How To Improve Your Adwords Quality Score – 10 Tips

You’re all set up. Your Adwords campaigns are organized. Ad groups are focussed. Keywords are relevant. But somehow your Quality Score is somewhat meh.

I’ve been there. In fact, I’m there all the time. You’re never quite done optimizing your Adwords Quality Score, are you?

What is the Adwords Quality Score?

The relevance of your keywords, ads and landing page will form the Adwords Quality Score. This will be a rank from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest score.

Let’s say a Quality Score of 5 is the average score of your advertiser competition in Adwords. If you outperform in Quality Score, you’ll pay less for the same positions.

If you are not up-to-speed on Adwords Quality Score, I’ve written this article: Adwords Quality Score: How Does It Work?.

Ways to improve Adwords Quality Score

1. Organize your ad groups

I’ve found that organizing your ad groups can have a huge effect on quality score. I’m an advocate of having lots of ad groups with short lists of keywords. This way you’ll stay organized and flexible in organizing your campaigns, ad groups and keywords.

Let’s say I had an ad group set up for The ad group is focussed on our Adwords services. This is a list of keywords:

+adwords +management
“adwords management”
[adwords management]
+adwords +display +management
“adwords display management”
[adwords display management]

An ad could be:

Better AdWords Results
High-quality Adwords management
Better adwords ads? Contact us

Now I’m seeing these results:

Keyword Quality Score
+adwords +management
“adwords management”
[adwords management]
+adwords +display +management
“adwords display management”
[adwords display management]


Well, this isn’t good. Now I could try to optimize my existing ad and landing page. But this would unfocus my ad and landing page.

A better way to up the Quality Score on the display related keywords is to create a new ad group that is focussed on Adwords Display Services.

Below is an image that simplifies this concept. To make it easy to understand I’ve used two campaigns: RC Choppers and RC cars.


Now the above image is simplified using extremes. In reality though, sometimes one small difference in keywords can ask for a split-up in ad groups. In my Adwords example I’d most likely have a better quality score if I set up an ad group focussed on Display Adwords Management.

2. Delete keywords with low Quality Score

In your campaigns you want to be focussing on keywords with a decent Quality Score. If you have keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2, you should consider deleting these keywords.

Adwords will take into account your overall Quality Score for every keyword Quality Score. So low quality keywords will hurt your overall performance.

Different blogs claim there’s not difference in pausing or deleting keywords for your Quality Score. However, recently I’ve spoken to an Adwords consultant from Google. She told me I should delete my low quality paused keywords.

True or not, I’d advice to clean up your account in any case. Pause low quality keywords if you will fix them. If you won’t, delete them.

3. Set up a branding campaign

A branding campaign in Adwords contains keywords with low CPC and high CTR. This means amazing Quality Scores. And this means your overall Quality Score will be positively affected.

If you need more information about branding campaigns, read Should You Have An Adwords Branding Campaign on Donkergeel.

4. Optimize your ad positions

Your ad position will be a large factor in CTR. Ads on the #1 position will have a higher CTR. But they also will attract more not-so-serious clickers. When an ad on #4 is clicked, the visitor is more likely to be seriously interested.

Thankfully Adwords takes into account the ad positions whenusing the CTR for Quality Score. This means the position of the ad is factored in with using the CTR.

This also means you could achieve a higher Quality Score by positioning your ads on the lower ad positions.

5. Optimize Quality Score per device

Did you know Adwords will give you a Quality Score for every device? Well, Google does. I’m going to assume you are focussing on desktop devices first.

So what do you need to know about tablets and mobile phones?

Not so long ago you could target tablets and desktops separately. Then Google decided they are pretty much the same thing. So at the moment of writing you can’t exclude or bid differently on tablets.

First, let me tell you – I don’t support Google on this. Advertisers should be able to make the choice to bid on tablets or not.

But, we do live in a multi-device world. And having a different Quality Score per device is not a bad thing. But you do have to play by the rules, though.

Is your site ready for a tablet? What about a iPad-mini? Does your site scale? Is your checkout-process working on mobile phones?

In my experience having a responsive site with a responsive funnel always is a good idea. Of coarse you could choose to have an app on the side. But you need to create the best user experience possible for all devices.

If you really want to make the most of it, you could choose to serve special mobile-optimized landing pages and write ads focussed on mobile users.

6. Optimize Quality Score per geo-location

Google also will look at your performance per region. While you might be successful in the area where your brick-and-mortar store is located, you might perform worse 150 miles south.

So what can you do about this? For starters you could isolate your local, high-performance visitors. You can do this by geo-targeting your primary area and serve ads specifically for nearby users.

Then you could try to isolate the harder-to-reach areas and appeal to them in their own way. A few ideas:

  • For areas too far away to drive to your business – focus extra on your online services.
  • For areas that are showing weaker statistics, you can try to focus on the lower ad placements instead of the top-positions. The people that do click on your ad will be more likely to engage.
  • Use local cities in your ads. Example: Can’t find wedding rings in Chicago? Shop online on weddingri.ngs.
  • You can also use geo-targeting to simply lower the bids with 50% for specific areas.

