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Google Ads Bid Levels – Improvement Through Quality Scores and Rank

First page bid levels are an important element within Google Ads in terms of keyword management and visibility, so it’s vital to understand what they mean and how they’re calculated.

A first page bid estimate is approximately what cost-per-click (CPC) bid is likely to be needed to set for an ad to be shown anywhere on the first page of search results when a search query exactly matches the keyword.

The ad can still appear if the bid does not meet this estimate, but it’s less likely to appear on the first page of search results. The estimate isn’t a guarantee and occasionally the ad may not make it to the first page, even when you meet the first page bid estimate.

To see first page bid estimates for keywords, add the ‘Est. first page bid’ column in the Keywords table. There are also ‘Est. top page bid’ and ‘Est. first position bid’ that can be added as columns. (It’s important to note that ‘top of page bids’ are not available for campaigns using automatic bidding, Conversion Optimiser, or ad scheduling. ‘First position bids’ are not available for campaigns using automated bidding or ad scheduling).

These estimate are based on each keyword’s Quality Score and competition from other advertisers. If the first page bid estimate is very high, it may mean that your keyword’s Quality Score is poor and could be improved.

Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of the ads, keywords and landing pages. It’s reported on a 1-10 scale and includes expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. So using specific keywords with relevant ad text and landing pages can improve the QS and higher quality ads can lead to lower CPC prices and better ad positions.

This can also be achieved through improving your ‘rank’ by making improvements to the structure of our keywords within their ad groups and corresponding ads/landing pages.

To do this, look for ad groups with a high ratio of below first page bid estimates and check out the corresponding Quality Scores for those keywords. If you can separate ad groups into smaller, more targeted groups, there’s a good chance of improving the QS and average CPC for those keywords.

If there are a lot of low search volume keywords that are receiving high bid estimates, it may be time to re-evaluate the effectiveness of these keywords and value to the overall account strategy.

Although the chosen ad positions might be achieved by simply increasing the bid to meet or exceed Google’s estimates, this isn’t a great long-term strategy, nor does it guarantee success. Google provides this estimated number as a suggestion and it isn’t always accurate. In addition, this number is not stagnant, and increasing your bid amounts indefinitely results in higher cost-per-click (CPC) and lower ROI.

So the more cost-effective and longer lasting option is to improve Rank and Quality Score, as this lowers the targeted position’s bid amount, reduces CPC and improves ROI. It’s a more time-consuming methodology to manually implement but much more worthwhile in the long-term. There are even tools to streamline the process, such as WordStream’s useful bidding software.

If you want to know more about how to reduce the cost and improve the performance of your Google Ads campaign, please get in touch.