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Google AdWords: Landing Page Quality Update!
jim2003




msg:1156876
 2:55 am on Jul 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

"'.....From time-to-time, we improve our algorithms for evaluating landing page quality (often based on feedback from our end-users), and next week we're launching another such improvement. Thus, over the coming days a small number of advertisers who are providing a low quality user experience on their landing pages will see increases in their minimum bids. It is important to note, however, that the vast majority of advertisers will not be affected at all by this change, as they link to quality landing pages........"

At least this time Google is giving a heads up.

 

europeforvisitors




msg:3003144
 9:20 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Agreed. however, an easy solution would be to simply ban any type of "arbitrage" by adsense publishers. Cut off the money, and the abuse would stop.

Not a bad idea, but as a practical matter, wouldn't it mean that that AdWords advertisers couldn't run AdSense ads? How would that play with advertisers?

DynamicNiches




msg:3003145
 9:22 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Are people seeing this problem on keywords that have competition or rather keywords with no competition?

Both - but mainly with keywords that have little to no competition. All of our pages have links to butt-loads of valuable & targeted content. We have forums, newsletters, daily tips, and other content all with NO AdSense ads. Yet G wants $10.00 a click on every keyword. Other advertisers for the same keywords have 50 words of content and are being shown. They are not paying $10.00 a click either because their product price is only $29.97

Last year we spend over $400,000 on Google (around 1100 a day). Today we have spent about $45.00

But hey, I guess that is all they want from us... :-(

rbacal




msg:3003146
 9:23 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Not a bad idea, but as a practical matter, wouldn't it mean that that AdWords advertisers couldn't run AdSense ads? How would that play with advertisers?

Except that arbitrage is also done using combinations of different programs (ie. adwords + YPN).

DynamicNiches




msg:3003151
 9:28 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

My Google rep forwarded my concerns over to the "page review" team. All I expect from them is a bunch of BS that makes no sense.

Has anyone ever actually had AdWords "humans" lower bids for them because of a mistake on their end?

It is like I am blinded! I have followed all of their quality score guidelines over the last year, yet they still want $10.00 all of the sudden. Its a bunch of BS that makes no sense...

inbound




msg:3003159
 9:34 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Upon checking some adverts I have found that we are still in the 'blue bar' for terms that we have been 'inactive for all day. These are terms where the minimum bid has gone up substantially (5 times) rather than dramatically (some 200 times).

Go figure...

Google says our landing pages are not relevant but still puts us above the number 1 organic result. This stinks.

toomer




msg:3003168
 9:46 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I do think that google hates affiliates.

<puts on tin-foil hat>
Of course they do. If they can slowly and surely kill off the entire affiliate business model by changes like this, it certainly bodes well for their new PPA & GBuy offerings in the coming months, no?
</puts tin-foil hat back in drawer>

venrooy




msg:3003172
 9:50 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

From the searches I've done today, this change has actually worsened the quality of the searches. I'm seeing more bogus ads which have nothing to do with my searches from the obvious deep pocketed advertisers. - Apple, ebay, blockbuster, etc.

WebFusion




msg:3003173
 9:51 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Not a bad idea, but as a practical matter, wouldn't it mean that that AdWords advertisers couldn't run AdSense ads? How would that play with advertisers?

I would say only on the inital page the user lands on....but that's neither here nor there.

If google were searching for a way to alienate it's advertisers, it hit pay dirt. Honstely, is anyone here actually willing to pay 1000%+ more per click?

venrooy




msg:3003174
 9:53 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm looking for this one to roll back in the very near future. The other changes were bad, but I haven't seen any near as bad as this one so far.

vanillaice




msg:3003176
 9:58 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wow, this is ridiculous. Google really messed up big time here. I can't believe they keep messing with their clients like this, it's amazing.

It would be one thing if they were being realistic about it all, but it's clear they're not. They jacked up the price of many keywords for many people to insane amounts, many 100's of times more than they were paying. It's not like jacking up .05c to .10c bids because of relevance.

My situation is a joke. I've had ads running for months with .05c, decent CTR, decent rank, steady, etc. I have 6 active campaigns, all with nearly identical templates for the landing page, but everything on each page is heavily related to the terms i'm using, including the domain name the page is on. So while it is a one page landing page, it's not MFA (I have no adsense on it) it's just an extremely relevant page that links to sponsors that exactly fit the keyword. This is what they recommended doing when they removed the ability to have the same domain listed twice.

