How to determine the real cost of dominating an Adwords #1 spot, without really doing it?

4 replies
  • SEO
  • |
  • Company X usually comes up first in Adwords for searches on "green widgets".
  • My job is to determine the cost of displacing said company from the #1 spot on a permanent basis.
  • I ran a quick test with an active Adwords campaign, increasing my bid until my client's ad showed up first. That point was about $14.
  • I then ran the Google traffic estimator on the "green widgets" keyword, using a max CPC of $14. The projected results showed an average cost per click of $3.95.
Now I am completely confused. If it takes $14 to beat the other bidder for the #1 spot, shouldn't the actual CPC be somewhat nearer to that figure? (Not that I'd be complaining if it was actually less.)

On a more fundamental level, does Google switch the top positions around when the bids are "close"? I.e. if X bids $5 and I bid $4, will I sometimes come up first? If so, my test to determine the cost of reaching #1 was probably useless.

Help and opinions would be appreciated.
#adwords #cost #determine #dominating #estimator #real #spot
  • Profile picture of the author paulgl
    You have to learn something about adwords.

    Not everyone is eligible for the #1 spot.

    Not everyone who wins the #1 spot paid the most money.

    Google reserves the right to put ads in the top spots to the
    best performing ads. If your QS is high enough, you actually
    pay less than #2.

    You should really be focusing on how much can you pay to get
    in the best possible situation.

    I am not sure about the top spot, but I know one can bid on
    second level ranges. That is, you bid on #5-8, 6-10, etc.
    Then your ad can come up in any place in your range.

    The tops, like 1 and 2, I am not hip to that. The more
    competitive a keyword is, the more likely a high QS site will
    pay less for the #1 spot than say a lower QS at #5.

    Many searches will get no ads no matter how certain adwords
    users bid. Your QS is just not high enough.

    So, just to recap. The top spot is not always the highest
    bidder, nor will google allow everyone to bid and get on a search.

    It's about keyword, search, and pool of available ads. Contrary
    to popular belief, google does not just toss crap in search ads
    because they have a fat wallet. They would be foolish to do that.

    Google wants searchers to get results for what they are looking for.

    Your cost for #1 is probably different than someone else. It's why
    I stress QS over and over.


    If you were disappointed in your results today, lower your standards tomorrow.

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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

      Google reserves the right to put ads in the top spots to the
      best performing ads. If your QS is high enough, you actually
      pay less than #2.
      Google also reserves the right to milk you for all you've got under the guise of "QS"

      Google wants searchers to get results for what they are looking for.
      If that were the primary goal then they would structure it entirely different. Its about how much money they can make.

      My point in a thread like this is not to crash it and rant against adwords but to relay to the OP that due to cloak and mirrors you will never know the real cost before hand. You can start out in the number one spot and slip only to have to bid more in order to keep the spot. QS is a Public relations game to fool people that Google is not stacking the cards to get as much out of you as they can.

      Seriously if the company believed in giving the best results would it be SELLING ITs number 1-3 slots? At the bare minimum they would use an algo of all those who are bidding and pick the top three without any regard to what they bid.

      IF you must pay what you must and get the highest QS but don't be hoodwinked as to what is going on. People and companies have lost their shirts playing the game when if they stopped playing the Vegas Google odds they would get better returns elsewhere

      Like going straight to sites that cater to the same niche and finding out if ads can be bought there straight with no middle man.

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  • Profile picture of the author anonymoose
    Thanks for taking the time to make a thorough and enlightening reply. Everything is starting to make more sense now...
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    I imagine that quality score isn't in real time, where your testing in OP was in real time.

    I'm sure their quality score is stored in a database kind of like a Google Cache & updated whenever Google feels like updating, account activating might even have a roll in how often a quality score is updated.

    IMO, for a $14 click you would need a very high profit margin on a high end product, or a recurring payment from the traffic/buyer (ex: insurance niche).

    You just have to do the math & decide If $14 makes sense, If not, find another traffic source.
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