Getting Down to Bidness: How to Improve Your Ad Rank

September 15, 2016   /   by  Diane Callihan

In Google Adwords, the Highest Bidder Doesn’t Always Win

When someone does a Google search on something related to your company, products or services, where does your website rank in the results? If your site isn’t showing on the first page of results…even the first half of the first page…the likelihood of you getting organic search traffic is pretty darn low.

Note: I once had a boss that had us perform search engine optimization on our website, and then spent the next several hours just hitting the “Refresh” button over and over again to see how our ranking changed. It didn’t.

That’s not how search engines work. Improving your ranking happens slowly, over time, and it’s based on a complex algorithm. Ironically, part of that ranking is based on your site’s popularity and whether or not people trust your site for information. That can be a catch-22; how does your site become popular if people can’t find it?

This is where Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising comes in. Unlike the SEO process, you can sign up for Google Adwords, set up a campaign and almost immediately start ranking on the first page of results for your chosen keywords.

But even with PPC, your ad’s ranking can vary, and contrary to popular opinion, ranking is not just based on how much you bid for your keywords.

How Google Determines Ad Rank

Google Adwords auctions happen very fast (usually in milliseconds) and often. There are three major things that determine your ad’s ranking:

  • Your bid
  • Your quality score
  • Your ad extensions

It is possible to bid less than your competitors for a keyword and still rank higher on the page. That’s because, in addition to your bid, Google assigns your ad quality score. This is determined based on your ad’s expected click-through rate, how relevant the ad is to people searching that keyword, and how valuable the information on your landing page is.

In other words, if you bid on the keyword “Kardashian” but your ad and landing page are all about selling insurance, your ad will be deemed irrelevant and may not appear in the search results at all. This is how Google ensures a good experience for people searching for information.

This also means that you should invest time and effort into creating a landing page that features highly relevant and original content for people searching for your chosen keyword.

Additionally, Google Adwords offer what they call “ad extensions” that increase the value of a typical ad listing. These include things like a click-to-call phone number, a download button, locations, reviews and ratings, callouts, dynamic snippets and more. If you have ad extensions and your competitors do not, you may end up ranking higher.

If you’re interested in driving more traffic to your website, and climbing the ranks for increased visibility, we’d be happy to help. We’ve managed some very successful PPC campaigns, and we can do the same for you. Let’s Talk.

Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.