Your campaign is running on Google Ads. Your looking forward to your phone ringing or getting form submissions. Unfortunately, nothing is happening.

Your first instinct is to go on Google and see where your ads are appearing. You type in your favorite keyword and click the magnifying glass. Scanning the results, you realize your ad isn’t at the top. In fact, you might not even see it.

Your goal is to have the number 1 ad on Google.

When you don’t see it at the top, or worse, not even on the page your naturally disappointed. And possibly a little angry.

If your running the campaign yourself your first response is to raise your bid. If your having someone else managing, you reach out to them to find out what is going on. And suggest they bid higher.

If Google Ads were a simple auction format than getting the top ad position would be relatively simple. Outbid your competition and you have the number 1 spot. Every time.

Yet, just as it does with its search results Google has an algorithm to determine where your ad is placed.

Google doesn’t get money from an ad that is number 1 that doesn’t get clicked on. They want the ads at the top that get clicks. Even if the bid is lower than a competitor.

If you read between the lines you might realize that other factors help make your ad number 1.

Create a compelling ad with a relevant landing page and your ad could appear at the top spot, even if your competitors are bidding higher.

Also understand that just because your ad appears on the topspot one day, it doesn’t mean it will be there the next day. It might not evenbe there the next hour.

How To Find Out How Often Your Number 1 on Google Without Average Position.

It used to be that you would know when your ads appeared at the top through average position.

With average position, you would see a score that showed how often you were number 1. If your ad showed an average position of 1.0, it meant it was in the number 1 spot nearly all the time. If it was 1.5 or lower than most often you weren’t in the top spot.

There was a problem with this metric, however. You could have the number 1 ad, but it could be that position is at the bottom of the page below the organic listings.

They now have new competitive metrics that provide a little more information.

The first is Search Top Is. This is the percentage of time that your ad appears at the top of the page, above the organic listings. This means you’re in the top 3 or 4 ads.

The second metric is Search Absolutely Top IS. This is the percentage of time you were at the very top of the page.

Modify your columns to add the competitive metrics which will show when your Google Ad appears number 1.
How to check your ad position on Google in 2020

Another metric to add is search impression share. This is the percentage of time your ad showed based on both your bid and your daily budget. A small number means your ad only appears a small amount of the time.

To have these metrics show up on your keyword page, click modify columns and then click competitive metrics.

Modify your columns to add the competitive metrics which will show when your Google Ad appears number 1. Modify your columns to add the competitive metrics which will show when your Google Ad appears number 1.

Remember that your position for a keyword often varies by device. To see the metrics for desktop, mobile, and tablet you first must click the segment graphic.

After that look for device and click that. Now you can see your position on the various devices.

You suspected that your ad isn’t showing in the top spot. Andnow you have the proof. Now you need to find out why.

Position for ads on Google AdWords by device
Choose device to see how ads perform.

Here are some reasons your ad isn't appearing number one and, in some cases, not appearing at all.

Your Bid Is Too Low

Your first instinct is to raise your bid. This might in fact be the problem.

You can add a custom column that would show your estimated top of page bid. The problem is that this number doesn’t take into consideration how your competitors will respond to your raised bid.

Each time you raise your bid, they could respond accordingly, particularly if they’re using an automated bidding option. The winner here is Google.

The second difficulty is that each time you raise your bid and spend more for a click, you're potentially cutting down on your overall clicks, especially if you have a limited budget.

The final problem is that increasing your bid might only be ashort-term solution. The real problem isn't your bid, but other factors.

You might find your ad dropping below theirs with them having raised their bid at all.

That is because of your Quality Score.

Low Quality Score

As mentioned, Google doesn't use a simple auction system to display their ads. Bidding is obviously a major factor, but so is Quality Score and ultimately Ad Rank.

AdRank is what determines how yourad shows up. It's your Quality Score times your bid.

Google will first show your ad at the top because of your bid. If your Quality Score is bad, your ad will fall off.

Quality Score is a number from null - 10 that Google applies to your keywords.

It's based on the relevance of your ad to the keyword being targeted, the expected click-through rate of your ad based on its position, and the effectiveness of your landing page.

The good news is that if you significantly improve yourQuality Score you could start to appear higher, even if you are being outbid.

Your Ad Sucks Or Isn’t Relevant

Clickthrough rate is the biggest part of Quality Score. If your ad is bad, no one will click it.

A low click-through rate means people aren’t responding to your ad.

The first reason could be that your ad sucks. You might think its great, but to to the people that matter ( your prospects) it blows.

This is why you don’t want to put all your money on a single ad. You should always run 3-4 ads in each ad group. This way if one is a stinker, Google will instead show one of your ads that people responded to better.

Once an ad has received a significant number of impressions, such as anything over 100 impressions, you can evaluate it. If it’s click-through rate is significantly lower than the rest, then pause it and try a new ad to see how it does.

Even if you have what you believe is a good click-through rate for all your ads, always be testing.

You might find you can improve even more on your click-through rate and help yourQuality Score increase even more.

