Marketing & Media

Tips for Improving Paid Search Quality Score

Alyssa Walsh, Senior Digital Marketing Manager

Person using search engine on a laptop

Your quality score—a diagnostic indicator of the overall relevance and effectiveness of your keywords, text ads and landing pages—is one of the most valuable tools that can be used to enhance the performance of your paid advertising efforts. Quality score is set at the keyword level and does not affect how frequently your ad is shown; however, ads with higher quality scores tend to perform better because they are more relevant to the user.

What factors make up your quality score?

Quality score is determined by ad relevance, landing page experience and expected click-through rate from a given query. The quality score is calculated by ranking each of the three components as above average, average or below average compared to other ads running for the same keywords over the previous 90 days. If one factor is considerably lower than the others, it will cause your quality score to drop, giving advertisers an opportunity to improve their ads for given searches. The higher quality and more relevant an ad is, the higher its performance is likely to be.

How can I improve quality score for my paid ads?

There are several ways advertisers can improve their quality score for ads, keywords and landing page experience.

Separating keywords into distinct ad groups

Rather than having unsorted keywords in one general campaign, utilizing different ad groups can help ensure that spend is spread across different services or terms. Branded terms may cannibalize the budget for an entire campaign due to their higher relevance to more search queries. By separating branded keywords into an ad group and creating distinct ad groups for each product and service, bid adjustments can be put in place to allocate more spend toward more expensive or higher-performing keywords. Creating distinct ad groups allows the advertiser to create more text ads relevant to more specific keywords, which can help improve the overall relevance score of the ad as well as the anticipated click-through rate. Ad groups can be split into more specific categories, as well. A hospital may have heart health-related keywords in addition to ad groups dedicated to cardiology, thoracic surgery and specific procedures to best reach designated users.

Updating ad copy

If text ads are generating impressions but not a corresponding level of clicks, the language in the ads should be updated. Ads that more closely match keywords being searched can increase the likelihood of a click because the user will find it more relevant to their needs. When new ad groups are created, new ads should be written to correspond with each group of keywords to ensure that the ads are relevant to what users will be searching. In addition to including keywords for increased applicability, text ads should include details about what is being advertised, such as highlights and benefits unique to your specific business.

Updating and improving landing page experience

User experience on landing pages is a key factor when determining quality score, comprising of one-third of the overall score. If the landing page used for your ads is not consistent with messaging or what is being advertised, the user experience score will suffer. When making improvements to the landing page, make sure edits are made in a way that keeps the page mobile friendly while including enough places to convert users to customers, including links to call, fill out a form or complete a purchase. Conversion rate does not affect the quality score of an ad, but it can be a valuable metric when figuring out what optimizations and improvements to make to the landing page.

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