The Ultimate Guide to Quality Scores for Home Services Marketers
Welcome to “The Ultimate Guide to Quality Scores for Home Services Marketers.” If you’re a home services advertiser looking to maximize the effectiveness of your digital advertising campaigns and drive more leads, understanding Quality Scores is essential. Quality Scores play a vital role in determining the success and visibility of your ads, ultimately influencing your return on investment (ROI) and overall business growth.
Quality Scores are historically somewhat of an elusive metric provided to advertisers. Previously, they were viewed as a 1-10 ranking for each keyword calculated behind a Wizard of Oz-esque Google algorithm wall.
But don’t worry; today, we will be pulling back the curtain and revealing all of the wizard’s secrets so you can see how you can improve your home services paid advertising campaigns. We’ll cover the fundamentals, dive into the factors that influence Quality Scores, and provide you with expert strategies to improve them.
Whether you’re new to digital advertising or looking to optimize your existing campaigns, this blog post will equip you with the knowledge and tools to enhance your ad performance and achieve better results.
Understanding how Quality Scores are calculated can help you optimize your accounts to maximize your lead volume and save you money! It’s a win-win, really.
SO, WHAT EVEN ARE QUALITY SCORES?
Unsurprisingly, in a world where profits lead everything, Google will reward advertisers who make their entire customer journey easy, cohesive, and valuable. In a nutshell, if you make your ad experience better than your competitors, you will enter the ad auctions at a much more competitive level (because you will drive more clicks, which is how Google gets its money)!
According to Google, “Quality Scores are a diagnostic tool meant to give you a sense of how well your ad quality compares to other advertisers.” This detail is very important to keep in mind. Quality Scores are diagnostic and not a KPI. These scores should serve as a north star in terms of where you prioritize optimizations, but not the end-all-be-all for performance evaluation. The Quality Score scale is 1-10, with 10 being the best. As shown in the graphic below, depending on where your individual keywords score, the subsequent CPC levels can fluctuate pretty heavily in the bidding process. An overall Quality Score below 5 means you’ll actually end up paying more per click, while a score over 5 means you will pay less, with a score of 5 being a neutral benchmark.
Now for the curtain pulling. How are Quality Scores calculated? Well, Google uses multiple factors in its algorithm to create these scores, including historical performance, keyword relevancy, overall account health, expected CTR, landing page experience, and ad relevance, among others. However, there are “The Big 3” in terms of the most impactful and directly related of these compounding factors to focus on in your optimizations:
Expected Click-Through Rate
Landing Page Experience
Each component is evaluated with a status of “Above average,” “Average,” or “Below average.” These labels are available to view by selecting the appropriate segments under the “modify columns” option at the keyword level within the engine. You can add a historic option for each segment as well.
These rankings are based on a comparison with other advertisers who have been showing ads for the exact same keyword over the last 90 days. The higher your ranks, the better Google has deemed your ad and landing page cohesion and utility, thus resulting in a higher ranking Quality Score.
Let’s get into the big 3!
1. AD RELEVANCE
Ad Relevance shows you how relevant your ads are to the intent behind the keywords users are searching. Since we have a limited number of headlines in each Google Ad, not all of our keywords in each ad group are going to be included in those headlines. However, rotating ad copy, including underperforming keywords in your headlines and descriptions, or creating additional RSAs could help improve any “below average” ranks.
A lot of poor ranks occur when ad group separation is limited. You can avoid this by breaking ad groups down into relevant “categories” to show the most relevant ad copy for each product, service, etc.
For example, let’s say you’re a services business generating leads for new HVAC systems, and one of your top converting keywords is “HVAC installation Austin.” If someone searches with that same intent and your ad’s headline, description, and even URL contain the same or similar keywords, you’re creating a cohesive experience from start to finish. If you have multiple services being offered by your business, you could break out your campaign and ad group strategy to segment each variation so that you can apply the most appropriate keywords to each ad.
As you QA your Ad Relevance ratings, this is where you may find room to possibly review if your segmentation aligns with your ad copy enough, consolidate keywords or introduce broad match keywords, or even leverage Dynamic Keyword Insertion if you aren’t already.
Important Note: Competitor keywords often won’t be included in ad copy and therefore will likely have lower ranks. You’ll want to focus your efforts on your top converting non-competitor keywords.
