What’s the Quality, Kenneth?


In speaking with our clients, I often hear the following: “I just Googled one of our keywords and none of our ads showed up! What is my budget going towards, anyway?”

This is a perfectly reasonable question. If you’re dedicating a decent budget to Search Engine Advertising (SEA) on Google, shouldn’t your ads always show up?

While Google is certainly interested in making money, they are perhaps more interested in a quality experience for the user – hence their employment of the Quality Score when determining whether or not an ad shows up.

The formula dictating an ad’s performance is simple:

Bidding Price (Max CPC) x Quality Score = Ad Rank

The formula dictating Quality Score, however, is a little more complicated:

Google-Quality-Score Graphic

While this may seem frustrating, I like to look at the bright side – there are a number of factors that we can work on to score a great Ad Rank without breaking the bank. Let’s look further at the elements above.

Keyword Relevancy

Are the keywords we’re bidding on specifically relevant to the product we’re selling or the service we’re promoting? Using Google’s own Keyword Planner to develop a strong base of keywords is the simple first step to a great Quality Score.

Click-Through Rate

The click-through rate (CTR) is calculated by dividing the amount of clicks of your keyword-driven ad by the amount of times it showed up (impressions). Often times, people focus on improving the ad text to improve CTR; I believe you should work backwards and focus on the impressions – maybe your ad isn’t clicked on because it shows up for irrelevant searches? Using the Search Terms tool to weed out bad searches is integral to lowering impressions and thereby increasing CTR.

Landing Page

One thing I’ve learned is that Google is always farther-reaching than you might think. Not only are they analyzing the keywords and ads that you’ve created, they’re going to the page your ad takes them to upon clicking (landing page) and making sure it’s relevant to the search terms initially typed in. This is where it’s a good idea to work with an agency like Dynamics Online – in addition to Search Engine Advertising specialists (yours truly), we have a Search Engine Optimization master and a team of site builders that can make sure your landing pages are up to Google’s standard and contributing towards a stellar Quality Score.

Historical Performance

Obviously, there’s not much we can do about this initially, so my best advice is to start an SEA campaign as soon as you start your business, even at a low budget if necessary. Google places a lot of credibility on history and sustained relevancy.

Various Relevancy Factors

I’m convinced that this was included on the above graphic just to stump bloggers like me and make sure I don’t crack the code completely. While vague, let’s use this as a further reminder that Relevancy is King.

Ad Relevancy 

As mentioned above, the actual text of your ads contributes highly to the strength of your Quality Score. Here at Dynamics Online, we make sure the ad copy focuses on matching the searchers’ key terms, as well as accurately describing the page they are taken to upon clicking.

While this can certainly be very time-consuming, it’s encouraging to know that working to create an excellent search experience is rewarded higher than simply bidding the most. If you have any questions, please call me at 216-292-4410, email me at anthony@dynamicsus.com, or leave a comment below. Happy bidding.


Anthony Mahramus is the Internet Marketing Strategist at Dynamics Online.
You can reach him by calling (216) 292-4410.