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Google Quality Score - What to shoot for?

 11:54 pm on Nov 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

New to Google Adwords and I don't see any FAQ's so if you could point me to one I'd appreciate it.

QS as I understand is like PR. A formula created by Google taking in a lot of factors with the exact formula unknown. Like PR - a scale of 0 to 10. 10 being best.

My question is this - is 10/10 an acheivable goal? With PR, a PR 10 site isn't realistic. Frankly if you have a PR4, 5 or 6 you have a good site. So, what is a reasonable target - 7/10, 8/10?

I'd appreciate a discussion where perhaps you can talk in generalities about where your keywords are and what you hope to attain.




 7:53 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hmm.. anyone?

My keywords range between 4 and 7 in the QS scale. I'm a novice, just trying to see if those numbers are reasonable or if I have some real work to do?


 8:34 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have a ton of keywords that are 10/10. Thousands. I typically get rid of anything I can't bring up to 4, and I'll keep working on 4-6 till I can get them to a minimum of 7.

Absolutely achievable if you know what you're doing, and, more importantly, understand what Google wants.


 8:37 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Normally I would try to improve any keywords with a QS below 7. 10s are definitely obtainable. I have many in the account I manage.

Do you have a link to a privacy policy on your destination URLs? Not having one can hurt your quality score. If you don't, do some research and get that on your site.


 8:44 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Agree with both netmeg and Structuralist. A 10 is achievable. A 7 to 10 is where you want to be so if you have 6 or below, those are the ones to try to improve first. I don't know about a privacy policy, I'm not convinced on that yet but a good thing to have regardless.

I have written an "Adwords FAQ" on my site which would answer a lot but forum rules prevent me from posting a link.


 8:46 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the feedback, guys. So..it appears I have some work to do! Structuralist, via reading this forum, I just made attached my privacy policy to my footer.

Anyone else?

Also - 2nd question if I may - how often is QS updated? When would I see the effect of any changes I've made?


 8:46 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

And here are a couple of the FAQs that you asked for:

[adwords.google.com ]

[bgtheory.com ]


 8:50 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

First, a 10 is not always achievable. There are certain words or domains where you just can't get a 10.

Often the work to go from an 8 to a 10 is a lot; and often not worth the time outside of very competitive industries (in terms of $$ per click).

My overall advice is as such:
If you live and breath AdWords then go for an 8 (7 is OK).
If you also run a business, have a day job, etc then a 7 is a good number.


 11:23 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

eWhisper & Structuralist..thank you - great advice.


 12:13 am on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

> how often is QS updated?

After every search affecting your keyword. Don't expect to see any changes however. The change in QS can be very small: Google calculates QS to quite a few decimal places and shows you a rounded up number. Biggest changes are at start of a new campaign.

I disagree with eWhisper that a 10 is not always achievable. QS is some sort of standard deviation calculation of historical click rates on the keyword. Therefore, QS should be possible for any keyword. Whether any advertiser has a 10 is another question. He is right however that the effort to go from one QS point to another may be easier or harder depending on the competition. I think that it's always worth to try.


 8:04 am on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

LucidSW - the info on 10 QS comes directly from a very high Google employee. There are domains that have had so much bad traffic sent to them, and some keywords with such poor history, that 10s aren't achievable.

According to Google investor calls, quality score is updated 10 times per quarter, so almost every week; but sometimes its twice a week and other times there is a two week gap.

However, the 10x updates are for the metrics within your account. Landing pages are only taken into account every 6 weeks or so.


 2:52 pm on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't pretend to know how it all works but from my research and understanding of the system, if a keyword has had poor history, it should be easier to get a great QS score.

If a bunch of advertisers used a keyword which was irrelevant to the ad and page, the click rate would be low and affect the QS accordingly. Therefore, advertisers who are relevant for the keyword would be head and shoulders above and have a great QS.

Mathematically, this is how I believe Google figures it out. An average for a keyword is calculated, say 2.5% historically. That's the base line, say QS=7. They make a standard deviation calculation and it comes up to 0.5 for example. If you achieve a 3% CTR, you are one SD above and assigned a QS of 8. You would therefore get a QS of 10 if your CTR was 4% and above.

Note that I am simplifying here. I use CTR because it is the biggest factor in QS. Also, Google normalizes by position.

It is possible that nobody has a QS of 10 for a keyword. This means that virtually every advertiser falls within the same CTR range. Therefore, with a higher CTR that should make it easier to get higher QS. My logic anyway.

First I heard of QS being updated ten times per quarter. Last I heard was for every search, I think Google said that earlier this year. Makes sense to me however that the account metrics portion of the QS would be updated less frequently.


 3:49 pm on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

There are some real time calculations that occur; such as relevancy of the keyword to the search query, etc that determine if a user sees your ad and the position of that ad.

However, displayed QS in your account is updated about 10x per quarter.

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