One fine morning you login to your AdWords dashboard and see an average position of 2: you instantly jump with joy, feel good about your keyword selection, take pride in your ad writing skills and share that euphoria with other team members/colleagues. It may come as a shock to you if I tell you that the number you see is completely irrelevant and it will remain irrelevant until you dig a little deeper in your account. Average position doesn’t reflect your actual standing among your competitors, nor does it tell you how well you have marketed your key terms. Let’s take a look at what actually makes sense while evaluating average positions.
First look at Account Level: If you have more than one campaign, the average position of the account is of course the average of all those campaigns’ average positions. Suppose you have three campaigns – the average positions for three campaigns are 5, 2 and 1. The account average position becomes 2.6. This number doesn’t tell you that you have an offender which has an average position of 5. For that matter, campaigns with higher positions of 1 and 2 will also have offenders and you need to follow the steps I am going to list below.
Now you go into Campaign Level: You are now looking at the campaign level that has average position of 5. Look at all the ad groups. Each one will have a different position which makes up for an overall average. At this point you still don’t know what’s causing certain ad groups to rank better than others. You need to dig a little deeper.
Go into keyword level: You will now notice positions assigned to each keyword and you will definitely find keywords with low positions. At this point you may think of getting rid of all the low ranked keywords but you can only afford to do so if these keywords are also poor converters. What if a keyword with low average position actually drives sales for your business? What do you do? Can you afford to remove it because it ranks poorly? My advice: don’t touch them except their bids.
Look at the Keywords: Barring exact match keywords, your average position for the entire list of broad and phrase matched keywords is again irrelevant. You may ask why. Here’s the reason. When you buy broad matched keywords, you are inviting traffic from variety of terms. For e.g. if you are bidding for a keyword like “leather belts”, your ad may be shown for search terms like: “belts for men”, “mens leather belts”, “brown leather belts” etc. Now your average position for the term “leather belts” will be based on the average of positions those search terms plus the actual keyword. You could be ranking #1 for “belts for men” but #4 for “mens leather belts” and that would make your average position to be at 2.5. Does it tell you much?
And to make matters more interesting, each of these search terms could be performing differently regardless of their rank. It will depend on how well you have structured your ad groups and how relevant are your text ads. It will also depend on your website landing pages and keyword to content relevancy.
Lots more to discuss… tune in again for more insights.
Vikas has over 10 years of experience in creating online marketing strategies for many top notch international and local clients. He has vast experience of working with start-ups and local businesses that require direct leads, branding and a solid foothold in the online marketplace. Reach him out for a cup of coffee and we promise you will have a fun and productive time.
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