In one of my earlier blogs I talked about the importance of quality score on the ROI of a PPC campaign. In today’s post I’ll cover what’s involved in how these scores are actually calculated.
Figuring out exactly how a quality score is calculated may seem like an intimating task – involving a strong cup of coffee and stepping through a complex algorithm steeped in the Google mystique. But it’s rather simple in fact.
Yes, Google uses several factors to determine the quality score of a keyword. And yes, a quality score can change over time as Google assesses the performance of that keyword. But the overall calculation is quite straight forward using several factors, including, but not limited to:
- The Ad – Is the ad copy relevant to the keyword?
- Landing Page – Is the landing page relevant to the keyword or ad? Does it load quickly? Is it easy to navigate?
- Click Through Rate (CTR) – Are searchers finding the ad relevant?
- Account History – Has the overall AdWords account performed well over time?
A keyword is initially assigned a quality score based on the keyword history for other advertisers, and your account, campaign and ad history. A quick look at this initial assignment of quality score can help a Campaign Manager understand if other advertisers have had success with this keyword. Once the campaign is active, ad performance (e.g. click through rate) will become a primary driver of the score.
That’s a quick overview of how quality scores are calculated The next logical step is to understand how these quality scores are actually used to rank your ads. Here’s an example to illustrate:
Keyword quality scores are used to determine whether to show an ad, and to calculate both the Ad Rank and the CPC. The keyword Ad Rank is calculated using the bid price multiplied by the quality score.
Ad Rank = CPC bid × Quality Score
Your ad’s position in the auction is then determined by your Ad Rank relative to your competition for that same keyword. Here’s an example:
Therefore, this particular keyword’s CPC will be determined by the Ad Rank of the bidder below you divided by your quality score plus 0.01. In the above example, Bidder B has the higher Ad Rank, and wins the auction.
If you pay attention to improving quality score then Google will reward your efforts with better performing ads. It’s a win/win.
Did this post help you understand the impact of quality scores? If yes, you may also find reading the whitepaper “Four Easy Steps to Quality Score Health” of help to improving your scores.
Until next time – happy campaigning!