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18 Ways to Nudge Your Google Ad Higher Without Paying a Cent Extra Few small companies can spend their way to the top of Google rankings, but none really has to.

By Christina Baldassarre Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

vgajic | Getty Images

Competition for the top spot on Google is fierce -- the average company is spending $20,404 for advertising per year. According to Practical Ecommerce, ads in the top position have been observed to get 10 times as many clicks as side-position ads. How are you supposed to compete against all of your ad competitors?

Related: Don't Forget 'Positioning' in Your Marketing

You get those clicks by understanding how Google works. It's not rocket science. You just need to know the rules so you can play by them and play better than people who advertise on the same grounds as you. It's important to remember that you aren't competing against the world.

What determines your page position?

In order to understand how to show your business up higher on the page, you need to first know what determines where your ad shows-up in the first place: The average position of the ad is determined by the so-called "ad rank."


The formula for the ad rank is quality score multiplied by bid. Quality Score is defined as the grade that Google gives between the landing page, ad, and keyword. Bid is described as the amount of money spent on each ad campaign.

Related: 3 Alternatives to Using Google Adwords

In other words, if you want to show up higher, you have two options: either increase the Quality Score, or increase your bid.

Let's assume that increasing the bid with your current budget means you get less clicks because they cost you more. Since this article is about how to rank higher without paying more, the solution is to increase the Quality Score.

All of these suggestions (listed below) can be implemented within 24 hours. Remember the tags. These tags are used strategically and together which increases the Quality Score more than one could expect.

Here are eighteen ways to increase the quality score:

  1. Campaign Structure: Target ad groups that only contain related keywords.

  2. Speedy Load Times: Many aspects can result in longer load times. Many blogs are image-heavy, and that can be what slows the load time.

  3. Terms With Low Search Volume: Keywords that aren't being clicked or searched often can drag your scores down.

  4. Custom Landing Pages: Make sure that the keywords of your ad groups are also represented by your landing page.

    Related: 3 Ways to Create More Engaging Website Landing Pages

  5. Custom Ads: When you have a number of targeted ad groups, writing custom ads will personalize your keyword-ad relationship.

  6. URL: Find the top five keywords generating the most conversion. Add one of these five to your URL.

  7. The 1/3 and 2/3 HTML Rule: This is the sweet spot for an increased Quality Score. 1/3 image and 2/3 text is the best ratio to follow.

  8. Menu: The menu is the compass of your page. Don't be caught without one; the ease of navigation is always rated.

  9. Privacy Policy: Make this visible. Perhaps in the footer, its most popular spot.

  10. Title Tags: Displayed at the top of the page, this increases the Quality Score and keyword conversions.

  11. Meta Tags: Google uses both

  12. Alt Tags: Also known as alt text or alt attributes, these describe images invisibly. These are good places to include top keywords.

  13. H1 & H2 Headings: Be sure to insert these manually if they aren't automatically inserted.

  14. Text & Sniper Pages: Find a good balance when including keywords. Once every 100 words is a good measurement. Be sure not to include the keyword too often, which creates a sniper page and decreases your Quality Score.

  15. Breadcrumbs: Displayed horizontally below the page header. Your breadcrumbs might look like this if searching for Blue Canvas Shoes: Home>Online Shopping> Women>Shoes>Canvas Shoes>Blue

  16. HTTPS: Google rewards these over http websites because https is more secure. Change this on your page by installing SSL certificates.

  17. Subdomains: If you have a subdomain, try using a keyword as its first word to increase Quality Score.

  18. Duplicate Content: Having this will decrease your Quality Score, because Google is showing signs of following SEO guidelines when scoring your page's content.

The Benefits.

The benefit of the higher Quality Score is that your Google ads show up higher without you having to pay more.
Another benefit that typically comes from implementing these methods is that ads that show up higher typically get a higher click-through-rate (CTR) and therefore cost less.

While there is a lot of competition, your business can compete on Google by knowing how to get more bang for the buck. There is no magic bullet, but the tricks listed above will definitely help increase your Quality Score.

Christina Baldassarre

Entrepreneur, Blogger & Social Media Branding Consultant

Christina Baldassarre is a German writer and branding consultant as seen on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List 2018. Christina helps brands and influencers reach their target audiences and increase sales with effective social media strategies, impactful branding and converting content.

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