To actually get a leg up on your competitors in Google Ads without raising bids requires a holistic approach. It’s about first understanding how the algorithm works, then creating a strong foundation based on that foundation, and then using the tools and tactics available to you to get ahead. Let’s dive in.


1. Understand the power of Quality Score

With the way the Google Ads auction works, higher-quality ads get rewarded with higher positions and lower costs.

Why? Because if Google serves crappy ads, it will lose searchers. And if no one clicks on those ads, Google doesn’t make money.

How? By factoring your Quality Score into the algorithm. Your Ad Rank is your Quality Score multiplied by your maximum bid. Higher Ad Rank = higher position on the SERP. And your cost per click is the Ad Rank of the ad below yours, multiplied by your Quality Score plus one cent.

2. Focus on increasing your click-through rate

A high click-through rate will improve your expected click-through rate, which brings up your Quality Score. Make your ads shine, and you’ll outpace your competition and spend less money. Here are just a few of the many ways to increase CTR:

  • Differentiate your ad: The offer must stand out from the other ads. Use differentiators to make your offer exciting to potential customers.
  • Use numbers in your ads
  • Use a strong CTA
  • Use extensions: Ad extensions (now called assets) improve your CTR, which in turn improves your Quality Score, which in turn improves your rank.

3. Improve your ad relevance

Relevance has been taken to a whole new level these days. It’s not just about being relevant to the search query but also to the searcher. Here’s how to do that:

Include the keyword in your headline and description: Google also bolds the query that was searched, which attracts eyeballs and clicks.

  • Refine your targeting
  • Use audiences
  • Adjust for seasonality
  • Create tightly-themed ad groups

4. Perfect your landing page experience

The third piece to the Quality Score puzzle is the landing page experience. Even more importantly, the landing page is how you make sure conversions happen, so even if your CTR is great and costs are low, you’re not really competing if you’re not converting. Here’s how to improve your landing page experience and optimize them for conversion:

  1. Use unique landing pages for each offer: Do not send all of your visitors to your homepage or to a generic landing page. You need a unique landing page for each offer and even for each audience.
  2. Keep it clean and clear: Balance out text with images and keep your text concise: Lead with benefits, support them with features, and use specific CTAs.
  3. Consistency: The copy, imagery, and messaging on your landing page should be consistent with that of the ad that preceded it.
  4. Make it easy: The page should load fast, function well on any device, and, if it contains a form, not ask for too much information.

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