Remember: aside from your Quality Score, these tips might boost your conversion rate too. The more relevant you advertise, the better the results.

7. Improve your landing page copy

Most of my Adwords clients have come to me to manage their campaigns because they weren’t satisfied with their previous Adwords partner. In many of the cases the campaigns weren’t the main problem. The landing pages were.

The dangers of outsourcing Adwords campaigns is getting a partner that only minds your campaigns. And not what visitors do on your site. You could have the best campaign set-up in the world and still lose money.


Here you see what the effect is of 1% difference in conversion rate. More conversions and lower cost-per-conversion.

One of the most important factors on your landing page is the copy. The text that converts your visitor. Google knows this. unfortunately the Google bot can’t scan your text for quality.

What it can do, and does, is scan your text for relevance. If you are selling RC helicopters, your text should be about RC helicopters. If it is, bonus points for you and +1 on your Quality Score. (It’s not that simple, but you get the idea).

Also a mistake would be to have no, or not enough text. I’ve seen landing pages with just a form. Or an intro text with a form. This is not enough. Google can’t see the relevance in this or the context with your Adwords campaign.

You need content and it needs to be relevant. As a rule of thumb I normally advice to write at least three paragraphs of copy on a landing page. This is the absolute minimum in my perception.

If your landing pages are negatively affecting your Quality Score, go write more relevant content.

If you need more tips on optimizing your landing pages, read Optimizing Your Adwords Landing Pages.

8. Improve engagement on your website

While Google isn’t telling us exactly how landing pages are affecting quality score, “quality” is a factor. Naturally this means clean code and fast loading. But you can’t technically cheat your way out of this one.

So Google won’t give us the exact criteria, we do have an educated guess of the metrics being used. Here’s what I think are the three most important metrics to focus on.

Bounce rate

The higher your bounce rate, the less relevant your landing page is. What a normal bounce rate would be is dependant on your business and site. Generally I’d say a bounce rate over 60% should be attended. A bounce rate over 75% is worrisome.

If your bounce rate is in the high end of the numbers, have a look at your Analytics. Are just Adwords visitors bouncing high or does this go for all traffic? In the last scenario your landing page is probably the problem.

If it’s just your Adwords campaigns that are showing a high bounce rate, your ads or keywords (or both) might be the problem.

Figure out the source. It might be a broad keyword that is triggering a not-relevant search term. It might be an ad that triggers the wrong visitors. Try to eliminate the problem and don’t stop until the bounce rate is down to normal.

Time on site

If your average visitor stays on your site for 2 minutes, this probably is a good sign (unless they can’t find what they are looking for). But if they stay just a few seconds, something probably is off.

If you see people are spending not that much time on your site, also have a look if it’s just Adwords. If it is, locate the problem in Adwords. If it’s all traffic, have a good look at your landing page.

Try to isolate problems why people aren’t spending time on your site. Is it the design? Is it the copy? Are you confronting people with a high price? Are you using standard stock images (don’t do this).

Pages viewed

Okay, if you have just a single-page design or a single landing page, this won’t be your metric. But if you do have a website with some pages, this might be.

Are visitors just visiting your landing page? Or are they clicking a bit and actually reading your interesting content?

If not: again – isolate the problem. Is it a traffic source? Or is it a landing page issue? If the latter, try to work on your navigation. Make it easier, better, more interesting.

9. Write more relevant ads

I love interesting copy. I applaud creative advertising. Google… not so much. One of the most made mistakes is being overly creative with your ad copy.

You see, Google can’t really tell how good your ad copy is. It can only tell if people click on it and if it contains keywords you are using in your campaign.

So, when writing an ad, don’t just be creative, be relevant in the eyes of Google.


This means put relevant keywords in the title, copy and visible URL of your ad. By relevant I mean keywords you are bidding on and keywords that your landing page is focussed on.

10. Improve your keywords and ad CTR

The most important factor in forming the Quality Score would be the CTR of your ads and keywords. So this is what you should be focussing on all the time.

Remove bad keywords

Continually keep track of your keywords and their CTR. Stop with low-performing keywords and find alternative keywords for high-performing ones.

Also dive into the ‘details’ report to see which search terms are triggering your keywords. Exclude search terms that are hurting your CTR and adopt the ones that are giving a good CTR.

Test all the ads!

Always have two ads running per ad group. Also make sure your ad settings are set to ‘Rotate evenly, Show ads more evenly for at least 90 days, then optimize’

If you’re serious about optimizing your Quality Score read these two articles: Don’t Test Your Adwords Ads Before Reading This & What to Test in Your Adwords Ads? 10 Tips.


Your turn. What are you doing to improve your Quality Score? Have you had success using my tips? Let me know in the comments.