News & Insights

Make Your Quality Score Soar

Google is constantly striving to create a search experience that’s both relevant for users and profitable for advertisers. One way they try to make this happen for paid search is through a variable called Quality Score. Quality Score (numbered 1-10, with 10 being most ideal) is simply an estimate of the quality of your ads and landing pages. When your score is high, it means that Google’s systems think your ads and landing pages are useful to someone’s search. This really matters to Google because they make money when people click on ads. And people tend to click more often on ads that are relevant to their needs. But Quality Score isn’t just important to Google – it matters to you too. Because just as your credit score can impact your loan rates, your Quality Score can influence both the rank and cost-per-click (CPC) of your paid ads. With all that said, Google’s Quality Score recipe remains a well-kept secret, but that hasn’t stopped others from trying to peak behind the curtain. For instance, Search Engine Land recently performed an impressive analysis based on daily Quality Score, click-thru rate, page views, time on site and bounce rate across millions of keywords. What they found was very telling: Bounce rate and click-thru rate are very strong predictors for Quality Score. Specifically, their analysis revealed that:
  • Bounce rate was the strongest predictor for Quality Score, accounting for roughly 2.6 to 3.9 Quality Score points. A high bounce rate (that is, greater than ~40% in this particular case) pretty much guarantees a Quality Score lower than 7.
  • CTR was the second-strongest predictor, accounting for 1.6 to 2.4 Quality Score points.
  • Time spent on site accounted for 0.2 to 0.5 Quality Score points.
  • Page views seemed to be a strong predictor, too; however, the data were not statistically significant for this particular data set.
Another telling discovery from SEL’s analysis involved direct financial impact. In this case, they found that bounce rate, page views and time on site predict for revenue changes. For instance:
  • Bounce rates were associated with 61 percent to 100 percent of the average RPC (revenue per click). While a low bounce rate does not guarantee a higher Quality Score, it does seem to guarantee more revenue, and vice versa.
  • Page views were associated with 2.2% to 3.9% of the RPC.
  • Time on site was associated with 0.4% to 0.7% of the RPC.
So if you’re experiencing any of these issues (especially high bounce rates and low CTRs) you should tackle them right away, and preferably within the confines of a broader PPC strategy. By focusing on the big picture, including relevant ads with high volume keywords and properly aligned landing pages, your PPC performance will soar. And so will your bottom line. Need a strategic PPC strategy? WE CAN HELP.