780-800-2328 Menu

Quality Score Curiosities

Frankly, I am confused by quality score. The majority of the time I find it pretty straightforward to manage – increase the relevance of ads, make more targeted ad groups, improve landing pages, and occasionally, increase bids – but sometimes I come across a puzzler.

But first a little back story:

Quality Score??????

It’s not just your bid that contributes to your ad’s position in Google search results. There is also the pesky quality score to deal with. Quality score takes a number of factors into consideration, meant ensure the overall quality of Adwords advertising.


[su_column width=”1/2″]

  • click through rate
  • keyword relevance
  • landing page quality and relevance


[su_column width=”1/2″]

  • ad relevance
  • historical performance



Quality score is displayed as a rating from 1-10 and a good quality score can result in better position for lower cost per click.

Seems super straight forward RIGHT?


Consider the following

Screen shot of confusing adwords quality score keywords

While digging into a creatively organized ad group the other day I came across this situation. You’ll notice in the screenshot above that each match type is in duplicate, the only differences being that one set has a Max Cost Per Click of $6.50 while the other is set at $6.25, and the apostrophe.

While the apostrophe might make a difference for the exact match keywords, it shouldn’t make a difference in phrase or modified broad match, so for the sake of consistency we’ll only look at those two sets of keywords. Leaving the bid as the only significant difference.>

So why is the bid resulting is such a disparity between quality scores? Not only are they showing a below average “expected click through rate” – which in my experience means “bid too low” – it’s also showing below average for ad relevance and landing page experience, both of which are exactly the same as the higher quality keywords.

So, I matched the higher bids – but this only improved the expected click through rate… as expected. Ad relevance and landing page experience both remained “below average.”


Aaaaaaaaaaaaand that’s all I’ve got. Anyone have insight into this quality score curiosity?