| 12:15 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Quality score is all well and good, but let's face it - we can barely get corporate brand managers to make their sites spiderable let alone change a landing page to project an image of quality.
The first time a corporate brand manager is told they have to change their policy to be able to advertise, it won't fly. It's 2006 and they're still just warming to the idea of SEO.
Can you imagine the first impression you'd get if you are a small business, go to advertise on Google, and it tells you that you have to pay $5.00 a click to bid because it doesn't like your landing page? It's already hard enough for small business to comprehend PPC - and this makes it even tougher.
Go through this thread and read everything by hannamyluv, and nothing else. You'll see something critical - a massive amount of merchants are getting hit. That in and of itself is interesting - merchants typically can't convert unless their landing pages are good for a user, and they're typically working on much smaller margins than arbitrageurs. Why would Google, who is typically regarded as a very smart company, pick on merchants first? There's no way that this was not deliberate - it's brainless to detect and nix MFA sites if this was indeed the objective.
I'm curious of the intent of this update. Sophisticated people are going to continue to dominate the game, while unsophisticated folk are going to declare it "too hard" and drop out.
Then again, there's always the philosophy that dealing with one person who spends 10x is much better than dealing with ten people who spend 1x.
All of you can stop freaking out - you're going to do the same thing you always do - change your pages and play algo tag. There are ALWAYS technical solutions to technical problems - and most MFA sites are simply auto-generated. You don't think the adbot problem can be overcome?
In the US, the estimation is that 300,000 businesses participate in Google advertising. What about the other 12.7 million businesses? It's the folks that aren't yet involved that may be turned away by this.
| 12:21 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|On another note, I think cloaking will work. |
Anyone have reliable evidence that the adbot spidering is actually playing into quality score?
Reliable means that you see it yourself, not that it's been posted on Google's blog or heard it from an AdWords rep.
| 12:23 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Not apparently being used in this update. A merchant in this thread mentioned the fact that he was using Google Analytics, had an ad CTR of 10%, and a landing page conversion rate of 30%, and he got wacked.
That is awesome for a merchant site, and obviously his users like it. I would imagine that if Google was using Analytics data to judge quality score, this site wouldn't have been wacked.
| 12:33 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
The problem with MFA sites is that you have to learn where to draw the line.
Is a shopping comparison site that doesn't sell anything an MFA site?
Is a site with travel content that doesn't sell anything an MFA site?
Is a photography site that doesn't sell anything an MFA site?
Most ignorant Adsense publishers (don't be offended) define an MFA site as one that "doesn't sell anything". That is dead wrong. What makes an MFA site? Certainly not the absence of functionality or content - because it's trivial for autogenners to dump replicated content or functionality for something else. Google can't kill MFA sites because they are afraid to draw the line - slippery slope.
It doesn't appear that the objective of this update was to kill MFA sites.
Someone earlier in this thread mentioned shill bidding. Interesting theory.
| 12:37 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Why would Google kill what is potentially thier biggest client |
Remember you're dealing with the company that doesn't perceive Microsoft as a threat. That is a deadly stance to take.
Then again, I tend to agree with you. Google won't kill eBay. They might prefer them less on heavily searched terms, but other than that, eBay is harmless and just makes more money for Google.
| 12:44 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Just last week Google Adwords sent me a mini-refrigerator out of the blue to "thank me" for my business. I spent six figures a year on Adwords then yesterday every single keyword on search went to $5-$10 and some $50 per word. I am now 100% content which is not a good position to be in. My site does not have a single affiliate ad so I don't think that has anything to do with it.
| 12:46 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|I spent six figures a year |
Drop in the bucket, my friend. GOOG is a $128 billion company. Why do people fail to understand this?
To contrast, go tell MSFT ($235 billion) you want to buy 10 copies of SQL Server 2005 Enterprise. That's $200,000.
They won't care whether you do or not. I mean, they'll treat you OK. But they're not going out of their way to fix a problem that you have with the product.
| 12:59 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Drop in the bucket, my friend. They're a $128 billion company. Why do people fail to understand this? |
Lose enough drops and the bucket will empty.
| 1:08 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Then again, there's always the philosophy that dealing with one person who spends 10x is much better than dealing with ten people who spend 1x. |
That statement says a lot.
