If your Google AdWords ad isn't showing up as high in the search engine results pages (SERPs) as you'd like, it could be because your Quality Score isn't high enough. Fortunately, you can do something about that.
In this article, we'll go over the concept of the Google AdWords Quality Score and offer some advice about how to improve it.
What's the Quality Score?
The Quality Score is a measurement of your ad's relevance to what users expect. It's defined as a number from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best.
AdWords uses that score to determine where your ad gets placed.
For example, if your Quality Score is 7 and your competitor's Quality Score is 8, then your competitor's ad will appear higher in the SERPs than yours (all other elements being the same in the equation).
You don't want that.
What Affects the Quality Score
There are three different factors that affect the Quality Score. Let's look at each of them in detail.
Expected click-through rate (CTR) - AdWords uses an algorithm to predict the percentage of people who will click on your ad. The higher that number, the better your Quality Score.
Ad Relevance - The more relevant your ad to the keywords you select, the better your Quality Score. In fact, your ad copy should use the keywords that you've specified in the ad group.
Landing Page Experience - AdWords also evaluates your landing page from a user experience perspective. That means your landing page should be relevant to your ad and your keyword. It should also look great on all devices.
Now that you know a little more about how the Quality Score is calculated, let's look at some ways to improve your score.
Use Small Ad Groups
For some reason, Google recommends that you use 15-20 keywords per ad group. But that's not likely to help your Quality Score.
Why? Because it's challenging to run an ad that's very relevant to 15-20 keywords (in most cases).
For example, if you're running an ad for saltwater fishing tackle, you might be tempted to include search terms like "fishing reels," "fishing rods," and "offshore tackle."
But it's difficult to run one ad that's relevant to all three of those search terms.
That's why some strategists recommend having 1 to 10 keywords per ad group.
That might seem like an extreme measure, but it's likely to give you a bump in your Quality Score. Keep in mind, depending on the size of the AdWords account this might not be possible... If you are managing half a million dollars a month in AdWords generally you will be around the 15 to 20 keyword mark per ad group. But if it is a smaller account that only sees a return off a few core keywords, you can get much more specific.
Use Negative Keywords
Too many marketers overlook negative keywords. Don't be like them.
If you're not familiar with negative keywords, they're words you include in your ad group or campaign that prevent your ad from showing up. In other words, when people use those words in their search term, your ad won't run.
You should use negative ads to keep people who aren't in your target market from seeing your ads. That will improve your CTR.
And that's a good thing because, as we've seen, a higher CTR will give you a higher Quality Score.
Use Expanded Text Ads
Another great way to boost your Quality Score is by using expanded text ads.
If you haven't used them before, expanded text ads enable you to run ads with longer copy. In fact, they give you 50% more characters than traditional AdWords ads.
That's good news if you'd like to run campaigns with longtail keywords. Extended ads give you more space for those longer search terms.
Using longtail keywords in expanded text ads will help you boost your ad relevance, and therefore your Quality Score.
Don't Use Dynamic Keyword Insertion
Dynamic keyword insertion is a feature of Google AdWords that allows you to insert the user's exact search term into your own ad copy. That might seem pretty convenient, but it's not likely to help your Quality Score (note that dynamic keyword insertion has plenty of value when used at the right time).
If you use DKI, it can hurt your Quality Score.
The reality is that you won't need dynamic keyword insertion if you're using limited keyword ad groups.
Also, dynamic keyword insertion can lead to poorly written ad messaging that doesn't amount to good marketing. It's best to know what words will run in your ad copy.
Improve Your Landing Page
Finally, you can boost your Quality Score by improving your landing page.
Run your landing page through Google Page Speed Insights and the Google Mobile-Friendly test. If either one of those tools reports low scores, contact your development team to improve your page.
Next, make sure that your page is responsive. That means users should have no problem using it on any device: desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone.
Be sure to test it out manually because Google's automated tools might miss something. In addition to this, make sure you are asking the right questions about your landing page and always be testing.
Originally published Jun 14, 2017 on Inc.com