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How to improve your Quality Scores in Google Ads

How to improve your Quality Scores in Google Ads

Posted in Concise Webinars, Google Ads by on November 21, 2019
Last updated on 25/01/2023
How to improve your Quality Scores in Google Ads

If you run Google Ads, then you need to know about Quality Scores.

Improving your Quality Scores in Google Ads is very important to the success of your online advertising. Google Ads can be powerful or you can waste plenty of money. Your Quality Scores make a huge difference. You may not know it, but Google hides the Quality Scores by default, so as a result, many businesses don’t even know Quality Scores exist. That’s why we selected the topic of Quality Scores as the first topic for the new Concise Webinars.

Quality Scores Webinar

This Concise Webinar session covers:

  • What the Quality Score is in Google Ads – and why it matters!
  • The 3 Critical Factors in your Quality Score
  • How your Quality Score affects the cost of your Google Ads
  • How to save money AND get better Ad ranking
  • Where to find your Quality Scores
  • Proven techniques to quickly improve your Quality Scores

The webinar was presented on 24 September 2019 by Gareth Lane and Richard Keeves, Directors of Concise Digital.  These Concise Webinars are concise and intended to be 100% educational, without waffle or long sales pitches. We explain key concepts, myths, solutions, tips, trends and handy tools in layman terms.

You can view the webinar here. The full transcript is below.

How to Improve your Quality Scores (Transcript)

Webinar Transcript: How To Improve Your Quality Scores in Google Ads
Presented by Concise Digital, 24 September 2019.
Presenters: Gareth Lane & Richard Keeves

Richard: Welcome to this concise webinar presented by Concise Digital. This one is a course on how to improve your quality scores. My name is Richard Keeves. I’m a director of Concise. I joined Concise back in July of this year after having 25 years of experience in the web industry. Gareth, do you want to say a couple of words?

Gareth: My name is Gareth. I am a founding director of Concise Digital. I’m a so called digital marketing expert and today I will be running the Google AdWords webinar.

Richard: These are concise webinars. They are intended to be educational. They’re not sales pitches. Essentially these are here to give people like yourselves tips for business. What we’re trying to do is to cut through a lot of the BS out there. In the digital marketing world there’s lots of people trying to sell you lots of things. What we like to do is educate people. Then hopefully once you know what is going on you can make better decisions for yourself so that is what these sessions are all about. A couple of housekeeping things before we get stuck into it. This session is being recorded for better or for worse. Hopefully it will be good. You can view it later if you want. You can tell your friends about it. It will be available for viewing a little later on. You can ask questions. Hopefully you’ve got a chat window viewable for you. You can ask questions as you go along and we’ll be able to hopefully cover some of those but also there would be time for Q and A at the end. That is pretty much it for the housekeeping. I’m going to hand over to Gareth and he will start the main session.

Gareth: Gareth reporting for duty. Some quick little basic terms, some terminology. Keywords is the words that you use in your Google Ad Manager. There’s a whole heap of different keywords that you can choose from. There’s lots of different ways of doing it. We’ll cover what keywords and where you can find keywords and how you can find search in a webinar in a couple of weeks.
A bid is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. What we’re going to talk about today is Google cost per click ads. That is what CPC stands for. These are the ads that appear on top of the Google search results when you type in a key term. Each one of those has a bid price. Just like an auction it’s the maximum someone is willing to pay or you as the advertiser is willing to pay when someone clicks on your ad. In this form of advertising the ad show is for free. There is no cost incurred and then when someone clicks on that ad that is when you pay. Very handy strategy for service or product based businesses where people are looking for something specifically because if you don’t click on the ad nobody pays. It’s quite a handy little strategy.

An ad rank is a score where your ad will show in the Google search results on both desktop and a mobile. There are four positions at the top of search results for ads and four at the bottom. If you are doing SEO or optimization of a Google Maps listing for example, there are still four positions above that that someone could put an ad in front of. The key thing you need to remember is Google is an American publicly listed company with shareholders. Their absolute number one driver as is the case with any public company is to take as much money as possible off you as quickly as possible because that is how they give it to their shareholders. Just keep in mind that the big, cuddly bear that you think might be Google is actually a big grizzly bear trying to take as much money off you as they can.

