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Who's being affected by the new QS?
Ads don't show, but QS still listed as 'Great'
arieng




msg:3745266
 8:14 pm on Sep 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've managed to navigate through every QS update so far without ever really being affected. This time, however, I think we may not be so lucky.

I've noticed about a 40% drop in traffic and revenue from AdWords, starting a little over a week ago. The most disconcerting aspect is that my AdWords account does not reflect what is going on.

I've looked at a couple of specific phrases that are down in traffic. My AdWords account is saying that the ad is being shown in search results and that my quality score is 'Great'. However, it is nowhere to be seen on the actual SERP and the traffic drop seems to say that I'm not the only one not seeing the ad.

This particular phrase is somewhat competitive, with normally about 12 advertisers targeting the term. Now, only one competitor shows up.

(Note: the competitor that does show up seems to be about the only one not affected. There are hundreds of phrases that went from very competitive to only their ad. I'm trying to figure out how they survived unscathed, but as yet haven't figured it out.)

Anyone else seeing dramatic changes?

 

Rosalind




msg:3746209
 10:37 am on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe someday Google will wakeup and realize that webmasters don't want an advertising program that takes 25 hours a day to run.

Totally. I'm struggling with this, because I'd like to be able to write eye-catching and interesting ads, but that would totally kill my relevance according to Google's system, which just seems to favour too much repetition.

But ultimately it takes too much time to work this stuff out, and unless you want to do it on a large scale it's not worth the effort.

tripleox




msg:3746210
 10:40 am on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does this update make the preview tool completely and utterly useless?

RhinoFish




msg:3746338
 2:32 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Netmeg, I get your ad suggestion, I really do... but have you ever found one of those situations where the ad seems to be very focused and very relevant (and you've tried several variants), the loading time is graded as faster than average and everything to you, as a consumer, seems ideal... yet the landing page is graded as irrelevant (though you don't see how)?

I think their system is good, and it's ideas are excellent, but because it's an algorithm, it comes up short in some cases where it definitely shouldn't.

Those cases are infuriatingly frustrating to someone with a great depth of knowledge and experience... so I can only imagine what a relative amateur must think when they run into it.

I understand their desire to not reveal specifics, they've been gamed too much to do that. But without it, I expect they'll forever has this issue where some things just don't get judged / scored very well.

limitup




msg:3746485
 5:05 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The thing is, if nothing else they should have a way to help the "big fish" with manual overrides or whatever else is necessary. I spend $5k+ a day with G, and I don't care if they are a trillion dollar company that is a lot of money. I've spent at least $5 million with Google over the years. I should have an account manager I can call to help me with stuff like this. But nooooo ...

netmeg




msg:3746537
 5:48 pm on Sep 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

where the ad seems to be very focused and very relevant (and you've tried several variants), the loading time is graded as faster than average and everything to you, as a consumer, seems ideal... yet the landing page is graded as irrelevant (though you don't see how)?

I hesitate to answer this, because I don't want to sound like I'm bragging. But no, I *don't* see this very often. If I do, then I either change up the landing page (usually by adding more content) or have the client do it. Maybe I am just lucky, or am working with lucky sites, or ...? I dunno. When I have QS issues, it almost always goes back to being lazy about my keyword grouping, so that the ads might be relevant to some keywords in the ad group, but not all of them.

Now that I think of it, I do have one site where I have landing page issues, but that's mostly because I'm having a hard time convincing the client that they need a little more than just a technical list of specs for their product pages; it's all very well to list the size, color, weight, and other attributes, but they also have to tell the prospect why they need the product, what problems or issues it will solve, and most of all, why they need to buy it from MY client as opposed to others who are selling something similar. Those campaigns have landing page issues, but I know why they do, and it's a legitimate cop. I have one of my partners writing text for a few sample items so we can show the client what a difference it makes (hope it makes a difference!)

I'm still going through the various messages with the new QS, so maybe I'll find some landing page issues on other sites yet.

OddDog




msg:3746964
 10:25 am on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

i have a client that got hit for slow server responeses.

RhinoFish




msg:3747179
 3:14 pm on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

I didn't say I see it often, I said when I do see it, it's frustrating.

In this one case, I can't imagine anything more relevant could exist. I have surveyed the other ads and seo results for this keyword search to be sure, and my belief is unwavering concerning the provided precision and accuracy of what is being searched for. There may be things to criticize (there always is!), but "irrelevant" to the consumer and relating the keyword, ad and landing page to the specific search, just is not the case.

When I put myself in the consumer's shoes, I am delivering EXACTLY what they are searching for, without question.

