When Is It OK to Have Low-Quality-Score Keywords?

If you have a Google AdWords account, you likely know the role Quality Score plays in the success of your account.

Generally speaking, the higher your keywords’ Quality Scores, the more Google will like you. And the more Google likes you, the less it’ll charge you for your ads to appear in strong positions in the SERPs.

But there a few instances when low-Quality-Score keywords might actually be a good thing. Here are three situations when it’s OK to have low-Quality Score keywords:

  1. The keywords are bringing you a high return on investment.
  2. Your keywords’ Quality Scores may be below 4 or 5 (on a scale of 1 to 10), but if their associated ad is achieving a large net profit, you might want to tolerate those low Quality Score keywords. While your ad might be a little lower in the search results than you’d like, you are making good money.

    One possible explanation for your situation is that you have a low click-through rate, but a high conversion rate. Not a ton of people are clicking on your ad, but those who are are buying your product or registering for your free download. That must mean your ad copy is highly relevant to your offering.

  3. The keywords are valuable for branding.
  4. Maybe you’ve surveyed customers to see what keywords they think best describe your product or service. But for some reason, some of those keywords have low Quality Scores in your advertising campaign. You may not want to remove those keywords if you feel they are serving a significant branding purpose.

    Even though your click-through rates might be low, at least your ads are informing viewers about what you offer. And maybe those people are coming back at a later time to convert.

    One way to measure whether or not people are coming back is by looking at your view-through conversion statistics in your AdWords account. Your view-through conversion rate, for example, tells you the percentage of users who viewed an ad and neglected to click on it, but within 30 days went to the ad’s associated landing page and undertook the desired action.

  5. You are just starting an AdWords campaign.
  6. If you are just starting an AdWords campaign, it’s understandable that you have low-Quality-Score keywords. You are still learning about optimizing ads and landing pages, and have yet to put all your knowledge into practice. While some people might wish all their keywords had high Quality Scores from the start, others might see the benefit of not having a perfect campaign right away.

    Not having perfect Quality Scores initially means you will develop the good habit of doing your research and tweaking your campaign. If Google ever changes its Quality Score formula, or if you decide to advertise with another search engine, you will be well positioned to handle these changes. You will seek out information, and improve your campaign. But if you are used to having perfect Quality Scores that don’t require any effort, you will have a tough time adapting to new Quality Score rules.

About the Author

Christine Laubenstein is a Marketing Associate at WordStream, a provider of an advanced pay-per-click tool suite, designed to improve the performance of pay-per-click keywords in your AdWords campaign.