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Websites That May Merit A Low Quality Score
For the first time, AdWords Gets Specific (sorta)
netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 3:11 pm on Sep 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

From the Inside AdWords Blog, dated 09-18-2007:

Types of websites that will be penalized with low landing page quality scores:
  • Data collection sites that offer free gifts, subscription services etc., in order to collect private information
  • Arbitrage sites that are designed for the sole purpose of showing ads
  • Malware sites that knowingly or unknowingly install software on a visitor's computer

( ... )

The following types of websites are likely to merit low landing page quality scores and may be difficult to advertise affordably. In addition, it's important for advertisers of these types of websites to adhere to our landing page quality guidelines regarding unique content.

  • eBook sites that show frequent ads or install malware
  • 'Get rich quick' sites
  • Comparison shopping sites
  • Travel aggregators
  • Affiliates that don't comply with our affiliate guidelines

Entire blog entry here:
[adwords.blogspot.com ]

 

jtara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 8:13 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just what is "private information"?

Somebody expressed concern earlier because they were offering a newsletter, which, of course, requires collecting an email address.

I assume what is meant is something more extensive. But how extensive? Things like social security numbers, income, investments, etc.? Or something less than this?

bears5122

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 8:41 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

One wonders if they're trying price differently based on potential site profit. Forget the "quality score" debate and just look at the effects of whatever it is they're doing

I think that's a more likely scenario. I posted my thoughts awhile ago on here and figured it's worth mentioning again. It's a way of pushing out advertisers who are doing too well on low bids in a particular search.

Anyways, this is an example:

Advertiser A
10% CTR $0.10 CPC $0.01/search

Advertiser B
2% CTR $0.25 CPC $0.005/search

Advertiser C
4% CTR $0.20 CPC $0.008/search

Total Search Value to Google = $0.023/search

On first glance, it would be in the best interest of Google to put Advertiser A on top. With all things equal, Advertiser A will make the most per search. Overall, Google makes $0.023 per search. But this doesn't take into effect the impact Advertiser A has on the CTR of Advertiser B and C.

So lets say you eliminate Advertiser A from equation as they have the best CTR, but lowest overall bid price. Everyone else's CTR goes up as you just eliminated a CTR hog from the first page.

Advertiser B
5% CTR $0.25 CPC $0.0125/search

Advertiser C
8% CTR $0.20 CPC $0.016/search

Total Search Value to Google = $0.0285/search

It's an improvement of $0.0055 per search on that result. While very minor, if you do it across every account and every search, it can bring huge profits in to Google.

It's the most logical explanation and if you really look through your accounts. There is no other reason "buy red widgets" would cost $5 and "red widgets" would cost $0.10. Does the quality of your site, ads, etc suddenly decrease 50 times over with the addition of 1 word to the phrase? Of course not. It's simple statistics and their way of maximizing every search possible.

But I don't think the formula is as simple as above. I think they do take into account history, spend, and other factors in determining which search phrases you may be hurting them on profit wise. I also have no doubt that on-site factors do play a role in it as well (albeit smaller than most people realize). Consider it a penalty of sorts for being too good at playing their system. It's like a blackjack table in Vegas. The minute you start cutting into their profits, you're out the door.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 9:20 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have THOUSANDS of keywords that I'm happy plugging along at five cents per click or less. That's everything from client ecommerce sites, to non-profits, to my own sites that have adsense on them. As I refine my text ads and my sites, my QS goes up and my minimum bids go down. In some cases my CTRs are 50% and above. If I'm spending more money on AdWords these days, it's mostly because I've been able to add mass quantities of keywords because my costs have dropped, and I've gotten smarter about how to bid - so more bang for the same buck.

If I'm getting more for the same amount of money, how is Google squeezing me for profit?

JS_Harris

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 10:11 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Chinara wrote
Would you mind sharing how exactly did you update the page?
Also have you made any new ads changed display url or destination url?

What is drastically? What are your min bids now?

