Google’s Second Major Quality Score Reporting Bug In 3 Weeks

All Google AdWords advertisers know the importance of having a good quality score on Google. A poor quality score can result in your cost per click prices to soar, virtually knocking you out of the auction space and competing during the holiday shopping season.

That is why tracking and monitoring your ad’s quality score in the AdWords console is a top priority for many advertisers. So when you see your quality score drop suddenly, you worry.

3 weeks ago, I reported at the Search Engine Roundtable on an AdWords quality score bug that impacted the AdWords reports. Many advertisers saw their quality scores drop and began to panic. Google came in a bit later, said there was a bug in the reporting and it would not impact their ad prices. Advertisers began to calm, but now, 3 weeks later, a new AdWords quality score bug hit advertisers.

This morning, I reported on yet another bug that appears to be impacting some advertisers. The bug seems similar to that of the one three weeks ago, but wasn’t that previous bug fixed? A Google representative came in to clarify that this is a different issue. The Google representative said:

It is understood that what is being described here is what appears to be a similar but separate issue that folks started seeing on Friday evening, November 19th.

Engineering is taking a look into this, as a priority – and I will report back in this thread when I know more.

In the meantime, my apology for the inconvenience and upset this issue has caused you.

If your quality score dropped, please do not panic, it might be a reporting glitch.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Bradd Libby

    “When you see your quality score drop suddenly, you worry.”

    You shouldn’t. Quality Scores change all the time, for no particular reason. Please check out my blog post about it, ‘Attack of the Teenage Quality Scores‘ to learn more.

  • Barry Schwartz

    Did you read what I wrote?

    “If your quality score dropped, please do not panic, it might be a reporting glitch.”

  • Bradd Libby


    You seem to have missed the finer point of what I said, so I’ll summarize it as succinctly as possible:

    Your point was: “Because this problem might be a reporting glitch, don’t panic.”
    My point was: “Even when Google’s reporting is working normally, don’t panic.”

    Best regards, Bradd

  • George Michie

    Hi Barry, two of our analysts: Paul Koch and John Gelb pulled numbers on this from our client base. We also saw material drops in QS, but no material changes in average position or CPC. Whether a reporting glitch, or more teenage tantrums as Bradd puts it, it seems to be a non-issue with respect to performance.

  • Page One SEO

    Barry, I am curious, are you referring to keyword quality score? I am not aware of an ad quality score in Adwords. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist. If it does, how do I see it? Had a look through Adwords and can’t find it.

    As for random occurrences in Google, if you’re going to work with them, get used to unexplained events. Recently had a client campaign take a major hit in terms of ad position for no reason at all. Talked with a Google rep who said he could see nothing wrong with the campaign. Recovered now, but there were no campaign changes or major changes in that niche.

    That’s what you get when they’re virtually the only game in town.

  • Webster Jorgensen

    Probably not a big deal if you have a stable account.

    However, if you’re adding a lot of keywords and ad groups it’s a BFD. Nice to have some immediate feedback regarding new keywords.

  • tobi_k

    we analyzed this based on about 1 mio keywords with following results:

    - Oct 27th: issue occured first time, this year
    - Oct 27th till Nov 19th: issue was not really fixed, only reduced by half
    - Nov 19th/20th: issue occured second time
    - Nov 24th: Now fixed for all accounts
    - Nov 25th: google confirms this ‘issue’ in the adwords forum and that it is fixed
    - Interesting: Same „bug“ occured last year; Oct 30th – a „bug“ usually doesnt occur exact same time year to year.

    So the question is bug or major QS update, maybe both. Anyhow currently the issue is fixed. We have a detailed QS chart on our site for those who are interested in more details:

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide