Quality Score – Who, What, When & Why.
When new to pay per click advertising, one of the terms you’ll often hear banded around is ‘quality score’ and no doubt you’ll be told you’ve got to stay on top of it in order to stand the best chance of your advertising working. What you’ve been told is right! So, for those of you who know they should be keeping an eye on the quality score but don’t perhaps completely understand it, this blog post is for you.
The quality score is the invention of Google Adwords in resolution to an early PPC advertising conundrum of how to ensure a level playing field amongst advertisers. Before the implementation of the quality score, the advertisers with the deepest pockets could dominate the SERPS by essentially outbidding the competition to ensure a monopoly on the prime SERP real estate on the most competitive keywords.
Google says “Quality Score is the basis for measuring the quality and relevance of your ads and determining your minimum CPC bid for Google and the search network. This score is determined by your keyword’s click through rate (CTR) on Google, and the relevance of your ad text, keyword, and landing page.”
The quality score is in essence a measure of relevance that is tied into the bidding auction to ensure those advertisers with the most relevant advertising offerings are rewarded with being able to bid less than those whose advertising is not as relevant or bids are unsustainably high.
This notion is perhaps easier to understand in practice. For example, company A & company B are both plumbers operating in London. Both companies decide to advertise via PPC on the keywords ‘plumber London’ hoping to attract traffic to their site who are interested in plumbers in London.
Company A has set his account to display a generic advert that sends traffic to his home page of his website, neither advert or home page has any particular slant towards plumbers/plumbing in London and as a result his historical click through rate isn’t as good as it could be. Company A’s quality score is 4.
Company B has created a bespoke written advert for ‘plumbers London’ and will send the traffic to a specially created landing page that is optimised for plumbers/plumbing in London. As a result of his adverts being more relevant to the search query, his historical click through rate is above average and they have being rewarded with a quality score of 8.
The quality score was originally introduced in July 2005 but in essence, the quality score is a major factor in every single advertising auction your advert and keyword combinations are placed into.
The way Google determines where on the SERP’s to display your advert is determined by your ranking score/ ad rank, which is determined by the equation:
Bid x Quality Score = Ad Rank
Returning to the previous example of company A & company B advertising on the term ‘plumber London’ we can now understand how important the quality score is to their PPC advertising.
Company A are currently operating with a quality score of 4 and are bidding £1.50 per click. Based on the ad rank equation, this results in a ranking score of 6 (4 x 1.5). In contrast, company B with their more relevant advertising have been given a quality score of 8 and are bidding £1.00 a click, giving them a ranking score of 8 (8 x 1).
So, despite bidding 50p less per click, company B is able to appear higher up the SERPs than company A for a third of the price because their advertising is more relevant. This enables company B to gain 50% more clicks than company A for the same overall cost if they both operated the same budget.
When you look at it this way, the quality score seems integral to your PPC plans doesn’t it!?
I’ve previously explained why the quality score was originally created. All you need to know now is that next time your aim is to reduce average cpc, the first area you should look to improve is the quality score, Why?…Because it will be worth it!