Paid Listings Ranking System:
Google's Paid Listings has a very simple equation, in determining the positioning of all of their Paid Listings. Your advert's positioning is referred to as its Ad Rank. This Equation is:
Ad Rank = Quality Score x Bid Amount (CPC)
Simply put, the higher your Ad Rank, the higher up the the Paid Listings you go. In other words, your competitor has a higher Ad Rank score than you.
To improve your competitive levels, you will need to improve your Ad Rank as to increase the chances of your Paid Listing climbing up the Ranks.
Your Quality Score:
Your Quality Score, is a metric Google uses in determining your Paid Listing's:
- Ad Relevancy
- Landing Page User Experience
This metric is scored out of 10!
A few simple ways to improve your Ad Relevancy, are:
- Ensure you have a tightly themed Paid Listing Campaign. A general rule of thumb is to try and replicate your Site structure;
- Ensure that you are using your targeted Keywords, within your Ad Copy;
- Ensure that your Landing Page not only contains relevant page content but also loads well;
- Identify and implement desired Negative Keywords.
If you are creating a new Campaign, it is unlikely your Quality Score will be a perfect 10/10. The reason being, is that Google Ads also factors in a Campaign's Historical Performance. Such factors being an Advert's:
- Click Through Rate;
- Conversion Rates.
To me, there are 2 primary Benefits of improving your Quality Score:
- A higher quality score, allows you to keep your Bidding to as low as possible without losing Ad Rank. In other words, a higher Quality Score ensures your Paid Listing's costs are as low as possible for each Ad Rank;
- Your Quality Score is limited to 10. Once you have achieved this perfect 10/10, you know that the only way a competitor is out ranking you, is that they have a higher bid than you.
Pretty self explanatory, this is how much you intend on bidding for your Keywords.
Is it Legal?
There are no rules against this. An Example being, a competitor may have the following Ad Copy:
20% Off Product A. Now 50% Cheaper than Competitor Brand
This summer, pick up Product A with an extra 20% off. Making us 50% cheaper than Competitor Brand.
Not the greatest Ad Copy but you get the idea.
My advice would be:
- Look at your Campaign's overall structure. Do you have tightly themed Ad Groups? By Themed, I mean does each Ad Group have similar Keywords? A general rule is to keep each Ad Group to 20 Keywords;
- Does each Ad Copy contain your targeted Keywords with clear call to actions (CTA)? By having a clear CTA, you will improve the chances of higher Click Through Rates (CTR) which is a factor in Quality Scores;
- Does your Landing Page have content, which matches the Ad Copy? I see many sites send Paid Listing Traffic to their primary website's pages. This is a mistake. You should create Paid Traffic specific pages, tailored to each Ad Copy. Just make sure to "rel=noindex" these, so that it does not affect any SEO efforts you are working on;
- Look at each Landing Page and try and get it to load as fast as possible. In doing so, you will improve user experience but also improve website engagement levels. Not only would this be positive for your Paid Listing efforts but could help retain customers for future orders etc as well as other benefits.
As with all things marketing, the are no guarantees. That said, the above will certainly help to improve your chances of success.