5 Ad Ranking Questions Everyone Has For Google
Paid search. Google Ads. Ad Ranking. You have questions, and we’ve got answers.
Ad ranking is simple in nature, but finding ways to improve your ad rank is not. What moves, edits, or selections will improve your position, and which ones could potentially harm your ranking?
Here’s everything you need to know about ad ranking, why it matters, and how you can improve it fast.
What Is Ad Ranking?
Google defines ad rank as “a value that’s used to determine your ad position (where ads are shown on a page relative to other ads) and whether your ads will show at all.
If your ad shows up third, your ad rank for that given search is number three. This means that your position is the result of any given paid search auction against your competitors.
How Does Google Calculate Ad Ranking?
Your bid amount, ad quality, and ad rank threshold get passed into Google’s system. The specific keyword search is then analyzed using machine learning to determine exactly what that user is most likely looking for in light of previous searches.
This means that an ad for one of your keywords may show up in position #1 at the top of the page for one user’s search and in a different position for another’s.
According to Google, these are the key factors contributing to your ad rank:
Bid amount and ad rank thresholds: This refers to the minimum amount you need to bid to be in a specific position. For example, you can’t bid 20 cents and rank first for a term that costs $2.
Ad quality: This refers to both the relevance of your ad to a search as well as your Quality Score (i.e. relevancy of keywords within an ad group, ad copy, and landing page).
The context of search: Depending on which device a user searches on, the time of day, and the keywords/terms used to make a search query, your ad may or may not be the most relevant.
Ad extension impact: This means that you’ve enabled site-link extensions to internal pages on your website, call extensions, and location extensions within your ad.
Again, ad rank is recalculated each time an ad is eligible for and competes in an auction, which means your position may change accordingly.
Does the Highest Bidder Always Rank Higher?
Because you’re bidding in an auction-style competition for keywords and search terms, people often assume that simply bidding higher is what lands the highest position.
But that’s not necessarily true when it comes to ad rank.
Paid search results function much like organic search results. Google want to provide searchers with highly relevant information that quickly solves their problem.
If you have a high quality score and your keyword and ad copy are highly relevant, you can still achieve the best ad rank in an auction while bidding less than your competitors.
Can a Higher Quality Score Improve Ad Ranking?
Yes! Your keyword quality score is one factor that determines ad rank for a specific auction, but your ad rank does not directly impact quality score as a result of that auction.
This means that improving your quality score should be a top priority, and one way to do that is to utilize more specific ad groups. If you use generic or overly generalized ad groups, you run the risk of producing ads that underperform on expected click-through rates (CTRs).
For instance, if a retailer sells several different types of shoes, they wouldn’t want to have “high heels” and “running shoes” in the same ad group. They’d want to write distinct ad copy for each of those products.
They’ll also want people who search for “high heels” to land on a page of high heels and people who search for “running shoes” to land on a page featuring the running shoes they offer.
Quality score is determined in part by your expected CTR, which takes into account your historical CTR trend. Because it’s common for ads at the top of the search engine results page to acquire a higher CTR, that can improve your quality score and directly impact your ad rank for future auctions.
How Do I Improve Ad Ranking?
The simplest way to answer this question is by addressing the factors that Google lists (as addressed in question #2):
Increase your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bids and meet the ad thresholds ascribed to a keyword. While higher bidding isn’t the final word on ad rank, it naturally makes you more competitive in the auction.
Improve your quality score by creating more specific ad groups, writing specific ad copy and providing highly relevant landing pages.
Make sure your keywords and text ads are highly relevant to your intended audience and search query since ad rank is recalculated each time an ad is eligible for and competes in an auction.
Enable and optimize ad extensions and use as many as are relevant.
When looking to increase the rankings of your ad, do you head straight to your bid adjustments? If you do, first consider whether you’ve exhausted all other options to create ads that prioritize relevance and user search queries. Only then should you consider using a higher bid to reach the top positions for your keywords.
Want more insights? Contact our digital marketing experts at RLC Media to start growing your online business today.