5 Google Ad Rank Factors

Ad rank is the primary metric Google uses to determine how well an ad will perform. It's based on both the quality of your ad and the quality of the sites that show your ads.

Ad rank = Quality Score + Ad Rank Modifier

Quality Score measures how relevant, useful and interesting your ad is to a user, as compared to other advertisers competing for the same keyword(s). A high QS means you have a better chance of showing up higher on the page and paying less per click than someone with a low QS.

The main factors that determine a website's Ad Rank in Google search results are the quality of the website's content, the relevance of the website's content to the search query, and the amount of money that the website's owner is willing to bid on a particular keyword. Other factors that can influence a website's Ad Rank include the user's location, the user's search history, and the user's device.

5 Google Search Ad Rank Factors

1.) Quality of the website's content

The quality of a website's content is a factor that can affect the ranking of ads on Google. This is because Google wants to provide the best possible user experience for its users, and high-quality content can help to achieve this. High-quality content is often well-written, informative, and useful to users. It also typically contains keywords and phrases that are relevant to the user's search query, which can help to improve the relevance of the ad to the user. Additionally, websites with high-quality content are often more likely to attract organic traffic and links from other websites, which can also help to improve their ranking.

2.) Relevance of the content to the Search Query

Relevancy of the ad to the search term being used is an important factor in determining the ad's rank. This is because Google wants to ensure that users are shown ads that are relevant to their search queries, so that they are more likely to find what they are looking for.

Advertisers can use keywords in their ad campaigns to target their ads to specific search terms. When a user performs a search on Google, the search engine will analyze the keywords in the user's query and match it with the keywords that advertisers have used in their campaigns. Ads that have a higher number of matching keywords, or that have keywords that are more closely related to the search query, will be considered more relevant and will be given a higher ad rank.

Advertisers can also use negative keywords to exclude their ads from being shown for certain search terms. For example, if an advertiser is selling shoes, they might use the keyword "shoes" in their campaign, but they might also use the negative keyword "sneakers" to prevent their ad from being shown when someone searches for "sneakers."

Improving your Ad Rank in Google helps to beat out competitors for market share.

3.) Keyword Bidding is essential to your ad rank.

When someone searches for a keyword that the advertiser has chosen, their ad may appear in the search results if their bid is high enough. The position of the ad in the search results is determined by a combination of the bid amount and the quality of the ad, as explained throughout the rest of this post.

Bidding in PPC advertising is important because it determines how successful the advertiser's ads will be. A higher bid can increase the chances that the ad will appear in a prominent position in the search results, which can lead to more clicks and more traffic to the advertiser's website. However, the bid amount must be carefully balanced against the potential return on investment (ROI) in order to be effective. If the bid is too low, the ad may not appear at all, or it may appear in a low-visibility position. If the bid is too high, the cost of the campaign may outweigh the benefits.

4.) User’s Search Location

A searcher’s location affects an ads rank because search engines like Google often customize the results that they show to users based on the user's location. For example, if a user is searching for a restaurant in their city, Google may show ads for restaurants that are nearby. This can make the ads more relevant to the user, which can in turn increase the chances that the user will click on the ad. By understanding how location affects ad rank, advertisers can create ads that are more likely to be seen and clicked on by users in their target location.

An example of this in practice would be searching “restaurants in Dublin”, “hardware stores in Cork”, etc.

5.) Search Device (Mobile, Desktop, Tablet)

The device a user is using to access a search engine results page (SERP) can impact their experience with an ad and ultimately affect the relevance and effectiveness of the ad for that user. This can affect the ad's quality score, which is a factor in determining its ad rank on Google. For example, a user on a mobile device may have a different level of engagement with an ad compared to a user on a desktop, which can affect the ad's performance and ranking. Additionally, the capabilities and limitations of the device can impact the display and functionality of the ad, which can also affect its performance and ranking e.g. you should put additional effort into shortening headlines for mobile devices. This may seem very obvious due to the screen resolution, however, many advertisers don’t do this.

Ad Rank Conclusion

Google is reluctant to give more than a few guidelines to advertisers—and they make it clear that they are not responsible for the quality of your ads or keywords. Still, there are a few things discussed in the post above which helps guide you to improve on ad position for your next campaign. If you’re trying to beat out that competitor, or just trying to improve on KPIs for certain keywords, the five factors above have you covered. 


An important final note is that while the factors above guide you in what to change, you should experiment on each for your website/campaign. For instance, 5% change to a keyword bid, get super niche with location targeting with towns, or create a separate landing page for a single (or group) of keywords for relevancy.

Darren Kearney

Darren Kearney

Highly experienced marketing professional with 6+ years of digital campaign experience, managing and executing successful PPC and social media campaigns. Proven ability to drive awareness, engagement, and sales across diverse clients.

With experience working in Google and digital agencies around Ireland, I have worked with some of the largest brands around the world. I am certain that I bring the expertise to maximise advertising results for small businesses in Ireland. 🙂

Try Volume Digital For Your Business

No long-term contract and results-focused ads management.

or call Tel: (087) 2660472


Have you ever tried to set up a PPC campaign for your business and you didn't see the results you wanted? Volume is here to help! We want to educate and service Small-to-Medium sized businesses in Ireland to get the most from their PPC advertising budget.

Email: info@volume.ie

© 2023 Volume Digital