Google Ads are an excellent way for contractors to reach a broader range of clients through targeted, paid advertisements. However, costs for competitive keywords can rack up quickly, so it’s essential to ensure you’re getting the best possible return on your investment.
If you’ve ever used Google Ads, you’ll have seen the quality score available for individual keywords and ad groups. Understanding how to improve your Google Ads quality score can ensure you get the best possible value for money from your pay-per-click campaign.
Whether you’re just dipping your toe into pay-per-click advertising or have experience running Google Ads for plumbers and other contractors, this guide will get you started on improving your score and getting better ad prices.
What Is Quality Score?
Google uses a quality score to determine how relevant and informative your ad is based on the keyword you choose. The system ranks your ad from one (the worst) to ten (the best), and this score can impact your bid price, as well as your ad’s Ad Rank.
As with most aspects of Google’s ranking system, much of what goes into a Google Ads quality score is speculation. While not confirmed by Google, some marketers believe that Google Ads uses up to seven types of ratings to determine your overall quality score. According to these sources, these include:
- Account-level quality score
- Ad group quality score
- Keyword-level quality score
- Ad-level quality score
- Landing page quality score
- Google Display Network quality score
- Mobile quality score
Since many of these scores are impossible to track using your dashboard, focus on the quality score you can see. Improving your keyword quality score will help you produce the best ad possible for every keyword you choose. Since ads with a high-quality score will do better than ones with a lower-quality score, having a good ad should naturally improve your hidden Google Ads account-level quality score.
The Components of Google Quality Scores
When it first launched in 2005, Google’s AdWords quality score ranking system only had three ratings: “Poor,” “OK,” and “Great.” The quality score formula has evolved dramatically over time and now includes numerous factors to create the number you see on the screen.
Google uses three main factors when calculating keyword-related quality score:
- Ad relevance
- Expected click-through rate
- Landing page experience
The platform assigns each of these components with a score of “below average,” “above average,” and “average” when compared to your competitors’ performance over the last 90 days. The platform then combines all of these rankings into an overall quality score ranging from one to ten.
Understanding how Google uses these quality score components to determine quality score can help you tailor your ads, which improves ad relevance, and ensures your ad reaches as many customers as possible while reducing costs per click. The lower your cost, the higher the return on investment on your PPC campaign.
However, just like many other Google ranking factors, it’s important to note that Google’s algorithm changes regularly, and it may start weighting certain components differently. It’s vital to use your Google Ads interface to keep track of an ad’s quality score over time to see if you need to make changes during the lifespan of an ad campaign.
The best way to improve your quality score is to ensure your ad matches the keywords in the user’s search. For instance, if you’re a plumber advertising drain cleaning services, you need to ensure your ad does not come up for users looking for chemical drain cleaners, as that isn’t an ad relevant to the user’s search query.
Improving ad relevance can be challenging, especially if you choose ambiguous keywords that have multiple meanings. A higher quality score means your ads relate closely to the keywords, while a lower score may imply that your ad is too general or that the keyword doesn’t apply to your business.
Expected Click-Through Rate
The expected click-through rate (CTR) is the estimate of how many people will click on your ad during a keyword search. Google uses historical performance to estimate the CTR for your new ad.
Landing Page Experience
Getting a user to click your ad is only the first stage of the conversion process, and it’s vital to have a landing page that matches users’ search queries. For instance, if your keyword is “emergency plumber near me,” make sure the landing page goes to your emergency plumbing service and not your normal contact form.
Google uses metrics like your landing page’s bounce rate and site speed to determine the landing page experience score, so be sure to focus on these to increase this rating.
Why Is Your Google Ads Quality Score Important?
The Google quality score is a measure of how relevant your ads and landing pages are to your user search queries. Since the main thing that attracts customers to Google is knowing that the search engine will deliver informative content and irrelevant products and services, Google has a strong incentive to ensure Google Ads deliver the same high-quality results.
Your score also influences other aspects of your PPC campaign, such as whether you can even bid on a keyword, and your ad rank, which is the ad position your ad will appear in during a user keyword search. Trying to bid on low-quality score keywords can become extremely expensive, and if your score is too low, you may not even be able to bid on that keyword, leading to lost time and effort.
Google uses the following calculation to determine ad rank:
Ad rank = Cost-per-click bid x Quality Score
What this quality score formula means is that your quality score affects your ranking about as much as how much you pay per click. This allows contractors with a modest budget to remain competitive and secure high-placing ads simply by focusing on ad quality instead of price. The same principle applies to Google Display Network placement-targeted ads.
