Choosing the correct keywords is the foundation to every paid search campaign, but understanding Google’s auction system and Ad rank factors can prove to be even more important in creating a successful campaign. Google states that their auction system is a secondary auction. A traditional auction works when the person with the highest bid wins. However, this is not the process Google’s ad ranking system or auction system works.
In a secondary auction, an advertiser only has to pay the amount of the 2nd highest bidder below them. Google and all search engines for that matter, want the advertiser and the user to both have a good experience. Google, as a search engine, wants to lead people to exactly what they are searching for. Awarding the advertiser with the biggest budget would just be plain wrong. For this reason, having the highest bid is just a small factor in the success of your campaign. In some cases, having the highest bid may not even get your ad in the top 3 positions on a search result. To bring the ad and user together, Google focuses more on a consistent contextual relevance throughout all stages of your paid search campaign. There are 5 main factors that determine where an ad will rank on a search engine results page.
The most obvious factor for a high ad rank in a search campaign is your bid for that keyword or keyword phrase. While doing a keyword analysis, it is very important to draw your attention to the suggested bid Google supplies for that keyword. Bidding this amount for your keyword will keep you competitive and, as you’re about to learn, competitive is all you need to be when it comes to bidding as many factors other than high bids will determine a successful ad.
The Click Through Rate
When you think about a search engine results page there are several opportunities to click on a paid search ad. Every time your ad receives a click, you win the customer and you win Google. Think about a click through as Google would see it. Google knows that something in the context of your ad is causing a higher than average rate of users to choose your ad over all the others. If your ad is creating a better experience than all the other ads it is competing with, Google will take notice in its success. In turn, Google will serve up an ad with a higher click through rate more commonly, because the ads popularity is a tell-tale sign that it brings the user to exactly what they were searching for.
Keyword selection is the first step in creating a relevant campaign, but continuing your relevance throughout your campaign lies within the context of your ad messaging. You must try to place a keyword within your ad context and create messaging that relates to what the customer is searching for. If your ad messaging does not lead the user to click, than ranking in one of the top 3 positions does not matter for users will ignore your ad in the results.
Ad formats are enhancements to ads that make a user’s experience better and create more relevance to your ad. Ad formats cannot be overlooked as they can set you apart from all other ads and offer a wealth more information about what it is the user is searching for.
The Landing Page
The landing page is the page that your ad leads to. It is of the utmost importance to have a landing page that is relevant to your ad. Your ad needs to send the user to exactly what they are searching for. If your landing page context does not relate to your ad, your campaign is going to be penalized and, even worse, you’re going to receive unwanted clicks and a wasteful budget. Google may not even serve your ad if your ad and landing page are not relevant. Google sees this as essentially lying to the customer and creating a bad experience. Google wants all users to have a good experience and direct them to exactly what they are searching for. If your ad says something different than your landing page, you are directing a user to a place they do not what to be.
These five components combined determine your ad’s Quality Score. Quality Score is a measurement of how Google sees the Quality of your campaign. During the ad auction, several factors including Bid and Quality Score determine Ad Rank.