Last updated: June 29 2020


What Is Google Ads Quality Score?

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 for each click.

Google | Wikipedia | Tenscores



Your ad's cost-per-click (CPC) depends on it, as shown in the formula:

This formula was revelead by Google in 2009. Today, we do not know everything that goes into the number a, but we can assume that whatever goes into it is divided by Quality Score, which results in wide differences in costs as shown below:
Here are the Quality Score penalties and discounts, and how they translate into percentage increases or decreases in cost-per-click (CPC).

Your ad's position (AdRank) on Google's search results depends on Quality Score. The higher the AdRank, the better the position. The first ad on Google is always the one that has the highest AdRank.

This formula was also revelead by Google in 2009. Today, we do not know everything that goes into the number b, but we can assume that whatever goes into it is multiplied by Quality Score.
Below is a real world example of the cost-per-click at each quality score of one advertiser. Join Tenscores to see this data for your own Google Ads account.
CPC At Each Quality Score For one Google Ads advertiser

HOW TO See Quality Score?

In campaigns that are targeted on Google Search, each keyword has a Quality Score. But it is hidden by default. Here's how to show it in your Google Ads account:

  1. Click the "Keywords" tab..
  2. Click "Columns" then "Modify columns".
  3. Choose "Quality Score" in this new section.
  4. Select "Quality Score" in the list of options.
  5. Click "Apply" to save.

You should now have a Quality Score column in your data as shown below.



The official factors are: Expected Clickthrough Rate, Ad Relevance and Landing Page Experience.

That is a simplifed view of quality score components and they can be seen in your Google Ads account.

In practice, there are more factors.


The base
User Experience

"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 page must be related to each other. Absolutely.

Landing page relevance
LP Experience

Your landing page should provide a good user experience. Not great, but good enough.

landing page quality


The Boost

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.

Historical CTR
15% Relevance
5% Other
  • Historical CTR Factors
  • Relevance Factors
  • Other
  • Ad/Keyword
    Historical click-through rate (CTR) of the keyword and the matched ad on the Google domain.
  • Account History
    Account history, which is measured by the CTR of all the ads and keywords in your account.
  • URL History
    The historical CTR of the display URLs in the ad group.
  • Geo History
    Account's performance (in terms of CTR) in the geographical region where the ad will be shown.
When there's no history in your account, Google will use other advertisers' historical performance on specific keywords to evaluate what Quality Score you should be granted. It is up to you to exceed performance.

Sites such as, Google Images, etc

80% 15% 5%
Quality score for Search Partners works the same way as Although performance on these sites varies considerably from performance on Google Seach, it has NO impact on quality scores of your Google Search campaigns. It usually is good practice to separate your Google Search campaigns from Search Partners campaigns. Learn how.
AUTO Placements
  • Historical CTR Factors
  • Relevance Factors
  • Other
80% 15% 5% Semantic relevance of the ads and keywords in the ad group to the site. connect The ad's past performance on similar sites in terms of CTR. connect
90% 10% Landing page quality.
The historical CTR of the ad on similar sites. CPM BIDDING
Landing page quality.
  • Landing page quality plays an on/off swith role in the display network campaigns as well.
  • Quality score for display network campaigns is not visible anywhere in the Google Ads interface.


A 7/10 Quality Score is the recommended number and is sufficient. Going above 7 is great but not always achievable and may not be worth the effort. Anything below 7 is a sign that something is wrong and should be worked on.
  • 1 Dead
  • 2 Sick
  • 3
  • 4 Weak
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7 Good
  • 8 Excellent
  • 9
  • 10
  • Dead If you get a 1/10, you're in trouble. Google has or is about to ban your website. You'll hardly get any traffic and your costs will be exorbitant.
  • Sick At 2/10 and 3/10, your keywords are suffering. You're not getting all the traffic you could and you'll be charged very high prices for such bad scores. To go from 2 or 3 to 7/10 will require quite some expertise.
  • Weak These keywords need your attention and getting them above 7 should be accomplished without much trouble. Simply follow the flow chart at the bottom of this page. You'll most likely need to regroup your ad groups and write better ads.
  • Good You've accomplished what you needed in terms of quality. Google likes what you're doing and you're not being penalized in terms of traffic or costs.
  • Excellent The holy grail. At this point, you've surpassed Google's expectations and your performance is above average. Your costs are being discounted and your ads are appearing in prominent positions and more frequently.
  • The jump from 7/10 to anything above is not linear and sometimes doesn't make sense. Keywords often go from 7/10 immediately to 10/10 with no transition to 8 and 9.


