Google Adwords is probably one of your dealership’s biggest and most important online marketing investments. Even if your dealership has hired an agency to manage your investment, you should spend 15 minutes to read the information Google just put out on Quality Score.


Quality Score (QS) can be one of the more confusing aspects of Google’s Adwords algorithm, but its critical to optimizing your dealership’s Adwords account. As a part of their AdWords Best Practices Series, Google released “Settling the (Quality) Score” white paper to help small businesses understand QS.


google-logo-2011-185x114Google repeatedly states that the Quality Score number that appears in your Adwords account is not actually used in the real-time ad quality calculations. The Quality Score figure is a simplified representation of three factors: 1) ad relevance, 2) expected Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and 3) landing page experience, that Google does use in its calculation. According to Google, the Quality score is the “warning lights in a car: something that alerts you to potential problems.”


Anyone who is familiar with Adwords already knows that for every Keyword in your account, Google provides ratings (Above Average, Average, and Below Average) for each of these 3 elements. Ideally your keywords will be “Above Average” for all of them. In the Quality Score White Paper, Google even provides specific actions you can take to improve your score for any of these three factors.


Another interesting part of this whitepaper discusses a few things that DO MATTER and those that DON’T MATTER when it comes to Quality Score.



  1. The User’s Device – it matters to Google that you are giving users a good experience, and that includes catering to the device they are using to view your ads. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile users. Try separate ads and pages for mobile visitors.
  2. Relevance to a User’s Intentions – Google believes this is the “heart of ads quality.” “Focus on delivering relevant ads” instead of trying to game the system for a higher QS.
  3. For Newly-Launched Keywords, Performance on Related Keywords – Google will see how well the ads and pages are performing on related keywords if you’re starting out with new keywords. This prevents them from having to measure from scratch, and gives you an opportunity to start off on a good foot.



  1. How You Structure Your Account – Your AdWords account should be structured in a way that makes sense for you and your dealership. Outside of that, moving a keyword into a new ad group or campaign (without changing the ad text or destination URL) will not have an impact on your Quality Score.
  2. Running Your Ads in Other Networks – Using the Google Display network or other Google search partners won’t affect the quality of your ads on
  3. Your Ad’s Placement on the Page – Having your ad in a high position on the page is great, but it doesn’t increase the expected Click-Through-Rate of your ads. The expected CTR shown is normalized for your actual position.


This white paper is a great resource for those dealerships that manage their own PPC accounts, and even for those trying to understand how their vendor is earning their ROI. I highly recommend reading through the ten page document when you have time. The biggest takeaway? “Give your users what they need, and a great Quality Score should follow.”