Factors Determining Google PPC Ad Rank

Google Ads is one of the best ways to target your ideal audience and see measurable results. However, without following the best practices, ranking for the upper positions can drain your wallet. Several factors affect your ad position, and the bid amount is just one of them. Ad Rank is another essential factor that must be considered, to ensure the best results in terms of CTR, CPC, and conversions. In this blog, we’ll look at what this ranking entails and show you a few Factors Determining Google PPC Ad Rank.

What Is Ad Rank?

To put it simply, Ad Rank is a score that determines ad positions in the search results. Although Google Ads works on a bidding system yet unlike normal auctions, the position of an ad within the SERP is not necessarily decided for the highest bid. The bidding amount is only one factor used to determine the overall Ad Rank.

Therefore, it is not necessary that a PPC ad at the top of the SERP has made the highest bid to score that position.

PPC Ad Rank Example

Higher ad positions typically translate to higher number of clicks, which makes it important for your ads to rank as high as possible. Here is a complete guide on how Ad Rank is calculated and how you can increase it for your Google Ads.

How is Ad Rank calculated?

Although the exact Ad Rank formula is still a mystery, there are a few factors revealed by Google.

  • The Bid
  • Expected Click-Through Rate
  • Ad Relevance
  • Landing Page Experience
  • Expected Impact of Ad Formats And Extensions

These are a few factors that determine any Google ad’s position and how much would be spent on it.

What Is Quality Score And How Does It Impact PPC Ad Rank?

Typically, Ad Rank equation looks something like the following and quality score is discussed as one of the factors used in determining it.

AdRank = CPC Bid x Quality Score

However, Google says:

“Quality Score is an aggregated estimate of your overall performance in ad auctions, and is not used at auction to determine PPC Ad Rank.” 

Source: Google Ads Help

So why the confusion?

In the given context, Quality Score is specifically a score, an aggregated estimate of your overall performance in ad auctions, between 1-10, which is shown in your Google Ads account.

The reason why Google says that this can not be used at auction time to determine Ad Rank is because it’s a historical grading of previous ad performance.

Although this Quality Score is not used to determine PPC Ad Rank, it is important to have a good score as Google describes it as an estimate of your expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience. In fact, as per Google’s statement, higher-quality ads can ensure lower ad prices and better ad positions.

The reason why Quality Score is such a popular term among people as a factor that Google uses for the Ad Rank is that it encompasses the same factors that impact Ad Rank. So, despite the fact that it is a separate calculation, it is a general belief that raising one should raise the other. 

With this in mind, the Google PPC Ad Rank calculation looks a little more like this:

 Google Ad Rank calculation

Now that we have discussed this let’s dive deep into each of the contributing Ads Rank factors.

Google Ads Ranking Factors

The bid

A bid is a maximum cost per click (CPC) you are willing to pay. And unlike popular belief, this does not hold as much weightage as people think it does. As per Google’s Ad Rank calculation, there are several other factors that come into play.

As discussed earlier, a bid is not the amount you will pay; rather it is the maximum amount that you are willing to pay because, in most cases, the amount charged would be less than your actual bid.

Expected Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The expected CTR is another factor that Google takes into account to determine an ad’s ranking. This is basically an estimate of how likely it is that users will click on your ad, calculated on the basis of your chosen keyword and its performance historically.

Ad Relevance

We can’t emphasize enough how much Ad relevance is important to rank as Google’s top priority is to provide users with the most valuable content. So to ensure that the keywords you are bidding on match the message in your ads, it is important that you ask yourself, “Is my ad relevant for the people searching for this keyword?”.

This practice is what will give your ad copy the right direction.

Landing Page Experience

Google’s approach is very user-centric and hence gives significant consideration to the user experience. Therefore your ad’s major focus should be aligned with that approach, too.

To calculate the usefulness of your landing page, Google uses a combination of automated analyses and human evaluation. However, there are a few factors you should keep in check to improve your landing page experience:

  • Content should be relevant, useful, and original.
  • Your brand needs to be transparent and trustworthy
  • It should be mobile and computer friendly
  • Faster load time

Expected Impact of Ad Formats & Extensions

Through their algorithms, Google Ads estimates how different ad formats and extensions such as text, image, responsive, app promotion, in-stream video, Product Shopping, Showcase Shopping, and call-only ads will impact your ad’s performance when calculating your Ad Rank.

Other Factors Impacting Ad Positioning

Search Context

To understand the search context, Google takes several factors into consideration and then decides if your ad provides value to a specific user.

These factors include:

  • Exact search term
  • User’s location
  • The time of the search
  • The device used

Apart from analysing your ad, Google also considers other ads and search results appearing for the same keyword to determine whether your ad is the most relevant or not.

Ad Rank Threshold

To ensure the best user experience and relevance, Google also has an Ad Rank threshold to determine whether your ad is eligible to show or not. Although Google has never disclosed any information about the threshold, there are several factors that are commonly known, including:

  • Ad quality
  • Ad position
  • User signals and attributes
  • The topic & nature of the search
  • Related auctions


If your goal is to take your ad to the highest ad rank, your focus needs to be on all the factors discussed earlier. The entire focus of your campaign should revolve around relevance and the user experience. 

And yes, we do realize that understanding the fundamentals of paid search advertising can be challenging and could result in draining a lot of money. This is why working with an expert PPC agency could be a good call. They can get the most out of your campaign on a budget by effectively designing, managing, and launching your PPC campaigns while guaranteeing ROI.
You can contact AdRush Digital to schedule a FREE Consultation today to discuss and seek assistance in your PPC campaign.