Close-up of business woman hand with mouse. Shallow depth of field. Selective focus.

As you may know, a few months ago Google announced the elimination of sidebar ads, instead only choosing to show ads at the top or bottom of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). With only 4 ads in the “top” position on the desktop SERP, the competition to be in one of those top ad positions is fiercer than ever before. This competition may ultimately increase the cost per click you pay as more marketers see the benefit of PPC advertising.

So the problem facing many advertisers is figuring out a way to improve your ad position without spending more money.  As you may already know, your ad position in the SERP is based on how much you are willing to pay per click and your ad’s Quality Score. If you don’t want to increase your Google AdWords budget, your only option is to improve Quality Score.

Increase Your CTR and Achieve A Greater Quality Score

How do you get an excellent Quality Score? First, you must know what factors influence Quality Score. The main factors influencing Quality Score are Click-Through Rate (CTR), Ad Relevance, and Landing Page Experience. Today we will focus on a few steps to take to  increase CTR.

1. Pay Attention To Your Ad Copy

When writing ads, make sure that you use actionable text that entices users to click the ad. It also helps to highlight special offers if your company is currently running promo, clearance or an other special. Don’t forget to punctuate your ads; end each description line with a period, question mark or exclamation point and it may create what’s known as an extended ad headline. This will allow your description line 1 to be added to the headline if ad extensions are being utilized, making your ad more eye-catching. Lastly if you capitalize the words in your headlines and description lines, they tend to read as more of an “Ad” rather than just a statement. For example: “Buy women’s shoes here.” Vs “Buy Women’s Shoes Here.”

2. Create Ad Groups That Are Specific To Theme Or Products

Divide your campaign into several specific ad groups with applicable keywords to ensure that your ad is perfectly targeted to those searching for the keywords you’re bidding on. This will ensure that more users click on your ad.

3. Take Advantage Of Ad Extensions

Utilize as many applicable ad extensions that you can. According to Google, they will “show one or more extensions with your ad when it calculates that the extension (or combination of extensions) will improve your performance, and when your Ad Rank is high enough for it to appear.” Using Ad Extensions helps to create a more robust looking ad, and especially if you use site links, gives the user more areas to click on the ad.

4. Don’t Forget Negative Keywords

To ensure that you are not showing up in search results for keywords that you may not wish to, add in negative keywords when building your AdWords campaigns. This ensures that your ad will show up for the only most relevant searches, increasing the likelihood that the right person will click on your ad. For more on negative keywords, see what Google has to say.

5. Optimize Your Display URL

With only 35 characters available to you, making sure your Display URL is informative and to the point is very important. Include a main keyword as the ending of your display URL to show the user that the link they are clicking on is exactly what they are looking for, increasing your the perceived trustworthiness of the link that users will be clicking on.

So Now What?

If you’ve ensured that your landing page is fully optimized and that your ads are set up to have the best CTR, what’s next? Remember, at the beginning of this article that you learned that Landing Page  Experience and CTR is just part of the factors that influence your Quality Score. In order to keep improving and therefore raise your Quality Score, you will still need to address Ad Relevance. Always remember to review Google’s AdWords Policies to make sure that your ads are compliant.
Not sure if you can handle Online Advertising on your own? Weigh your options.


Kirby VanderHorck, Online Advertising Specialist
About the Author

Kirby is an Online Advertising Specialist at OMNI. She directs the strategy and implementation of advertising campaigns for clients, including search engine advertising and social advertising, driving traffic to their website and profit to their business.

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