Last updated: February 19, 2023
It's a grading system used by Google to decide whether an ad is good enough to be shown in the sponsored space of the search results, at what position it will be shown and how much to charge an advertiser for each click.
It compares competing ads across different user experience metrics for a specific ad auction, then rewards advertisers that provide a better user experience while punishing those that don't.
Your ad's cost-per-click (CPC) depends on it, as shown in the formula:
Your ad's position (Ad Rank) on Google's search results depends on Quality Score. The higher the Ad Rank, the better the position. The first ad on Google is always the one that has the highest Ad Rank.
Although both concepts might appear similar on-page, in reality, they are not.
Quality Score is a parameter provided by Google that allows advertisers to monitor the quality of their ads. Google calculates Quality Scores using CTR, Ad Relevance, Landing Page Experience and other factors. Advertisers use the score to determine whether or not their campaign needs optimization.
Ad Rank, on the other hand, is not provided by Google but is a hidden value that their algorithm uses to rank the ads on search results. The ad with the higher Ad Rank gets the first position, and so forth.
From the formula above, it can be seen that Ad Rank and Quality Score are directly correlated. A higher Quality Score can increase your Ad Rank and reduce your ad costs.
Apart from the quality score, there are other factors that influence Ad Rank. Additional factors include your bid amount, ad quality (CTR, Ad Relevance and Landing Page Experience), Ad Rank thresholds, auction competitiveness, the context of search, nature of search term, etc. You can check out all the factors shared by Google itself here.
Hence, we can see that Ad Rank does take into account the factors from which Quality Score is calculated but there are other factors too that Google uses to rank and display the ads to the users which not only depends upon the ad quality but also on the searcher's context (location, query, other user signals and attributes).
In campaigns that are targeted on Google Search, each keyword has a Quality Score. But it is hidden by default. Here's how to add quality scores column in your Google Ads account:
You should now have a Quality Score column in your data as shown below.
In theory, the main factors that go into the calculation of Quality Score are:
That is a simplifed view of quality score components and they can be seen in your Google Ads account.
In practice, there's a better way to think about Quality Score factors towards optimizing it effectively.
"Relevance" and "Landing Page Experience" can be combined under the umbrella of User Experience. They simply mean that the user finds what was promised in the ad, and that they have a good experience when they reach your website.
Keywords, ads and landing pages must be related to each other.
Your landing pages should provide a good user experience by providing what was promised in the ad, by making it easy to find out more about your business and by being explicit about how their information is used.
Historical click-through-rates have an overwhelming impact on Quality Score. Users vote on the quality of your ads with their clicks. If you have a proven history of getting better CTR than others in your market, you get the best score.
Google.com and other country specific such as google.ca, google.ru, etc
Sites such as AOL.com, Google Images, etc
All digital advertising platforms use a version of Quality Score to rank ads and decide how much to charge advertisers for them. Facebook ads use the same logic, so does Microsoft ads quality score. The most important factor in each is click-through-rate, or anything that measures user engagement. User engagement, like CTR, is the strongest signal of the quality of an advert.
A 7/10 Quality Score is the recommended value and is sufficient. Going above 7/10 is great but not always achievable and may not be worth the effort. Anything below 7/10 is a sign that something is wrong and should be optimized, click costs are being penalized.
Quality Score is important for search advertisers because it has an impact on how much they pay for each click, and how much exposure their ads will get. Keywords with a good score are shown in more ad auctions, at higher positions and la ower cost-per-click, while keywords with low scores get penalized with higher costs and lower exposure.
The keywords you choose are the first step to getting a higher Quality Score. On the spectrum of keyword research, you will find that your brand terms will often have a Quality Score from the start. It's because they are highly relevant: someone is searching for your company, they find it, they stick around. On the other end of the spectrum, you will find that bidding on your competitor terms will have poor Quality Score. It's because your own company is less relevant when someone is searching for your competitors: they will ignore you, most of the time. In knowledge of that, it is best to start advertising on your brand terms first, then work your way down the spectrum figuring out how to serve the searcher at each step and building a history of quality advertising that Google will reward you for.
Although display campaigns don't have a visible quality score in the Google Ads interface, they do have one internally. This invisble quality score is felt when campaigns fail to gather impressions. The factors influencing it are the same a search campaigns, however, the CTR required to compete on display network are much lower.
This message is an indication from Google that your quality score is so low that your ads are rarely displayed. In order to remedy such a situation, it is recommended to evaluate the keyword first. Should you really be advertising on that keyword? If the answer is yes, then start by bidding agressively at the beginning in order to gather some impressions and clicks then make sure that your ad is attractive enough to earn the click. Read this article for help with ads.
The formula for Ad Rank is: Max. CPC x QS
The higher your Quality Score, the higher your Ad Rank meaning that your ads will be seen in higher positions on Google.
Every time someone searches for a particular keyword and an ad shows up, its Quality Score is calculated. Dramatic changes in CTR have a quick impact on Quality Score and you can expect Quality Score to increase within a day or even less. However, it does take some time for the new quality score value to show up in your account if you have made changes to the landing page.