Barry Google – The Quality Score Shop Keeper (PPC)

We handle PPC accounts of all budgets and sizes, good Quality Score, regardless of your budget is what any PPC account manager should be seeking to get. From account structure, to keyword choice, ad copy and click through rates these metrics all impact and rely on quality score. Quality Score is essentially, googles own way of assessing relevance. The more relevant the ad to the keyword the higher the ad position you will get and the less you will have to pay for it. When we take over accounts that have been poorly managed they normally have terrible structure which drives poor quality score. We always let the client know what’s happening and in most cases a full account restructure is required. These words “full account restructure” sound drastic and expensive (it’s neither) and clients often ask us to explain why this is needed. To help, we came up with the below relatable explanation, that we thought we would share with you as it may help you understand what quality score is, and why it is so important.

So, imagine there is a corner shop, this shop doesn’t sell anything, the guy who works in that shop has one job, to direct people who come into his shop and ask a question to a more fitting shop that answers their question and gives them what they need. A guy called Barry runs this shop, first name Barry, last name Google.

Barry’s at work and someone walks in and asks where can I buy a power drill? Barry looks down to his desk where he has a directory of companies who have told Barry that they sell power drills. His directory has 3/4 at the top of the list. Barry always tends to send people to one of the top 4 on his list, because they’re normally the best companies to send people to.

Barrys list looks like this…

Best Companies

Barry knows that if he sends the customer to My tool shed, Cromwell or Amazon, that customer will get what they need and walk away from their experience happy, with both Barry and the supplier. Now that’s important, they’re walking away happy because they found what they were looking for from the supplier (landing page) and from Barry (google). Barry has a job to do, which is to send people to the best place for their search, if barry didn’t do that, people wouldn’t use barry and may go next door and use Jimmy “Bing”.

In the example, the companies who have rang and told barry they sell power tools, are in AdWords, companies bidding on the keyword “where can I buy a power drill”. They each send Barry a little description of their company which Barry reads and uses to make his decision as to where they go in his list, Barry has a list for every question and orders that list based on researching the companies website and description (ad) and working out how close these two match up to what his customer is looking for. Barry tends to send people to the one of the top 3 or 4 because based on years of experience doing this, it’s the top 3/4 in his list that give the customer the best experience and these customers come back and re use Barry again and again.


What does this mean?

Now, let’s put this back into the context of explaining quality score. Imagine someone walks in and asks Barry, “where can I buy an Armani watch”. Barry looks at his list and knows of ten companies who have rang and told him they sell Armani watches (bidding on that keyword). Barry has done a bit of research and can see that one companies advert would actually send this person to a page about wedding rings. Therefore, Barry knows if he were to send his customer looking for an Armani watch to this company and this wedding ring page, his customer would have a bad experience. They would most likely come back to Barry and say “Barry, I asked for an Armani watch and you sent me to look at wedding rings! I’m not using you again I’m going to see Jimmy Bing”. Just like that, Barry loses a customer and future revenue walks out the door.

Now, Barry does like to make money but he does need to keep his customers returning and reusing him whenever they need to find something. There is a compromise however, Barry rings the company who have a landing page about wedding rings and says this. “Look, i can’t put you at the top of my list when people ask for an Armani Watch if you leave things as they are. I’m letting you know so you can change it to be about watches. But, if you don’t want to change things then there is another way you could maybe get in my top 4. You can give me a “back hander” and pay a higher price (cost per click).”

What Barry has done here is say, right your not the most relevant and I may annoy my customers by sending them to you, but if you pay me a lot more money than the other people in my list, that’s the risk I’ll take and I’ll put you higher up.

Working this relatable example through enables you to establish some key facts about quality score:


  • The more relevant you are to what the search is the higher your ad position will be. ( The higher up Barrys list you will be as Barry likes to keep his customers happy).
  • The higher ad positions get more clicks because of a higher click through rate. (Barry tends to send people to one of the top 4 on his list and its normally number 1)
  • If you don’t have a good quality score and want more clicks you need a  higher ad position which you can get, but it will cost you more (You have to pay Barry a higher price for him to take the risk of annoying his customers by sending them to you).
  • Sometimes no “back hander” would be big enough for Barry, so he will never mention your business when a customer walks in his shop and asks him a question, even if he knows your business would like to have that customer sent your way. (You can’t always pay a higher price to get where you need to be, sometimes being more relevant is the only way).

Now, the holy grail of PPC which most business’ obviously want is the lowest cost per click and highest amount of clicks possible. This gets you maximum value for money out of your budget (provided they are targeted visitors). To get the highest amount of clicks you need a very high click through rate, this is achieved through good ad copy which is relevant and appears in high ad positions on google. The higher the ad position the higher the natural click through rate (remember Barry normally always sends to one of the top 4). You can either bid more per click to get that higher ad position and as a result the better click through rate OR you can be the most relevant business for that persons search. Given we’re looking to pay the lowest cost per click possible then the only option is to be the most relevant which means we must get the highest quality score possible!


What else does Quality Score tell us?

Quality Score as we now know is google giving us a “thumbs up”. Google is telling us via a 8/10 QS or above that this page is a really good fit for the keywords in this ad group. Now, let’s think about that for organic search. Google has essentially given us the green light, with the right backlinking strategy and with other factors assumed in good order (page speed, mobile friendly etc etc), Google is also telling us that this page would be in a good position to rank organically for these keywords too. Especially if the QS is 10/10. To get the 10/10 we have proved relevence and good click through rates, two key factors in googles ranking algorithm. If your campaign has keywords with 10/10 QS that provide solid leads/sales then it would be well worthwhile employing an SEO practicioner to utilise this page to gain organic search presence. The timescales to achieve great results will be significanlty reduced given the positive early indications shown by google.


How do we get the best Quality Score?

As we discussed in my last post. To get the best quality score you need:


  1. Good account structure
  2. Keywords relevent to your business segmented in themed ad groups – Note not to bid on keywords that have good volume but no relevance to you whatsoever, you will just pay more and lose money.
  3. Ad copy closely related to the keywords in the ad group in which the ad copy sits
  4. A landing page relating to the theme of the ad group, ad copy and keyword.

This needs to happen all the way through each account, campaign and ad group, whether its one campaign with 3 ad groups. Or 3 campaigns each with 50 ad groups. It is for this reason that account structure and optimisation is key to getting the most out of your budget and the best ROI possible.

If this now makes sense and your worried you don’t have a good quality score because you often appear below position 4 then contact us, we would love to give you a free PPC audit. Where possible, we also guarantee a positive return on investment, if we don’t deliver we won’t invoice you. We pride ourselves on being an honest PPC agency, no smoke and no mirrors and that’s exactly why we got in the game to help steer clients to success in this sometimes abused unregulated industry.