Ads are a popular form of content that users consume, especially when they have to buy something. But how do search engines decide which ad gets noticed and which does not? Read on to find out.
What is Quality Score?
Search engines display ads on their webpages in exchange for the advertisers paying them for each click on the particular advertisement. The biggest search engine is Google, and the majority of advertisers vie for top positions here. However, not all ads submitted by advertisers appear on Google, and there is immense competition to acquire top-ranking positions.
Advertisers have two ways to beat the competition – either they pay higher or fine-tune their ads as per Google’s guidelines. But how does Google decide which ads grab the top spots and which do not? It does this by comparing the quality score. Google quality score is the rating it assigns to ads by assessing various factors that determine their usefulness and relevance to a user. Google rates the overall user experience of a particular ad on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. The factors that make up the quality score of an ad include:
- Keyword usage
- The relevance of the ad content to the keyword
- The click-through rate (CTR)
- Landing page relevance/ quality
At the core of it, the more clicks your ad gets and the more relevant every aspect of it is, and higher the quality score. And the more users click on your advertisement, the less you have to pay to the website advertising your ad.
A simple way to remember what affects the Google quality score is this straightforward quality score formula:
Quality score = Keyword relevance + Ad (content) relevance to the keyword + URL (landing page) relevance + overall user experience.
Why Does Google Have a Quality Score?
Google is a search engine that caters to over 5 billion searches per day. A platform designed to fulfill user needs will only want to provide the most relevant answers or solutions to users. Google does everything in its capacity to ensure that the content it displays matches the user intent. For instance, if a user enters the word ‘Apple’ in the Google search bar, Google will know beforehand the user’s intent (that is, to search the latest Apple iPhones), and display results related to it. It knows this through continuous analysis of data inputted and captured in its search engine.
So while you might want to promote your ad on the top spot to reach more people, Google will first assess whether your target audience is even looking to find you. Everything trails down to the relevance of your ad. What is most relevant is the most popular and automatically the most searched thing for, and if your ad fits the bill, Google finds it suitable to rank higher.
How does Google Calculate Quality Score?
Google calculates quality score through evaluation 3 essential components:
The Click-through Rate (CTR)
The CTR is the number of times a particular word, group of words, URL, or any other content has been clicked by users. Google calculates the likelihood of your ad getting clicked by users. This likelihood does not depend on vague factors but upon those terms that have had a proven and successful CTR in the past. It depends on whether the text used is valuable or relevant to the user. This is where keyword research and usage becomes crucial. It is like peeking into the user’s mind and matching the words that it uses on search engines.
Getting your keywords right is the first step towards getting users to click on your ad. But if the ad content has no relation to the keywords or text used in the description, URL, or title tags, Google sees this as a bad sign and deems the ad irrelevant. So, Google quality score also checks how well the ad matches the user’s search intent.
Landing Page Relevance
Once a user notices your ad and clicks on it, they expect to get the correct answer to a query or be directed to the purchase button of a specific product search. However, if the message of your ad leads the user to an unrelated landing page, it will affect your Google quality score negatively.
Importance of Quality Score
Google quality score is essential to the running of the search engine. If users searched for queries on Google and were bombarded with unrelated or irrelevant things, they would probably shift to other platforms in search of quick and correct solutions, which would be detrimental to Google. That is why Google meticulously analyzes the quality of content published on its platform around-the-clock. And what is vital for Google is also vital for advertisers wanting to run their ad on the platform. The quality score of an ad:
Helps in Entering the Ad Auction
As thousands of advertisers compete to rank their ads on Google for the same keywords and similar content, the quality score becomes the deciding factor of which ad will be displayed on Google. Each advertiser places the maximum bid they can pay for a specific ad. However, before the bidding war starts, Google determines the quality score of your ad, making it crucial for advertisers to focus on creating quality content.
Lowers Cost Per Click (CPC)
As mentioned above, Google conducts a quality score assessment of your ad to decide if it’s publish-worthy. It doesn’t matter if you are ready to shell out brick loads of cash to advertise your ad if your ad is irrelevant to users. Google won’t publish an ad that users will not click on. On the contrary, the higher your quality score is, the more clicks your ad is likely to get. In response to bringing value to Google, Google lowers your cost-per-click and increases your rankings.
Helps Your Ad Ranking
A top quality score will automatically improve the rank of your ad on Google, which will have a direct impact on your CTR and sales and increase it for the better.
How to Improve the Quality Score of Your Google Ads?
If you find that your ads are not performing well on Google and the rank doesn’t meet your expectations, then Google’s quality score analysis will give you a clear indication that your strategies need to change. To improve your quality score on Google, pay attention to the following things:
A building stands tall only if its base is strong. In the same way, the chances of making your ad a success depend on using the right keywords. Keywords are the terms/ phrases used by a majority of searchers online and you need to find the exact or near-exact words used by users to become relevant to them. To do this, you need to make a list of brand-specific, generic, related, competitor, and primary keywords and check their usage volume using credible keyword research tools. The higher the keyword usage/volume, the higher is its relevance.
Keyword organization is a labour-intensive but essential task if you want to improve your quality score. It is the process of splitting and organizing your keywords into separate parent groups. So a list of keywords will fall under one category and the other list will fall into the other category. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to improve the Adwords quality score.
Landing Page Optimization
Optimizing your landing page will mean connecting it to the keywords used in the ad, description, and other places for a smoother user experience. Take the instance of an e-commerce enterprise’s landing page; when a user clicks on a landing page, the chances are that they have made up their mind about the product and want to purchase it. If your landing page leads the user to another product or fails to load on time, the chances are that the user will be off-put and exit your webpage.
The expected CTR is related to the keyword relevancy of a particular word or phrase. To increase your estimated CTR, it is important to use relevant keywords that require comprehensive keyword research on your part. This includes striking a fine balance between extremely generic keywords and extremely target/ brand-specific keywords. By improving your CTR, your quality score will also improve.
You can always improve the quality score in Adwords through a step-by-step strategic approach. The main aim of improving the quality score is to lower your expenditure while getting higher rankings. Ultimately, it is all about what the people want, and your job as an advertiser is to give them that.
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