How Does Google Ads Auction Work? Learn the Secrets to Boost Your Ad Rank

Understanding how Google Ads auction works is crucial for maximizing the return on your ad spend (ROAS). Google Ads is the most popular online advertising platform, allowing businesses to reach potential customers effectively. However, to leverage it successfully, one needs to grasp the mechanics of the Google Ads auction and the significance of Ad Rank. In this article, we'll delve into how the Google Ads auction operates and provide examples to illustrate the concept of Ad Rank.


Understanding Google Ads Auction

Google Ads auction is the process that determines which ads will appear on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and in what order. When a user performs a search, an auction is triggered, and advertisers bid for the chance to have their ads shown. However, the highest bid doesn't necessarily win; Google's auction system uses several factors to determine the winning ads.


How the Auction Works

  1. User Search Query: The process begins when a user enters a search query.
  2. Keyword Match: Google identifies ads matching the search query's keywords.
  3. Ad Rank Calculation: Google calculates an Ad Rank score for each ad.
  4. Ad Selection and Ordering: Ads with the highest Ad Rank are selected and ordered accordingly.


Factors Influencing Ad Rank

Ad Rank is a crucial component in the Google Ads auction system. It determines the position of your ad and whether it will appear at all. Ad Rank is calculated using the following factors:

  • Bid Amount: The maximum amount an advertiser is willing to pay for a click on their ad.
  • Ad Quality: This includes the ad's relevance to the search query, the quality of the ad copy, and the expected click-through rate (CTR).
  • Ad Extensions and Formats: Additional information such as phone numbers, sitelinks, and other extensions that can make the ad more appealing.


The Role of Ad Quality

Ad quality is a significant factor in Ad Rank. Google evaluates the relevance and usefulness of an ad to the user’s search query. This includes the ad’s expected click-through rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. Ads that provide a better user experience can achieve a higher Ad Rank even with lower bids.

Learn how Google Ads Quality Score works for keywords.


What is Google Ad Rank?

Google Ad Rank is the value that determines your ad position and eligibility. It’s a composite score based on your bid, ad quality, and the impact of ad extensions and other formats. Ad Rank is recalculated each time your ad is eligible to appear, which means it can fluctuate with each search.


Examples of How Ad Rank Works

Example 1: High Bid, Low Quality

Imagine two advertisers, Advertiser A and Advertiser B, bidding on the same keyword:

  • Advertiser A bids $2.00 with an average ad quality score.
  • Advertiser B bids $1.50 but has a high-quality ad score.

In this case, despite having a lower bid, Advertiser B’s high-quality ad can achieve a higher Ad Rank due to better ad relevance and user experience, thus securing a better ad position than Advertiser A.


Example 2: Using Ad Extensions

Consider another scenario with Advertiser C and Advertiser D:

  • Advertiser C bids $2.00 and does not use ad extensions.
  • Advertiser D bids $1.75 but includes ad extensions such as sitelinks and call buttons.

Advertiser D’s ad, enhanced with extensions, provides more value to users and can boost the ad's relevance and click-through rate. Consequently, Advertiser D might win a higher ad position over Advertiser C due to the improved Ad Rank.


Importance of Ad Extensions

Ad extensions enhance the visibility and effectiveness of your ads by providing additional information and interactive elements. Utilizing ad extensions can improve your Ad Rank by making your ads more appealing and relevant to users.


Strategies to Improve Your Ad Rank

Improving your Ad Rank involves optimizing various aspects of your Google Ads campaigns. Here are some strategies to consider:


Enhance Ad Quality

  1. Relevant Keywords: Use keywords that closely match the user’s search queries.
  2. Compelling Ad Copy: Write clear, relevant, and engaging ad copy that entices users to click.
  3. Landing Page Optimization: Ensure your landing page is relevant to the ad and provides a good user experience.


Utilize Ad Extensions

Incorporate ad extensions such as sitelinks, callouts, and structured snippets to provide more information and value to your ads.


Bid Strategically

While higher bids can help, focusing solely on increasing your bids isn't the most efficient way to improve your Ad Rank. Instead, balance your bid strategy with improvements in ad quality and relevance.


Monitor and Adjust Campaigns

Regularly review your campaign performance and make adjustments as necessary. A/B testing different ad copies and formats can provide insights into what works best for your audience.



Understanding how Google Ads auction works and the role of Ad Rank is essential for running successful ad campaigns. By improving ad quality, utilizing ad extensions, and strategic bidding, you can achieve a higher Ad Rank, resulting in better ad positions and more effective campaigns. Implement these strategies to boost your Google Ads performance and drive more valuable traffic to your website.

Reach out to us for a free audit of your Google Ads account.