I updated the page by removing the affiliate suggested description and writing a detailed review of my own for that product. The ads for that page didn't change but the quality score improved by over 90%. Original content is key, also note that I don't link directly to affiliate pages from my ads. The ads link to the review on my site, visitors can head to the affiliate shopping cart if they wish, if not I at least offer quality reviews that garner traffic. Win-win.

bcc1234

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 11:58 pm on Sep 20, 2007 (gmt 0)


What about honest newsletters?

If it's a site that provides an excellent user experience and which doesn't offer free gifts, subscription services etc., in order to collect private information, I would predict no problem.

Yep. I got an honest newsletter and receive thanks from my subscribers all the time. I don't sell or rent info. And yet, my min CPC is at $10.

BTW, what's wrong with the free gifts?


Seems pretty clear to me. Google has obviously discovered that some ebook sites are loaded with ads or install malware; those ebook sites are the ones that need to worry about low quality scores.

Exactly. This is based on feedback from users who have not been happy with their experience after having clicked on an AdWords ads. In the long run a bad user experience is not to anyone's benefit.

Are you seeing the pattern here?

There are plenty of "bad" guys who offer free gifts in return for making people sign up for some "sponsor" sites.

And there are plenty of "bag" guys who offer/use ebooks to spread malware.

But does that mean free gifts, newsletters, and ebooks are bad for user experience?

This logic has a flaw.

It's like if bank robbers started using police uniform to make robbing banks easier. Would you start assuming that a police officer (that happens to wear a police uniform, duh) is a bank robber? Or at least, likely to be one?

Of course, I can understand why Google might want to "solve" the problem of poor user experience this way. It helps on a global scale, no question about that. But it sure does screw a lot of little guys in the process.

An average person would tell you that all ebook sites or sites that offer free gifts or sites that ask you to sign up are scams and offer poor experience.

But do you know why that is?

They'll tell you it's because all such sites they've seen offered them bad experience.

And do you know why _that_ is?

It's because the "bad" guys are "in your face" with their advertising without caring for user experience. That's why it's the only thing an average user sees. They just happened to pick certain business models that make doing "bad" stuff easier for them. The models themselves aren't bad.

JS_Harris

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 3:38 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

That argument is a dead horse now. The fact remains that Google built an algo that they actively tell webmasters to conform to or risk being penalized in it.

What came first, the websites or the Google? Will webmasters earn more if we downgrade Google? not likely... and round we go.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 6:04 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

The fact remains that Google built an algo that they actively tell webmasters to conform to or risk being penalized in it.

There's nothing new about media having advertising standards, or rejecting ads and advertisers that they don't like.

MikeNoLastName

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 9:35 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

AWA, I certainly hope you all are looking at Adsense PUBLISHERS' competitive filter lists to get a good sampling of arb and MFA sites with which to construct your automatic detection algorithm. I'd guess any list with more than 50 entries is filtering these nuisances. Hopefully I'll get some rest from having to add all of these every day for a change.

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 9:48 am (utc) on Sep. 21, 2007]

callivert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 1:30 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

in theory, ebooks are the way of the future.
in practice, the reputation of ebooks is in the gutter due to the prevalance of many ebooks that are get rich quick schemes, pyramid-selling-schemes, of very low quality, or all three.
I know there are probably some amazing, great ebooks out there. They're probably on orchid gardening or medieval theater or somesuch, not "make millions from google adsense: buy this ebook to find out how!"

Web_speed



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 1:46 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google is already on record about how they feel about poor user experiences.

This perfectly explains the AdSense clutter on almost any web page you visit nowadays...one often having to shift through walls of contextually targeted crap to get to some content.

User experience concerns...give me a break.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 2:55 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

n theory, ebooks are the way of the future.

They were the wave of the future 10 years ago, when I wrote a column about them for Boardwatch. (Who would have guessed that they'd become a platform for junk ads and malware?)

jtara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 3:12 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

in theory, ebooks are the way of the future.
in practice, the reputation of ebooks is in the gutter due to the prevalance of many ebooks that are get rich quick schemes, pyramid-selling-schemes, of very low quality, or all three.

