Quality Score 101: Understanding and Improving Your PPC Rating

Quality Score (QS) is a rating algorithm used by Google to determine the relevance and usefulness of a website or landing page to the search keyword of an ad. There are several factors that contribute to Quality Score, including landing page experience, your ad relevance, and the expected click-through rate (CTR) of your PPC ads.

The theme here? Relevance is very important for Google. They want their customers to have the best time using their search engine, and they want your ads to help the consumer find what they are looking for.

QS is an important metric for PPC campaigns because it helps you understand how your ads are performing. It does not in itself affect your ads, it only helps you monitor them. QS is measured out of 10, with a higher quality score being an indication of high quality, relevant ads.

Improving your Quality Score will improve the visibility of your ads by ranking them on a higher position on Google’s search results (an improved ad rank), and will lower your Cost-per-click bids (CPC bids).

In this blog, I breakdown how to measure Quality Score, and how to improve each of its components.

How To Check Quality Score

Google’s Quality Score is found on the Keyword level of the interface, to give an idea of how relevant your ads are to the keywords that you bid on. Add the Quality Score column, along with its components (ad relevance, expected CTR, and landing page experience) as columns. You’ll see a score out of 10, and a rating of “Average,” “Above Average,” or “Below Average” for the other components. This will help you know where to improve your ads.

You may even add your historical Quality Score data using the same method. This is particularly useful after you have been working to increase your score, and want to compare where it’s at now to where it was previously.

As a benchmark, you want to aim for an average quality score of at least 7 for all your keywords.

The Components of Quality Score

Quality Score’s components are Ad Relevance, Expected CTR, and Expected Landing Page Experience, and they all exist to measure the relevance of your ad in relation to the search query and the searcher’s intent. It measures the likelihood that someone is to click on your ad, and, in turn, convert.

  1. Ad Relevance

Ad relevance refers to how closely the ad relates to the keywords being searched. After all, Google wants to make sure that users are presented with relevant and useful content, so an ad that is closely related to the keyword will be preferred and prioritised on the Google search page.

For example, if a user searches “best reviews Shopify App,” and you bid on that keyword, yet your ad copy talks about a completely different industry, your QS will be penalized. For Google to give you a higher score for Ad Relevance, your ad will have to mention that you are a highly-rated reviews Shopify App.

Because this metric measures how closely your ad relates to your keyword, a way to improve Ad Relevance is by dividing ad groups into more specialized groups. You will then be able to create more relevant ads for those ad groups.

2. Expected Click-Through Rate

The expected CTR predicts the likelihood that an ad will receive clicks based on historical data (and other factors such as similar advertiser performance). CTR and ad relevance tend to work hand-in-hand, as a more relevant ad will more often than not have a higher CTR.

Improving CTR is a matter of improving your ad copy. Making them highly relevant to your keyword, while also highlighting the brand’s unique selling points can help improve the metric.

3. Expecting Landing Page (LP) Experience

The landing page relevance component of Quality Score evaluates the quality and usefulness of the content on the landing page. This includes factors such as its relevance to the keyword, page structure, and user experience. A positive landing page experience leads to a higher Quality score.

If you’re running ads for an online store and have a Sale component to your ads, sending them to the store’s sale LP will boost your QS. Consider also sending them to a LP rather than sending them to your website’s home page. This will increase your ads relevance, and will have a better user experience.

More Ways To Improve Quality Score

  1. Relevant Keywords & Grouping

Doing extensive keyword research can help you improve your search campaigns by capturing the volume of a user’s search and it will help you find potential customers. As a part of your keyword research, you should group your ad groups into similar groups, adjusting your ad text to match the query.

2. Negative Keywords

Adding negative keywords can ensure that your ads are only triggered at appropriate moments. If one of your keywords gets triggered from an irrelevant search term, Google will deem it unrelated, and that will hurt your QS. You want your impressions to be as clean as possible. This will also stop wasted ad dollars.

3. Relevant Ads

It’s often best practice to have your keyword written in your headline, pinned at position 1. This tells the user that your ad has exactly what they’re looking for, and will improve your CTR. One way to make sure this happens is by having dynamic keyword insertion headlines. However, don’t neglect what your landing page actually consists of, as it will hurt your lead quality. For example, if someone searches “dermatologist in London” don’t add the word “London” to your headline unless you are actually located in London.

4. Landing Page Optimization

The landing page quality is a big determining factor of your Quality Score, and is affected by reasons outside of its content, such as its page speed. Make sure your ad is easy to navigate, and is optimized for the best performance.


Although QS takes into account the number of clicks and conversions, it doesn’t take into account the quality of conversions, which is especially a problem for leads-based accounts. In general, relevancy is an extremely important metric for successful Google ads and by staying on top of it you are setting yourself up for success! 

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