Google Ads Ranking Factors in 2022: The Most Important And The Top FAQs

Google Ads can make or break your business, depending on how well they are optimized. The crazy thing is that there are at least 53 things 🤯 (yes, we counted them) you can change/set, so the optimization work literally never ends. In this article, we’ll dig into the most important factors that help discover how Google ads algorithm works - so that you can optimize to save (and make) more money. 🤑

Google Ads can make or break your business, depending on how well they are optimized.

The crazy thing is that for a standard search campaign, there are at least 53 things 🤯 (yes, we counted them) you can change/set, so the optimization work literally never ends.

But working in PPC, we know not all factors are created equal.

Work smarter, not harder is the goal. 🤓

With this in mind, we’ll dig into the most important Google ads ranking factors that help discover how Google ads algorithm works – so that you know where you can optimize to save (and make) more money. 🤑

The factor we’re talking about here is Google Ad Rank, what you need to consider and what you don’t need to worry about.

Let’s get started.

Jump ahead to:

What is Google Ad Rank?
How Does Google Rank Ads
How is Ad Rank Different from Google Quality Score?
Which Factors are Most Important for Ad Rank?
Important Factors To Consider When Creating Google Ads
Top 4 Most Important Factors That Impact Your Campaign Results
Popular Questions Surrounding Google Ads

What is Google Ad Rank?

Like how it sounds, Ad Rank determines where your ad shows in the search result positions: The highest Ad Rank shows on top, and the lowest Ad Rank may not show up at all.

Higher Ad Rank means lower costs and better ad positions – so you bid less per thousand impressions and less pay per click. This is how you save more money.

Sounds straightforward so far?

Well, it’s not so easy to achieve high ad rank.

How Does Google Rank Ads?

Let’s start with the most important question: What determines if Google likes your ad?

For starters, Ad Rank is calculated using the following categories:

  1. Your bid (the amount you’re willing to pay to have your ad displayed)
  2. Expected click-through rate (CTR)
  3. Ad relevance to the customer
  4. Quality of your landing page

When you master #2-4, you can pay less (#1) to rank in the highest ad position.

How is Ad Rank Different from Google Quality Score?

This question pops up a lot and can be confusing if you don’t know the difference between the two.

Quality score is the way Google gives you a tool to measure how well your campaign is performing. From keywords, landing pages and the ads themselves, you can find the quality score Google has given you and the tips on how to further improve your score.

Ad Rank differs because Google takes into account a lot more factors than quality score. Alongside the same factors mentioned above, it also looks at your:

  • Bid amount
  • Auction-time
  • Ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience)
  • Context of the person’s search
  • Other ads
  • And many additional factors.

This tells the Google algorithm when it should show your ads and how often.

Just because your campaign has a high quality score, doesn’t mean Google will give it a high ad rank but it’s encouraged to continue to tweak campaigns in order to have a high quality score since many of the same factors come into play for both.

Which Factors are Most Important for Ad Rank?

Spoiler alert: not one factor but 2 on this list are the most important.

CTR and landing page quality are 2 of the biggest factors when considering your ad campaign. You can learn more below on what both are and how to improve them.

To determine which factors have the most impact, we looked at various studies conducted by Google.

We were able to identify 5 different factors (and a few other bonus tips) that have a significant impact on Ad Rank and should be optimized for your business.

Important Factors To Consider When Creating Google Ads


What Are They?: Keywords are the terms that people search for when trying to find a product or service. A keyword includes any word, name, topic, or phrase on Google Ads.

How To Choose Keywords?: When choosing keywords, think about what potential customers would type into Google to find your product or service. Try to target long-tail keywords (more specific phrases) rather than general ones, as they have a higher conversion rate.

Why Are They Important?: Keywords are important because they tell Google what your ad is about. When you target the right keywords, your ads will show up in search results when people are looking for products or services like yours.


What Is It?: Bidding is the amount of money you’re willing to pay for the keyword you target.

Best Bidding Strategies:

It sounds straightforward, but it is not.

Depending on the keyword match types, the keyword you want to bid on is usually not the ones you actually pay for.

