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Improve Quality Score and Search Ad Ranking [How-To Guide]

Paid Advertising

According to online advertising statistics in 2016, four out of five businesses use Google AdWords for their PPC campaigns, and that they earned approximately $3 for every $1.60 spent. Today, search advertising remains as an effective way to drive awareness, traffic, and conversions.

Search ads in Google are positioned at the top of search engine results pages (above organic results), so you don’t really have to worry about organic rankings. That being said, keep in mind Google still ranks your ads based on certain criteria. There’s a maximum of 4 search ads that brands can compete for, and your ad’s rank will determine where your ad is positioned as well as how much you’re paying for clicks.

Ad ranking can significantly affect your SEM campaign’s success, so it pays to be in the know.  

The Importance of Ad Ranking

Since multiple businesses use AdWords as part of their SEM campaigns, Google implemented AdRank to determine the order of how these paid ads would appear. Not only does AdRank help determine the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) of the advertiser and how prominently their ad will be displayed, it also affects your competitors’ CPC, since the charge for your own ad’s CPC partly depends on the ad rank of the competitor below you.


Traditionally, AdRank is calculated by multiplying your maximum CPC bid to the ad’s Quality Score. To get your CPC, get the AdRank of the Business or Person Below You and divide it by Your Quality Score, then add $0.01.

This equation also means that you get to influence the CPC of the competitor above your rank, and to win AdRank and have higher search rankings, you should start improving the Quality Score of your ads.

The Influence of Quality Score

Quality Score is a dynamic variable assigned to keywords in relation to PPC ads. A high Quality Score means that Google perceives your page as something that addresses the customers’ needs. And for that, you could be charged less for paid ads.

Factors affecting Quality Score include:

  • Expected click-through rate (CTR);
  • Ad relevance, or the relevance of the keyword to its ad group;
  • Landing page quality and its relevance and reputation to the ad and search query;
  • The relevance of the ad copy; and
  • Historical AdWords account performance

It’s been said that CTR is the most important component since a large number of clicks also means that a large number of users find the ad helpful, making CTR a strong indicator of the ad’s relevance and effectiveness.

Aside from ad rank and CPC, optimizing Quality Score also allows you to maximize your ROI. Quality Score is closely connected to cost-per-conversion—which is the amount you pay when a user converts or takes the action you want them to make. As much as possible, you want to have a low cost for both clicks and conversion, and a high Quality Score will give you just that.

So, if you want to improve both search ad ranking and Quality Score, make sure to implement these basic tips to your ad campaign.

  1. Keyword research and organization

Your keywords are the foundation of PPC, so make sure you’re selecting the right keywords, unless you want your ad and quality score to suffer. When you’re planning your keyword strategy, always include relevant long-tail keywords for more conversions.

Look to your web analytics and user behavior logs to find data for your keyword research. It will show you the actual words and phrases typically use to search for the products or services you offer. It’ll also show which keywords drive the most traffic and conversions. Identifying negative keywords is also essential, as irrelevant search terms may be wasting your budget.

To increase the relevancy of keyword to an ad, set up your campaign so that it comprises of multiple ad groups. Each ad group should contain only a small number of keywords that are highly relevant to each other. All keywords should also share semantics to a high degree if they are in the same group.

In addition, try to have more than two ad groups to maintain high relevancy. The right keyword organization will help you create more targeted ads and landing pages for your audience.

  1. Create and optimizing high-quality ads

Focus on ad copy that isn’t just closely related to your keywords, but also incorporates the keyword itself. This will not only increase the relevance of the keywords to the ads, but will also help increase expected CTR and ultimately, Quality Score. Don’t forget to test out and refine your copy as needed.

  1. Optimize landing page copy

For obvious reasons, the keywords used on your corresponding landing page should be highly relevant to the copy used in the ad itself. However, don’t forget that you’re writing for real people, and not for Google. Think about the user’s needs first and foremost.

Designing a customized landing page for each ad group may seem like a lot of work, but it will help increase relevancy for increased conversions.

  1. Reduce load time for landing pages

No one likes staying on a page that’s taking too long to load, and that is why landing page load time has become an essential factor in determining Quality Score.

When testing your landing pages, use a tool like Page Speed to check the load time and speed of your landing pages. Meta refreshes, slow redirects, multiple redirects, interstitial pages, slow servers, and large page size are just some of the usual suspects behind slow loading time.

  1. Learn and monitor Quality Score factors

As mentioned, multiple considerations must be met to obtain the ideal Quality Score. Aside from these, you may also have your own depending on the nature of your business and your campaign’s end goal.

A simple way to monitor the factors—whether they have been met or are yet to be met—is by creating a Quality Score Chart. There are standard charts available online or better yet, create your own.

Some businesses or marketers may think that paid ads are an express lane for higher clicks, conversions, and ROI. But the truth is, setting up effective paid ads is a meticulous and time-consuming process that requires methodical planning, setting up, and structuring.


There are plenty of things to think about when you’re creating an optimized ad for your target buyers. Be sure to keep an eye out for any changes that Google may implement in the future. Finding out quickly enables you to act quickly so that your business doesn’t end up lagging behind the competition.

Want to focus on your business? Spiralytics search engine marketing in the Philippines can manage the performance of your ads.

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