In this report, an effort has been made to develop an efficient PbS quantum dot-sensitized photoanode by simple successive ionic layer adsorption and reduction technique to enhance the overall photovoltaic performance of PbS quantum dot-sensitized solar cells. Three strategies have been adopted for the improvement of the photovoltaic performance of PbS quantum dot-sensitized solar cells, i.e., (i) by incorporation of TiO2-Au nanocomposites, where Au nanoparticles of different sizes are embedded into a TiO2 matrix, and (ii) variation of temperature at which quantum dots are deposited (iii) by postdeposition annealing of QD-sensitized photoanode in Ar atmosphere. We have used electrophoretic deposition technique to develop the nanocomposite-doped photoanode. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy confirms that the Au particles dispersed in the TiO2 matrix vary from 2 to 50 nm and PbS quantum dot size ranges 3.5–6 nm. The optical absorption of PbS quantum dot-sensitized TiO2-Au-incorporated photoanode is substantially enhanced as confirmed from the UV-visible absorption spectra measurements. The current-voltage characteristics of all the plasmonic quantum dot-sensitized solar cells under illumination (100 mW/cm2, AM 1.5) show significant improvement in power conversion efficiency using the abovementioned strategies. The maximum power conversion efficiency observed in PbS quantum dot-based quantum dot-sensitized solar cells is 7.0\%. Electroimpedance spectroscopy has been utilized to understand the recombination kinetics in these solar cells. © 2018, Springer Nature B.V.