Anyway, what is absolutely strange is they arbitrarily decided 4 of my campaigns will be hit with the quality score penalty, while the other two will not be touched even though they have the *exact same template* as the 4 that were made inactive.

So how is it at all possible the quality score hit rock bottom with 4 landing pages to a point where I have to pay 2000% more for my keywords? It makes absolutely no logical sense other than google is trying to scrape even more cash from loyal clients.

I had a sinking feeling in my stomach when they went public. I knew they were going to go from a pretty cool company to one that just tries to please shareholders.

Sorry for sounding a little upset, but my entire business is working with my adwords traffic, so they just destroyed me if they keep their stance on the new quality scores.

ccam96




msg:3003219
 10:23 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

They have to be targeting affiliates as part of their "quality score". I have several landing pages that are very specific to the keywords. Each has affiliate links and one Adsense block on it. I don't consider myself an MFA site as it is a very small part of my income. Should I remove the Adsense blocks and see if it improves my "quality score"? I really think that they are trying to push out affiliates as part of this inititive. This will kill their revenue at least in the short term. My spend is easily 20% of normal.

Drreggae




msg:3003229
 10:42 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

our spending during the last hour gets close to 0% of normal...

retracting from an earlier posting: it looks site wide
'penalizing' and not landing page related like they claim,
nor keyword related. it just took some time for all the key combis to become inactive..

NielsDev




msg:3003234
 10:46 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

We have an few addgroups running for over a year. We don't experience the sudden raise in CPC but our CTR did fall by over 50%. We did not change the campaigns at all?
Does anyone recognise this behavior?

- Niels

toddb




msg:3003252
 10:58 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Is anyone still uneffected? This seems so wide spread.

Google just called. They said good luck. This is a top down inititive and it is designed to get rid of low quality sites. I guess I am low quality.

gopi




msg:3003283
 11:25 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Buy <anything>" type ads of the auction & comparison shopping sites are still running (for even absurd terms) ...hmm, seems that "trusted domain/site" is a big part of the quality score!.

rbacal




msg:3003310
 11:47 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)


Is anyone still uneffected? This seems so wide spread.

Still not affected yet, just looked at our active campaigns (I should check inactive ones).

vanillaice




msg:3003319
 11:54 pm on Jul 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wow, i'm doing searches on some of the keywords i've been booted from, and some of the results have almost NOTHING to do with the search term.

Then I read this from the blog...

"Although it is counter-intuitive to some who hear it, we'd rather show one less ad than to show an ad which leads to a poor user experience -- since long-term user trust in AdWords is of overarching importance."

Then I look at the listings again and just start laughing.. I can't believe he believes the stuff he types on his blog. That's a flat out lie. If it were true, not only would they get rid of my sites, they would get rid of the irrelevant garbage listed.

I hope he isn't lying about this part...

"If you do see an increase in minimum bids and you feel that your landing page is providing a great user experience, please contact AdWords support and we'll take a look."

Although he probably isn't. They'll check out my pages and give me some generic reply about how I need to improve my quality score. I'll be absolutely blown away if they undo the changes they made to my account.

dubnoir




msg:3003331
 12:11 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

doing a little search and clicking on the ads today, this is all garbage. I see 50% of the results having NOTHING but ads on the pages. I see no quality.

for those that like to see some concrete examples, there is a really good one at the #*$! adwords forum. its hurting good sites more than it is helping, it seems.

dubnoir




msg:3003332
 12:12 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I guess d i g i t a l p o i n t is a dirty word here.... sorry, did not know that.

wrgvt




msg:3003333
 12:14 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe AdWords is just really slow today with everyone changing bids. Or maybe the $5.00 suggested bid just means they're not going to run that keyword for any reason.

My ads finally began running for the keyword I changed to the minimum suggested bid of $5.00. Although, I was mistaken. It's a minimum bid, not a suggestion. All my clicks cost me $5.00. It doesn't appear that raising your bid to the minimum will cause them to fall in price eventually. This is keyword with a good CPC and conversion rate.

WebFusion




msg:3003347
 12:21 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

All my clicks cost me $5.00. It doesn't appear that raising your bid to the minimum will cause them to fall in price eventually. This is keyword with a good CPC and conversion rate.

Yep, that's my experience as well. I'm still going to give this a few days to settle out.

