Quality Score vs. Click Through Rate (CTR)

by Mike Tyler | November 16, 2020

Let’s face facts; when it comes to most companies you know, their landing pages have you and other potential viewers like Matt Damon in The Martian.

Stranded, directionless, and hoping help comes quickly.

And if that’s the case, you can bet that many companies’ ads and keyword campaigns are reflective of the state of their landing page, too!

When it comes to your overall marketing efforts, the name of the game is quality.

Specifically, your quality score! We’ve gone over the importance of your quality score in regards to your AdWords choices and advertising efforts, but have you ever considered the importance of your quality score related to your click through rating (CTR)? Or vice versa?

…Did you know that there even was a relation?

It’s okay — that’s literally the reason we’re here. Not only will we delve into why your quality score relates to your overall click-through rating, but will reveal 3 things you can do right now to improve both.


Quality, and Quantity

So, what exactly is a quality score?

By definition, quality score refers to the “quality of ads, keywords, and landing page.” Traditionally a higher quality score leads to lower ad prices (aka saving $$$ on your ad budget for bigger, better things), and better ad positioning on Google’s Search Engine.

A high quality score ensures that Google is doing what it was designed to do: create a great user experience that leads you directly to your search query.

Quality scores range from 1-10 and can be determined from the “Keyword Analysis” part of your AdWords account (in a general sense). To increase your quality score, the general guideline is that the more relevant your ads and landing pages are to a user, the higher the likelihood that your keywords match their search query — leading to a higher quality score.

Of course, there are a number of other factors leading to a better quality score, including a higher expected click-through rating.

Photo by Mike Tyler on War Room Inc

Click-Through Ratings For Optimized Landing Page

In terms of boosting your quality score, an optimized click-through-rating (CTR) leads to an optimized landing page, and is one of the strongest metrics in doing so.

According to Wordstream’s internal studies:

“If you look at a plot between CTRs and their respective Quality Scores, you will see the relationship between the two takes on a logarithmic trend rather than a linear one.  This means that as click-through rate increases, it has less and less of an impact on your Quality Score. In economics, we call this the law of diminishing returns.”

Although a quality score can drastically change over the course of a day, it’s important to know that having an optimized CTR can help to not only mitigate fluctuations but improve your overall score.

When the CTR increases for a specific keyword, it’s likely that the quality score will increase respectively. However, a higher average ad position for a keyword without a rise in CTR can either leave quality score unchanged, or lower.

Keep in mind that when Google is calculating your quality score, it’s using the expected click-through rating, based on projected rankings for specific keywords! All in all, do your research, since the expected rating differs from the actual click-through rating achieved.

Additionally, it’s still possible to have a quite high quality score with a low CTR, due to the fact that Google considers a myriad of factors when it comes to calculations – ad positioning, long-tail keyword usage, ad extensions, etc.

Improve CTR, Improve Quality Score!

Quick! 2 ways to improve your expected CTR, in the hopes of boosting your quality score and saving you $$$ on ad budgeting (and ensuring your viewers are finding what they’re looking for):

Choose low-competition keyword phrases–as you could have guessed, high competition keyword phrases mean that you’re paying more for what’s in high demand, and what the market is saturated with already in terms of keywords.

If you’re an electronics retailer, why compete with the keywords that Apple, Dell and other heavy-hitters are using? Go the low-competition route, to ensure that your niche keywords are selected and not competed against for a better return. Think about what the consumer would be searching for, realistically, from their point of view.

Optimize your ad copy with keyword phrases–often times we consider the impact of keywords within headlines or sub-headers, but consider loading ad copy with keywords (low-competition ones, ideally) in order to improve CTR and the likelihood of viewers searching your page.

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