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AdWords Quality Score Can Now Be Reverse-Engineered

Having a high Quality Score is key when it comes to maximizing AdWords results. Previously it has been very difficult to work with Quality Score, as Google has not easily allowed you to diagnose all of the factors that make up Quality Score.

Recently Google changed its API making this possible, so we would like to share some valuable insights into Quality Score factors.

Why a high Quality Score is crucial?

Quality Score, ad extensions metrics, and your bid, are how Google determines your Ad Rank. Quality Score is the second biggest component of Ad Rank, with only your bid being more important.

When you raise your Quality Score, you can expect some of the following to happen:

  • Your average page position rises.
  • Your costs-per-click (CPCs) lowers.
  • Your CPCs decrease, and your average position rises.

You may also see your average page position increase and your average CPC lower, as you’re now beating a different company in the auction.

Overall, when you can’t raise your bid but you want to raise your average position, then the only thing you can do is increase your Quality Score.

The Quality Score factors

There are three main factors that make up Quality Score:

  • click-through rate (CTR),
  • ad relevance
  • keyword relevance
  • landing page experience.

Previously, it was very difficult (if not impossible) to see these factors for every keyword.

Reverse-engineering the Quality Score factors

Google recently launched the newest version of its API that allows optimizers to download each Quality Score factor individually. Along with its status (average, below average, above average) for every search keyword within the account. Meaning; we can now analyze (at scale) how Google weights the factors and determines the actual Quality Score.

To understand this formula, you need to understand how Google weighs each factor. You can look at the table below to see how many points you get based upon your Quality Score factor and how good it is:

Landing Page Experience Ad Relevance CTR
Above average 3.5 2 3.5
Average 1.75 1 1.75
Below average


The formula is simply: 1 + Landing Page Experience weight + Ad Relevance weight + CTR weight.

For instance, let’s say you have these factors:

  • Landing Page Experience:  average — 1.75 points
  • Ad Relevance:  above average — 2 points
  • CTR:  average — 1.75 points

Then your Quality Score is: 1 + 1.75 (LPE) + 2 (Relevance) + 1.75 (CTR) = 6.5. As Google doesn’t show fractions, this is rounded to a 7, which can be seen inside your API account.

Therefore, if you can improve your landing page experience or your CTR to above-average from average, your Quality Score would go up 1.75 points to an 8.25, which would be displayed as an 8.

Now that we know the weightings and the formula, we can also see the actual weightings. Meaning we can deconstruct, reverse engineer, and dial-in quality score like never before!

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