Google AdWords

Google AdWords Explaining Quality score, Ad Rank and how Google calculates the cost per click.

quality-scoreWhat is Quality Score?

Google assigns a score (1-10 scale) that gauges how relevant an advertiser’s keywords, ads and landing pages are to the searcher’s query.


Quality Score is impacted by three key elements:

Clickthrough Rate (CTR)-CTR
  • Expected CTR
  • Display URL’s Past CTR
  • Account History
Ad Relevance-ad-relevance
  • Query Matches Keywords
  • Query Matches Ad Message
  • Geography & Device
Landing Page Quality-loading-page-quality
  • Query Matches Content
  • Ease of Use
  • Page Load Time




Low-Quality Scores can negatively impact a eligibility, ad position & CPC.

To view Quality Scores in the AdWords reporting interface:

Navigate to the ‘Keywords’ tab > select the ‘Columns/Customize Columns’ drop-down > add ‘Qual.Score’ and click ‘Apply’

What is Ad Rank?

A value that is calculated and used by Google to determine an ad’s position, where it ranks among competitors in paid search results.

Ad Rank = CPC Bid x Quality Score

Advertiser CPC Bid Quality Score Ad Rank
POSITION 2 Alberto $3.00 4/10 12
POSITION 3 Barry $2.50 2/10 5
POSITION 1 Clint $2.00 8/10 16


In the example above, Clint earns the highest Ad Rank despite having the lowest cost per click bid. Barry has the lowest Ad Rank due to a poor Quality Score.

How much do clicks actually cost?

As an AdWords advertiser, your cost is affected by others. Google determines the price you pay by dividing the Ad Rank of the person below you by your quality score plus 1₵.

Actual CPC = (Nearest Competitor’s Ad Rank / Quality Score) + 1₵

CPC Bid Quality Score Ad Rank Actual CPC
POSITION 1 $2.00 8/10 16 (12/8)+.01=$1.51
POSITION 2 $3.00 4/10 12 (5/4)+.01=$1.26
POSITION 3 $2.50 2/10 5 (4/2)+.01=$2.01
POSITION  4 $2.00 2/10 4 Et cetera


Google rewards advertisers who provide relevant ads and landing page experience with favorable cost per click pricing.


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