Talking Quality Score with Frederick Vallaeys

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 in Social, The PPC Show [Podcast] | 3 Comments
Talking Quality Score with Frederick Vallaeys

We’ve been honored to have some amazing guests on PPCPodcast this year. What started out as a fledgling idea, slowly swept over the team. The podcast matured from a dorm-level production grade, to high quality mics, opening music, an incredible roster of industry leaders.

While there were many great moments, the interview with Frederick Vallaeys, CEO of Optimyzer, was my absolute favorite. Among colleagues and industry friends, there’s been a continual debate over which elements influence AdWords Quality Score. “Does account level Quality Score actually exist? How much weight does your landing page affect the calculation of your score?”

It’s fascinating to hear from an early AdWords team member, reveal insights into the thought process and methodology used to formulate one of the most misunderstood AdWords metrics. I find myself relistening to the interview, and catching new takeaways each time. Below, are some of the best snippets from the podcast.

What is Quality Score and how does it work?

It’s one of the 3 factors that goes into determining your ad rank. Fundamentally, Quality Score is click through rate. Back in the day, Google used a simple equation to calculate ad rank:

Max CPC bid x CTR = ad rank

Quality Score is a huge factor in how much you pay and how many clicks you will receive.

What are the most important factors in building a good Quality Score?

There are 3 key factors.

    1.  Historical CTR

On Google Search, when the keyword matches exactly to the query, what is the CTR.

    2. Relevancy factors

Predictive CTR looking at auction time signals. If you have certain factors, how do they correlate with CTR.

Example: If you have advertisers who have a billing address in the United States, but have a searcher’s IP address in Canada, does that affect CTR?

    3. Landing page quality

How many times should the keyword be mentioned in the ad text?

Adding keywords in your ad copy is a good thing, but don’t focus on it too much. Just make sure the ad stands out.

What are some pro-tips to increase your Quality Score?

If you can boost your click through rate, that’s what matters the most. Ultimately, it’s what makes Google money. Essentially, Quality Score is the calculation of different ways that Google can calculate CTR in different situations.

Focus on:

  1. Tightly structured ad groups
  2. Multiple ad texts
  3. No more than 30 keywords in an ad group
  4. Take advantage of all your ad extensions

What doesn’t impact Quality Score?

  • Keyword match types
  • Negative keywords

What’s a good Quality Score?

New keywords start at a Quality Score of 6. If your keyword remains at 6, I’d leave it, if it drops below 6, and you can’t make it better you might want to remove it from your account.

Is there an account level Quality Score?

There is no published number. But Quality Score is a learning algorithm. A learning system needs to rely on bigger signals when it doesn’t have enough data about a specific element. If Google doesn’t know how this ad text will perform against this keyword, they may look at the advertiser across the account and is the performance good or worse than average, and based on that they can set a base level Quality Score.

Listen to the full podcast:



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Michael McEuen

Director of Marketing at AdStage. Social ads convert, and perpetual tinkerer. B2B pipeline generation is my jam.

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  • PPCSpecialist

    I agree with all of these points except one, removing anything below a five. In some cases there are keywords that fit multiple industries which challenges the issue of relevancy. The mathematic formulas can’t favor one over another since it’s dependent on the intent behind the query. In these cases, there is likely to never be a high quality score. Your best bet is to accurately target the niche within the multiple definition space to capture the market share you’re looking for.

    In these specific cases, a 5 could be considered a strong quality score. And while it’s beneficial to monitor, if you have a quality score of 2 but convert at 50% then why would you delete the keyword? I think the logic here is flawed on this specific point as there are too many examples of this just not being the end all be all on deleting a keyword.


    • Michael McEuen

      Thanks for writing in! You’re absolute correct, at the end of the day it’s all about return.

      In fairness to Frederick, I perhaps distilled that quote down too much. In the podcast, he elaborates that while QS is very important, it’s ROAS that ultimately matters. Giving the example of a client he had who couldn’t shake a QS of 1 on a core keyword, but despite the score, it was still profitable, and they should keep advertising using the keyword.

      The mention of a QS of 6 as a benchmark (average) helps clear up confusion, where some advertisers believed that anything less than 7 was poor.

      • Thanks for clarifying what I said Michael! PPCSpecialist is right that ROAS should come before QS.