Richard: They do quite a good job.

Gareth: They do a very good job. The most important part about how the whole Google ad algorithm works is to do with this concept called quality score. Up until recently they hid this from view. They labelled it something that you wouldn’t know what it meant on purpose because as soon as you understand how this works you can dramatically reduce the amount of money that you spend for each click. What I’m going to run through with you now is how that works. Any other platform say Facebook ads or Bing or any of those have a very similar type concept but Google were the original people who created it and in my opinion is why they really became cemented as the leading search engine.

It’s a score out of 10, very simple. When you set up a keyword in a campaign, when that keyword gets trigged by a searcher, someone Googling on the internet. The Google algorithm goes and looks at all of the people who are trying to bid under that keyword and gives you a score in real time. The scores are calculated constantly. Every time the ad is shown the score is recalculated. Your new keyword starts with a score of 6. Every time someone searches it it’s recalculated based on your relevancy to the term. Most of us use Google because it works and it generally delivers a result for the user, what they’ve typed in and you usually find what you want. A big part of that is to do with what the quality score because they are not letting the people who pay the most show up at the top. I’ll explain how that works in a second.

An ad with a score of less than 3 out of 10 will usually flag as not relevant then that means it will be rarely shown because of a low quality score. I’ll show you how to find that inside Google Ads in a minute.

The main factors in Google’s quality score, what it’s ultimately looking at and think about this any time you’re running an ad or whether or not someone clicks on that add and goes to your landing is is the user finding what they want. In order for Google to show more ads to more people more often and thus make more money for its shareholders then it needs to show ads for people that want to click on. In order to keep people using Google time and time again those users need to find what they want. It’s within Google’s interest to make sure that if they show an ad to someone and then they click that ad that user needs to find what they want.

Clickthrough rate is the calculation of how many times someone clicks on an ad versus the number of times that ad was shown. If Google showed a thousand ads and they got one click then that says to the Google algorithm that ad probably wasn’t very relevant for that person because they didn’t click it. They’ll start showing it less and you’ll get a lower quality score. Ad relevance, same sort of principle. If I’m an electrician in Perth then it shouldn’t be showing me an ad for an electrician in Sydney. The bot is looking at the ads and the keywords and the locations and the users and the demographics to work out whether or not that ad is relevant for that particular person.

Then once I click on that ad the bot really wants to make sure that that user found what they wanted and had a really good experience on the landing page. Think about it like going into a bar and going into that bar and they’re not being served. Then being shown a menu that didn’t have prices on it. Then being charged so much and then you left all disgruntled. That same sort of concept applies online. The Google bot is not going to serve up an ad to someone where once they have clicked it they’re landing on a website that doesn’t give that user what they want. If they do give that user what they want that customer is happy. They have finished their search and their internet journey so to speak. Then they’ll continue to use Google time and time again because it worked for them and they found what they wanted. That is overall concept to remember.

A little bit of math. How this calculation works. Because we’re recording this you can watch it back in slow motion if I’m talking too quickly or you’re math is not very good. I’ll go through it fairly quickly but you can watch it again later if you don’t get it first go. In this particular example we’ve got three different competing companies A, B and C. Each one has been given a quality score. A is a 9 out of 10, B is a 5 out of 10 and C is 2 out of 10. Competitors or different web advertisers can’t see each other at the same time. They wouldn’t know. Nobody knows but the bot or the individual advertiser themselves. One of those advertisers when they set up their ad campaign they specify a cost per click bid. That is like an auction where come along and say I’m prepared to pay 50 cents. I’m prepared to pay 70 cents. I’m prepared to pay $1.20 for example. Nobody can see each other’s at the moment but there are some tools that you can use that will give you a certain idea about how expensive a cost per click might be for a certain term. Some of the most expensive ones that I’ve seen are in the legal and finance industries and they’re up around $25 a click. It’s super important when you start playing in that league.

