Google's "Ingredients" In AdWords Quality Score

Apr 4, 2012 • 8:45 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

AdWords Quality ScoreTanmay Arora, a Google representative focused on AdWords performance, posted on the Google AdWords Help forums a list of "ingredients" that make up the Google AdWords Quality Score.

Here they are:

Keyword Relevance Not About Keyword Density

The relevance of a keyword is not entirely determined by its presence on the landing page or the number of times it's been mentioned on the landing page. It’s not about how appropriate we find the keyword to the product/landing page but how appropriate the users find it. In other words, the number of users clicking on your ad when they search for that keyword.

New Keyword Get Historical Quality Score Until They Earn Their Own Stripes

When we add fresh keywords, initially, they’re awarded a historical Quality Score based on their previous performance on And only once the keyword starts accruing statistics, the system then evaluates its Quality Score based on its recent performance. This doesn’t happen dynamically but is a gradual process.

CTR Is Based Off Exact Match Keyword

We take into account the exact match CTR of the keyword, as it’s a better indicator of the effectiveness of the keyword. (The exact match CTR refers to the number of times the keyword has triggered an ad when the search term exactly matched the keyword.) For example, if our keyword ‘red shoes' is in broad match, it triggers our ad even for search terms like 'red shoe’, ‘formal shoes’, ‘horse shoe,’ etc. However, the exact match statistics point out exactly when the keyword ‘red shoes’ triggered our ad and was clicked on by the user when he searched for the exact search term ‘red shoes’.

The More Impressions, The More CTR Matters For Quality Score

Besides the performance, the number of impressions for a given keyword also plays an important role in defining the Quality Score. This means that as more and more performance history keeps building up (in terms of impressions) at your account level, URL level, and keyword level, CTR starts playing a much bigger role in defining the Quality Score.

Those are the nuggets of information she shared at the Google AdWords Help.

Here is a video on Quality Score from Google as well:

Hat tip to Kim Clinkunbroomer for sharing this with me.

Forum discussion at Google AdWords Help.

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Jeff Downer Indianapolis IN

04/04/2012 03:14 pm

Well, the number of impressions influencing the CTR impact is news to me and something I will consider when evaluating ad performance.


04/04/2012 04:16 pm

Great post.  Also very insightful.. wonder how much of the thinking behind these factors also applies to natural search.  I'd guess there's a lot of overlap in theory...


04/04/2012 04:21 pm

Thanks for posting this. Quality Score is without a doubt one of the most interesting subjects in the AdWords platform. I wrote a small piece about quality score last year, if anyones interested here is the path:

Ryan Boze

04/04/2012 08:40 pm

Quality score can be such a hassle! I don't do much PPC, and although most see it as unrelated to SEO, I will often check the quality score out of some of my better websites in adwords to get an idea of how Google views my site, and apply that to what I do in SEO. 

Ryan Burnsworth

04/05/2012 12:23 am

This is a good way of seeing if Google finds your website relevant for those keywords. This is the same thing that I do before beefing up the off-site seo.

Kory Prince

04/26/2012 10:35 pm

It all boils down to relevance. Google's value resides in it's incredible ability to give you what you want very fast. I am always surprised to see competitors on AdWords bid on keywords that have nothing to do with their ad copy or the ads that they trigger. High CTR, in my opinion, is the biggest factor in quality score determination.

ZeeShan Afzal

04/30/2012 03:20 pm

Quality Score High CTR Fast Landing Page Use of Unique and Quality Keywords ZeeShan Afzal

Sulabh Jain

05/12/2012 08:52 am

Even after a lot of reading on Adwords Quality Score, Reducing Bounce Rate etc. Adwords remains a mystery for me, I wonder would I ever get a hold on it or not. I have drained a lot of money on my Adwords campaign. Some time it sends regular visitors while most of the time .. my campaign behavior is unpredictable.

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