So how do you know you’re getting what you want to pay for?

Here’s how we do it (and what we focus on):

  • Try to get granularity by using Single Keyword Ad Group structure when starting a brand-new campaign.
  • Set conversion actions to track the actual end results that impact business growth. For example, sales for ecommerce, and quality leads for services.
  • Test various bidding strategies for lowest CPA and highest conversions.
  • Once you achieve a desirable CPA, increase budget to increase top impression share.

Actual CTR

Remember the other term we discussed earlier? The Expected Click-through Rate (ECTR). ECTR is important for brand new advertisers in its very early stage of running ads on Google. Once you have some history, ECTR won’t matter much.

It’s your actual CTR that you should keep optimizing.

What Is It?: What you’re actually charged for clicks. The actual CTR is determined by the keywords you choose, how competitive the keywords are, and the relevance of the ad to the customer.

Google rewards high CTR campaigns with low bids and higher Ad Rank. Good CTR usually leads to lower CPC and lower CPA.

What’s a good CTR for Google Ads?: According to Smart Insights and Word Stream, the average CTR on paid search ads is about 2%, and the average CTR on display ads is 0.05%

How To Improve CTR: For this article, we’re giving away our top three tactics to improve CTR on paid search ads:

  1. Ad copy focusing on user benefits, NOT features. One of our little treasures to improve benefit-focused copy is the book “Words that Sell.” It groups benefit-focused words by descriptions and various situations so that you never run out of words to describe what your customers benefit from using your product or service.
  2. Personalization is the key. This is another copy tactic. Instead of using the same ad for everything, you should always customize ad copy for different ad groups and audiences.
  3. Be bold and unique. This is how marketing works: if you want people to pay attention, stand out and be memorable. Be creative and be crazy (sometimes).

Ad Relevance

What Is It?: Relevance is how well your ad matches what someone searched for on Google (i.e., if you’re selling a pet store and a user searches for “pet store,” your ad is relevant).

How To Increase Relevance: To increase relevance, you want your copy to be as close as what the search term is.

This goes back to the Single Keyword Ad Group recommendation: if you include too many (more than 2) keywords in your ad, you’ll likely dilute the message between the keyword and your ad.

And that will result in lower CTR.

Why Is It Important?: Ads that are more relevant to what someone is searching for have a higher chance of being clicked on and may lead to increased sales.

Landing Page Quality

What Is It?: Landing page quality is the measure of how good your landing pages are. The most common way to evaluate a landing page quality is to see what the conversion rate is.

Over the years, landing page quality has become more and more important.

End of the day, if your landing page isn’t converting, it doesn’t matter how high your Ad Rank is, or how low your CPC is.

How To Improve It?: Promise we’ll write an in-depth article about the best strategies and tactics for conversion rate optimization (CRO). But for now, take our top three strategies and give them a try:

  • 1️⃣ : 1️⃣ Action Ratio:
    Make sure your landing pages have a single goal attached to it, not multiple. This is called 1:1 action ratio, and it keeps your potential customer clear that the landing page they were directed to after clicking on your ad will only have a single decision to make. Ever wonder why most landing pages don’t have a navigation menu on top? Our research shows a landing page without a navigation menu usually has a 50%+ higher conversion rate than the one that does.
  • Multi-Step Form ⏭ :
    Use it because it works like magic. Start with the questions that are not personal, but highly relevant to your customers, and finish it with the contact info you really care about. It’s like you wouldn’t ask your wife to marry you on the first date (she may not be your wife if you did), don’t go for the sales until you ask all the relevant questions.
  • 🥪 Sandwich Everything with Social Proof 🥪 :
    Reviews, featured articles, awards, case studies. Use them all. Any third-party validation will speak louder than your own statement.

Top 4 Most Important Factors That Impact Your Campaign Results

Now that you have an idea of what factors into Google ranking your ads on relevant searches, let’s take a look at what you should prioritize for creating a great ad campaign (in no particular order).