If Google does have over 300,000 advertisers and the vast majority of them are spending less that $500 dollars a month, imagine the amount of resources it takes to monitor all their activity.
Just speculating on the $500 per month. Is there any information available as to how much the average AdWords advertiser spends per month?
| 1:16 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I think a few of you are missing the point. Just because Google CAN treat advertisers this way does not make it right. You are right, G can do whatever the heck they want to and get away with it. But why damage your relationship with thousands of advertisers who together spend millions per month on advertising? Doesn't seem like a good thing to do. Especially when they don't explain HOW they are determining exactly what constitutes a "quality" page and what does not. Apparently their be all robot can't figure it out too and is performing an all out slaughter on everyone's campaign. I have yet to hear from one person who's account hasn't been affected one bit. And I'm talking not one keyword with a ridiculously hiked up bid.
Yes, Google can do what the hell they want to, but do they want to alienate everyone at the same time?
Perhaps they should concentrate on making the quality of their free SERPs better instead of targetting the paying advertisers who provide their bread and butter. I guess we now have to try and school two algos...that's where they're pushing us, afterall.
| 1:18 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
So, how many of you think they're using toolbar data?
| 1:21 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Yeah, they're probably using toolbar data. But they need to understand that there are literally dozens of different types of sites. By that I mean, dozens of sites have many different purposes and to clump them all into one and do a huge algo sweep is assinine....
| 1:22 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Anyone think spend is also a factor?
| 1:24 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
I'd like to know how often quality is reassessed and if you've made changes how do you "call" for a reassessment? I'd also like to know if you can override a "bad past" with some changes and 1 or 2 days of "good quality"
| 1:25 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|I'd also like to know if you can override a "bad past" with some changes and 1 or 2 days of "good quality" |
And how many of you think "quality" as defined by Google is a traffic, not a content, issue? Gets to the heart of the arbitrage debate, doesn't it?
|how do you "call" for a reassessment? |
Our rep said we could call anytime for reevaluation. Not sure how it's handled on the general support line.
| 1:33 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|And how many of you think "quality" as defined by Google is a traffic |
I don't think they are fond of the "thin affilaite" page that's "not sticky". Lots of single page views on one domain would be "bad" even though they converted into sales on the merchants site. In Google's eyes what value/quality have you added by doing that?
| 1:43 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|So, how many of you think they're using toolbar data? |
I think they are using that as part, that's why I asked about off site shopping carts. To them, it would appear that someone came to the page and left immeadiatly again, if someone were to add something to the cart.
I think they are using alot of these kinds of metrics. I have said it before, between all their programs, they probably have a pretty good map of at least 50% of the used internet (not counting the millions of junk sites out there) and how people are traveling through those sites.
Someone mentioned the competative filter. I hope this is not the case. I add people to the competative filter because, well, they are competative or because adsense is misintrepreting my page and serving up really bad matches, not because I think they are bad sites, just not sites I want on my site.
I had heard that G claimed to have figured out a way to ell if your site (in adwords) had caused a person to use G less overall. That's kind of stupid in my opinion. No one site caused me to use G less, bad results have made me lately use G less. Not because the sites they offered up were bad, many were .edu sites as a matter of fact, but because they were not what I was looking for. That's G's fault, not the sites.
I use to use adwords for shopping. I don't anymore really because all that seems to be left are ebay, target, shopping.com and the other usual suspects. The organic results don't give me anything new either.
I even remember when I decided to stop using adwords. It was before I got hit, even. A few months ago, I was trying to find a particular toy for my son. I could not find it in the SERPs at all. Adsense showed 5 ads that had the name of the toy in the ad. I clicked on each ad and not one of those places had it either or could direct me to a place that had it. After that, I knew I could not trust adwords ads anymore. Not because of landing page quality of some small merchant or affiliate, but because G would rather let the big dogs run ads for what they don't sell then focus on giving me real quality.
I even thought to myself, perhaps I should find a merchant who sells it and advertise it. I'd make a killing as all these other ad are junk. But G decided a bit later that my on topic ads were junk and those ads were quality. Go figure.