Unfortunately, this seems true for the vast majority of ebooks, particularly those marketed on their own websites.

The flip side of this are ebooks sold by established publishers. I was more than delighted when the publisher of several books on Ruby made new editions available in PDF prior to publication, (as well as offering the option of buying both the print and PDF versions for not much more than just the print version), and then continued to make PDF updates available after publication.

On the third hand... Google has a history of dislike for ebooks that I think has to do specifically with a particular ebook on Adwords. They did everything they could to put the guy out of business, IMO. I bought that ebook, and it told me way more about using Adwords than anything Google had to offer at the time.

JS_Harris

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 4:13 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

There's nothing new about media having advertising standards, or rejecting ads and advertisers that they don't like.

I agree but should they be directing webmasters too? Is 'conform or else' acceptable from a company who profits from that same media?

[edited by: JS_Harris at 4:15 pm (utc) on Sep. 21, 2007]

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 4:45 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree but should they be directing webmasters too? Is 'conform or else' acceptable from a company who profits from that same media?

They aren't "directing Webmasters." They're merely stating what Webmasters need to do if they want free traffic from Google, and what advertisers need to do if they want to use AdWords cost-effectively. That's their privilege, just as it's your privilege to determine (and, if you wish, publicize) your own standards for granting links or accepting advertising.

bw3ttt

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 9:24 pm on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Why do they include comparison shopping sites?

I understand that they wouldn't want cookie-cutter affiliate clones of Yahoo shopping and shopping.com, but going to the big boys themselves isn't a bad user experience by any means. They have well organized and useful data.

I think the problem is that comparison shopping sites are the end of line in the click train. If you come to one site that links to every other merchant a user would have clicked on individually then Goo misses out on those clicks.

migriffin

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 1:49 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

AdwordsAdvisor, I understand that Google took the opinion of your users to develop the policy, but did you ask the users which aspects of the shopping comparison engines frustrated your users?

Did users who were shopping for a product and taken to a product page comparing merchants and providing insightful reviews cause a bad user experience? I doubt it.

Or is it the shopping comparison engines that land you on a page of ads that causes the bad experience?

I personally like the shopping comparison engines, but I'm frustrated when I land on arbitrage sites that add no value. Target arbitrage, but don't target sites that might be adding value.

If the shopping comparison engines are gone, Google will no longer be my first stop for shopping.

Rehan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 3:50 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Don't forget that Google has its own shopping comparison engine (but not a very useful one, IMHO). It's hypocritical for Google to penalize shopping comparison sites supposedly because of lack of unique content, yet put the "Products" link so prominently at the top of the search results.

It could be the same issue with travel aggregators. For travel searches, Google has a travel onebox right at the top of the search results...yet they are threatening to penalize travel aggregators that actually deliver more value than the onebox. Go figure.

brizad

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 4:21 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Data collection sites that offer free gifts, subscription services etc., in order to collect private information

First of all I find it quite ironic that google is setting themselves us as the champions of privacy...
This is the same company with:
- the 50 year cookie
- the google toolbar, which is spyware wrapped in a pretty package (could this not also be considered offering free services in order to collect private information?)
- gmail where they read all of your emails so they can "provide more relevant advertising" in your inbox
- and on and on

What's good for the goose is obviously not good for the gander.

It's not like these sites are holding your children hostage if you don't give them your info. If someone wants a free newsletter, or sample of diswashing soap, or a free screensaver, then who is google to say that a website can't give it to them? What arrogance! It's called commerce. It's called business. As long as the privacy policy is there and people know what they're getting and what they're giving up then what's the problem?

What are they going to try next? Raising the QS on sites that have a phone number on it? You know people can give their personal info that way in exchange for the latest wonder-gizmo too.

But anyway, one thing that concerns me is that they're being overzealous against the collecting of ANY information.

For instance, I do lead generation. People click on an ad for "get a quote on x" and there's a form for them to fill out. But it's getting harder and harder to get a good QS on a page with any form at all on it.

