Home » Google AdWords » What is Quality Score- Understanding how Google AdWords Works?

What is Quality Score- Understanding how Google AdWords Works?

Search Engine Optimisation takes time and doesn’t guarantee success. Over 200 variables make up the organic search algorithm and it has never been more difficult to get seen. I’ve seen professionals celebrate getting to page 2 on the organic search results and yes while this may bring in some traffic the truth is 85% of users seldom click past the first page and will usually just refine their search by adding an extra keyword etc. The only way to be guaranteed of showing up on a particular search is to pay. Search advertising or what is commonly just known as PPC  ensures that your website will be seen but it comes at a price
Most advertising is classified as ‘push’ – that is the message is being pushed down and tries to grab the consumer’s attention. Display Advertising and Social Media Advertising would be categorised as push promotion.
Search Advertising is different because users are seeking information therefore Google AdWords Search campaigns can be classified as ‘pull’ or response driven, i.e. People drive the responses. I search for hotels in dublin and I will see related adverts to my search. Search users therefore represent active leads for your business and are not just passive recipients of information.
Before we get into the detail, I’ll introduce some terms for newbies.
  • Impressions – Every time an advertisement loads on a user’s screen, this is called an impression.
  • CTR or Click Through Ratio – This is the ratio of clicks to impressions. In search advertising, the average CTR of a good advertisement is in and around 3%
So how does Google Advertising work? Most people who are new to search advertising think it is a simple case of highest bidder wins but the bid is just one factor in Google Advertising. The most important factor is Quality Score.

What is Quality Score?

There are three components of quality score


  • As mentioned above, the CTR is the ratio of clicks to impressions.
  • So within the context of Quality Score this means the popularity of the advertiser in terms of clicks
  • Advertisements which perform better will usually get a higher quality score


  • How relevant is the advertiser’s advert to the user’s search
  • When we talk of relevance within Quality Score, we are talking about the relevance of the content or copy of the actual advertisement and the keywords chosen by the advertiser to trigger the advertisement.
  • In other words, if I choose to have my advertisement about digital marketing be triggered by the keyword shoes, my advertisement will have a very low quality score
  • This prevents spammers from bidding on keywords which don’t relate to their websites

Landing Page Quality

  • What happens when the user clicks on the advertisement? Where do they go?
  • The Landing Page is the destination of the advertisement and needs to be relevant to the users search
  • The page and website itself should also have good navigation, fast load times etc

Quality Score is awarded per keyword, in an upcoming post I will demonstrate how to create a campaign using Google AdWords. Once Quality Score has been determined, Google multiplies your Quality Score by your maximum bid to determine your Ad Rank. Check out this very good video by the Chief Economist at Google, Hal Varian which also explains how the Google auction works

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