I don't think I am alone on this one. I really honestly believe that searchers will be doing the same here shortly. It only takes that happening 2 or 3 times before they develop ad blindness.
I really don't think this is an attempt to go after small fries. I just think that the big guys get conveintly left out. I also think this looks alot like a group of programmers with little marketing experience and knowledge on both the searcher and advertiser side. Arrogance (as can be seen in the "one less" quote) is running this, not experience and knowledge. This should have been handled much better and it wasn't. Only arrogance does that.
What did you guys do over at the 'plex? Bring over the organic guys without a marketing leash in order to come up with this system?
[edited by: hannamyluv at 1:49 pm (utc) on July 12, 2006]
| 1:44 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
People have a choice though. They can click on the Free Serps which supposedly are supposed to be higher quality and "free" information, or they can click on the sponsored ads which typically have something to sell. If the purpose of sponsored ads is to sell something, who cares how sticky the page is? The visitor is looking for something to buy. Do you think he/she really needs/wants to read some nonsense content before making a purchase? Some may want to, but many do not. They are looking for a specific product, have done their research beforehand, and want to buy. Conversion rates should factor in more than just pure "quality of content" on the landing page. Any old fool can pop up an ad for any keyword....if they get a terrible conversion then that's what I would consider "bad quality" and should be punished accordingly. But, for those who bid on keywords who attain conversion at a clip of 10% or more...surely they are targetted for that specific keyword and therefore providing quality? If a visitor does not see what he/she wants on the landing page, they'll hit the back button...Google should easily be able to see/determine this. Do you all see what I am saying? The paid listings have an entirely different purpose than the free listings (or they should in Google's eyes!)
| 1:49 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|why I asked about off site shopping carts |
Interesting way to promote Froogle + Google Checkout. Don't use Yahoo! Shopping or MonsterCommerce, come use us.
Or is that too far fetched? Payment processing is a good diversification move for Google. Banks make all the money.
|I use to use adwords for shopping. I don't anymore really |
But you're not a typical use case. :-/
83% of users don't know the difference between paid and organic. AdWords traffic, on the whole, is increasing not decreasing.
| 1:55 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
BakedJake...I agree that most users don't know the difference between organic and paid listings, but don't you think Google should make that more obvious? You'd think by just looking at the ad titles and descriptions that folks would realize they were more commercial in nature?
| 1:58 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Could be a coincidence but the typos and misspellings that weren't on the page before were the ones with the highest prices ($10 a click). They have been added so I'm curious how that will affect things and how long it will take to have an factor in.
Could be a big misunderstanding of "how things work" if that's the case, but not entirely out of the question that that assumption was made.
| 2:00 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|don't you think Google should make that more obvious? |
People in general don't trust advertising. They've been jaded by a hundred years of being bombarded - on TV, on radio, in their mailbox, in their e-mailbox, on their phone, at McDonald's...
Why make it more obvious that AdWords listings is advertising? You can tell they want to do the opposite - all of the "sponsored links" text is in light grey, while the rest of the page is strong green, blue, and black. Instead of "advertising" they say "sponsored links". Subtle but important.
I'm not making a moral judgement, simply stating that highlighting advertisements beyond what they do now is probably not in their best interest.
|You'd think by just looking at the ad titles and descriptions |
You'd think that by seeing "Sponsored Links" most people would see it. But they don't, because they're not trained like we are to recognize that. They're at a search engine to search, and they want to find something. One track mind.
I wonder how many of Google's users even know what the word "sponsored" actually means to think about it enough to connect it with the word "advertising".
Most internet users are ignorant and non-observant of internet advertising. It's why spam, spyware, and popups still work.
| 2:04 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Interesting way to promote Froogle + Google Checkout. |
I don't even think it is that far thought out. Honest to god, Jake. This whole thing smacks of programmer arrogance. I know lots of programmers. Heck, half my family is programmers. They are very literal, black/white type people. Marketing is beyond them. Everything from the types of demands they are making to the secrecy even with their own reps SCREAMS programmer arrogance (no offense intended to all you non-G programmers out there, but programmers as a lot do tend to be like that. They have to be, otherwise us marketing people start mucking things up ;) )
The shopping cart thing would have been an oversight. A mistake. Except that to work as a high level programmer at G, you have to have an ego, like a huge ego. They might even see merchants who got hit by this as "acceptable losses in the fight against spam". Again, a very organic side mentallity.