When all of a sudden you get a $10 minimum bid on a page that converts at 10% then you know something's wrong.

If a person searches for "x rates" or "x quotes" then that's obviously what they want and obviously they're going to have to fill out a form with their personal info to get that. I can kind of understand if someone searches for "information about x" then they may want a bunch of text but when they search for "quote" they want a quote, but in google's infinite wisdom we're not allowed to give them what they want.

Anyone who's ever done lead gen or sign ups knows that the less text and distractions, the better the conversion. If the conversions are high then aren't the people getting what they want? I've never understood how G can't see that.

Too many elitist theoriticians with lofty ideals and no people who live in the real world is how I see it.
As people have commented before, in some way their search quality is going up but in many ways it's going down and I think it's just because of someone's theory of how they think the world "should" be instead of how it really is.

Just my 2 cents...

vincevincevince

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 4:37 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

But it's getting harder and harder to get a good QS on a page with any form at all on it.

<iframe style="width:100%;height:400px" frameborder="0" src="theform.php" target="_top" />

brizad

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 4:51 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)



But it's getting harder and harder to get a good QS on a page with any form at all on it.

<iframe style="width:100%;height:400px" frameborder="0" src="theform.php" target="_top" />

Ba Da Bing! A capital idea my good friend!
Much obliged :)

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 9:01 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

then who is google to say that a website can't give it to them?

They're not saying that at all. They're saying that they themselves don't necessarily care to be in that business, so they are declining the opportunity to sell advertising to you, or pricing it such that you won't want to do business with them. Which is absolutely their prerogative.

bw3ttt

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 3:04 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

<iframe style="width:100%;height:400px" frameborder="0" src="theform.php" target="_top" />

<evil laugh>

Didn't know forms hurt QS.. Looks like a good day for QS tweaking.. Seems like an iframe would hurt more than a form, but Goo is a very tricky beast..

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 3:20 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's hypocritical for Google to penalize shopping comparison sites supposedly because of lack of unique content, yet put the "Products" link so prominently at the top of the search results.

It isn't hypocritical at all. It's merely good editorial judgment. Google probably figures--not unreasonably--that, if users want to look at price-comparison pages, they'll be searching with Google Product Search, not with Google Web Search.

RhinoFish

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 4:30 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

i don't get the comparison sites comment either.

in the past AWA has mentioned that affiliates can add value by doing exactly that.

often times, a niche comparison site is the PERFECT resource for me as a shopper! i dislike the pricerunner type stuff, but those are price comparison engines, not features comparison really.

i am imagining that there's just a huge number of site in this category that aren't high in quality, and people are making summary judgments about them.

i run several niche comparison sites and G could not treat me better regarding quality scoring.

so i look at this as guidelines to be broadly interpreted, not strivtly literal. besides, i think the warnings said things like "generally" and "perhaps" and "likely"... i have't gone back to look at the exact wording, but maybe what it means in comparison sites is the quality bar is a little higher since there's so many bad ones - i highly doubt it means they ALL will be gunned down in flames with $10 bids... but maybe that's hope talking... :-)

Rehan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 5:33 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

It isn't hypocritical at all. It's merely good editorial judgment. Google probably figures--not unreasonably--that, if users want to look at price-comparison pages, they'll be searching with Google Product Search, not with Google Web Search.

Then they should take the Products link off the search results page. As it stands with the new guidelines, they're trying to remove the links to other shopping comparison sites but keeping the prominent link to their own.

brizad

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 7:16 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Didn't know forms hurt QS.. Looks like a good day for QS tweaking.. Seems like an iframe would hurt more than a form, but Goo is a very tricky beast..

Seems like I remember something about this a couple years ago. I remember trying iframes but I think I had problems with browsers displaying it property. I assume things have changed since then.

I know for a fact that G considers 100% frame a NO NO and flags it as spam. I wouldn't do that. But I don't know if they have a problem with ifames in general. In theory you could put spammy things in there, which they would frown upon.