While having a low-quality score may have consequences for your ad performance, it can be a useful diagnostic tool too. It’s crucial to remember that a quality score in Google isn’t an objective statement of your ad quality but rather a comparison of how your ad does when compared to your competitors for a particular keyword.
As long as you keep your score relatively high, you can rest assured that you’re ahead of other plumbers and contractors in your area. The higher your score for the same keyword, the better your landing page relevance and the higher the likelihood of attracting and converting leads.
How to Improve Quality Score for Google Ads
Quality scores have a lot of moving parts, which means that improving your score may mean working through many components of your ads and overall PPC strategy. Since Google uses historical performance for some of its major ranking factors, the sooner you improve your quality scores across the board, the easier it will be to maintain a good quality score for your next set of ad groups and keywords.
Keyword, Ad Group, and Campaign Organization
Ad group structure is essential to the overall success of your PPC campaign and can affect quality score dramatically, as it influences relevance.
Granular ad groups are more likely to be relevant than if you simply grouped all the keywords you want together. By having a diverse range of different ad groups, you can create targeted ads that appeal to the services that people need. Unlike luxury purchases, most people know exactly what they need when they search for contractor services, Google does not restrict the number of ad groups you can use. Take advantage of that fact to create multiple ad groups of similar keywords, and even consider using a single keyword ad group if necessary.
For instance, if you’re a plumber offering a diverse range of services in several locations, it would be more effective to create granular ad groups based on both service and location rather than simply having an ad group for a service, regardless of location.
You can also opt for single keyword ad groups for emergency services since users looking for these services are probably not looking for other plumbing or contractor work.
Creating relevant ad groups for closely-related keywords is great for people looking for specific search terms. It ensures they reach the relevant landing pages and can improve your overall Google quality score.
Write High-Quality, Compelling Copy
It’s true for search engine optimization, and it’s true for ad copy — excellent writing and compelling copy are essential for creating strong ads that attract and convert leads.
While the days of using the same keywords over and over are gone, it’s still essential to strategically use your keywords in your ad copy. A simple way of doing so is to include your best-performing keywords in the ad’s title and description. You can even consider adding the keyword to your landing page’s URL for extra relevance.
The main benefit of using strong keywords in the ad’s title, ad copy, and description is that it entices potential customers to click your link, which improves your click-through rate.
The key to strong tailored ad copy is to make your keyword use sound natural. Take advantage of broad-match keywords, as they tend to capture a wider audience than exact-match or phrase-match options. You can then use more targeted keywords in the ad text to get natural-sounding, compelling ads.
Diversify Ad Formats
If you’re sticking to traditional ad formats, consider adding alternatives, such as responsive search ads to an ad group. Responsive search ads allow you to add more headlines and descriptions to each ad group. Google will test various permutations of these headlines and descriptions to identify which ones work best for particular search terms, doing the hard work of researching combinations for you.
Another option is to add dynamic keyword insertion, which adds the users’ search terms to your headline, adding relevant keywords without affecting the overall targeting of the ad group.
Include Relevant Ad Extensions
While Google ad extensions do not directly affect your quality score, they can impact factors like your CTR. Google extensions are diverse, and it’s vital to choose the right ones for each ad group.
Include Negative Keywords
Adding negative keywords is a great way of increasing relevance, as it filters out any non-relevant searches. For instance, if you have “drain cleaning” as your main keyword, adding “DIY” as a negative keyword ensures only people who want plumbing services will see your ad.
As with any keyword, adding negative keywords is a mixture of art and science. Use various research keyword tools to identify the best keywords to target and the correct negative keywords to add for specificity.
Review Campaigns Regularly
Google created the quality score as a diagnostic tool to help marketers and contractors to identify issues with their ads. Tracking your quality score across various interventions and improvements will help you identify what works and what doesn’t, helping improve your Google quality score and reap the benefits of better ad rank and relevant ads and landing pages.
Create a Strong Landing Page
As a contractor, you need to view landing pages as your best chance of securing a conversion. This means having forms, contact details, and strong calls to action, as well as ensuring every landing page corresponds to its keyword.
Landing page quality and having your keywords correspond to the relevant landing page is essential to increase your quality score and provide more relevant ads for your customers.
Optimize Your Quality Score with Relentless Digital
As a contractor, you want to spend as much time as possible working with clients and less time learning about long-tail keywords and SEO.
Fortunately, our experts at Relentless Digital are here to help. We provide personalized digital marketing services to contractors ranging from plumbers to HVAC technicians and roofers. If you want to take your business to the next level and learn more about Google ranking factors, contact us at (262) 727-8125 to schedule a meeting with our marketing team today!