How to Find Out If You’re Being Penalised by Google

Jun 25, 2019

How to Find Out If You’re Being Penalised by Google


We all know how beneficial Google Ads can be in growing your business’ leads and sales.

Whether your campaign isn’t working at all, or you feel it needs a slight nudge in the right direction, you may find your ad rank score is holding you back from cracking the code!

Your ad rank score in your Google Ads campaign is consistently skipped out on, a secret that can make or break the success of your paid advertising. 

Today we discuss how your ad rank is calculated, what a quality score is & where to find it, and how you can ensure you’re not being penalised by Google. 

Let’s get started!

What is Ad Rank?

I’ll preface this in explaining that Google wants its search engine to be the best,  right?

Better than Yahoo, Bing and so forth.

In other words, if you ensure your ads are highly relevant to the search, Google will reward you. 

Vice versa, if you’re irrelevant and your ad isn’t best serving the searches requirements, Google will penalise you by making you pay more than your competition.

The good news?

Google doesn’t keep you in the dark. Google provides you with the exact reasoning behind why they’re penalising you or rewarding you (Ka-Ching!)

So… how do they calculate your ad rank score?

Google will multiply your CPC bid (what you’re willing to pay per click), with your Quality Score (we’ll teach you how to find this in a second). This will provide them with your Ad Rank Score.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say your keyword has a Quality Score of 5/10, and you’re willing to pay $2 per click. 

5 multiplied by $2 is 10. 

Let’s say your competitor has a Quality Score of 8/10, but only willing to pay $1.50 per click.

8 multiplied by $1.50 is 12.

See the difference?

Your competitor not only ranks above you on Google due to a higher ad rank score, but they also pay 25% less for the click! – Crazy right!

Let me guess? Now you want to find out how to improve your quality score?

I’ll first teach you where to find it. 

Where to Find Your Quality Score:


The first step is to jump onto and login to your account.

Next, you want to select keywords on the left-hand side.

Now you want to edit your columns and select quality scores.

Once you have completed this, your quality score will appear on the right-hand side of your screen as a number out of 10. 

Rule of thumb: Generally anything under 7 is alarming. Once your quality score begins dropping to 4 and below, Google will stop showing your ads due to a low-quality score. 

Now you know where to find your quality score, let’s discuss how to ensure you’re not being penalised by Google!

How to Ensure You’re Not Being Penalised:


This step will teach you the strategies we utilise to make more informed decisions and ensure your ad rank is not compromised by Google’s strict algorithms. 

To improve your quality score, we must first learn what it’s made up of. 

Your Quality Score is made up of 3 main metrics: Expected CTR, Landing page experience & ad relevance. 

The above main metrics are then categorised into 3 different states: Below average, average or Above average. 

To determine what category each keyword sits within, go to the Keywords tab on your campaign page, and hover over the speech bubble icon next to the keyword of interest.

  1. Expected CTR 

A CTR, or Click-through-rate, is a major metric Google uses to determine if your ad is being clicked on. This is a major indicator as to whether or not you’re providing a solution to the searches problem. 

How it’s calculated: Impressions ÷ Clicks = CTR

Example: 100 Impressions (Ad Views) ÷ 10 Ad Clicks = 10% CTR

The higher the CTR, the better. This will help Google deem you “Above average”. 

There are many ways to improve your CTR, so I’ve listed a few below:

  • Utilise ad extensions for more screen real estate
  • Use symbols to snag attention
  • Dynamic keyword insertion for relevant ad copy
  • Insert the target keyword to your URL
  • Ensure you know your audience inside & out!


2. Landing Page Experience

Put simply, your Landing Page experience is how related your website is to the ad, and if you’re following user experience best practice. 

Here are a few crucial tips to make sure you’re not being penalised:

  • Make sure your site is mobile friendly
  • Speed up your website (under 3 seconds)
  • Promote transparency and trustworthiness
  • Offer relevant and useful content

You can read more about how to improve your landing page experience here: Understanding Landing Page Experience

3. Ad Relevance 

Your ad relevance is as it states, how relevant your ad is to the keyword/search term. 

Simply put, is your ad relevant to what the potential customer typed into Google?

This can be complicated when Google Advertisers shove too many keywords in too little number of ad groups. This limits the relevance of your ads.

Here are a few tips to improve your ad relevance:

  • Use different match types (not just broad match)
  • Use multiple ad groups
  • Test/trial with SKAGS


Funnily enough, improving any of the 3 main metrics involved with your quality score will generally help boost the others too.

For instance, if you put in the work and make your ads more relevant, your CTR will also generally climb in conjunction.

If you follow the basic tips provided within this article, you’re well on your way to generating cheaper clicks and blowing your competition out of the water. 

Remember, the one who wins is the one who can spend the most to generate a customer. 

If you’re spending 25% less per click than your main competitor, who’s more likely to win? 

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