How To Use Historical QS To Diagnose Your Account

By Jeremy Page | @jerpage | Product Development Manager at Hanapin Marketing

It can get really frustrating when you seem to do everything right but Google doesn’t want to raise your Quality Score and you end up paying high bids for no apparent reason.


On the other hand, when you do manage to increase your QS to 10 for example, AdWords rewards you big time! Your traffic increases and your costs drop dramatically, but how do you know what change or series of changes lead to this breakthrough?


In short, you don’t know. Since AdWords doesn’t give any historical data on your quality score, and since quality score fluctuates quite a bit, it’s hard to see long-term trends in your quality score, especially when making major changes to an Account. So how do you get around that?


2 Ways To Track Your Historical Quality Score


1) AdWords Scripts – There are a few ways you can track your quality score, but the most popular methods are scripts or API services. The most complete AdWords script I’ve seen is from Martin Roettgerding at Bloofusion in Germany. This script tracks keyword quality scores over time and writes all values into a spreadsheet so that over time you’ll get a complete history.

If your account is relatively small then you’ll be able to run the script without running into AdWords limits, but if you have a larger account then this method may not work for you.

Many AdWords advertisers are still leery of using scripts because they don’t fully understand what the code says and thus what it is doing, but if you’re not one of them then maybe this is a good solution for you.


2) Using API Services – using a platform is a great way to tap into the AdWords API and track your keyword’s quality score and it’s easier than setting up a script. All you have to do link your AdWords account, then track the keywords that are most important to you. After 24 hrs have passed you can check in as needed to see your keywords quality and monitor changes over time.


Regardless of the method you choose, by tracking your keyword’s quality score you now have access to insights unavailable in AdWords and can easily see when your account was running at its most optimal level for quality score.


Use your quality score history as a check engine light


The goal isn’t to manage your account and optimize it for better quality score, but to use it as a diagnostic tool. Look at KPI’s like CTR, CVR, CPA, ROAS, and more to examine account performance because they’re direct indicators of the health of your account.


Since Google calculates a quality score for each of your keywords by looking at a variety of factors it’s best not to think of quality score as a key KPI, but a check engine light or warning light for your AdWords account to let you know there is an issue and help diagnose it.


What the check engine light means


If you see one of your keywords drop to a 5 from a 7 you know something happened to drop it to a 5. That simple change from 5 to 7 can mean quite a lot in terms of ROI if it’s a high traffic keyword and plays a key role in determining your ads position and how much you’ll pay for a click. If you’re not tracking your keywords quality score you’re left clueless as to when the change occurred.


By tracking your rockstar keywords quality score you can look at the history and know which areas to take a closer look at. If you see a negative change in your quality score here are a few areas to take a closer look into immediately:


CTR – (click through rate) is the most important and significant component of QS. There are loads of post on how to improve your CTR. One of my favorites is by @one800kayla, “How to Raise Your CTR From The Dead.

Ad Relevancy – Simplicity is the key: The ad copy should be interesting and appealing with a phenomenally strong call-to-action that catches the eyeballs of users. When a user will view his or her search words in the ad, he or she will think that this ad holds relevance.

Landing Page Relevancy – Is the landing page useful to the person who click on your ad? Is it relevant to what they’re searching for? In general the more relevant your landing page the higher your quality score. 

Landing Page Load Time – If you keep people waiting for your page to load they will simply press the back button and go elsewhere. Google penalizes slow websites by reducing their quality score.



Quality Score Points to remember:

  • Quality Score is being calculated every time a keyword takes part in an auction.
  • To calculate QS Google AdWords consider only Exact Match CTR of the Keyword. It means they do not consider clicks from phrase, broad and BMM search query. The CTR for calculating QS takes into account only clicks when the search query exactly matched the keyword.
  • Quality Score for a new keyword are based on average QS of all the competitors who are advertising using the same keyword.
  • Initial QS is not based on your campaign performance until you receive significant statistics. It takes significant impressions for QS for your keyword to be recalculated.
  • Quality score on display network exists but not visible in AdWords campaigns.