- The Search Agents - http://www.thesearchagents.com -

Google Increases Transparency in Quality Scores


My experiences with most Google releases are typically a roller coaster of emotions. They start with sheer terror, transition into a “Protect This House” mentality and end with triumphant high-fiving after taming the beast and hopefully increasing effectiveness of each campaign. Inevitably once calm has returned to my adWords life, there is another release around the corner and I am again faced with a panic attack and more work.

Google’s recent announcement [2] caught me off guard, however, as it didn’t actually change the performance of anything in my accounts. Instead, it provided insight into how I could help struggling Keywords perform better and ultimately become….cheaper? Now you’re talking my language – there’s nothing scary about better traffic for less!

This release offers advertisers more information about an unknown factor which has puzzled many of us alike – Quality Score.

The exact algorithm behind determining Quality Score remains a mystery, and similarly the effect that the score has on ad placement and price has not changed. Quality Scores remain on a scale of 1 to 10, and are still based on a number of elements including:

The relative weight of each of these factors is still unknown and Google states that they have not made any changes to the way each Keyword is actually scored. However, the new release provides hints to advertisers on where to focus when looking to improve on a Keyword’s score.


Each Keyword rating is now accompanied by a relative scale for Expected Click-Through-Rate, Ad Relevance, and Landing Page Experience. Each category is now rated as “Average,” “Above Average,” or “Below Average.” These scales will show advertisers where to focus their efforts when trying to optimize struggling Keywords. It will save time, and hopefully save money, since a better Quality Score essentially means a better position in market for a cheaper cost. In fact, at first glance this appears to be a win-win for advertisers and consumers alike. More relevant landing pages and ad copy ultimately means a better user experience for searchers. Though the man behind the curtain has not yet been revealed, this release does take us one step closer to perfectly optimized campaigns.

About Katie Carlson

Katie Carlson is an Account Manager at The Search Agency that specializes in SEM. Working in the Online Marketing space since 2007, she has managed web experiences and online media buying for national and global brands. Katie’s experience ranges from content creation to affiliate management. In 2010, her responsibilities shifted to focus on the management and optimization of direct response paid search campaigns as a primary revenue channel in the financial vertical. Katie graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor’s in Business, a Concentration in Marketing and a Minor in Rhetoric Communications. In 2011 Katie completed a Master’s in Business Administration from Loyola University, Maryland. She enjoys watching college basketball and playing in city sports leagues.