Anyone who has managed a Google Adwords (sponsored links) campaign will know that the higher your quality score, the lower your cost per click. Accordingly, it makes sense to work hard to play by Google’s rules to get as many clicks as possible for a given budget.
Having tight adgroups with small numbers of key-phrases, well written ad-text and targeted landing pages are all crucial and done as standard by any conscientious Adwords manager. However, doing the above is not enough. Even with the above tidy structure, it is not uncommon to see very low quality scores. The only remaining factor is CTR – low CTRs drag down quality score over time. So, even though Google won’t say it directly, placing your ad’ anywhere other than in the top three results is counterproductive as no matter how well written your ad’ text is and how targeted your key-phrases are, if your ad shows on the right of the page, it will have a low CTR and drag down quality scores for the entire campaign. The reality is that you need to pay to be in the top three or pause the key-phrase. So, identify your best performing key-phrases, pay to have them in the top three and so get good CTRs and good quality scores.
It does beg the question though if running an ad’ in anywhere other than top three positions is damaging to a campaign, why have the other ad’s there at all?