First time Adwords advertisers often don’t understand that the position of your ad is not determined soley by bid price—that is just one of several factors. Google instead tells us that ad rank is a combination of bid price and something called a “Quality Score”. On top of that, a poor Quality Score could cause your minimum bid price to jump by 19,000%!
So the next logical question would be “What’s my quality score?” Until recently, this has been a guarded secret, much to the frustration of advertisers worldwide. Google will reveal that it is determined by your keyword’s click through rate (CTR), relevance of ad text, historical keyword performance, and other relevancy factor. Google still isn’t going to tell us the formula or even the exact score, but they are now giving advertisers a general idea of the quality score for each keyword. If you want to make the most of your search marketing campaigns, you need to check out your quality score today.
First, I want to clarify that there are actually two quality scores for your keywords, each computed in a slightly different way. One is for determining the minimum bid price the other is for determining ad position. The two are similar in the fact that they both look at CTR, your accounts historical performance and other relevance factors. Where they differ is that the bid price quality score considers landing page quality and the relevance of the keyword to its ad group. Whereas, the ad position quality score considers the relevance of the keyword and ad to the search term. For more on the definition of quality score, see the Google help file.
You can view your quality score through your AdWords account. Choose the Campaign then AdGroup of interest. Click the “Keyword” tab. Look for the “Show/Hide Columns” drop down menu. Choose “Show Quality Score”.

Adding the Quality Score column

Your quality score is listed next to every Keyword along with the minimum bid for that keyword. If you click on the question mark next to the quality score title, Google provides you with a list of possible quality score, information about each one, and links to FAQs.

Quality Score states defined

Remember, if you have a high quality score, your bid price will be lower which means you can pay less for a higher ad position. However, you shouldn’t just be looking at quality score as a way to get a lower bid price. Ultimately you want a successful ad. This score is an indication of how relevant your ad is in Google’s eyes. A relevant ad will be a more successful ad.
If you have a “poor” or “ok” quality score, there are several reasons why this could be happening. Here are some questions to ask yourself: Are you sending people to the correct landing page (more than likely not your home page)? Does the ad text contain the keyword? Is the list of keywords for this Ad group too broad? Is the keyword itself too broad? If you have a poor quality score, you should have answered no to at least one of the above questions. This is where you should start making improvements. The best pay per click campaigns are the ones that are constantly monitored and improved. Now that Google provides us with the quality score the job of improving our campaigns just got easier. So check yours out today!
If you’re interested in learning more, we go further in depth about how to improve and use Quality Score to your advantage in our Adwords/Paid Search Bootcamp—contact us today for more details.

Google AdWords Consulting WebShare is an AdWords Qualified Company. We are recognized as a premier pay-per-click management company in the search marketing industry, and offer a wide range of PPC services that can help you increase the performance of your PPC campaigns.