Follow the flowchart below.images/Quality-Score-Flowchart-2020.pdf

The following a simplified flowchart for Tenscores users. Download the version for all below...

Download PDF
Don’t have a Tenscores account? Get one.
Check Account Quality Score
(All campaigns)
It's below 3/10
It's between 4/10 & 7/10
It's above 7/10
You might have a Landing
Page problem. Follow these
then continue.
Click first
losing Campaign
then first losing
Ad Group.
Check trend in
Ad Group is getting fine. Pick
next losing ad group in the same
campaign or next losing
Is trend up?
You need to increase
Ad Group CTR and
Your ad copy sucks.
Write better ads.
Mostly broad?
Check match
Ad group
more than 10
how? yes yes
Regroup! Divide it smaller
tighter Ad Groups of no more
than 10 keywords.
Add exact, phrase and modified
broad match. Add negative
Figure out exactly what the
person behind the specific
keyword is really searching for.
Type keyword in Google &
analyse natural search results.
Mostly websites
teaching stuff.
What do
you see?
Mostly websites
selling stuff.


The person behind your keyword is
educating herself. Promise

What kind of information are the websites in the search results giving away? What are they not providing?

  • Give away information similar but better than your competiton.
  • Give away information that your customers want but competition is not providing.

How and in what format?

  • Don't just give it away for 'FREE', ask for an email adress in exchange so you can drive them to a sale later on.
  • Give it away in video, PDF, audio, webpage or or any other form of consumption that will make your infomation more valuable to your prospects (not you).
If your information is great, not only will you get higher CTR but they will be more likely to buy from you.


The person behind your keyword
wants to buy. Promise a great deal.

What kinds of deals are the websites in the search results promoting? Promote a better deal in your ad:

  • free shipping
  • faster deliver
  • cheaper price
  • better support
  • money back guarantee
  • more features
  • free trial
  • lots of hugs and kisses

Or help the searcher make a better buying decision:

  • Promise a review or comparison table of you against your competitors.
These are the two most frequent remedies to
bad click-through-rates. But it's just the tip of the iceberg. Visit our blog for more.

What is Google Ads Quality Score?

Google's Quality Score system is a scale that ranges from 1 to 10 and that measures the quality of an ad on Google Ads. That quality grade is then used to determine how much an advertisers pays and what his AdRank will be (position of the search results page.)

What is Quality Score in digital marketing?

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.

Why does Quality Score matter for Google Ads?

It matters because it greatly influences how much you pay on every click on a Google ad and how much exposure you get (Impression Share).

What is a good Quality Score?

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.

What are the three main factors that determine ad quality?

  1. Click-through-rates (CTR) at every level: keyword CTR, ad CTR, display url CTR, account CTR, etc... (90%)
  2. Relevance: are your keywords closely related to your ads and landing pages?
  3. Landing page quality: does your website load quickly, is it transparent and do people find what they're looking?

What about display network quality score (content network quality score)?

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.

What does it mean when I see the message "Rarely shown due to low quality score"?

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.

How to improve Google Adwords Quality Score?

It's on every PPC practitioner's mind. First make sure that you meet all the requirements: decent landing page with privacy policy and keywords that are grouped in tight themes relating to a particular intent for a particular ad (Tenscores can do this automatically for you). Then second, focus 100% of your time on testing new ads for your top 3 keywords. Do this until their Quality Scores are above 7/10, then move on to next top 3 keywords. If you have low performing keywords in terms of CTR, pause them for a while. If you can advertise on high performing keywords like your brand terms or highly specific keywords for your niche, start with those and use them to build a good history of high CTR. It's not that hard if you follow that advice, and most importantly if you improve your ad writing skills.

How is Quality Score and Ad Rank calculated?

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.