Structure is the Foundation of Quality Score

By David Lamers, Paid Search Coordinator, Advertising Solutions

We search marketers often inherit accounts in various states of orderliness – some need more help than others. Since it is our duty to make the best use of our client’s budget, it is often necessary to refine or revise the existing structure to continue growing the account. Occasionally, the old structure must be thrown out entirely.

I recently restructured a client’s account and learned a lot in the process. There are two factors that drastically impact quality score: the theme of the ad group and the ad copy itself. For those of you who don’t know, quality score is the search engine’s indicator of how well your keyword is performing. It also has a direct impact on lowering your CPC bid so it is in your best interest to get as high of a quality score as possible.

Theme of the Ad Group

A general rule of thumb is to get as specific as possible with your theme. If you’re an online sports site that sells sports merchandise, you might be inclined to throw each of your products in an ad group then concatenate hundreds of modifiers. For example, the base word “golf club(s)” and variations “find golf club”, “golf clubs online”, and “get golf clubs”.

On the surface, this may appear tightly themed – these are all keyword variations of the core word “golf club”, right? However, each of these modifiers (“find”, “get”, etc.) should be broken into its own ad group and have specific ad copy incorporating these phrases. This can become quite granular and tedious, but the impact on quality score will pay off in the long run.

Ad Copy

The primary reason for breaking up the ad groups into such tight themes is to better incorporate the keywords into the ad copy. Even if the keywords have a tight theme, you’ll see a much greater lift in quality score if you use the keyword verbatim in the ad copy.

Be wary of using interchangeable words in your ad copy. In regards to the above example, we often use the words “find” and “get” interchangeably. However, these words should be incorporated in the ad copy of their respective ad groups for best results. Don’t use “Get Golf Clubs Online” for the “find golf clubs” ad group. Although they may say the same thing, the engine looks for the specific phrase “Find Golf Clubs” in the ad copy.


By focusing on these two variables, we were able to increase the average quality score of a client’s account from 5-7 to 7-10. The impact on performance has been substantial so far. Not only have our CPC’s and unnecessary spend been lowered, but click through rate has increased considerably. Keep these factors in mind when looking at your accounts – oftentimes gains in efficiency come not from expansions but from focusing on what is currently running live in the engines.


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