Some simple maths to calculate the positioning rating. A, 9 out of 10 quality score, 50 cents cost per click bid, 9 x 0.5 is 4.5. Competitor B, quality score 5 out of 10, cost per click bid 70 cents, 5 x 0.7 is 3.5. C, 2 out of 10, $1.20 is 2.4. In theory the highest score would come first. Website A got 4.5 so they would get first place. B got 3.5, they get second. C, would get third because they’re 2.4. Where this all gets very clever is Google only charges what it costs to beat the person below you like an auction.

For example ad A because B was 3.5, the next best score is 3.6. Because their quality score is 9 out of 10 it works backwards to calculate the actual prices only 40 cents. Even though ad A was prepared to pay 50 cents for a first place position they’re able to get a first place position with only paying 40 cents a click because their quality score is so high. Let’s say competitor B comes along and wants to now get first and beat ad A. They’ve got to get a 3.7 because their quality score is 5 out of 10, they end up paying 74 cents a click so nearly twice as much as competitor A for exactly the same position and the same ad because their quality score is so low. C, they now want to come first and because they’ve got a really bad quality score and their ads may not even be shown at all. In order to come first they would need to get a 3.8 which would mean they would pay $1.90 per click where A is paying 40 cents. You can see why Google is not very interested in you knowing this because if someone is going to come along and be prepared to pay $1.90 for every click then they would happily take your money at $1.90 than at 40 cents. I’ll show you how you can work out your quality scores in a minute but the most important thing to take out at this point is that every time that you increase your quality score by 10% then you reduce your cost by 10%. It’s completely linear because it’s a simple equation. Just remember for every 10% increase in quality, you get a 10% reduction in spend.

Where do you find your quality scores? Those of you that have a Google ad account already. You’ll be able to find them in there. As I know some of your clients that you have logged in today, if you would like access or you would like to know your quality scores you’re more than welcome to send us an email afterwards and we’ll show you where you can do that. Once you’re in your Google Ad Campaign, you go to the keyword tab, customise columns and then it will be shown there. I’m just going to share my screen for those of you that are on Screen Share so you can see. I’m just going to share quickly so you can see. Richard, can you see okay? Everyone can see?

Richard: It’s taking a bit of time to load but now it’s coming.

Gareth: This is a Google ad account. I’m on the keywords tab on the left here. From the landing page click on keywords. You’ll see all the keywords listed down the page on the left. Up here towards the right there is a button that says columns. You can modify columns and then down at the bottom here they’ve done a better job of labelling it and they do call it quality score. You want to make sure that you have this one ticked. Don’t really worry about the rest of them. That is not really that important at this stage but make sure you’ve got that little tick box there next to quality score. You will hit apply and then up comes this column on the right which is going to give you the quality score for each of the terms. In this particular example that I have chosen there’s a couples of 5s, a couple of 8s, a couple of 7s. There is one here that is rarely shown due to low quality score. That is actually a zero. We’ve got a 3 as well. It will do quite a good job of telling you whether or not it’s shown or not but just remember if you’re spending a reasonable amount of money and you had a 5 out of 10. If you doubled that score to a 10 out of 10 then you would be able to half the cost. It’s really important to make sure that you are familiar with your quality scores and do the best that you can in order to get your quality scores as high as possible.

How do we do that? A few things that you can do to improve your quality score and get 10 out of 10, as good as you can get. Improve your landing pages. As I said before, Google wants to give people a website that they want to look at. They want them to love it and they want to use it on their device, any device. They want to use it quickly and they want to get what they wanted. Make sure the landing page has a privacy policy that builds trust. Make sure the landing page has a linked contact page, a button that says contact, be a real business. Make sure the landing page includes your phone number. Rookie mistake, so many websites don’t seem to have a phone number on them. That is a big red flag to Google that you’re probably not a real business. You want to have a phone number on there. Make the landing page helpful, educational and valuable content not just sales pitch. Everything that someone should expect to find on that landing page you want to make sure that the bot can also find it as well.

