We’ve talked about the basics of ad rank and the ways in which it’s calculated in our article, What Is Google Ad Rank and the Factors That Influence It. Now let’s take a look at a few ways you can improve your ad rank without spending more money.
Improving Ad Relevance
Ad relevance is a major factor in determining your ad rank. As previously mentioned, it is one of three components that comprise of quality score or ad quality.
Google officially defines ad relevance as “how closely your ad matches the intent behind a user’s search.”
To improve your ad relevance, start by auditing your ad copy and cross-referencing keywords that you’re currently bidding on. For example, do your headlines and descriptions include the keywords that your users might be searching for?
Responsive Search Ads are great for testing various copies to find out which one best resonates with users. Google also offers some reporting on headlines and descriptions showing how they rank from “low” to “best” in terms of their performance.
When you find a well-performing ad copy, you can also pin your best-performing headline to the top of your ad to ensure it always appears in your ad.
Keep in mind that while you should focus on including relevant keywords in your copy, you should avoid keyword stuffing. It used to be that SKAG (single keyword ad groups) had a much higher impact on ad relevance since you could almost always match particular search terms with your headlines. Nowadays, however, since Google has expanded exact match types, advertisers need to focus more on the holistic picture. Every user searches differently, so if you’re still relying on SKAGs, you are very likely limiting yourself.
Additionally, part of how Google analyzes ad relevance is by looking at user intent. Ad relevance isn’t boosted by just throwing keywords into your copy as many times as you can. Google focuses more on user intent and how well an ad can help them solve their problem.
Focus on the Content of Your Ad Extensions
It’s not uncommon to just forget about ad extensions when setting up a new campaign or ad group. While some may find them tedious to set up and unimportant, that’s not quite true.
Ad extensions are essential for increasing your ad rank. They help boost your CTR, thus increasing your ad rank. With ad extensions, you can give users more information about your business that you couldn’t fit inside your ad. We are, unfortunately, still limited by character count on our headlines and descriptions.
However, make good use of extensions and don’t just add them for the sake of adding them. In fact, if your extensions don’t align with the search terms, you could actually negatively impact your ad rank.
You can use ad extensions for almost anything, as Google is continually creating new ways for advertisers to get their message across and help users solve their problems.
Here are the currently available ad extensions you can create:
- location and affiliate location
- lead form
You should ideally choose which ad extensions to use based on your campaign’s goals. For example, if you’re drying to drive more in-store traffic, you would benefit from using location extensions. If you want to drive web traffic, relevant sitelinks to various areas of your site would likely help solve users’ problems. For lead generation, lead form extensions might be the best way to go.
Be specific about your campaign’s ad extensions. Aligning them with the campaign’s goals can significantly increase your ad rank.
Build Better Landing Pages
Landing pages are often neglected despite being crucial to increasing ad rank. If you’ve ever clicked on an ad only to be disappointed about your landing page experience, you probably understand why they’re so important.
The user experience can make a huge difference to searchers’ buying decisions. The search query should be a direct indicator of what you expect to see when you land on a website. Not that long ago, many advertisers would spend a lot of time creating individual landing pages for each ad group, ensuring that the pages contained exactly what users were searching for. In theory that’s good, but it’s not that good unless you are actually helping them solve a problem. If you’re building pages with fluff copy just so you can match users’ search terms, you’re going about it the wrong way.
Google lately has been focused mostly on intent. Advertisers need to focus less on whether the page headline is an exact match with users’ searches and more on what they actually see when they land on the page.
To ensure you’re building a good landing page, here are a few things to consider:
- the user’s device
- the amount of white space on the page
- adding a clear CTA before the user has to scroll
- the number of clicks it takes for the user to solve their problem
- the page’s loading speed
All this is to say that the experience users have on your page matters a great deal. If you offer them quality and consistency, your ad rank will go up. The landing page experience is even a part of the Quality Score metric, so keep that in mind.
If you’ve typically relied on manipulating bids and budget to improve your ad rank, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
There are many factors that can influence your ad rank and you can take advantage of them without spending any more money on campaign budgets. These factors include improving your ad copy so it aligns with search intent, adding relevant ad extensions that increase your CTR, and improve landing page experience for higher conversion rates.
Once you’ve put in the work in these areas, you can go ahead and tweak your bids and budgets to ensure you’re dominating SERPs.