Being a pay-per-click advertiser can sometimes feel like your hands are tied. You can only do so much to improve the efficiency and quality of your Google Ads account. Google’s suggestion would probably be simple: raise your bids and add more dollars. But if we look outside of increasing bids and budgets, there are other ways to improve your Google Ads accounts.
One way is to improve your Google Ad Rank, which is the value that determines where your ad will appear on the search engine results page (SERP). Ad Rank is recalculated every time someone searches for something, so your Ad Rank varies from search to search. This variable number could be the difference between your ad ever appearing in the highest position on the page and never appearing on the first page.
Google Ad Rank consists of six elements.
As explained above, Ad Rank consists of six components: bid amount, ad quality, ad rank limits, auction competitiveness, a person’s search context, and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats. Let’s take a closer look at what you can influence the Ad Rank algorithm to significantly improve your campaign performance.
But first, let’s get rid of the three components of Google Ad Rank that are out of our control or require spending more money.
The bid amount is clearly one of those components. Although the bid amount is one of the biggest factors in determining Ad Rank, in this scenario, we don’t want to spend more money, so there’s nothing else to discuss.
Another element outside the advertiser’s control is the competitiveness of the auction. Some industries are more competitive than others in terms of the volume of advertisers competing in a given auction and CPC. There’s nothing you can do about it other than switch industries, which is clearly not a realistic option.
Person search context
And finally, the last of the three Google Ad Ranking components that are beyond the control of advertisers – a person’s search context. This means things like: the location of the searcher, the device they are searching on, the time of the search, etc. You can and should make bid adjustments based on past performance. But looking at it in the context of not spending more money, there’s not much an advertiser can do to improve ad rank.
With those three out of the way, we can get to meat and potatoes – the three remaining things we can control.
Ad quality in Ad Rank consists of three parts: expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience.
- Ad quality
One of the main things we control is the quality of advertising. Advertising quality – its quality score – consists of three parts:
- Expected click-through rate (CTR) It measures the probability that a searcher will click on your ad when it displays a particular keyword. It is measured as “above average”, “average” or “below average”. If your ads are showing as “below average,” try changing your ad text, so it’s more relevant to your keywords.
- Ad relevance It measures how closely your keywords relate to your ads. It is also measured as “above average”, “average” or “below average”. Ad relevance is similar to expected CTR in that they deal with how your ad copy relates to your keywords. However, having a “below average” ad Relevancy Score means either your keywords are too broad or your ad groups contain too many broadly relevant keywords. It is better to have a large number of ad groups with a few specific relevant keywords versus a few broad ad groups with a lot of semi-related keywords.
- Landing Page Experience It measures the relevance and usefulness of your website’s landing page to the searcher who clicks on your ad for that specific search query. Ad landing page experience is also measured as ‘above average’, ‘average’ or ‘below average’. Pages score higher by being well organized and also by having text on the page related to search terms. Since our focus here is on what the advertiser can control, we’ll assume that editing the web page is not an option (but if you have that option, it’s recommended). However, if your ad landing page experience score is “below average,” there are still a number of ways you can improve it. One way is to try pulling your ad copy directly from the landing page. This should improve your landing page experience and can also improve your ad’s relevance and expected CTR if your landing page is related to your keywords.
By comparing all three ad quality metrics, Google calculates an Ad Quality Score, which is ranked on a scale of 1 to 10.
One common factor between the three metrics is the recurring theme that ad text plays a large role in determining ad quality. Advertisers typically use ad text to entice searchers to click on their ads. However, if you have ever analyzed search query data, you will know that searchers do not always read or even browse through the ad text, for that matter. Sometimes people just click on whatever’s in the first place, regardless of whether it’s relevant to what they’re looking for.
However, perhaps advertisers can benefit from using ad text in a different way. Instead of trying to get searchers to click on your ads using stereotypical advertising metaphors like, “best prices online” or “satisfaction guarantee,” advertisers can fill in headlines and taglines with a combination of keywords, search terms, and landing page text. This will, in theory, tick all the boxes for scores above average in expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience, giving your ad a Quality Score of 10.
