Perfect 8: Google Adwords Quality Scores–What, How, Why

by Kirsty LaVier December 31st, 2010 

judges with score cards

If youre building a search engine marketing (SEM) strategy, youll have to know all about Quality Scores.  They are the lifeblood of your Google AdWords advertising campaign.

A Quality Score is something Google calculates to make sure that the ads showing up are actually relevant to the keywords theyre targeting.

Quality Scores are measured on a 1-10 scale; the higher your Quality Score, the better.  Higher Quality Score means that your ads will be shown in better positions, and you will not have to pay as much per click. 

Because they determine your ad placement and the cost of your ad, your Quality Scores can make or break your advertising campaign!  Dont be discouraged if your Quality Score isnt perfect; it is very rare to see Quality Scores higher than 8.

Quality Scores make it possible for people with smaller budgets to still get the most out of their ad campaigns.  Before Quality Scores were created, ad placement was based solely on bids; the more money you paid, the higher your ads were placed.  Someone with a huge budget could simply swoop in, outbid everyone, and have his ads at the top of the search results " even if the ad had nothing to do with the actual keyword that was being searched.

Since Quality Score determines if or where your ad shows, budget plays less of a factor.  Sure, you will still have to outbid other advertisers, but you will only be competing with people whose ads are relevant to the keyword.


Google updates your Quality Scores all the time.  Every time one of your target keywords gets searched for, your Quality Score is re-calculated.  If your Quality Score is too low  your ads may not show on the first page " or may not show at all!

While we dont know exactly how Quality Scores are calculated, we do know some of the bigger factors that are taken into account:

  • Your ads overall click through rate
  • The quality of your landing page
  • The relevance of keywords to other keywords in your Ad Group


Since click through rate plays such a huge role in ad placement, increasing your bids may help.  The higher your ads are, the more clicks they may fetch. 

But you dont necessarily have to spend money to raise your Quality Score.  Simply rewriting your ads to make them more relevant can do the trick " for free!

Kirsty LaVier

Kirsty LaVier is editor for a leading shopping cart information website.

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3 Responses to “Perfect 8: Google Adwords Quality Scores–What, How, Why”

  1. Kris Scheben-Edey says:

    Great points Kirsty,

    Another QS criteria to add – though less significant perhaps – is the aggregate and long term performance. For those of you who have done everything in the books to improve your QS and lower the bid, you may be suffering from your past performance.

    This is one of the main reasons I recommend anyone engaging in a serious SEM campaign consult a company or adviser to ensure you set your self up for long-term success. Things that count in campaign performance are the CTR and Conversion data (if available).

    Very good points – cheers,

  2. W3Spor says:

    Thanks for good blog post. I didn 't know about the quality score at all, is it possible to read in adwords administration panel how the announce are rated by google, or find it out on other ways?

    Thanks og best regards
    Siv of W3Spor

  3. […] your competitors, so rest easy. You can still max your score out as much as possible and go for a perfect 8 by managing the factors that are within your […]