Ads not showing? Here’s how to improve your Google Ad rank

Similar to how Google ranks organic results, Google ad rank is a part of Google’s auction process that determines your ad’s position on Google’s search results page. There are multiple factors that affect Google ad rank which will be covered more below.

Having a top-ranking ad is beneficial for your business as it increases visibility and click-through-rates (CTR).

Factors that affect Google Ad Rank

Google Ad Rank is calculated using your bid amount, your auction-time ad quality (including expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience), the Ad Rank thresholds, the competitiveness of an auction, the context of the person’s search (for example, the person’s location (see Local SEO), device, time of search, the nature of the search terms, the other ads and search results that show on the page, and other user signals and attributes), and the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.

1 Bid amount

This is the maximum amount that you are willing to pay for a click. Your actual cost-per-click (CPC) is usually less than your maximum bid.

2 Auction-time Ad quality

Ad quality or also known on Google Ads platform as Quality Score, is a score from 1 to 10. Quality score takes into account past click-through-rates, ad relevance and landing page experience and ad extensions.

Expected click-through-rate

This is a prediction used to determine the likelihood of your ads getting clicked for the keyword(s) that you have chosen. Based on this, Google then awards either one of the 3 statuses to your keyword: above average, average or below average. 

The expected CTR is calculated regardless of other factors that affect the ad visibility, such as ad position, ad format, and extensions.

Landing page experience

The more that your landing page is relevant to your keyword, the higher quality score it will be awarded. Your ads may be shown less if your landing page is slow, has a high bounce rate, is confusing and poorly designed.  (read about how to design an effective landing page)

3 Competitiveness of ad auction

If your ad is on a popular product or service, there will be many ads competing for the same position. Even with a high quality score, your business might have to pay a higher cost-per-click to ensure that your ad stays at the top position.

4 User’s search context

Users can fall into different categories of search intent. They could be searching for information (How are cocoa beans harvested?), looking to do research (Apple vs. Samsung mobile phones) or have purchase intent (Buy mountain bike).


The more your ads fit the context of what the user is searching for, along with other factors such as device type, time of search, the higher your ad will rank.

Formula to calculate Google Ad Rank

While the exact formula to calculate ad rank is not publicly know, the closest formula is:

Max bid x quality score = Google Ad rank

This table shows how quality score and bid affects Google ad rank. In Advertiser A’s case, a high bid with low quality score still puts them at the lowest position. In Advertiser E’s case, having a perfect quality score will allow them to bid very competitively while keeping top position.

How to improve Google Ad rank?

Landing page experience

After visitors click on your ad, the page that they land on should contain the same keywords and content that your ad has. 

As mentioned above, the page should be clear, easy to read and mobile friendly. Having a messy landing page will cause visitors to leave quickly and make Google penalise your ad’s quality score. 

Bid competitively

As demonstrated in the ad rank formula above, having a higher bid doesn’t guarantee a top ad placement. But not bidding enough can limit visibility of your ad. 

One way to determine how much to bid for is to use Google’s Keyword Planner to get a sense of the range. 

If the keyword you are bidding for is crm software, an estimate is to start with a middle amount bid of $17.70. 

Remember to make changes to bid based on your campaign results.


The keywords added in your ad group have to match your ads. Avoid adding too many different keywords or variations to keep it hyper-relevant. 

Having relevant ad extensions to enhance your ad content can make your ad stand out and make call-to-action more prominent.

That’s it!  Work on the above to improve your Google ad rank to gain more visibility and at the same time lower your cost per click!  To learn more tips on how to improve your Google Search advertising campaigns, join our Digital Advertising course!

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Assistant Instructor: Yanling

About the author

Yanling is a Digital Marketer who is passionate in helping drive business strategy through digital platforms.