Getting more paid traffic to your site for less money

Do you know how to get a higher ranking in Google’s paid listings? It’s easy right? Simply increase the bids. No. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as that.

It certainly used to be the case that the more you paid the higher you ranked. But, towards the end of 2013, Google made a huge change to how it determines which advert appears where. It introduced something called Ad Rank.

Ad Rank is calculated by multiplying your bid price by your quality score.

Quality Score

So what is a quality score (QS)? In a nutshell it is the ranking from 1 (low) to 10 (high) which Google allocates to your ad. There are several factors which are taken into account when calculating your quality score.

Those factors include ‘expected CTR,’ ‘relevance,’ ‘geographic performance,’ and ‘quality of your landing page,’ among others. But, these are the key metrics according to research by our Google Account team..

So, now you have a understanding of QS, how can you check it to establish what your Ad Rank (AR) is?

Three steps to discovering Ad Rank

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at
  2. Click the Campaigns tab at the top.
  3. Look for the  Pos. column in the statistics table. If you can’t see this column in your table, then you can add this column by clicking the Columns button in the toolbar above the statistics table.

You are never going to get the perfect 10 and even if you did, it would probably come at the expense of conversion rate on the site. So, you need to be aiming to have all the keywords in your account at around 8 or 9.

Get more traffic for less money.

So how do you go about actually getting more traffic for less money? It’s simple. Improve your quality score and lower your bids and you will rank higher. Lets take an example.

Let’s assume you are all targeting the same keyword, as an example we will use ‘main keyword’.


Current Max Bid£1£1.25£0.75
Quality Score555
Current Ad Rank56.253.75


So, as things stand, you are currently in second position for the keyword.

Let’s assume you simply make a few changes on your site, improve the ad text slightly, and so improve your QS.


Current Max Bid£1£1.25£0.75
Quality Score855
Current Ad Rank87.53.75

Suddenly, even though you are only willing to pay less than your competition, you will still appear above them in the listing.

If your competitors notice they have dropped in the rankings they will do one of two things:

  1. Increase their bids to regain number one spot (meaning they have to pay more. £1.62 for a click, which is over 60p more than you are willing to pay)
  2. Improve their own QS if they understand how Adwords works.

Let’s assume they are happy in position 2 and make no changes. You, in theory, could reduce your maximum bid down to 0.95p a click without losing your ranking.

While this 0.05p per click doesn’t seem a lot, if you are bidding on hundreds, or even thousands of keywords a day, this can lead to some serious savings.

Yes, I know Google claim that you would only pay 1p more than the person in front of you, but, in reality, I’ve seen plenty of instances where this isn’t the case.

If you want more tips and tricks to improve your QS, joining our mailing list and we will send them out to you together with news on all our latest articles on digital marketing.

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