How the Google Quality Score is Like Your Credit Score and How to Improve It

Google Quality Score like a Credit Score

Even at the most rudimentary level of personal finance 101, you understand that your credit score directly correlates with how much stuff costs you. In the head-to-head battle of a 400 against an 800 rating, the high number wins every time. And the prize is good ‘ol fashion money—in the form of purchase clout, credit opportunity, and lower interest rates. Your Google Quality Score can, likewise, harm or help your bottom line finances. Here are a few ways your Quality Score can impact your Google Ads accounts and how comparing it to your credit score might help you make sense of it.

It’s All About the Numbers

Of course it is. In your credit score, it’s from 300 to 800, representing bad, fair, good and excellent credit. For a Google Quality Score, it’s 1 to 10, and the numbers are aggregated from scores given for ad relevance, landing page experience and anticipated clickthrough rate. In both cases, the closer you are to the top number, the better.

Your History Matters

Just like your personal credit history needs to be built over time, your quality score can’t hit the highest mark overnight. Think back to your teenage self. It may have felt awesome to land that first department store credit card, so you may not have even noticed, but it was more a win for the store than for you. You likely got a tiny bit of credit at a stupid high interest rate. That’s because the store considered your lack of credit history as a risk. Same goes for Google. The search engine looks at your length of time on the platform. Longer is better. Well-performing campaigns that have stood the test of time count way more than high bids and low performance.

Great Performance Can Trump Time

On the other hand, if you come into Google Ads and simply crush it, Google will notice. You’re bidding well, your ads make sense, and your click-through-rate is great. These metrics matter. It’s just like when you repeatedly pay your bills before the due date, keep how-much-you-owe far below how-much-you-own, and refuse to max out your credit limit.

Monitor Accounts and Fix Mistakes

A damaged credit score can be made well first and foremost by paying attention. Small errors, like your name being spelled incorrectly or credit listed as “closed by grantor” instead of “closed by lender” can hit your credit hard. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant. Same goes with Google. Although the search engine gives you plenty of ways to set up accounts and put them on cruise control, that ship will crash into the rocks if you take your hand off the rudder. You need to be vigilant about your bids and the user experience. You should test and tweak, optimizing for results on a regular basis. You need to monitor how your ads and keywords perform—constantly—and adjust them when they head off course.

Beware of Cancelling Accounts

After missteps on the credit front, you may be hot for a reset, ready to cancel accounts and start from scratch. But canceling credit you don’t use can backfire. With Google Ads, it can also be a bad idea. Remember that notion of building a history? If you just cancel poor performing keywords and ad groups when things aren’t rosy, you won’t have an historical presence. That’s not to say there isn’t a time to cut ties with bad ideas; but instead of throwing them out in one fell swoop, take pause—both figuratively and literally—and try to optimize first. There will be plenty of time to dump those poor performing campaigns and keywords if need be.

But Does it Really Matter?

Ask the guy with a 775 credit score who puts down 5 percent for a half a million dollar home and snags a 3.5 percent interest rate if a good credit score matters. Over the course of his loan he’s going to save more than a hundred thousand dollars over someone forced to put down 20 percent at a 6 percent rate. For personal finances, a good credit score gives you access to more money, at lower interest rates. It can also mean a lower down payment on big purchases.

A good quality score from Google can also save you money. Because it has a direct impact on cost-per-click, and because some keywords are outrageously expensive, you can burn through your budget in a matter of days with a significantly bad quality score. Unfortunately though, there is no magic formula that will tell you exactly how much a score of 8 will save you over a score of 2. Quality Score pundits note only that the higher the scores, the more savings there seems to be between incremental moves upward. That means moving from a 2 to a 3 may not give you a huge break on your first page bids, but moving from a 7 to 8, definitely could.

How to Improve your Google Quality Score

According to Google, Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages over time. The search engine maintains that every algorithmic update it makes is to benefit the user experience. That means your ads need to attract the users’ attention, induce them to click, and provide a good experience when they reach your landing page. And while that may seem a simplistic account of a complicated process, it speaks to common sense. Build out quality content with messaging that resonates. If it doesn’t, change it. Pay attention to users’ clicks. If they don’t, go back to those ads. What small changes could you make to get them to click? Sometimes it’s as simple as changing out the color on your call-to-action button. Or maybe the image in the ad doesn’t connect with your target demographic. Revise. As to your landing page, if users aren’t taking the next step you want, change the look and feel of the page. Think like the user. Be the user. Just like Google wants you to.

Easy peasy.

Or not so easy at all. That’s why you may need help from the experts at ESM Digital. Contact us today and we’ll explain how to improve your Quality Score and get results you can measure.

~Linda Emma