Improve your use of keywords. Google will try and take money off you as quickly as possible so it won’t tell you things like how to set up keywords that are exact match or phrase match or the use of negative keywords which I’m sure we’ll cover in a webinar later on but you want to make sure that the keywords that you’re trying to trigger your ads under need to be really relevant to end user and not have any funny examples or different types of words that they shouldn’t be flagging on. You want to make sure that the landing page has what is called an H1 which stands for heading one, a tag that is like a title on the page to explain or help the bot understand what that page is about. It’s called an H1 or Heading1 tag. Make sure that you have a keyword in the landing page URL. The URL is the website address at the top of the page. For example google.com/googleadmanager. You want to make sure that the keyword is in that URL. Then you also want to have the keyword in the title tag. The title tag is the bit that pops up right at the top of the browser in the tab and that is a title. That is like telling the bot what this page is about. This page is about Google ads. Make sure Google ads is up in the title at the top of the page.

You need to want to look at your ads and how you can make your ads better. Remember that ads you pay when someone clicks. You want to try and do the conversion work in the ad. Make sure the keyword is in the ad. That is always helpful. Make sure the ad group is targeted to a specific set of keywords. Where a lot of people make a lot mistakes is they fill their ad groups with keywords that are unrelated to each other and then the bot has a really hard time trying to work out what the ad group is about and what the ad is about. The general rule is more ad groups with less keywords per group the better.

Try different sets of ads. You can have multiple different ads. Then the Google ad manager will automatically serve, if you tell it to it will. It will automatically serve the most successful ad because again they want to take your money off of you as quickly as possible but it’s a good way of trying different strategies in the ad manager.

Probably one of the most important things is to reduce bounce rates on the landing pages. Bounce rates can be a bit misunderstood but what a bounce rate is is when someone lands on a webpage and then they leave without doing anything else. How you counteract high bounce rates is you look at the landing page in Google Analytics which we’ll cover in another webinar. You want to look at where people are going and then whether or not they’re doing anything on that page. Ideally what you want them to do is when they land on that landing page is you want them to do something else. For example, go to your About Page or meet the team or they might want to get a quote or something like that.

I always think Ikea. They get you in the front door and they make you walk past everything before you’re allowed to leave. Conveniently there also happen to a check out in the way as well. If you take that concept and apply that to a website that is really the ultimate goal of what a bot would really love is if someone went through the whole website and clicked every button and read all the content and then exited after a purchase. That would be 10 out of 10 in a bot’s opinion.

Key thing to remember is each time you increase your quality score you can reduce your ad spend. If you are engaging us as Concise to do this work for you that is one of the most important things we focus on however if you’re doing this yourself I would strongly recommend that you go into your ad manager, get the quality score, column added and then look at where you are currently positioned and then go about building a plan from there. For every 10% increase in quality you get a 10% reduction in spend. If you’re spending $5000 a month and all of your quality scores are 5 out of 10. If you got them all to 10 out of 10 then you would reduce your spend to $2500 a month. The more you spend the more important it becomes.
That is all of the content. I’m going to take a breath. Richard, I think you might want to jump in and we’ll jump into some questions.

Richard: Thanks Gareth. That was quick walkthrough of concise webinar. If you’ve got a question please add it to the chat box. Fiona, as a client of yours I assume you do the work on improving keywords in ads. Gareth, you can answer that.

Gareth: I’ll answer that. Yes, we do. For all of you that engages us to do this work for you thank you very much. Because we’re time billing based obviously the more time we have the better job we can do but there is a limit to where we can’t really do anymore. We do as much of the keyword work as possible but it is also really important when we send you our monthly reports or meet with you and discuss what is going on. The more the feedback that you as a business can provide back to us as a management company of your ad campaign the better we can do our job.

For example, if you get a whole heap of inquiries that are the wrong sort of inquires or you’re getting phone calls that it’s wrong or you don’t want, those sorts of things then we need that information. The more information that you can give us the better job we can do.

