Paid Ads

What Is Google Quality Score: All You Need To Know (part 1)

How to calculate Google Quality Score and how it affects your ads?

The caliber of your Google Ads account has long been questioned.

What are the key metrics we use to understand a successful campaign compared to an unsuccessful one? If your click through rate and impressions are down in recent times, what is causing this? You haven’t made any changes recently so why has your Google Ads performance decreased? How do you determine what is going on with your account?

Your ad quality score is one of the key indicators into the success or failure of your Google Ads performance.

After reading this four-part series about quality score, you will understand:

What is quality score?

How is quality score calculated?

How does quality score affect Google Ads performance?

Where do I find my quality score?

In this first part, I will guide you through the very basic knowledge about quality score through the following sections:

A. What is quality score and why is it important?

B. What is a good quality score?

What is quality score and why is it important to paid advertising?

Quality Score is an important metric in Google Ads that indicates the relevance and usefulness of your ad and landing page to someone searching for your keyword. A high Quality Score generally means that your ad is more likely to be shown to potential customers, and at a lower cost per click.

In addition to being an indicator of ad relevance, a high Quality Score can also provide insight into areas where you may want to improve your ad campaign. By using the Quality Score diagnostic tool, you can identify specific areas where your ads, landing pages, or keyword selection could be improved for better performance.

Simply speaking, a quality score is Google’s way of grading your account. Instead of A’s and F’s, Google uses a simple scale-out of 10 where 1 is the lowest quality score you can receive and 10 is a perfect quality score.

3 key components of Google Ads Quality Score

3 key components of Google Ads Quality Score

1. Ad Relevance

“Are my ads closely related to the keywords I’m bidding on?”

This component describes how well your keyword matches the message in your ads.

For example, you are a domestic electrician bidding for “electrical services” with an ad about domestic electrical repairs. If a user searches  for “industrial electrical services” and your ad appears, there is a likely chance that you will get a below average score for ad relevance. Obviously your ad seems to be irrelevant to his search. 

Quick tips for above average ad relevance:

  • Ensure a high degree of relevance amongst keywords in each Google Ads ad group
  • Use the keyword in the ad headline

2. Expected Click Through Rate (Expected CTR) 

“Will people click on my ad?”

This metric predicts whether your keyword is likely to lead to a click on your ad. Google calculates this via your past performance, based on your ad position.

Think of it like a sporting team and Google is the coach. If you haven’t been playing well recently, you are not getting picked in the team. It’s the same on the search results page, if Google doesn’t think people will click on your ads then your ad does not deserve an above average expected CTR score.

Quick tips for above average expected CTR:

  • Aim for specific keywords and customise your ad copy
  • Make sure your campaigns are not limited by budget

3. Landing Page Experience 

“If people click on my ad, will they enjoy the page I take them to?”

Imagine you’re having friends over, would you invite them into your home if the place was a mess, and you had no food or drinks prepared. Short answer is no!

It’s also important to make sure the page you’re landing the searchers on is related to the ad they clicked on. If someone clicks on your ad for domestic electrical services, why would I direct them to my sports field lighting page?


Quick tips for above average expected landing page experience:

  • Offer relevant content on the landing page
  • Make mobile and desktop navigation easy

Other than Google, no one knows exactly how much each component weights in calculating overall quality score. In fact, Google Ads account report only display generic “average”, “above average”, and “below average”. But we all know one thing for sure: if you can achieve a high quality score, Google will reward you with lower costs and higher ad rankings. 

Now we know what quality score is and the criteria used to provide this rating, but what is a good quality score?

What is a good Google Ads quality score?

In the beginning, Google automatically assigns a starting quality score of 6 (out of 10) for every new keyword you add to the account. This way, Google rewards you initially for setting up your Google Ads account.

A 5 is Google’s benchmark they are not rewarding you or penalising you. Anything below 5 is marked as “below average” and anything above 5 is marked as “above average”. From there, Google uses three factors (ad relevance, expected CTR, and landing page experience) to determine whether to add more points or to downgrade the keyword overall quality score.

But what impact do these scores actually have on my overall account performance? What is the benefit of investing time and money to achieve a higher quality score?

how the Google quality score affects your CPCSource: WordStream

The image above displays how quality score can impact your CPC or cost per click for your keywords. A 6/10 is Google’s initial quality score for your keywords, as your quality score increases, CPC decreases and vice versa. In other words, the higher your quality score is, the less you pay for advertising on Google.

This is Google’s way of punishing you if your ads are irrelevant, or rewarding you should you be providing searchers with a helpful experience for their search query.

Take a look at this example below:

There are 4 home service clients competing against each other in the same industry and in the same location. Let’s make them all electrical businesses (electricians) and they are all located in Brisbane.  In this example all our electricians are bidding for the same keyword.

BusinessMax BidQuality ScoreDiscount/ IncreaseActual CPCAd Rank*
Lightning Electrics$210– 50%$1.6120
Speed of Light$44+ 25%$3.0116
Wire Me$62+ 150%$4.0112
Sparky Home$81+ 400%$4.018

(*) Ad Rank = Max Bid x Quality Score. Your ad rank is what determines the position your ad will show in the search results page.

In the paragraph above we have discussed quality score and the positive or negative impact it can have on your account.

As you can see Lighting Electrics only has a max CPC bid of $2 for their keywords, where as Sparky Home budget is larger and they can afford a max CPC bid of $8. So therefore Sparky Home should achieve a better ad position as they have paid more, right?

Sparky Home quality score is significantly lower than Lightning Electrics. Therefore when their ad rank is calculated, Lightning Electrics although paying less achieves a higher ad rank over Sparky Home thanks to its high quality score. As a result, Lightning Electrics is saving money and achieving greater results than any of their competitors because they know and understand the importance of quality score.

Therefore in this example with all our electricians bidding on the same keyword, what would be there ad position on Google?  The Ad position would be decided by the business with the highest ad rank.  Therefore Lightning Electrics only bidding $2 would achieve the number 1 ad position with Speed of Light second, followed by Wire Me and then Sparky Home.  Proving how effective quality score can be in saving your business money as well as achieving the highest ad position possible.  Notice in the Actual CPC column of the table what the businesses pay for is not their max bid.  A high quality score also provides you with a discounted rate on your cost per click, whilst still achieving the first ad position.


Overall, a high Quality Score is a positive indicator that your ad campaign is meeting the needs and interests of your target audience. By continually monitoring and improving your Quality Score, you can drive more traffic to your website, increase conversions, and achieve your advertising goals. You cannot buy Google’s love for your account, you need to invest time into making sure the ads you’re providing are pleasing the three quality score criteria:

  1. Ad Relevance
  2. Expected Click Through Rate
  3. Landing Page Experience

A competitive max bid for your keywords is the final step and then watch the magic happen. It’s important to note your Google Ads account is like a living organism, it grows and needs attention every month to maintain its performance. A well managed account will provide you with the results you need to excel your business.

Read our blog “How to Calculate and Improve Google Ads Quality Score (Part 2)” about how Quality Score is calculated and how to improve it.

author avatar
Digilari Media