Google decided to clean up some of the slop that was hanging around in the AdWords SERPS today, trying to kill lots of the AdWords to AdSense scraper/wikipedia/trash sites that have been filling up many of the 8-10 PPC slots lately.
Why are we doing this? Simply stated, we always aim to improve our users’ experience so that these users (your potential customers) will continue to trust and value AdWords ads. Have you ever searched on a keyword, found an ad that seemed to be exactly what you wanted, and then clicked on it only to find a site that had little to do with what you were searching for? It’s not a great experience.
From Inside AdWords
An interesting move that is getting mixed opinions over at Webmasterworld.
In one way I am glad that Google is cleaning this up, but I do not see it as a problem with AdWords, as much as a see it a problem with AdSense. Would it not make more sense to say that we will not serve ads to pages with duplicate content? Would it not make sense to put a filter that says if content = wikipedia, dmoz, etc then ad display = PSA?
The biggest problem I see is that average AdWords users are seeing an increase in bid price, on terms that that they can not afford to pay that much for. What ever happened to the days of actually setting a price you were willing to pay for an ad, and your position being based on bid price times the click through rate of the ad? A simple, easy to understand and use system, that was good for Google, and for the advertiser.
Then came broad match, which killed the ability to buy longer more complex phrases and forced the single, more broad terms to go up in price, as well as the more targeted terms go up if you wanted to rank for something specific. they took the skill out keyword research and ad copy out of the game and made it more of a Pay to Play game…still worth the spend, and pretty easy to work out, just made tracking more important.
The affiliate shooting range – This change made it that only one ad would appear per URL. This was to kill 20 ads for the same site because of all the affiliates bidding for the same site. They forced the advertisor or affiliate to outid the other/rest of the group to gain the position. Personally I think this was a good move and forced people to create better ads and know their margins better. From an affiliate point it made it harder for other people to copy what I was doing, and it allowed me to remove my AFF from my ads which was always pretty ugly and a dead give-away.
The next big change I remember is the active/inactive change which was supposed to help people not get keywords disabled for having poor click through rates. This was terribly applied and terms with a high click through rate would be inactive based an unknown cause. You could usually get around things by deleting terms and adding them again. Things were still pretty the same, but you had to log into your account and poke around to see how things were working. Many people complained about this and Google helped us once again…
Enter Quality Score. No more will you have to worry about inactive keywords, we will remove that for you, but give you a minimum price that you have to pay per each keyword based on Quality Score * Bid Price * CTR, but this will only apply to search results, we will take your money to fill the content network, and let anyone apply for an AdSense account. This move made very little sense from an advertising point and was hard to figure out. The bottom line was create a good ad, have smart targeted keywords lists that fit into the hierarchy of campaigns, and pay more then 5 cents for the click and you might be fine, much safer if you know what you can pay and pay close to it from the get-go with the ability to raise your bid to the point you are willing to pay.
The days of bargain traffic are over…or are they? There was one slip Google made which would allow you to pay a really low price for terms that were really broad and had massive traffic. I am talking like 1cent for the term movies! I am not sure sure if this still exists and had mixed results with it, but would love to hear feedback about this.
On the boards many people were complaining about the unknown components of Quality Score…what was it, why were they penalized for one account, while praised in another? People ran tests with the same keywords in sperate accounts and would have one account paying 8 cents and another saying they needed to pay 10 dollars per click…there was no logic to it, and the results were not consistant. It was thought that the account history had a lot to do with the bid price, and other ideas pointed to the landing page URL, the keywords in the ad copy, the rest of the keywords in the account.
A while later Google came up with a new and improved keyword tool, which would allow you to spider your landing page, or the pages of your competitor and extract all of the keywords that they saw on there. Of course the results of this were mixed but there some very useful terms that were extracted, especially when looking at sites other than your own. This was just the beginning of looking at pages through AdWords.
Yesterday they took it one step further and started to use the content of the landing page as a determining factor of Quality Score. An interesting move that many are calling “evil”. What happens when a a page contains very little content, or only images, what about flash? It seems like you now have to do SEO for your AdWords pages. Many people are complaining, others are not noticing much of a change. Luckily I am one of the latter, but I will say I do not bottom feed (pay minimum price) on any of the accounts that I run.
The whole thing makes you think what next? I still think GoogleTax will be next, them taking a cut of all sales generated through their site. A CPA (cost per action/aquisition) based advertising platform that will take a percent of all sales. Think of them as a super affiliate taking a cut of all transactions that are due to the user starting at google.com. Personally I would be fine with paying this, as long as it is easy to understand and transparent, meaning I know what I am paying for, and that I know I am paying the same cut as the guy next to me, which I think is completley lacking right now. Is it fair? Is it legal? What are your thoughts on the whole thing?