The other reason for a low click-through rate is that the ad isn’t relevant to a particular keyword. This occurs when you have a number of phrases in a single ad group. The ad is relevant to some, but not to all.

Divide your campaign into smaller ad groups so that the ads in each group are relevant to all the words therein. 

You’ve Changed Your Landing Page

This is less common, but I have seenit where a client redesigned their website and now their content doesn’t relate as well to the ads they’re running.

If you're considering changing the content of a landing page, make sure it's content is relevant to the issue that prompted a prospect to click on your ad. Google will let you know if they thinkyour landing page, like your ad, is below average.

Landing page experience is another factor in Quality Score.

To learn more about creating asuccessful landing page, read my article on How To Create a Successful Landing Page for Google Ads.

New Competitors On the Scene

It’s easy to become stagnant with your ads, particularly if you’re doing them yourself and running a business at the same time.

Google Ads is never a set it and forget it platform.  The program constantly changes, and new players come onto the market.

You might not even notice that a new entrant is on the AdWords scene.  It could be business new in your area or an old competitor who is just starting to advertise online.

Suddenly their ad is more creative and seeing better results. This means you might have to come up with a new ad to beat them. This could take time as you might have to test a variety of ads before becoming successful. And increasing your bids could also help, in this case, as well.

Competitors Might Be Bidding More Certain Hours of the Day

You might find comfort in the fact that when you first check on a specific keyword you find its number 1. Then later on in the day, when your customers are most active, you’ve dropped down. This is because your competitors are doing advanced bidding.

What they’ve done is the bid a higher percentage certain times of the day because they think those times have more value.  Think of a restaurant that knows the hours 11-1 is when they get the most lunch orders. So they bid a percentage higher for those times.

To counter this take the same strategy.

You’ve Changed Your Landing Page

This is less common, but I have seen it where a client redesigned their website and now their content doesn’t relate as well to the ad they’re running.

If you're considering changing the content of a landing page, make sure it's content is relevant to the issue that prompted a prospect to click on your ad. Google will let you know if they think your landing page, like your ad, is below average.

To learn more about creating a successful landing page, read my article on How To Create a Successful Landing Page for Google Ads.

Your Daily Budget is Limited

If your getting a warning that your campaign is limited by budget, then this means your ads aren’t showing at all times.

Google does its best to show your ads during the entire time span you have set for a campaign. To accomplish this they’ll not show it throughout the day to keep your budget from running out.

There are a few solutions to this. The first is to increase your spend, which, regrettably, might not be an option.

A second option would be to cut back on your keywords, particularly if some words have more value to you than others. You want your money going to the keywords most important to you.

The Safe Way to Check Your Ad Position and Learn Why Your Not Number 1

First of all, never check where your ad is positioned by doing a Google search on your own. Each time you do this is another impression that goes against your click-through rate. This seems small, but it can add up.

It also won't reveal why your ad isn’t number 1 or even showing.

Instead, use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool. You can find this by clicking on the wrench in the upper right-hand corner and then look for it in the left-hand column.

In using this tool Google will literally tell you why your ad ins't appearing.

What to Do If You're No Longer Number One On Google AdWords

Make the Necessary Changes to Improve Quality Score

If you want to reach and stay at number one, then most likely you’ll need to do everything required of a good Quality Score.

This includes not just creating strong ad copy, but utilizing as many ad extensions as possible. This will help to make your ad stand out more. Read my article on How To Set Up Google AdWords Extensions & Which To Use.

Other strategies include creating more ad groups to make your ads more relevant and constantly testing out new ads.

Change Your Bid Strategy

Another option is to use automated bidding. In particular, Target Impression Share. With target impression share you can set it to top of the results page.

The problem is your giving Google the means to control your spend. And this could result in substantially higher cost per click. This is why you should make sure to put an amount under the max CPC limit.

One way to get your ad number one on Google ads is to use automated bidding.
Target impression share is a way to get your ad to the top spot.

One way to get your ad number one on Google ads is to use automated bidding. One way to get your ad number one on Google ads is to use automated bidding.

Don’t Be Focused on Being Number One

I have clients that tell me that they want to be number 1 for a specific keyword or for all their keywords all the time. While this is a good objective, it shouldn’t be the main objective of your campaign.

Your goal is to generate business, either leads or sales. If you’re reaching your daily spend and getting a high return on your investment, then being number 2 or 3 might be more cost-effective.  Appearing lower can mean more overall clicks.

The goal of your campaign should be to generate as many relevant leads for your business as you can. It’s not about being number 1.

As mentioned if you have quality ads then you might appear number 1 even when you're not bidding the highest.

Let a Professional Run Your Campaign So That You Can Focus on the Business

If you’re not getting the results out of your campaign that you wish, from where your ads rank to the return on investment you’re seeing, then consider bringing in a professional. As a Google AdWords Consultant, I help you or your team manage your campaign successfully on your own. I also offer Google Ads Management Services to grow businesses.