When it comes to Google there is one sure fire way to get higher ad placement and no it isn't just all about how much you are willing to pay for the spot. Your max Cost Per Click (CPC) is of course a factor but it isn't the whole puzzle, simply a piece. The formula that determines your ad rank is as follows:
Ad Rank = (Quality Score) X (Max CPC)
With that clarified, let's take a look at the three most important parts of your quality score. Keywords, Ad Text, and Landing Pages, and their relevance to each other.
Keywords are the most important aspect of your quality score. You will notice in your account that each keyword has a quality score next to it (if the column isn't hidden) that reads either poor, ok, good or great. If you are looking in editor you will see the quality score on a 1-10 scale. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a measurement of quite a few things.
"The Quality Score used to determine minimum bid is derived from your keyword's click-through rate (CTR), the relevance of the keyword and ad text to its ad group, your landing page quality, and other relevance factors. "
All keywords have a minimum bid but it isn't the same for every AdWords account. There isn't just a default based on the word so your goal is to get the lowest minimum bid allowed. You have to increase your quality score in order to make that happen. Your keywords must relate directly to your landing page and ad text. The more you use your keywords in your ad text and landing page the more relevant it will seem and your quality score will improve.
2. Ad Text
You have to keep in mind that Google is a business too. If they don't provide users with the best, most relevant, results consistently then people will use another search engine. For that reason it is important to provide the best, most relevant experience for the user. Using the keywords from your ad group in your ad text is a step toward providing relevant ad text to the search query. If you have poor ad text you will most likely have a lower click through rate, which of course will get you a lower quality score. If your CTR continues to drop you may see a shift in quality score and you may see your keyword minimum bids increase.
One tactic that has been questioned a lot is the use of dynamic keyword insertion for increasing quality score. The general consensus is that it is a great way to make your ad text more relevant and it can help increase your quality score, but it shouldn't be your only tactic since using it has its own set of issues unrelated to quality score.
3. The Landing Page
Landing pages are extremely important. What you do to your landing page can have effects on your bids, your ads positions on the content network, and of course the return on your ad spend. You need to make sure that your landing pages have content first and foremost. Landing pages of all flash or images are guaranteed to give you a lower score simply because the search engine can't read anything to decide if it's relevant. Of course you will not be getting the benefit of the doubt. Not only do you need content, but you need relevant content. You need to use the keywords in your ad group, and text ad, in the copy on your landing page. Never use any one word to excess but make sure it is very clear that is what the page is about.
If you can master the combination of these three factors you can save thousands of dollars a year that would have been paid to Google for the same clicks you'll be getting for a fraction of the cost. Relevance is king in the search engine world, remember that and your campaigns will be a success.
Amber Scott, Consultant, eBoost Consulting
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Average PPC conversion rate = 2.03%