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The topic of Google Adwords polarizes business owners into love and hate camps. The love camp sings its praises, while the hate camp thinks it’s costly and useless.

Those in the hate camp usually come by that feeling after running AdWords campaigns that didn’t generate sales and put a dent in the marketing budget.

They find their ads don’t show on the first or second page of Google searches and the people clicking through aren’t serious.

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For business owners in this situation, it can help to understand what influences where your ad shows.

PPC Ad Rank

Where your ads show depends on what Ad Rank Google assigns it. In essence, the higher the PPC ad rank, the better the position of your ad shows. Google determines PPC ad rank by assessing three components: keyword bid, quality score and, a recent addition, ad extension impact.

Keyword Bid

The most straightforward of the components, the keyword bid is how much you’re willing to spend per click on the ad. The higher the bid, the better the place the ad shows. The cash-flush corporation that shells out twice the going rate secures the premium first position on page one of searches. What it gains in exposure, though, it gives up in focus and at a premium.


Quality Score

The quality score refers to the overall relevance of the ad to the keyword. Nike, for example, may rank first for every shoe-related keyword because it pays out. The lower keyword bid for “women’s leather boots” put in by a company that specializes in women’s leather boots receives a serious quality score boost for relevance. The ads for the women’s boots company may not appear at the very top of page one, but it stands a decent chance of a page one appearance when combined with a competitive keyword bid.

Ad Extension Impact

Ad extensions provide a way to offer more information in an ad by including a range of ad extension options, such as additional site links, review information and even seller rankings. Ad extensions cost nothing to insert into an ad, but certain extensions -- app and call extensions, for example -- count as two clicks. As ad extensions lead to better click-through rates, Google ups your PPC ad rank for including them, which improves where your ad shows.

A bad Adwords experience leaves many business owners feeling cold about trying it again. Keyword bids may be inflexible; budgets are what they are, but ads can leverage high relevance and ad extension to build a better Ad Rank. A better Ad Rank gets the ad closer to page one and the traffic that drives sales.

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