FAQ: Rank vs. Average Rank

I’m back with another entry into the FAQ files. I had a conversation with an advertiser about this concept recently and I wanted to take some time to flesh out the difference between your “rank” and “average rank” on 7Search.

 For those of you who don’t know, there are two columns within your advertiser page that show where your individual keywords are ranked against your competitors. The reason that there are two columns is because we gain our traffic from 2 sources. The first column, your rank, gets its results from 7Search’s search engine, which produces about 20% of the total traffic you receive. The second column, average rank, receives its data from our affiliate network, a group of between 600 and 700 second tier search engines, domains, and blogs that generates the remaining 80% of our traffic. Below is a snapshot of how to find these areas.

 This distinction is made because our affiliates have sub-affiliates themselves. This means that they are partners with other sites that help them generate traffic. Your website is intermingled with their partners, which exposes you to a wide field of traffic that is not covered by the larger search engines and this is to your advantage.

 The reason that this is valuable information to you is that you are getting a better idea on what to spend to occupy a position. Controlling costs is always a concern of our advertisers, so supplying you with information to make accurate decisions is the logical route to take. 7Search features a transparent bidding system, which allows you to see what your competitors are bidding, and then be able to adjust accordingly to maintain or gain a position amongst the search results. You can see where you are ranked on average in our affiliate network, and then make more informed decisions on what direction you feel you need to go.

 We also give you another reference point to use to better inform you before making choices. The Smart Bid column shows the average for the #1 bid across both 7Search and our affiliate network. By having access to this information, you can decide if you would like to occupy this position, or be within the top spots in order to gain a higher volume of traffic. Take a look at the Top 3 Bids column. This is a device that shows where you are currently holding position in our network.

 So this begs the question: how do I improve my position? The easy answer is to increase your bids to be in the top spot on both 7Search and affiliate network. This question is another loaded question, however, because it is intrinsically linked to the idea of business success. The average advertiser might say, “By bidding into the top spot on all keywords all the time, I will gain clicks and conversions, and I will be absolutely certain that I will not fail.” I have discovered in my time here that this does not simply work all the time. There are budget constraints, fierce competition within niches, and companies who have dedicated budgets to maintain certain positions, much like other search engines. Like anything else, you do have a choice. Oftentimes, depending on the type of product you are promoting, you can occupy a lower position by keyword and still receive quality clicks. You could be gaining conversions for a nominal price.

 I have mentioned this before, but repeating it won’t hurt: let the traffic dictate what your choices are. As you let your campaign run, while monitoring your activity, you can decide if you can lower your bids and maintain your position. You can also determine if the keywords you’ve chosen are performing for you, or if you can stand to delete some of them from your campaign. Don’t forget, also, the website itself. If you are promoting a webpage that you aren’t proud of or take pride in maintaining, it won’t matter what your rank is. Your click through rate (the time visitors spend on your site) will be very high, and you’ll still be charged for clicks. Add optimization to that equation, and you can improve your chances even more.

 So, to recap, rank is different from average rank in that rank measures 7Search’s coverage. Average rank covers our affiliate network. You can find points of reference on bidding in the Top 3 Column and the Smart Bid column. Bidding into a top position can help you improve your flow and quality of traffic. You can also make better decisions based upon traffic you have received and analyzed. I hope this helps. Please feel free to leave a comment if you like.

Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011 11:52 AM by John M


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