Richard: It’s also about targeting, to make sure that the ad is reaching the right sort of people who are the prospects for your service and targeting both demographically, geographically, psychographically and every other sort of way that you can target these ads to make sure that you are working with people who are most like to want to click on your ad. With all sorts of advertising targeting is very important. With search advertising it’s absolutely no different. It is very important who you target the ad to.

Gareth: Just to expand on that. Some of the things that you can target are male, female. You can do age groups. You can do locations down to a 1 KM radius. You can do time of day. You can do day of the week. You can show devices. You may only show ads on a mobile for example. You can also do interests. If you want to target people who are interested in weddings for example. You could do that. As far as working with either us or an agency or anyone who is doing this on your behalf the more and the better you know your customer and the target person you’re trying to show these ads to the better you can control where your ads are shown which will increase your quality and reduce your cost. That is the name of the game.

Richard: Just on that. Some agencies for reasons probably known only to themselves don’t talk about quality scores. They don’t even want to talk about quality score. One big agency or big organization in Australia that used to run a big yellow directory doesn’t even show you and tell you about the quality scores. At least they didn’t. This is something if you are working with an external agency to help you with your Google advertising ask them about quality scores and make sure that you’ve been given information quality scores so that you can do something about it because it’s often in the agency’s interest or it can be in the agency’s interest to take money without necessarily doing the work to reduce your ad spent. They want to increase your ad spend whereas really it’s about making sure that you get the most bang for your buck and spend your advertising money wisely. That involves understanding the quality scores and all the things that go into making good ads and making good ads work rather than just having this as money that ticks over every month without giving too much thought to it.

Gareth: Another question just came in for a local company, EG Perth based. How local should your ads be? It really depends on what business, the service and what you’re trying to do. You can be extremely local. What you would really want to do is examine your business and if you’re a type of business that has people who will travel to your location. For example a physio or a chiropractor or something like that then you would imagine and it would probably be proven correct that most people would come within say a 1 KM radius. You might decide that we’ll allocate a large chunk of our budget to within 1 kilometre and then we will do a smaller budget from 1 to 5 kilometres and even a smaller budget from 5 to 10 kilometres. Then you would test the difference for each one of those campaigns to work out whether or not which one performed best. You can see the data done to a post code and a 1 kilometre band.

What you shouldn’t do is I’m in Perth. I’ll target everyone in the Perth metro area because that will use up your ads very quickly and your ad budget. Then you will also find that your quality would be very low. You’ll spend more. If there’s any more questions please pop them in the chat box. We’re going to wrap up pretty soon and keep this as a concise webinar. Hopefully you’ll notice at the top of the screen there is a button that you can click on if you do want to schedule a chat with Gareth about your quality scores. It’s an absolutely free service. It’s a 30 minute chat either in person or on the phone, whatever works.

Gareth: I would happily bore you to death with however it works for as long as you can stand it.

Richard: If you’ve got any more questions please take them up with Gareth afterwards or now if you want. Thank you very much for coming along to this the first of the concise webinars. Gareth, do you have anything else to add to wrap up?

Gareth: No, just a reminding there is another webinar on Thursday morning, I believe at 10. That particular one we’re going to talk about SEO, search engine optimization and what you can do to help that.

Richard: That is a good point. Thanks Gareth. Just on that, that is about keywords and importantly where to use the keywords on articles and on blog posts and on pages on your site. Where and how to use keywords so that you get the best search engine optimization result from that. That is Thursday 10 o’clock. There are some other webinars that we have scheduled as well ones on Google Analytics.

Gareth: If you don’t know that they’re coming feel free to send either myself or Richard an email and we’ll add you to the distribution list.

Richard: The other one is How to Write Good Product Descriptions for SEO, the product description for your website that sell and have good SEO value as well. There’s a lot of stuff to get right with that. Those are coming up over the next few weeks. We’ll send you some info on those but thanks again for joining us. This is Richard signing off. Thank you very much. I hope you have all enjoyed this. We look forward to your feedback and how we can improver these even more. Thank you very much.


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