2. EXPECTED CLICK-THROUGH RATE
Expected CTR (click-through rate) refers to the likelihood that your ad will be clicked on when shown. To improve your Expected CTR, try using strong calls to action with words like “Learn More, Contact Us, Browse, Find, Try, Get a Quote, or Sign Up.” You can also follow lead gen best practices like ensuring your ads appeal to your target audience, implementing various ad extensions, and highlighting what makes your product or service different from competitors (free quotes, anyone?).
Expected CTR also follows closely with the best practices we just covered for Ad Relevance. The goal with all of our Quality Score optimizations is to create a cohesive user experience from the initial search to the ad click to the landing pageform submission.
For example, if you are searching for “plumbing services near me,” would you rather be served an ad with a generic headline of “Professional Plumbing Services” or a more tailored one like “Trusted Local Plumbers?” Which would you think would have the most appropriate information, given your intent? Which would you click? These are all important questions to ask yourself as you set up your ads and account structure.
Now about that last part… the landing page!
3. LANDING PAGE EXPERIENCE
Landing Page Experience refers to a user’s experience when going through the Google Ads journey. Essentially, it’s how relevant and useful your landing page is to people who click your ad. Google will crawl the landing page to see if any version of a searched keyword is included in the content on the page (including headlines, subheadlines, content, images, etc.). They do this because, in a perfect world, that specific search term would lead to a page that has additional information about the searched term. The exact keyword doesn’t need to exist on the page per se, but the overall experience should reflect what the user is searching for.
Consistency is key. This might mean adding new, relevant, keyword-focused content directly to the landing page or changing your landing pages depending on the campaign/ad group (product-specific). I recommend adding or refreshing underperforming Quality Score keywords into the content on the landing page quarterly.
You’ll also want to make sure the page follows through on the ad’s offer or call to action (no one should get hoodwinked after clicking on your ad). If you’re serving for “new window installation,” you should serve an ad with copy that is specifically applicable to window installation and then lead to a landing page that has more relevant information about window installation.
Important notes: Loading speed and mobile friendliness also factor into the overall landing page experience. Also, if you’re running a promo in your ad copy, make sure you include the promo at the top of your landing page so that when a user clicks through, they immediately see the offer repeated.
OPTIMIZATIONS IN ACTION
Reviewing Quality Scores allows us to 1) potentially boost performance for our top-performing keywords, and 2) improve our keywords that have the potential to be top performers but are currently held back by low rank. In conjunction with our other KPIs, Quality Scores help tell a clearer story of what is really going on inside the accounts.
Another important aspect to consider is your Impression Share ranking. By reviewing your account’s Impression Share performance, you can see exactly what percentage of impressions you may be losing due to budget or rank, as well as how your account stacks up against competitors going after similar clicks. Typically, improving your Quality Scores will help improve your lost impressions due to rank. By improving your ranks in the 3 main categories Google looks at when computing their scores, you can work towards closing the gap and gaining additional impression share that you may be currently missing out on.
The goal is to improve CTR, CVR (conversion rate), CPC (cost-per-click), and CPA (cost per acquisition) while hopefully gaining incremental leads!
In a few large lead gen accounts where we have implemented Quality Score-focused strategy optimizations, we immediately saw performance improvements.
Read the Customer Success Story
Learn how we helped a home services client improve Quality Scores and increase leads by 66%.
Pulling back the curtain surrounding Google’s Quality Scores and learning to optimize towards them can seem intimidating, but it can be such a useful tool in your PPC toolbelt. In the marketing world, where everything can seem rigged against you, it’s time to take the reigns and maximize your home services leads.
Not only will you have a deeper understanding of your account’s overall health, but you can reach the untapped potential within your current structure. No account will ever have perfect 10s across the board, but learning to use these scores as a compass to diagnose areas that may be holding you back is extremely worthwhile.
By optimizing our Google Ads strategy based on Quality Scores, Adlucent has seen account health metrics improve, including cheaper CPCs, fewer limited keywords, higher CTRs, reduced CPAs, and higher impression share rankings, to name a few! Stay ahead of the game by subscribing to our digital marketing blog for more performance insights like this.
Think your business could benefit from the Adlucent lead generation team? We’d love to hear from you!
Hi! I’m Maddie Steinohrt. I have been working in Marketing for over 6 years with a focus in lead generation across entertainment, real estate, and services. I joined the Adlucent team in 2022 and have loved being a part of our lead generation expansion and account growth.
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