There is a lot of confusion out there –even among some of our most educated clients- about how a Google AdWords campaign works. A great majority of people simply think that you just “Pay-Per-Click” and that the “pay” amount is somehow a fixed cost depending on which keyword they are targeting. Of course, that would be an oversimplification of a much more sophisticated bidding process. The infographic included with this article does a great job explaining the actual bidding process. It’s a busy graphic, but relatively easy to understand once you move from section to section.
Google’s AdWords page also explains in overall terms how the ad auction works. The important fact to remember is that your Ad Rank will be determined by your Maximum Bid and your Quality Score.
Ad Rank = Max Bid x Quality Score
Where “Ad Rank” is how high your ad appears on the results page and “Max Bid” is your maximum pay-per-click bid. Now, when it comes to “Quality Score” is when things start to get a bit more interesting. The “Quality Score” number is how Google views your overall ad, the web page that it links to and how it relates to the keyword for which you’re bidding. In other words, Google is giving you a “Quality Score” based on how RELEVANT your ad is and how positive the USER EXPERIENCE will be once they arrive to your website.
You don’t need to be a genius in math to figure out that if your Quality Score is very low, you’re going to pay a lot for each click to achieve a certain Ad Rank, whereas another advertiser that has a much higher Quality Score will pay much less cost per click for the same keyword. If you have a website or landing page that contains authoritative and fresh content, optimized for your visitors and relevant for the keywords and ads that you’re bidding for, even if your competition bids higher than you (spending more per click) you can still achieve a higher ad rank at a lower price.
I often advise my clients that it is more important to work on their organic rankings first and their AdWords campaign second. Of course, everyone wants the instant gratification that you can achieve by buying your way to the top; in the long run, if you follow a consistent and thorough organic optimization program that also targets certain relevant keyword phrases and establishes your authority, when it comes to adding your AdWords campaign to the mix, you will have half of the work done and you will be able to achieve a higher Ad Rank at a much lower cost.
Plant a seed, water it every day, week and month and you will see your rankings and traffic grow… and you may not even need an AdWords campaign. I hope you enjoy viewing the AdWords Infographic below. Please click on the graphic to enlarge it for easier reading. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t be shy… just send me a note below and I promise that I will get back with you.
Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)
Click on the Infographic to Enlarge the Image