But this isn't organic. It is advertising. It is suppose to be easy, and even professional SEM firms are at a loss to explain this.
They are making advertisers nervous, they are making SEM firms nervous. I have to wonder how many SEM firms have been burned in the last two sweeps. They didn't tell their clients that the traffic could dry up over night like they would with organic. Many SEM firms may have lost credibility and clients because of this.
People don't like to work with people who they feel have betrayed them. I know I personally, even reading all these threads and not having been affected this time, feel like I have been betrayed. I know logically, they are within their right, but I still feel that all of us have been duped somehow.
| 2:11 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|83% of users don't know the difference between paid and organic. AdWords traffic, on the whole, is increasing not decreasing. |
On the first part, I agree. But that is the beauty of it. They don't have to know the difference. All that need to happen is for them to click a few time on those 2-5 very prominate but does not produce results ads/listings before they get fed up. People may not understand it, but their mind will. There was a bit in Blink about it. How the mind can figure out the best place to go (or not go) long, long before the concious mind figures it out.
Second part? Are you sure? Seems like these sweeps are pretty desprete measures for a healthy program. More money might be coming in up front, but I think G is seeing some trends that have them worried.
Think about it, they are only prodcing this on the search side. Traffic may be increasing, but I think that most of it is from adsense, not from G search.
| 2:16 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Baked Jake...I agree with what you are saying, but disagree with what Google is doing. Yes, I think they should make it obvious. As you said, folks are so blind to everything while on the search engine they'd still probably not notice. So, we continue to fool/trick them into thinking that everything on that G page is equal or the same. Weird. In the least, tell us advertisers exactly what we need to do to increase page "quality" instead of making us guess. Quality to one person could be junk to another. We're then left with a guessing game as to how we can get back into the PAID listings to run our businesses. I don't have MFA sites or ecommerce sites, yet each time I log in to my Adwords account hundreds more keywords have been disabled. Time to try SEO again. I got away from SEO because I thought paid advertising would be more consistent and predictable and less fluctuations would be the rule...boy was I wrong!
| 2:28 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
Just (again) out of curiosity, does anyone have any theories as to why they are doing an outrageous lift in bid rather than an out-and-out ban on the ads?
| 2:29 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Think about it, they are only prodcing this on the search side. |
Who thinks arbitrage sites are going to be banned from search, but continue to remain in content?
| 2:33 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|does anyone have any theories as to why they are doing an outrageous lift in bid rather than an out-and-out ban on the ads? |
Reports in the prior thread say that even bidding the outrageous amount does not cause the ad to show. From an internal email I just sent:
|- The ad minimum bids move to $5 or $10 per click |
- The ads go inactive because no one is bidding at those levels
- When advertisers try and bid $5 or $10 per click to reactivate the ads, the ads arenít showing up, even at those prices
| 2:36 pm on Jul 12, 2006 (gmt 0)|
|Second part? Are you sure? Seems like these sweeps are pretty desprete measures for a healthy program. More money might be coming in up front, but I think G is seeing some trends that have them worried. |
No, it's conjecture based upon my observations of traffic patterns.
I just think you can't have it both ways. Either they've modeled this to death or they haven't.
If they have, then the merchant site hit was an intended effect. What was the purpose? I don't believe "collateral damage" is an accurate explanation if they've run the models.
If they haven't, then this was a goody goody two shoes update and they don't care in the name of better user experience. I would believe "collateral damage" is an accurate explanation if they haven't run the models.
But either they're thinking about trends or they're not. Wonder which one it is.
|Baked Jake...I agree with what you are saying, but disagree with what Google is doing. |
I know mate. But right now isn't the time for agreeing or disagreeing with what's going on - it's indeed happening and we need to understand the motive for the change, beyond what Google has told us, so that we can understand the update and take appropriate actions because of it.
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