How To Check Your AdWords Quality Score and Reduce Click Prices

Perry Perry Perry! – How often can I say this guy’s name! I’ll cut to the chase, yet again Perry Marshall has some tips for us on making sure Google gives you the cheapest click prices in AdWords.

The Quality Score

The metric that determines whether Google will “slap” your ad campaigns with a high cost per click, is called the Quality Score. As usual with Google we don’t know exactly how they calculate it, but we have a good idea thanks to guys like Perry, who have a lot of clients with huge AdWords campaigns – he has some great data from which to draw conclusions from.

According to Perry’s latest update on defeating the Google slap, the main culprits for a low Quality Score are:

  • Ads, keywords and landing pages don’t match very well in terms of Search Engine Optimization. For more on this, see my last article on tips for beating the Google slap.
  • Too many different kinds of keywords in one ad group and too many different kinds of ad groups pointing to the same landing page are both symptoms of the problem.
  • Your site doesn’t have much content, or Google’s bot can’t easily find it. Again, SEO will help this problem as well.
  • You’re bidding on keywords that most advertisers have difficulty achieving relevance on.

I realize for some of you, this might seem a bit confusing, but that’s because you haven’t played with AdWords enough yet to get a firm grasp of how the system works. Once you start bidding and buying traffic you start to get a feel of how the software operates and the tips above by Perry just make common sense.

Google needs to keep the relevancy of advertisements high so you need to take extra steps to provide more value to readers when you send traffic to your sites via AdWords.

As Perry explains, here is Google’s point of view:

Imagine that you’re in the search engine business, trying to serve up good results to people who search.

Eventually you figure out that 1% of being a successful search engine is showing good results at the top of the list. The other 99% of your job is eliminating the bad results and the spammers. When Jack Welch was president of GE, his policy was to fire the worst-performing 10% of employees every year. Likewise, Google slaps the least relevant 10% of their advertisers every six months.

How To Determine Your Quality Score

I didn’t know this, but Google actually tells you the quality score of each keyword you bid on in AdWords. You get a rating from Poor to OK to Great, with each value impacting how much you pay per click. If you can get the relevancy up to Great you pay below 5 cents per click. If you’re stuck at Poor you may pay anywhere from 50c to $10 per click!

To display the Quality Score you need to make some changes in AdWords. Perry explains exactly how to do it with some screen shots and a lot more advice on improving the Quality Score, but the page is only for Renaissance club members so I don’t think I’m allowed to link to it publicly, but I’ll do my best to show you how to display the Quality Score in AdWords.

How to display the Quality Score in AdWords –

  1. Go into your AdWords campaign to the area where you review each individual keyword.
  2. Find the link that says customise columns and click it.
  3. Quality Score 1

  4. A drop down list will appear. Choose “Show Quality Score”.
  5. Quality Score 2

  6. You should then see a column that lists the quality score for each keyword you bid on.
  7. Quality Score 3

That’s it! Check out what your Quality Score is for each keyword and the corresponding minimum bid price.

From that point you can see which keywords to work on to increase the Quality Score, which you can do by adding a site map to the landing page, adding more content and links to the landing page, sitting the landing page on a content site with good search engine authority or any of the tips listed above and in my previous articles with tips from Perry.


If this is all to much for you, start at the beginning. Pay Per Click advertising is a means to buy traffic to your website from the big search engines and Google AdWords is the most well known system. You can read my introductions to Pay Per Click here –

If you are going to start a Google AdWords campaign to buy targeted traffic, make sure you join Perry Marshall’s free email newsletter first and consider buying his Definitive Guide to Google AdWords too.

The reason I get these updates with the latest news about Google AdWords is because I’m a member of Perry’s private Renaissance club membership. It’s $30 a month, you get a paper newsletter once a month and a bunch of other bonuses when you first join. If you are a regular AdWords user and spend more than $30 a month on your campaigns, you really should be part of the Renaissance club too. You will quickly earn your money back with tips like this about the Quality Score.

To read more about the club, click here – Perry Marshall Renaissance Club

I’m off to check some more of my keyword Quality Scores.

Yaro Starak
Pay Per Clicker

About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • Meg

    Thanks Yaro, I’ve heard about the quality score, but didn’t know where to find it. Thought that it might have been a feature we didn’t have yet…. appreciate you spelling it out 🙂

  • Good post! Improving quality score is quite simple. Put your keywords in a few places:
    1) the headline of your ad
    2) title tags of your landing page
    3) headline of your landing page
    4) keywords in your display URL

  • Thanks for the info Yaro. I had heard about the new feature in Adwords, but didn’t know where to find it. I need to look into it as I’ve been “slapped” recently for some $10 bids. Perry is awesome. Have you read his latest book, “The Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords”? I can’t believe it was only $16 on Amazon. Great stuff.

    I have another strange Adwords problem that I recently noticed. Google keeps emailing my saying that I’m bidding on their trademarks. Since when does the word “bonus” belong to Google?

  • Hi Rian – No I haven’t read that book from Perry. I thought he might have a “normal” book somewhere.

    Hmm, strange about the word “bonus” as a trademark. I had a problem with Google trademarks once too because I featured their add to RSS button on one of my landing pages – actually only half of the button, but enough that you could see the phrase Google on it.

    They are pretty tough on that sort of thing!

  • Nice write up Yaro.
    Been doing a lot of testing since Google started showing this and it’s great to see Google finally being a little more open with their quality score algo.

    Been able to reduce clients spend and increase ROI a lot since.

  • […] archives of my blogs can help with your AdWords campaigns, including these two articles on the Google Slap and Quality Score here and here, my introduction to AdWords and Pay Per click here and here, and the best resource if you […]

  • Hi Yaro,

    I hope things are going well with the Real Estate site you were launching last we spoke.

    I’m revisiting a bunch of materials on Quality Score roughly a year on – and I just want to reiterate Perry’s point on the general quality of a keyword.

    This is a big factor – and it’s something that you can’t control.

    Recently, I was dealing with a client who wanted to promote his business under some biz-op keywords.

    These keywords were literally impossible to advertise for – immediately quality scores fell apart, and there was practically nothing we could do to improve them without paying $6+ for the keywords.


  • Yaro, excellent post. Actually was easier to find out how to do this from your blog than from Google themselves!!

    Also recently listened to one of your podcasts on blogging recently, great stuff, keep up the good work…..

  • dan

    Don’t forget that the CPC bid affects the quality score. This is evident when you see a campaign with 8/10 and 6/10 quality scores for similar keywords. When you see it, you can assume that the lower quality score keyword in the more competitive.

  • Thanks for this great post. Is it possible to get a 10 score on a keyword. i’ve got serveral keyword in the catogory ‘great’. These have all a score of 8.

  • Thanks for the info. I haven’t used Adwords in a while and the location of the “Customize Columns” link had changed. It’s now (on the Keywords page) a pulldown item from the “Filter and Views” tab at the upper right. I run a number of websites and I have high quality scores on some, and low ones on others. The low ones confuse me, since the websites do have relevant and original content. The only thing I can think of is that the ones with low quality scores have less content, for example one post a month for the last two years. Do you think the quantity of content matters?

  • My tips for beat QS is use ideal adgroup (one keyword pre adgroup) and SpeedPPC can help you job.

  • great I forgot how to get th quality score to show up and though its a bit different now It still helped

  • I believed having a good quality score as well as high click-through-rate are the two factors that reduce cost-per-click.

  • those are great tips. I have to improve my ppc and adwords knowledge!

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