I thought I'd post this to help some of you guys that are suffering from major increases in the minimum cpc's on Google.
About 4 months ago a similar thing happened to one of my websites and like you guys, I wasn't exactly happy with the consequences as about 70% of my keywords were now unreachable.
The minimum bids had increased from 7 - 10 cents to between $1-$20 per click. Life was about to change for the worse unless I got to work. Fast.
The first thing I did was get on the phone to my Google Rep. He was more than happy to help, though he didn't know much about why the bid prices had gone up, he informed me that there were changes made and he would investigate on my behalf.. After a few days he had investigated the problem and got feedback from engineers that my website had broken the following guidelines.
1. Not enought content.
There was only one opt-in email form and 1 page of text about why you should opt in, what you'll get and a few tidbits about privacy.
3. There was no contact us page.
4. There were no external links to other related and useful webpages.
So instead of getting angry, I got to work. Pronto. I wasn't going to wait around till they decided they'll fix the problem(if they ever would)
So here is an outline of the steps I took to get me back to cheap clicks within 2 days.
I made these changes to the website and uploaded them immediately.
But I thought, there's no way that the 'robot' will put us back anytime soon so I continued to work.
2. I created a carbon copy of the website on a similar domain.
3. I uploaded this new website and blocked all search engine spiders from crawling it (to avoid the original sites ranking to drop)
4. I created a new adwords account based on this new domain. (widgets1.com) and copied all of the original ads across. Albeit, I made a few changes so that they wouldn't be identical. All new ads pointed only to the new website.
5. The ads went live and my bids stayed at 7c - 10c.
They finally fixed the problem after a month. Via a manual review and I was back in adwords with 7 to 10 cent bids. In fact I actually had both websites (widgets.com & widgets1.com) in the listings for a few days
I don't guarantee that it will work, but for a few bucks and a few hours work it's probably a good gamble. From what I understand you won't get your cheap clicks back unless:
1. You comply with the rules as mentioned above (maybe they've added more since last time)
2. You submit a support request and manually get removed from breaching quality score guidelines.
3. Main point. Don't argue with google about the guidelines (don't argue with me about the guidelines, there may be more or even less. Just get to work. Doing nothing will leave your website unchanged.
4. (Side point) New domains that obey the rules and can be used as a feeder for your original site can start getting you back your cheap clicks almost instantly.
Guys, I sincerely hope this information helps many of you get your websites back in the money.