1, 2 or 3 & SEM

Search engine marketing is much more of a science while search engine optimization is more of an art. I was asked today by a client why their Google Adword ads were generally showing up in the number 2 and 3 position in Google search results and on occasion even in the 4th position.

I had to explain to the client that simply being in the number 1 position is no guarantee of anything and that by balancing a limited budget with the cost per click I was able to maximize the number of clicks per day to the daily budget cap in Adwords.

What it boiled down to is to be in number 1 cost more, leaving less budget room and to make things worse the click-through rate was lower. Since Google introduced their ad quality score, it has become even more important to ensure high click-throughs on ads to help keep the cost of ads down. The irony of this is, that Google will start to automatically move ads higher in the ranking if they have a good quality score. Yet in many cases the ideal position for maximum click-throughs may be position 2, 3 or 4.

Fortunately, Google does offer you the ability to set a position preference. Something that more of us should perhaps should consider using to maximize click-through rates. I wonder what will happen when everyone wants position 3 and no-one wants position 1?

Any one else experience similar results, where being number 1 wasn't the best position for maximum ROI?

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