Having said that....I've been telling fellow online merchants for years that they should develop a reliable PPC are of their overal marjketing strategy, but with this kind of unannounced price gouging, I wonder if I'll still be giving that advice in the coming months...

Need3lives




msg:3003353
 12:24 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Quite affected here. Mass keywords disabled across dozens of ad groups - many that have been running nicely for 1-2 years and with high CTRs and conversions. Most now asking for $1, $5 or $10 bids.

Oddly (or maybe not, given that it is Google), still seeing a lot of ridiculous sites still running for keywords we have been disabled for. Sites that have NOTHING but a <h3>Keyword String</h3> followed by ads. Pretty frustrating and most discouraging.

dubnoir




msg:3003365
 12:32 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>Oddly (or maybe not, given that it is Google), still seeing a lot of ridiculous sites still running for keywords we have been disabled for. Sites that have NOTHING but a <h3>Keyword String</h3> followed by ads. Pretty frustrating and most discouraging.

I see the exact same thing! I guess that is what Google thinks is "Quality." no need to create content then.

ConfusedWriter




msg:3003372
 12:42 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

So, what's next?

Do we go back and try to increase the quality of our landing pages? If so, what guidelines do we follow? The ones provided by Google?

The one problem I have is that it's so darn vague. And even then, there's no guarantee that it's going to work.

hermes




msg:3003376
 12:51 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Has anyone seen their cost base go DOWN with the algorithm update?

ccam96




msg:3003380
 12:53 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Someone earlier mentioned that it's a problem with the domain. So if I transfer my affiliate site pages to a new .org domain , then I should get my $0.05 bids back? (sarcasm intended , of course). I'll just stick with G to stay in the Adsense network and to heck with them on search. My ROI from their search network wasn't really all that great anyway.

DynamicNiches




msg:3003387
 12:57 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

The one problem I have is that it's so darn vague. And even then, there's no guarantee that it's going to work.

Your right! Their guidelines DONT work even if your strictly follow them! On the majority of our landing pages we have links to daily tips, forums, articles, we provide FREE downloadable ebooks. We even run free opt-in newsletters on most of our landing pages. We have no AdSense ads, we have a strict privacy policy, we have a decent layout with little graphics, etc.

Still $10.00 a friggin click and G's same response is "please refer to this page" and follow all of the guidelines. "Please provide relevant content". A shout-out to Google: "WE ARE PROVIDING SUPERB CONTENT AND RELEVANT PAGES, YOU NEED TO PROGRAM YOUR RETARTED LANDING PAGE ROBOT!"

WebFusion




msg:3003389
 1:02 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is turning almost comical.

Over the last 3 years we have studiously researched keywords, tracked ROI, and organized our adwords campaigns for maximum efficency. Our strongest campaign is organized into 50 ad groups, each containing 8-10 keywords for a total of around 500 phrases....all directly pointing to relevant and focused product pages.

Yesterday's ad spend: $2156

Today's ad spend: $194.78

....AND to cap off today's successful rollout of Google's "improvements", we now have four active keywords left.

FOUR. Out of 500.

Of course....according to the exceedingly helpful adwords rep, we are welcome to turn our traffic back on by improving the "quality" of our site and/or accepting advertising rates that our 1000-5000% higher than we've paid for the last THREE YEARS.

You really have to laugh at the state of google these days ;-)

[edited by: WebFusion at 1:03 am (utc) on July 12, 2006]

DynamicNiches




msg:3003406
 1:22 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I just can't believe they have the nerve to say a "small" amount of advertisers have been effected. On EVERY Internet marketing forum I post at I see threads like this popping up like crazy within the last 24-48 hours.

vanillaice




msg:3003410
 1:27 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I just can't believe they have the nerve to say a "small" amount of advertisers have been effected. On EVERY Internet marketing forum I post at I see threads like this popping up like crazy within the last 24-48 hours.

I agree. Very poor way to treat your customers. I lost all respect in that company today.

ebuilder




msg:3003416
 1:35 am on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

The only reason I ever used google was to find product info from the advertisers linked to the search term I was using. 9 times out of 10 when using their search engine I would ultimatley click an ad because they were 90% more pertinent to what I was looking for. Their serch results never came close to the ads displayed. So much for that now. I guess I will have to take my searches and my ad money elsewhere like everyone here will be doing.

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