Brad Geddes / PPC Geek
Official Google Ads Seminar Leader.
Author of Advanced Google AdWords.
Co-Founder, Adalysis.
(703) 828-5811‬
Brad Geddes's Theories on Marketing Avoid the Downward Quality Score Spiral

Avoid the Downward Quality Score Spiral

My rule (and like all rules there are exceptions) is that if your quality score is 6 or below; stop raising bids and start working on quality score.

However, I keep receiving the question: Outside of cost and position; why is quality score so important?

Here’s the answer.

First, take a look at this list of what quality score actually affects in your account:

Quality Score ???

  • If your ad is eligible to be shown in the auction
  • What position your ad will be displayed on the search page
  • The price you pay for the click
  • If products extensions will be displayed with your ad
  • If sitelinks will be displayed with your ad
  • If location extensions will be displayed with your ad
  • If your ad is eligible to be displayed in the top spot above the natural results
  • If dynamic keyword insertion will work

Not working on quality score can put a keyword into a negative spiral.

Ad rank (where your ad is displayed in the search results) is a simple formula: ad rank = QS X Max CPC.
Ads are shown in descending order of ad rank (the highest ad rank is position 1, the second highest ad rank is position 2, etc)

Let’s say your paying $2 per click with a quality score of 4. This means your ad rank is 8.

Now let’s say that your competition is bidding $1 with a quality score of 7. This means their ad rank is a 7.

At this point in time your ad appears higher in the search results.

However, with a 4 quality score your ad does not show DKI, it does not show product extension ads, in fact the ad displayed on the SERP is identical to what you see inside your account as none of the ad ‘add-ons’ will be displayed with your ad.

Your competition’s ad, with a 7 quality score, is showing extensions (this could be product or location extensions) and looks nicer on the SERP than your ad. So what happens? Your CTR goes down and theirs goes up.

This causes your quality score to drop even more.
And their quality score to rise.

Over time, their ad starts showing above your ad even through their bid is half of yours.

Then the next advertiser below you has a 7 quality score and their ad is showing product extensions….

The cycle repeats itself until your ad just stops showing because of low quality score reasons.

Spending a little time working with quality score each week might not always result in increasing all of your quality scores; but it will help keep you from falling into a downward spiral.

If you need quality score help; our new training site will have tutorials on quality score as well as a tool where you can quickly see where inside your account you should spend your time optimizing your quality scores.

No Comments

  1. matze
    May 29, 2010 at 8:45 am · Reply


    wow great. Yet another awesome article on the Quality Score from your side. Thanks 🙂

    What is particularly interesting to me is the fact that I didn’t know that QS impacts your DKI & the several Ad Extensions.

    Is there an offical page from Google explaining this or did you gain those insights from Google stuff members?

    Cheers, Matt

    • Brad Geddes aka eWhisper
      May 30, 2010 at 4:36 am · Reply

      Some of this comes comes from Google employees, other’s Google’s videos/FAQs, and other parts through experimentation.

      I’ve found a combination of all 3 leads to the overall most relevant answers.

  2. matze
    May 30, 2010 at 4:51 am · Reply

    ok, thank you very much for the quick anwer. well, then I look forward to learning more on Advanced PPC Marketing by reading your blog in the future.

    Enjoy your Sunday, Matt

  3. Tammy
    June 28, 2010 at 4:30 pm · Reply

    I’ve launched a new account that has tightly matched keywords, ads and landing page but I still get QS of 4-6. I’m in a tightly competitive industry and it’s got me baffled.

    I don’t get much traffic unless I pay extremely high CPC’s, which i have bumped but that keeps going up each day as I raise bids. CTR are good when I get traffic so I’m at a loss of what to do next.

    I’ve been doing PPC for 5 years and haven’t seen anything like this before. I called the reps last week and one of them said I shouldn’t use all broad match keywords – is that true? I use negatives and most keywords are grouped with three phrases.

    Most adgroups have no more than 10 keywords that are closely knit together. Any thoughts?

  4. Tammy
    June 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm · Reply

    I’d like to add that when I change match types I get different quality scores as well.

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