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Is Your Quality Score Costing or Saving You Money?

Noran El-Shinnawy
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When it comes to AdWords quality score, everyone knows from best practices that increasing this magic number is not only beneficial for rankings, but could lead to significant savings as well. But just how much savings would that be? And would it be worth dedicating your efforts to increasing it, or would it be more worthwhile to invest in other aspects of your account?

Ideally, you’ll want your keywords to have a quality score of 7 or higher, so anything with a score of 6 or below would be considered low. Find out what percentage of your keywords have a score of 7 or higher and which have a score of 6 or lower. Then, visualize this information in a pie chart where 7 or higher is “relevant” and 6 or lower is “irrelevant.”

account-relevancy

Continue creating this chart on a regular basis to see whether you’re becoming more or less relevant. It’s a great way of visualizing the changes in your account and really simplifies the concept of quality score in a “black or white” kind of way.

Understanding whether you’re relevant is great. But even greater is finding out how much your “irrelevance” is actually costing you. I absolutely love this chart from ClickEquations, where you can see the impact of quality score on your Cost Per Click:

impact-of-quality-score-on-cpc-chart

You’ll notice that at a quality score of 7, there is neither a discount nor a penalty. Discounts start above 7 and penalties, or CPC increases, start at 6 and below.

Notice the dramatic difference in increase between QS 4 (75 percent) and QS 3 (133.3 percent). Or even more dramatic, the increase from QS 2 (250 percent) to QS 1 (600 percent).

So what we’re seeing here is that you would get the highest impact from focusing on increasing the quality scores of 6 or below. Please note that this doesn’t mean you should ignore anything above 7. But you should start by getting those low quality scores to a healthy level first, so that at the very least you aren't being penalized.

Here’s a list of 6 tips that could help you optimize and increase your quality score:

  1. Start by customizing your AdWords columns to view quality score by default. You can do so by clicking on Campaigns > Keywords > Columns > Customize > Attributes > Qual. score.
  2. Create tight-knit ad groups with closely related keywords and a manageable number of ads. Some of the highest performing ad groups I’ve worked on have only contained two ads constantly running in a split test.
  3. Know where to find problem areas. It’s not enough to see that your quality score is 6 or below to know that it needs improvement. You’ll need to understand where and how to look for instances where, for example, your first page bid is greater than the maximum CPC.
  4. Realize that it isn't all about the money. Very rarely can you remedy your quality score simply by turning up your budget. In fact, doing so could potentially be harmful, as it may make your keywords unprofitable.
  5. Don’t forget your landing pages. Landing page quality is one of the main components of calculating quality score, so be sure that your pages are relevant, reflect value, and have a clear call-to-action.
  6. Run frequent reports to track that changes in your quality score. Even better, archive your scores and compare them over time to look for trends or signs of successes and failures.

So, with these things in mind, is your quality score costing or saving you money? Do you actively work on improving it, or are you getting more value from other aspects of your account? Share your thoughts and comments below.


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