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May 2011 Features » AdWords Ad Rank, Google Toolbar Rank, Position Preference Gone

Nancy McCord, Owner of McCord Web Services LLC.Dear Friend,

Google AdWords and has revealed some new and important information this past month. Some may require additional online research and reading on your part, but several important overviews are included in this month's newsletter.

I think you will find the articles interesting reading and will stimulate you to keep an eye out from us for more information on these topics that you will find in the days and weeks to come on our blog, The Web Authority.

Best Regards,

Nancy McCord

Connect with me online on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Our Blog

AdWords Ad Rank Explained | Google Toolbar Rank Bogus |Position Preference Gone

AdWords States Average Rank is for the Auction Silly, Not the Ad Position!

Confused Yet?Chief Economist at Google, Hal Varian, announced recently that what we had thought all along as the Average Rank was not actually the position of the ad on the page, but rather the average position in the keyword auction. That is very big news! If you are selling on Google AdWords further reading on the AdWords blog is definitely in order.

"To begin with, it's important to understand that there are two interpretations of the phrase "ad position." The "page position" refers to the location on the page, such as "top ad 2" or "right-hand side ad 1." The "auction position" is the rank of the ad in the auction that determines the order of the ads on the page. The critical point is that the reported average position metric is based on auction position, not page position.

Who knew? For years we have all thought the metric in the AdWords control panel that said Average Position was the ad position! And truthfully for years, it may have been. It might possibly be that as AdWords has decided to do away with the campaign setting Position Preference, that it decided to change what data is returned in the Average Position metric in the control panel.

What I find interesting in the blog post called "Understanding the Average Position metric" is that Google finally reveals several very important things that they have previously not clarified. They are as follows:

  1. Position one for your ad is the first position in the colored box at the top above search results. That means that position three or four may actually be the very top ad on the right rail depending on the number of ads in the top colored box.

  2. You can force Google to show your ad in a top colored box by bidding more if there was no colored box before.

  3. By now knowing that your Average Position is really your Keyword Auction position you know have an inkling of what the bids are by keywords and so you may actually be able to effectively decrease your bid with this information.

Hal Varian also revealed additional information that Google has found out about conversions and ad position.

"Some advertisers have asked how clicks from different positions tend to convert. In general, we've found that conversion rates don't vary much with the position of the ad on the page. An ad in a more prominent position on the page will tend to get both more clicks and more conversions than an ad in a lower position, but the conversion rate (conversions/clicks) will tend to be about the same for the two positions."


Google Toolbar PageRank Indicator is Bogus

Are you confused yet?I have several customers who monitor their website’s Google Toolbar PageRank. In fact, they do not take action on links unless the site has a favorable Google Toolbar PageRanking.

First off, it is important to understand that Google does not show your real organic PageRank in the Google Toolbar. Additionally, the PageRank in the Google Toolbar is not the same as PageRank on Confused yet?

Here are the quick notes you should remember about the Google Toolbar PageRank indicator:

  • PageRank changes by page and not by website.

  • Each time Google crawls your site your PageRank may change.

  • For each search query entered on, Google delivers the pages in order of true PageRank not Toolbar PageRank.

  • Toolbar PageRank is not the same as PageRank.

  • Google does not show the real PageRank for any site so as to prevent SEO firms from working the system.

  • I have found that Google updates Toolbar PageRank infrequently sometimes once in six months.

  • A Toolbar PageRank of three could not carry the same real world Google PageRank as other three rated sites, there are more factors at play.

  • A high Toolbar PageRank does not mean a high PageRank.

  • You can probably now disable your Google Toolbar if you were using it for SEO position referencing.

I have found a terrific article at The Search Engine Journal that really digs deeper into this topic and would highly recommend that you read it. It debunks some of the misconceptions webmasters and website owners have had about the importance of the Google Toolbar PageRank. I personally do not use the Google Toolbar PageRank indicator for any decisions about my own website.


Brite IdeaGoogle AdWords Does Away With Position Preference

In May Google AdWords will finally retire position preference. Actually this is a good thing based on the fact that Google is now stating that the ad rank metric in the AdWords control panel is not your placement on the page of search results but rather your place in the auction.

We are replacing position preference settings in our client accounts with Google AdWords new automated bidding rules.

For more information on how you can use automated rules too, please watch this short video from Google.


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