Google Ads Keyword Quality Score: Why is it Low And How to Improve it

Brian Bojan Dordevic
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One of the crucial things for every marketer trying to master PPC is having a solid understanding of the Quality Score. This becomes even more prominent if we know that the keyword Quality Score has an enormous influence over the cost and effectiveness of your Google Ads campaigns.

Quality Score is Google’s way of determining the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads. Google uses a numerical value between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest score, to estimate your cost per click, which is then multiplied by your maximum bid to determine how high your ad ranks on SERP. There are different types of Quality Score:

  • Account-level Quality Score
  • Ad group Quality Score
  • Keyword-level Quality Score
  • Ad-level Quality Score
google keyword quality score

In this article, we will focus on keyword-level Quality Score and ways to improve it. If you wish to know more about Quality Score, we have dedicated an entire in-depth article to this metric where we go far and wide and talk about Everything You Need to Know About Quality Score.

Dark truth about Quality Score that Google Ads Doesn’t Tell You

Getting a good quality score is a budget sensitive issue. The more you can afford to pay per click, the higher your quality score will be. CTR is the key component of quality score. Bid is the essential component of Ad Rank.

Keyword-level Quality Score

This Quality Score is visible in the Google Ads interface. Google issues your keywords a score on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being poor and 10 being great. The keyword-level Quality Score is based on how well your ad performs on exact match keywords. This means that no matter which match type you use in your campaign, the score will only be calculated when someone types in the exact keyword you specify. Other searches don’t count. This means that the Google Ads Quality Score for a keyword remains the same regardless of the match type.

Until a keyword reaches a significant number of impressions in your account, its Quality Score is based on its historic performance on Google.com. This significant number is in the multiple of thousands and is referred to as the impression threshold. Until the keyword reaches the impression threshold, there is little that can be done to influence its Quality Score. Once this threshold is reached, its Quality Score will become the reflection of its performance in your account, and historic performance will become a less significant factor.

Here is the data you can check when reviewing keyword Quality Score in your Google Ads account:

  • Quality Score – This the reflection of the relevance of your keyword, ads, and landing pages to those that can see your ad.
  • Ad relevance – This shows how closely related your keywords are to your ad copy.
  • Landing Page Experience – This shows how useful your visitors find your landing page.
  • Expected CTR (click-through rate) – The chances that someone will click on your ad based on the ad’s past performance.
  • Quality Score (historic) – The last recorded Quality Score in the reporting time frame.
  • Ad Relevance (historic) – The last recorded ad relevance in the reporting time frame.
  • Landing Page Experience (historic) – The last recorded landing page experience score in the reporting time frame.
  • Expected CTR (historic) – The last recorded expected click-through rate in the reporting time frame.

It is important to understand that Quality Score, whether at the keyword level or elsewhere, highly depends on the industry that your ads compete in. Fields like insurance or software technology have fierce competition when it comes to advertising. This is why Google Ads accounts in those fields tend to have lower Quality Scores. However, if we disregard the competitiveness of the field, we will find that Quality Score is calculated in the same way for all marketers. Here are some of the reasons why your keyword-level Google Ads Quality Score may be low:


One of the main factors that make for a good Quality Score is a high click-through rate. A high CTR for a particular keyword means that searchers often click on your ad when their search query matches your keyword. Low CTR usually correlates with a bad Quality Score, which means you will have to pay way more to reach better ad spots on SERP. Here are some of the things you may try to boost your CTR:

  • Include promotional offers and calls to action in your ads. Special promotions like discounts, free shipping, or words like save, buy now, tend to lure people to click on your ad.
  • Include keywords in both the headline and description of your ad. People are more likely to click on ads that contain the word or the phrase they have typed.
  • If you think that you offer a good price for goods or services. Don’t shy away from including your price in your ad.
  • Make sure to choose keywords that are highly relevant to your product or service.
  • Use negative keywords. This will prevent your ad from showing in irrelevant search queries and limit untargeted impressions.
  • Write simple and well-targeted ads. If your ad is too wordy, people will not bother to read it.
  • Capitalize the words in your display URL to make them more readable.
  • Test different types of ads, keywords, and layouts. You can learn a lot from trials and errors. You can never know if something fits you the best unless you have something to compare it with.
  • Avoid using abbreviations, unless they are obvious.
  • Use a seasonal headline in your ad. Even if you offer products or services all year long, using seasonal headlines will give your potential customers a sense of urgency.

Lack of relevancy and cohesion

Terrible keyword-level Quality Score often occurs due to campaigns and ad groups being unorganized. To avoid this lack of organization, ensure that you keep your ad groups to around 15 to 20, or even less, related keywords advertising for a specific item. By splitting out ad groups, you have a chance to put your high-volume keywords in both your ads and your landing page. It is also a good idea to use dynamic keyword insertion.

With dynamic keyword insertion, your ad is dynamically updated in real-time to include the user’s search query, making for more relevant ads that match the searcher’s intent. Dynamic keyword insertion customizes the ad based on the exact search query.

Failing to use long-tail keywords

Adding long-tail keywords is a great way to increase your CTR and conversion rate. You can find good long-tail keywords with the help of Google’s Search Query Report. Sort your search queries by conversion to see precisely what users typed in that led to conversions. If you find longer keywords that you are not bidding on, it is a good idea to add them to your account on exact or phrase match. The logic is that if those keywords already converted for you, they will convert again. Another advantage is that by bidding on those keywords you dictate their value on the market and also monitor the average position of your ad for that query and ensure it always shows in the top spot. This will give you a huge head start over your competition in the advertising race for customers.

Also, if your average keyword-level position is above 4.0, there is a great chance that you will attract just the type of traffic you aim for in Google Ads. It is usually just a matter of raising the keyword’s max CPC bid. Don’t be reluctant to bid aggressively if you feel like you have a really good keyword. Your keywords cost only as much as your ad group’s daily budget.

Final thoughts

A high Quality Score is essential to get higher ad ranks and cheaper traffic. It usually correlates to good keyword targeting, but that is only one section in a well-structured PPC campaign. Those kinds of campaigns bring the most profit and usually have the highest Quality Scores. While there are numerous reasons why you may have a low Quality Score, careful planning and following the best practices that some of the most experienced PPC advertisers utilize will give you the best chance to maximize your advertising dollar and make digital profitable.


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