PPC Ads

Optimising PPC Quality Score for Professional Services Firms

By 31st October 2018 No Comments

If you use PPC ads, you’re probably familiar with the term Quality Score. It’s a 1 to 10 ranking of your keywords, given by Google AdWords. It’s not used at auction time to determine bid price but is a good overall indicator of how well your ads are likely to perform.

PPC ads are a great way of ensuring searchers find your page. They are especially useful - alongside a cohesive SEO strategy - if your page hasn’t built up a high domain authority.

In Google’s own words, “Higher Quality Scores typically lead to lower costs and better ad positions.” Working to improve it is essential.

The figure is calculated using three factors: your expected click through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience.

  • Expected click through rate - This takes into account not only your click through rate, but also those of your competitors for the keyword. For instance, if you only have a 1% click through rate and your competitors have a 5% click through rate, Google will knock you down. This is because it shows Google that your ads don’t connect with your audience as well as those of your competitors.
  • Ad relevance - This describes how well your keywords match the message of your landing page.  
  • Landing page experience - Google AdWords’ measure of how well your landing pages give people what they’re looking for when they click your ad.

Your expected click through rate and landing page experience are equally weighted, with ad relevance having less of an impact on quality score.

In general, the more separated out your campaign and the better targeted your keywords, the higher your quality score will be.


Where should you focus?

The two biggest things you can improve are your landing page experience and your expected click through rate. This said, ad relevance is usually the easiest to fix.


Ad relevance

The first thing to make sure of is that you’re mentioning the keyword in all of your ads in a campaign.

An easy way to do this is to split your keywords into specific ad groups and put the changing keyword in the headline.

This will be clearer after looking at the following example. If you have the keywords law firm in Leeds, immigration law, work injury settlement and experienced lawyer in one ad group, as well as an ad that says...

Experienced lawyer

‘Our lawyers have years of experience delivering proven results’

...the simplest (and fastest!) way to make this relevant is to split it into four ad groups and vary the headline each time to ensure you address the keyword’s basic components.

In this case you could create the following ad groups:


Do you qualify for a work injury settlement?

‘Our lawyers have years of experience delivering proven results’


Immigration lawyers - A tailored service

‘Our lawyers have years of experience delivering proven results’


Experienced lawyers - A tailored service

‘Our lawyers have years of experience delivering proven results’


Law firm in Leeds - A tailored service

‘Our lawyers have years of experience delivering proven results’



Landing page experience

Not only will improving your landing pages enhance your Quality Score, it will mean a higher conversion rate. Great all round!

However, this is slightly harder to do because development work may be required. You’ll want to look at the following which will all affect the landing page experience:

  • Use of keywords on the landing page
  • Bounce rate
  • Engagement metrics
  • Mobile optimisation

Mobile optimisation is increasingly important as traffic shifts to tablets and mobile.

Landing page optimisation is a never-ending process. There’s always more you could be doing. You might want to A/B test different versions of a page to find the best performing landing page.


Ad testing

By testing ads you should be able to see which of your ads are seeing a better click through rate.

To do this, you need at least two ads running on the rotate setting, with one factor differing between them.

For instance, you might want to vary the headline copy.

After the ads have been running for a while, you should measure the difference in click through rate across all ad groups. Eliminate the ad with the lowest click through rate and then test a new ad.

Google Optimisation

Using Google’s optimisation feature means that Google tests your various ads against each other and then uses all this information to select the best ad for each search term and user.

Because Google’s algorithms have improved rapidly over the last few years, in many cases this will be a better option than conventional ad testing. Best of all, Google’s new Responsive Search Ad format will test different combinations of headlines and descriptions with the goal of maximising the click through rate.  


If you want to get the most from your PPC ads but aren’t quite sure how, drop us a line. Our marketing team has lots of experience developing winning digital marketing campaigns for professional services companies. Have a look at some of our work!

Author Joe French

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