But putting a form in an iframe I don't know. If I put a 20 field form in an iframe that really just removes all the superfluous code and junk (from a landing page relativity standpoint) that may be making the page seen irrelevant to a spider, and hopefully gives the spiders a better idea of what the page is really about. That's a good thing IMHO.

Not sure how it would work out in the real world though. Anyone know for sure?

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 7:31 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Then they should take the Products link off the search results page. As it stands with the new guidelines, they're trying to remove the links to other shopping comparison sites but keeping the prominent link to their own.

Come, now. You're letting sour grapes get in the way of common sense. Are you seriously suggesting that Google.com shouldn't have navigation links to other areas of Google's site (product search, news, images, or whatever) that might be of interest to users? On your own site, do you make a point of not linking to anything internal from the home page?

bw3ttt

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 8:03 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Come, now. You're letting sour grapes get in the way of common sense.

No, common sense dictates that if you find a certain type of web site to be a poor experience to users then you shouldn't link to similar web sites that your company owns either.

Particularly not at the top of the search results..

Using monopolistic tactics and disguising them as improvements is just another way that Google keeps die-hards such as yourself towing the party line..

Did you see on CNN yesterday that the Google guys have broken into the top 5 wealthiest in the US?

Hmmmm...

[edited by: bw3ttt at 8:08 pm (utc) on Sep. 22, 2007]

brizad

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 8:08 pm on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)


then who is google to say that a website can't give it to them?


They're not saying that at all. They're saying that they themselves don't necessarily care to be in that business, so they are declining the opportunity to sell advertising to you, or pricing it such that you won't want to do business with them. Which is absolutely their prerogative.

I so tired of that argument.

Yes, I agree--free enterprise, a private company can do whatever they want, blah, blah, blah.

But I think what we're running into now is monopoly and omnipotent power. Sure, in theory advertisers can go somewhere else. But it's not like in newspapers, tv, or magazines where there are many other ways to reach the consumer. For all practical purposes google is a monopoly and controls online search. And it's not like other media outlets where 30 pages of a newspaper or 100 pages of a magazine are seen and where advertisers can have lots of opportunities to be seen--with search you're on the top page or you're nowhere.

I'm not just saying this because of sour grapes. Personally, I haven't focused on google for years. What I am saying is that we're in uncharted territory and things have to be watched and seen for what they are--one company controlling or on the verge of controlling online advertising and dictating how other companies run their business. If these other companies don't do what google says then they may be out of business.

Sure, in a purely capitalistic sense tough luck. Survival of the fittest and all that. Seems like there's got to be a better solution though.

I don't know what the answer is for sure. I don't want to stifle free enterprise but on the other hand omnipotent power is not good for the consumer in the long run. I predict that we'll start seeing some anti-trust actions against google in the not too distant future.

As they say...the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Web_speed



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 1:46 am on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

But anyway, one thing that concerns me is that they're being overzealous against the collecting of ANY information.

Nope....IMO, just an excuse. What they really do is making sure
you will always need Google (adwords) to reach the mass. Someone with thousands of "interested" prospectus email addresses does not need Google as much now does he.

A simple cleverly crafted/worded business move. They would like to remain the gate keepers at all times....SERPs, Adwords etc. You want to reach the mass...you must go through them first.

Now off course there are thousands of ways around this BUT statically (network wide) such move generate much more $ for Google at the end of the day.

[edited by: Web_speed at 1:46 am (utc) on Sep. 23, 2007]

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 3454980 posted 6:05 am on Sep 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

No, common sense dictates that if you find a certain type of web site to be a poor experience to users then you shouldn't link to similar web sites that your company owns either.

A user who clicks a "Products" navigation link on Google.com knows he's being taken to a price-comparison page. A user who clicks an AdWord doesn't know that.

Using monopolistic tactics and disguising them as improvements is just another way that Google keeps die-hards such as yourself towing the party line.

Ah, the classic Webmaster World ad hominem argument. When logic fails, resort to name-calling. :-)

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