Creating profitable Google Ads campaigns requires an understanding of Ad Rank. Not all ads display in the same area of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Instead, Google has specific placements in which it displays ads.
By optimizing your campaigns for a higher Ad Rank, your ads will show above your competitors’ ads, where they drive more conversions.
An Introduction to Ad Rank
Ad Rank refers to the placement of an ad. It’s the equivalent of organic search rankings for search engine optimization (SEO). In SEO, search rankings are the positions where a website ranks. In Google Ads, Ad Rank is the placement or position of an ad.
Whether you’re creating a Search Network campaign or a Display Network campaign, Google will assign an Ad Rank to each of your campaign’s ads and for each of your ads’ target keywords.
The lower the Ad Rank, the higher the ad will be displayed in the SERPs (search engine results page) or in Google’s partner websites for that keyword.
An ad with an Ad Rank of 1 will typically appear in the highest available placement. An Ad Rank of 2, on the other hand, indicates that the ad will show in the second-highest available position.
How Ad Rank Is Calculated
How is Ad Rank calculated precisely? The most influential factor in Google’s Ad Rank formula is the maximum bid. A maximum bid is what you are willing to pay for ad clicks or impressions.
You can enter a maximum bid at the ad group level or the keyword level. An ad-group level maximum bid means that all ads within the ad group will feature the same maximum bid, regardless of their target keywords.
A keyword-level maximum bid means that only ads within a particular ad group targeting a specific keyword will feature the maximum bid.
For Search Network campaigns, you’ll have to enter a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid.
You can enter either a maximum CPC bid or a maximum cost-per-impressions (CPM) bid for Display Network campaigns.
Regardless, an ad’s maximum bid will affect its Ad Rank. Ads with a high maximum bid relative to competing ads will usually have a higher Ad Rank.
Google also considers landing page experience when calculating Ad Rank. Each ad is connected to a landing page. A landing page is a web page to which an ad is linked. Users who click an ad will be taken to the ad’s landing page.
To promote a positive experience for its users, Google will look at your ads’ landing pages when calculating their Ad Ranks.
If a landing page offers a positive experience, the ad or ads to which it’s linked will earn a more favorable Ad Rank.
For example, landing pages that are fast, secure, and relevant offer a positive experience.
An ad’s expected click-through rate (CTR) can affect its Ad Ad Rank as well.
Next, Google will try and predict the percentage of users who will click the ad.
It will look at the ad’s text, target keywords, and other elements to generate an expected CTR.
Google will then factor the ad’s expected CTR into its Ad Rank formula. A high expected CTR is a sign of relevancy.
Therefore, ads with a high expected CTR often earn a higher Ad Rank than those with a low expected CTR.
Landing page experience and expected CTR are components of Google’s Quality Score. When managing your campaigns in Google Ads, you should see a Quality Score next to each of your target keywords.
Google calculates Quality Scores by looking at landing page experience and expected CTR. Then, it will use this data along with your maximum bids to calculate your Ad Ranks.
How to Improve Your Ad Ranks
The easiest way to achieve higher Ad Ranks is to raise your maximum bids. In the past, Ad Rank was calculated using only maximum bids.
While Google now assesses other factors, it still places the most weight on maximum bids. By raising the maximum bids for your ads, Google will reward your ads with higher Ad Ranks.
Leveraging extensions in your campaigns can lead to higher Ad Ranks. Extensions are optional features or pieces of information with which you can enhance your ads.
There are about a dozen extensions available in Google Ads. Some of them work automatically when enabled, whereas others require manual work to set up.
Regardless, all extensions will enhance your ads with at least one new feature or piece of information.
You can improve your Ad Ranks by creating small ad groups. Small ad groups have only one or a few different ads and a similar number of target keywords.
With small ad groups, your ads will be very relevant to their corresponding target keywords. If you create large ad groups, conversely, your ads may be relevant to some of the target keywords and irrelevant to others, which can lead to lower Ad Ranks for the latter.
If your landing page suffers from slow speeds, users won’t have a positive experience. As a result, the ads to which your landing page is linked may have low Ad Ranks.
Regardless of how many landing pages you use, it would help if you optimized them for a positive expensive. Your landing pages should load fast, ideally in under two seconds, and they should be secure as well as relevant to your ads.
Targeting these landing page experience elements will lead to higher Ad Ranks.
The number of conversions your ads generate is directly impacted their reach. Ads that reach thousands of users per month will typically generate more conversions than those that reach fewer users.
When using Google Ads, you can reach more users with Ad Rank optimization. Raising your maximum bids, leveraging extensions, creating small ad groups, and improving landing page experience can increase your Ad Ranks.
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