In a couple of our recent blogs we’ve mentioned Ad Rank as a concept, but it occurred to us that we haven’t talked about what an Ad Rank actually is. But Ad Rank is incredibly important to understand, because it will help you get much more from your ads and our budget. It can also significantly lower your cost per click, so you can expand your advertising even more and make it more successful. So today, we’re going to explain what it is, how it works, and why you should care.


So What Is An Ad Rank?

There is no one better qualified to explain what an Ad Rank is than Google, so we’re going to let them start things off:

“Ad position is the order in which your ad shows up on a page. For example, an ad position of “1” means that your ad is the first ad on a page. In general, it’s good to have your ad appear higher on a page because it’s likely that more customers will see your ad. Ads can appear on the top of a search results page, on the side of the page, or on the bottom of the page.” 

In plain English, this means that in a perfect world, your ad would turn up in position 1 on Google and receive the lion’s share of the clicks – around 20-40% depending on what else is on the page. In a vacuum this is what would happen, but the reality is you have to compete against other businesses and other ads. Google has to choose which of the millions of ds competing gets the top spot on the search results page, and to do this it uses something called an Ad Rank.


How Is It Worked Out?

This is where it gets tricky because Google is a complex beast and it likes to challenge us. But they also like to help us, which is why they provide helpful information like this: 

“Ad position is determined by your Ad Rank in the auction. Your Ad Rank is a score that’s based on your bid, the components of Quality Score (expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.”

Now, if you don’t work with Google regularly, some of that might seem like gibberish, so let’s break each of those metrics down individually.


Bid: This is the maximum price you’re willing to pay per click through on your ad. You control this and can set this amount per keyword, which gives you a very granular level of control. What you choose here will depend on your overall budget, but it can often pay to start out lower on long tail keywords, and higher for generic keywords. But this is something you should test out, as every industry is different.

Quality Score: Your Google quality score is a combination of a lot of other metrics, but in general terms it’s Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your keywords and your PPC ads a whole. We talk a lot more about this here, so pop over if you want to know more. 

Expected Clickthrough Rate: Your ads expected clickthrough rate is calculated based on the historical performance of both your ad and the URL you’re using for the ad. When Google makes this calculation it is using your expected clickthrough rate for a certain position relative to a competitor.

Ad Relevance: This is a really important area, and a lot of people lose significant rank points here. You need to make sure your ad copy matches up to what you’re advertising on your site, and isn’t misleading or directing to the wrong thing. So if your ad copy talks about trainers, you need to make sure the ad copy talks about trainers. If you try to do a bait and switch, Google will punish your ad relevance, which will push you down the rankings.

Landing Page Experience: Carrying on from the example above, not only does your actual ad copy need to match the topic, but the content on your landing page does as well. So if your ad talks about trainers, then your landing page needs to be full of text, images and videos that are relevant to someone wanting to buy trainers. The more relevant your landing page, the higher landing page score you get which will also help you get a sale (and that is the end goal).


All of these things together create a score, and Google uses this to determine your overall Ad Rank.


Why Should You Care?

Because Google Ads is a really competitive space, and small businesses sometimes need a little help to get the most out of their campaigns. Your Ad Rank is what decides where your ads display and if they display at all – but more importantly they determine how many leads come through to your website. If you have a good Ad Rank, you are much more likely to see a good return on your investment, higher conversion rates and higher display rates for your ads. In other words, it makes your whole online advertising strategy much more effectively. And that’s the whole point really, isn’t it?


Google AdWords is a dynamic marketplace and there are local and national companies jumping in to advertise daily on the keywords are you are bidding on. It’s a war out there, and the best way to win is to know what you’re up against and how to beat it. If you would like more information, or for a free Google Ads review, just get in touch with the Ad-Extra team today.