Ad ExtensionsWhile our friends in the SEO community are dealing with the ramifications of Hummingbird, Google decided to make the SEM managers sweat a little as well. A recent post on the AdWords blog discussed a number of improvements Google will be making to their Ad Rank calculations. The update seems to be focused on the impact of various ad extensions that are available to advertisers.

Positive Reinforcement

Google has long been willing to offer up minor discounts on cost per clicks to get advertisers to create more relevant advertising. Better ads, better landing pages, and thus better user experiences clearly provide enough of an impact to make that worth their while. These new changes fall right in line with that model by encouraging advertisers to add relevant, clickable elements to their ads in exchange for higher ranking.

According to Google, if your ad has the same quality score and bid as another, your extensions can help put you in position above the competing ad. They’re also tying extensions more closely to quality score, so if you want those extensions to show up on your ad you’ll have to make sure your scores are up to par. They helpfully point out that you could also bid more to get those extensions to appear.

Extending Your Ads

In the past, I’ve covered the topic of custom sitelink descriptions, but a wide variety of other extensions is available. Most businesses should be able to take advantage of at least one of these extensions, and with this Ad Rank change there’s even more reason to investigate which ones will work for you. If you primarily generate leads via phone, consider adding a call extension to your ad. If you have a physical location where customers shop, a location extension might expand your audience. If you often run coupons, you might want to add one to your AdWords campaign.