Since the beginning, search marketing’s central theme has been to help consumers find the information and products they seek. This is why quality score is an essential factor that benefits both the advertiser and the consumer.
Quality score is a useful metric for PPC marketers looking to gauge how well their ad quality compares to other advertisers.
Google states that “a higher quality score means that your ad and landing page are more relevant and useful to someone searching for your keyword, compared to other advertisers.”
An “average” quality score may not mean failure – but it does mean higher CPCs and lower click-through and conversion rates. Today I wanted to dive into some data showing why you should never be happy with “average.”
This article explores two quality score components linked to relevance – landing page experience and ad relevance.
Understanding landing page experience and ad relevance
First, let’s cover some quick definitions:
- Landing page experience: How relevant and useful is your landing page is to people who click your ad.
- Ad relevance: How closely your ad matches the intent behind a user’s search.
(Note: The expected click-through rate is the third metric. I’m ignoring that for simplicity and focusing on relevance.)
Both landing page experience and ad relevance measure how well the keyword matches the content in the ad and landing page. This doesn’t mean every keyword variant needs its own landing page.
Instead, you should be thinking about the customer experience and how the flow from keyword to ad copy to landing page can be consistent.
Delivering what the customer is expecting is always the best practice. Google provides this specific example.
The other metric to monitor on your landing page is page speed. How quickly the site loads is also directly related to the consumer experience. So having a page that loads quickly and matches the consumer intent will be helpful.
How Google assesses these scores
Google assigns a score for each of these metrics that is either:
- “Above average”
- “Below average”
The score is assigned in comparison to other advertisers whose ads showed for the same exact keyword over the last 90 days.
This is helpful for advertisers to understand because this score is given against direct keyword auction competition.
Sometimes there is no rating assigned and the data will show with a “-” in the report. This is just a placeholder for ads that do not have enough volume to assign a score.
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Looking at performance metrics by landing page experience and ad relevance scores
I pulled three months’ worth of data across my Google Ads accounts. I then parsed it to include non-branded keywords.
To simplify things, I’m only sharing the data for keywords that received a “Below average” for both landing page experience (LPE) and ad relevance (AR), then comparing that to data that got “Above average” scores for both metrics.
The findings of this data pretty clearly show how important it is to monitor and improve these scores. Each key metric vastly differs based on these scores – from cost per click to conversion rates.
The data set I reviewed showed vast improvements when comparing results from keywords with “Above average” ratings in both landing page experience and ad relevance against those with “Below average” ratings in both.
Click-through and conversion rates were significantly higher for ads with “Above average” ratings for landing page experience and ad relevance.
CTR was better by 87%, and conversion rates by 750%. Remember, these are non-branded keywords only.
The same is true for cost per click. When the ratings were above average for both metrics (LPE and AR) the CPCs were well below the average by 36%.
What this potentially means
No matter the metric, Google rewards PPC ads that deliver a better experience. In this case, rewards are lower costs and a much better conversion rate.
I’m sure by digging deep, you would find other scenarios that are helping drive these metrics, like competition, match type, etc.
You can dig into all those specific data points for your accounts and determine how you want to adjust, even at the keyword level.
This data indicates that if two advertisers spend $10,000, the advertiser with “Above average” scores for both LPE and AR metrics would receive over 2,000 more clicks and seven times more conversions.
So, now that you realize how Google rewards advertisers that deliver relevant experiences, below are three best practices to improve PPC performance.
Deliver consistent experiences
Having the keyword match the ad copy and the landing page is key. Often improvements to this experience involve how the account is structured.
Ad copy is driven at the ad group level, so having too many keyword varieties in each ad group could cause challenges.
Restructuring the account to align with the user experience and tightly themed ad groups yields excellent results.
Improve your technology
The marketing team often can not make changes quickly, given the theme or technology restrictions.
Perhaps the page is slow to respond because the design is heavy or the code is bloated. Updating these elements to be quick and efficient (for external customers and internal teams) is essential.
The faster your tech is, the more you can test and make rapid improvements that move the business forward.
Don’t overreach based on these metrics
These quality score metrics offer helpful insights to optimize your Google Ads performance.
However, if your campaigns are converting well and achieving their intended purpose, you don’t need to tear them down just because you got a poor quality score.
Ultimately, the business metrics should be your source of truth.
Optimizing for landing page experience and ad relevance
The world of search continues to evolve rapidly, but it will still come down to providing the best user experience. If you can do that, you will have an excellent chance of winning against the competition.
These metrics provide great insight into where you can improve, but too often, they go unwatched because making these changes requires resources.
I’m hopeful that by sharing the direct impact these ratings can have on improving your metrics, you will find the bandwidth to test and improve your landing page experience and ad relevance scores.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.