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How to Use the Target Search Page Location Bid Strategy

You’re hungry. You’re an avid AdHawk blog reader. You’ll accept no less than the top spot. Heck, if you ain’t first (on the SERP), you’re last.

Source: Giphy

If retired memes like DJ Khaled can work their way back to the top, so can you…in search engine rankings.

If you know that the top position of the SERP is a must for you, micromanaging your ads all the time might not be the most effective way to do it. So today, we’re going to talk about the target search page location bid strategy, which will make Google do the heavy lifting for you and optimize a way for you to get your ads to stay on top.

Why should you use this strategy?

This is a simple adjustment allows Adwords to automatically increase or decrease your bids to stay either on the top of the first page results or solely on the front page.

When should you use this strategy?

Contrary to common belief, being in the first ad position is not the golden ticket for your business. Although it may bring in more traffic, it might not be a profitable strategy for you.

Our tutorial on doing a ‘Top vs Bottom,’ report will help you identify your most successful ad position and will allow you to see if being in the top position is truly worth it!

Side note: Like everything else, the Google ad auction and quality score ultimately determine your ad position, but this strategy will help you improve your chances.

How to use the ‘target search page location’ bid strategy

Step 1: Open up Google AdWords
Step 2: Select shared library on the bottom left side of the dashboard
Step 3: Click bid strategies
Step 4: Click on   +BID STRATEGY 
Step 5: From the drop-down menu, select  Target search page location 

Naming your strategy: It’s important to keep your strategies specific and organized, by including the campaign and the bid adjustment percentage so that you can easily identify it when assigning it to other campaigns later.

Location: Under location, you will have two choices. Top of the first results page or anywhere on the first results page. Upon reviewing your ‘top vs bottom’ report mentioned in our introduction, you can choose which one is the best fit for you.

Bid Automation: This setting determines whether or not you want AdWords to have full control over your bidding. It sounds daunting, but the automatic setting is pretty standard. The manual setting allows AdWords to increase your bids if it falls under the estimate.

Bid Adjustments & Bid Limit: The bid adjustment feature allows for AdWords to bid a certain percentage higher or lower than the estimates. Although optional, it’s better to be safe and fill this out.

Additionally, the bid limit sets a ceiling to how high you are willing to go to reach your goal. As a placeholder, input the maximum amount you are willing to spend.

After you receive some historical data and see that your average bid for a high position is significantly lower than your bid limit, you can later return and lower your bid limit as your quality score goes up for maximum results.

How to assign the bid strategy to a campaign

Step 1: Go to campaigns
Step 2: Click on the settings tab
Step 3: Scroll down to bid strategy and click ‘edit’
Step 4: Select ‘flexible bid strategy’
Step 5: Choose your strategy and hit save

Need more help?

We’ve also put together a video walkthrough to take you through the entire process and get the most out of this tutorial.

If you want to learn about more Automated Bidding Strategies, check out our Ultimate Automated Bidding Strategy Guide! If you have any questions or suggestions, drop us a comment below or tweet at us at @AdHawk. We’d love to hear from you!
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4 responses to “How to Use the Target Search Page Location Bid Strategy

  1. I don’t understand the benefit of these “automated bid strategies.”

    From another AdHawk article:

    “Ad position is determined by a formula known as Ad Rank. Ad Rank is Google’s combination of: (1) Bid $$, (2) Quality Score (Landing Page, Quality of Ad, Extensions, and ad formats), and (3) Your competition (both paid and organic).”

    How would “automated” top-page bidding ever be superior to simply biding high (bidding higher than the competition)? In other words, what is Google going to do “automatically” other than simply bid higher?

    1. Hey there Romano,
      Thanks for stopping by! Advertisers who have a large budget and not a lot of time to manually adjust each campaign tend to lean towards automated bid strategies. Automated bid strategies can provide insight into which keywords and bid trends exist for your campaign.

      Target Search Page Location differs from say ‘Target CPA’ or ‘Maximize Clicks,’ primarily due to the end result you’re expecting. Let’s say certain ads perform best when they’re in the first position, you can use this strategy to achieve that. However, there are times when you can drive more conversions when you’re not in the top positions, which is where you may use the ‘maximize conversions’ strategy.

      With that being said, your hypothesis is pretty much correct. A lot of automated bid strategies are what the name implies – AdWords automatically lowering or raising your bids. Target Search page location bids are updated several times within a day.

      Hope this helped!

  2. If I set a rule to decrease keyword bids by 15% if they rank 2 or better, and another rule to increase bids by 15% if they rank 3 or worse, wouldn’t this be a more granular strategy, to target a position between 2 and 3?

    1. Hi Galen,

      Thanks for stopping by. Like most Google Ads questions, it really depends. Higher positions don’t necessarily guarantee better performance, so you should look at your historical data to see if this granular strategy is worth it in the long-run. And if you do decide to move forward with that strategy, I’d encourage you to check out our post on Google Scripts – that might make things a little easier. Cheers!

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Journeyman of the wild wild west of Digital Advertising. Also doubling as an unofficial Taco Bell ambassador. Tweet at me @JonJmPark