Ad quality data determines the difference in average CPC due to slight differences in Quality Score.
A difference of just one point could mean paying nearly three times as much for a click in the same position. This is due to the way Google ranks your ad against other ads in the auction, which is known as Google Ad Rank Limits. This is the second of the three Ad Rank components that we can control.
2. Lowest Ad Rank Rank
Although Ad Rank thresholds aren’t necessarily something that advertisers can control, understanding what goes into determining them is important. Once you understand how Ad Rank limits work, you can figure out a way to take advantage of them.
Google’s definition of minimum ad rank is as follows: “The reserve price for your ad. If your bid is less than the minimum, your ad will not be shown. If none of your competitors are eligible to bid, then the minimum (backup price) is the price that You pay per click.
This is where things can get a little confusing because even though the Ad Rank limit is one of the six components that determine Ad Rank, it is made up of five components itself! The components are very similar to those that make up Ad Rank.
Ad Rank uses five elements to determine the lowest Ad Rank rank.
Positions on the SERP are tiered, and each layer has a minimum ad rank that your ad must meet to compete for that position. As explained above, levels are determined by the following five factors:
- Ad quality: We’ve already talked about advertising quality, but how exactly does it affect the threshold? Google wants the searcher to have a “higher quality ad experience”, so lower-quality ads should reach higher limits. Basically, better ads pay less for the same position.
- Ad placement: The higher the position on the page, the higher the bottom line.
- User signals and features: Limits vary from one research to another. The context of a person’s search (location, device, etc.) will affect the thresholds. For example, searching in the United States will have different limits than searching in Australia. Similarly, searching on a mobile phone will have different thresholds than searching from a desktop.
- Research topic and nature: CPC varies from industry to industry. Therefore, thresholds will also vary from industry to industry. If someone is looking for personal injury attorneys, it will be more expensive to click than to click on an advertisement for new running shoes.
- Related auctions: The amplitude of the search can affect the threshold as well. For example, the search limits for “Nike” running shoes will be the same as the search limits for “Adidas” running shoes.
Most of what determines Google’s Ad Rank thresholds depends on searchers and their inquiries. In fact, outside of spending, ad quality is one of the few things advertisers have a say in. But there is another factor in Ad Rank that you can influence.
The final element in Ad Rank is the expected impact of the ad extension.
3. The expected effect of ad extensions
Given the expected impact of ad extensions, Google considers how ad extensions will affect the performance of your ads. It is another completely free way to improve your ad ranking. The use of ad extensions usually increases the click-through rate. While it is not entirely clear if there is a correlation between expected CTR and actual CTR, it is not unreasonable to believe that if you improve the CTR for your ad, it may also improve CTR expected. An improvement in your expected CTR will improve your ad’s overall Quality Score, allowing you to move up to a higher Ad Rank.
With Google’s introduction of Performance Max campaigns, it has thrown another wrinkle into determining Ad Rank. Since these new campaigns touch almost every network Google offers (search, shopping, viewing, etc.), it’s hard to know which campaign type takes precedence over another if you’re running both a Performance Max campaign in conjunction with a search campaign, or a campaign shopping. , or view the campaign.
From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like Performance Max will outperform most other campaigns in almost all scenarios. However, when it comes to search campaigns, if the search query exactly matches a keyword in your search campaign, the search campaign takes precedence over the Performance Max campaign and you win the auction. But if the search query matches your keyword in any match type other than an exact match, the ad with the highest ranking will win the auction. Therefore, it is important that you make sure that you take advantage of any and all ways to improve your ad ranking to ensure that your traffic will go to the right channel.
So these are the six components of Google Ad Rank. Take your newfound knowledge of how your ad copy affects ad rank, and optimize your ads to increase PPC campaign performance. The money you’ll save for clicks is well worth the time.