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As an account manager here at Wpromote I get a number of questions regarding positioning. I have learned one thing; everyone wants to be number one. Number one positioning means that your ad comes up first in the sponsored listings, generally above the organic search results on the left. First position is great if you have a high enough budget to beat your competition for that keyword, if you have built search history with a highly ranked website, if you are bidding on uncompetitive terms, or if you are willing to take an initial loss.

Is it true that position and volume often go hand and hand? Yes, however, the important thing to note is that although high positioning often correlates with high volume, it may not be the best way to measure the performance of the campaign.

We optimize for performance. The goal of your PPC campaign is to get targeted traffic to your site. You want as many people to view your site as possible with your allocated budget and you want those visits to convert into leads or sales. When we set the bid for a keyword we are trying to get the most visibility possible throughout an entire day. The more visibility your ad gets, the higher the potential for conversions. The possibility for a conversion to occur in eighth position with ten clicks is much higher than the possibility for a conversion in first position with three clicks.

Often I am asked by clients to make them number one no matter what. My question to them is, “What is more important: remaining visible throughout the day or only getting a few clicks in first position?” The answer seems simple, yet the question occurs frequently. Remember, position is nothing more than a predictor of how much traffic you are going to receive. It is true that more people click on the first ad than on the twenty-fifth ad, but if you don’t have the budget for more clicks at that high cost you are probably better off lower on the page. If your budget has no limits, by all means set those bids high. But keep in mind, performance is not guaranteed and neither is maintaining that position.

Your position is going to vary throughout the day because of the constant live auction system ads are run under. Ad placement will shift depending on how many people are bidding against you or how many people have hit their budget by 4PM so their ads stopped showing. Positioning is also going to vary as you continue to build up your quality score. You may set bids at a level that keeps you between sixth and seventh position and then in a month or two see that position has risen without raising the bids. Position is finicky and unreliable. This is why we stress performance over position.

Anyone can raise bids sky high and get positioning up. It takes a professional to optimize for performance and get the best position and visibility for your individual campaign.

We may be the #1 ranked search marketing firm by Inc. 500, but not necessarily #1 for all our terms in Google.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Performance Trumps Position
  1. Great blog Jess. You perfectly articulated what I spend hours trying to explain to customers each week!

  2. Amanda Moshier says:

    Awesome blog. This is the best explanation I’ve seen regarding this. I tried explaining this to the best of my ability to a freelance client a couple years back. It was his first Adwords campaign and mine. He insisted that his company show up #1 every single time. No matter how I tried to explain it, he just kept saying “We’ll pay more.”

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