than a 1-10 number, but it is not shared with advertisers because it fluctuates all the time.

It is also different for every single search that happens on Google and depends on the context of those searches, like:

  • The geographic location of the user.
  • The time of day.
  • The nature of the search term and its relationship to your keyword.
  • And other factors.

Why does Google use Quality Score:

All of this sounds complicated and tough. So what is the purpose of Google using QS?

Google depends on revenue from advertising. Thus, for this purpose it is necessary that users find the interesting and therefore, click on them.

They use it to help show more relevant ads to users every time a search is made.  

The short-term financial impact of allowing low-quality ads to take up space that could be filled with more relevant ones would be offset by the long-term risk of alienating users.

Despite being often a challenge to improve QS, the benefit to advertisers is that they are able to get the type of high-quality leads that Google Ads offers.

For those leads to keep coming, advertisers have to do their part in picking relevant keywords, writing compelling ads, and directing users to high quality, helpful landing pages.

And consequently, it can lead to big wins by reducing their CPCs.

How Quality Score is Calculated

In order to measure the expected relevance of every ad, keyword, and landing page to each search event, Google uses “big data” and machine learning techniques to collect data about how users interact with search results.

Specifically, their algorithms monitor what users interact with on the search results page (SERP) to make predictions about future interactions.

At its heart, QS is really a predicted click-through rate (CTR).

Prior to QS, AdWords used CTR to determine whether keywords were relevant and should be disabled or had to pay more to participate in the ad auction.

With advancement in machine learning techniques, Google began considering more factors when determining expected CTR, and the Quality Score component, which had been part of ad ranking in the past, was replaced with Quality Score.

Why Quality Score Matters

Advertisers care a lot about their QS because it is one of the factors used to decide:

  • Which ads are eligible to enter the ad auction
  • How the eligible ads are ranked
  • What actual CPC the advertiser needs to pay
Quality Score for ppc

The biggest reason of all to pay attention to your Quality Score is the cost: The higher your Quality Score, the less you’ll pay per click. And that comes straight from Google.

Even if there’s low competition for your keywords, you may still end up paying close to your maximum CPC if your ad quality is low.

With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to ensure your ad meets Google’s standard of quality.

From a value perspective, your Quality Score can help you optimize your ad for better performance.

Knowing where you fall in each component allows you to ensure users enjoy every stage of the ad experience, from seeing your ad to landing on your LP.

For instance, your Quality Score could reveal that ad relevance is above average but your landing page is below average. Afterwards, you know where to focus your efforts in order to improve the quality of your ads.


Along with the bid, Quality Score is a major part of how Google decides which ads to show and how to rank them.

By having better relevance, ads with lower bids can beat those with higher bids.

In this way, PPC is appealing as it doesn’t always benefit the advertiser with the biggest budget.

Thus, remember to monitor your QS and tackle optimizations when a low QS is holding you back from achieving your targets.

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