Make Sure Your Landing Pages Run Smoothly on Mobile

Mobile Google searches account for more than 50 percent of the total searches done in a year. This means that if your landing pages don’t run smoothly when viewed on a mobile device, you are losing out on potential customers who might click an ad but then leave because they can’t access what they wanted to see.

Keep Keyword Intent at the Top of Your Mind

One of the benefits of using Google Ads is that you can appear on specific search terms without having to wait for months for SEO campaigns to take effect.

This includes a strong focus on commercial and transactional keywords, and having different ads/landing pages for different intents. Commerrical keywords are answers to a specific question or general information, while transactional keywords are intended to help complete an action or purchase.

Use Negative Keywords

Negative keywords are words or phrases that you add to your ads to make sure you don’t get any clicks from people who are not interested in what you’re selling.

Using negative keywords to weed out the search terms you don’t want to pay for.

Test, Test and Test Some More

The only way to know what works best for your business is to test different things.

This means trying out different keywords, headlines, images, and ad copy. The more you experiment, the better understanding you will have of what works well for your particular business.

When using Google Ads, any advantage you can take over your competition usually comes in the form of knowing what works and what doesn’t.

Since Google is always changing the way they determine if your ad pops up to potential customers, we thought highlighting a few of the most popular FAQs could give you more insight into what mistakes to avoid while creating and maintaining your ad campaign.

Q: Does a Higher Click-through Rate Mean a Lower Cost per Conversion?
A: No. However, this doesn’t mean that your CTR won’t affect your overall conversions — it will! It’s just not always moving in the same direction. If you’re getting great CTR, but terrible CPA, there is often a gap between the keywords/audience you target and the people the landing page is trying to sell to.

Q: How Do You Increase CTR?
A: If you Google how to increase CTR, you’ll get a lot of “click bait” copy suggestions. And those suggestions usually end up getting you good CTR and terrible CPA 👆🏼- the issue we mentioned in the QA above. There are also tons of right ways to increase CTR, and we gave away our top three CTR strategies above in this article.

Q: Is There a Way To Get Rid of Ads That Aren’t Working?
A: Sure! You can pause them or delete them — it’s totally up to you. We don’t recommend deleting anything because any lessons (good and bad) are worth knowing. If you delete a non-performing campaign, how do you know you won’t make the same mistake again?

Q: What’s the Minimum Bid?
A: As of right now, there is no minimum bid — you can start off with as little as $0.05 per click! However, I wouldn’t recommend this because your ads will likely show up lower on the page or not show up at all. If it’s a brand new ad account, try to be patient and see how much the algorithm bids for you first.

Q: What’s the Maximum Bid?
A: There is also no maximum bid – the higher your bid, the better chance your ads will show up higher on the page. The balance is whether a higher bid or higher Ad Rank actually produces more conversions. Don’t lose sight of the most important metrics.

Q: Is It Better To Have a Higher Quality Score and Lower Cost per Click, Or a Lower Quality Score but Higher Cost per Click?
A: It’s usually better to have a high Quality Score and low cost per click because it means that Google trusts your website/ad and that you’re providing relevant information to the customer.

Q: What Happens to My Ad Rank If I Change My Landing Page?
A: This will affect your Quality Score, but not as much as if you were to change your ad copy or keywords.

Q: What’s the Best Time To Check My Google Ads?
A: As mentioned before, we like to work smart and not simply work hard. Depending on your budget and performance, there may not be much to check every day. You may be better off being patient to allow data to come in before making any irrational decisions. However, for big enterprise accounts, you may need daily checks or more, and utilizing script and other tools for automation may be a good solution to consider as well.

We’ve only covered the most important things you need to know, but as always, Google is constantly changing how they evaluate and rank both websites and ads.

While a lot of Ad Rank is a guessing game (Google doesn’t release detailed info on how they rank anything), you can always find the most up-to-date and relevant information right here – we have made a goal to share only the most critical and relevant info on these topics, starting in 2022.

The best you can do is test + analyze + document your best practices or loses, and repeat. So, take the first step and let us know how you do.

Interested in more Google Ads tips? Leave us a comment about what you want to see us write about.

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