Your paid ad appears in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) when you win an ad space – that is – when you bid and win on the user’s keyword. For this post, we will be using Google Ads.
With Search Engine Marketing, you can bid with ad auction in Google Ads’ certain preset search queries, keywords, or trigger words for a certain amount of money. The triggers will cause your ads (content/website) to show up in the sponsored search results portion of the SERP once you “win” the ad auction.
The question now is how can you win the bid?
Let us take a look at the important factors affecting your positioning in the SERP.
These factors include the relevant keywords you bid on and your ad rank. Your ad rank is determined by your maximum bid and your quality score.
As you bid with ad auction in Google Ads, having relevant keywords does not automatically assure you that you will win an ad space in the search results. Google needs to determine your ad rank in order to win an ad space in the SERP. This is how the process goes:
Ad auction process
- You identify keywords or trigger words you want to bid on.
- You identify how much you are willing to pay per click in order for your ads to appear in the keyword search results.
- Every time someone enters a search query in Google and Google determines that the keywords you have bid on are in the user’s search query, your ad will be entered into the ad auction.
- Google will determine your ad rank to see if your ad “wins” a place in the sponsored search results. Ad rank is determined by multiplying your maximum bid and the Quality Score of your ad. Maximum bid is literally the maximum amount you are willing to pay for each click of your ad as you have indicated. Quality Score refers to Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your ads or content and your keywords.
Take a look at the illustration below to see how ads win placement in sponsored search results.
Source: Disruptive Advertising
Choosing the right keywords
As with SEO, keywords are still the most important factor in SEM. You need to bid on the right keywords so your ad will have a better chance of showing up in the ads section of the SERP.
When it comes to choosing the right keywords, you just don’t trust your instincts on what keywords your target audience may find relevant. You need to do substantial keyword research. There are many keyword research tools available that can give you helpful data on what keywords are relevant to your business or industry. These tools usually give you information on search volume, competition level, and sometimes, the estimated or average keyword cost per click (CPC). All these analytics can help you strategically decide which keywords to bid on and how much you can bid based on your budget.
Improving your quality score
Quality Score refers to Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of your ads or content and your keywords. According to Google Ads, the following factors can affect your Quality Score:
- Expected Click-Through Rate (CTR): How likely will users click your ad when Google shows it on the SERP for the keywords they type in?
- Ad relevance: How well does the message in your ad match the keywords? Does it make sense for your ad to appear in the search results when a user searches for a certain keyword?
- Landing page experience: Is your landing page useful to the users who click your ad? Does it correspond to what you are offering in your ad? Does it have what the users are looking for?
Acknowledging these factors can help you improve the Quality Score of your ad and thus help you win an ad space in the search results.