Adding more content isn't of benefit to the consumer either, in this case, they're looking for something very specific and I make it available - more content would obscure finding it as fast as possible and would not enhance the consumer's experience in any way.

I think irrelevant is too broad of feedback - certainly G has an algorithmic point, and likely a very valid one, but irrelevancy doesn't address it properly at all.

netmeg




msg:3747191
 3:21 pm on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

No question that the "help" messages that AdWords gives us could use a lot of help themselves. It's hard for me to tell if they're deliberately obfuscating, or just using people who can't express themselves clearly.

That said - if I were having the much of a problem, I'd probably see if I could find a friend or colleague or *someone* to take a look, just in case there's something I'm missing.

If you've already done that with no new information, then I just dunno.

cagey1




msg:3747208
 3:41 pm on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

what kind of scores are you people seeing? I havent found anything less than a 6, most are 7 or 8

I can tell you that 4/10 is Poor :(

jkwilson78




msg:3747356
 6:29 pm on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Here's the problem with constantly tweaking ad copy to please the Quality Score algorithm.

It doesn't always translate to better conversions!

This is what is so frustrating to me.

Stuffing an ad with keywords (to make it more "relevant") or rewriting a proven winner just to make it more "relevant" does not always get better CTR or better conversion. Countless split tests show this to be true (at least for the markets I am in).

Yet here we are playing this game Google has created for us. I will usually settle for a "ok" or "poor" QS just to run an ad that coverts 2-3 time better.

The improvement in CPC to run a "Great" QS ad does not make up for the immensely better conversions of the "lower quality" ads.

Google can try all they want to dictate relevance. But it's the customers and target audience that I care about.

I'll only play the game if I have too otherwise I'm trying to make more money not make an algorithm happy.

directwheels




msg:3747360
 6:29 pm on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

seems like i got hit by this as well...

my ads are now showing in lower positions than before, and crappy ads from eBay and shopping search engines are showing above mine (which was never that way before).

my problem is probably because my landing pages lack content. does anyone know if adwords cares about dynamically generated text? i have thousands of ad groups running all with their own landing page. the only way i can efficiently get content into them is by dynamically (so that for example, a page about blue widget would say "this site is an awesome place for blue widget, find blue widget here.")

i know that for SEO, dynamic text has a negative impact. does anyone know if that's the case for adwords too?

directwheels




msg:3747423
 8:18 pm on Sep 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

ok, something weird is happening. this morning and early afternoon, i checked some keywords that i am buying, and the page was full of ads from "not so related sites". now, it's back to just me and my competitor only. anyone else seeing this?

flanker23




msg:3747704
 7:35 am on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

It never ceases to amaze me that G think they know what is relevant to every customer in every possible industry thats being advertised on their search engine! They think they know how we need to write our ads, how are landing page should look and how much content it should contain. If I ran a shop and approached my local newspaper to run an ad they wouldn't tell me what my ad should say and how my shop should look when my visitors arrive! They are providing an advertising medium, but we all know our own sector better than they do, and if we cannot make the whole process profitable we wouldn't continue advertising. At the end of the day, we are THEIR customer wishing to purchase ad space, obviously there should be some editorial guidelines, but there current actions means they are continually trying to dictate our business for us and effectively trying to decide what every customer in every sector wants and expects to see when they arrive at a website! I'll be truly amazed if anybody could have such a vast knowledge of every sector of business that exists on the web today.

netmeg




msg:3747889
 2:05 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

They know what they want to deliver on their search pages and through their advertising network. They have their own definition of a quality user experience, and they are (mostly) adhering to it, even if means losing some advertisers' money.

I am a publisher, and I know what I want to see on my pages; there are some perfectly legitimate ads and business models I don't want to see there. I'm not going to tell them how to run their business, I'm just not going to display their ads.

Shadoze




msg:3747914
 2:55 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Excellent comments flanker23, This is the first time I've been hit by QS changes..at least in a major way.. I have been spending a healthy 5 figure monthly ad budget for almost 2 years with adwords.. have a CTR consistently around 20%+, My customers apparently have been quite happy with what they found at my site, I was consistently in position 1-2, my ad was very focused on a specific product and delivered the user to a page specifically about that product.. with options to take whatever next step they wanted to take. Yet they give my ad a QS of 5/10 Apparently now it is no longer good enough for my ads to even display.. Since about 6 PM yesterday not 1 impression, except a for a burst for about 20 minutes late last night, then gone again.

I've got ads in other markets that get a 1% CTR are really pretty lousy landing pages that they deem as 9/10, it really makes no sense.

I know of no other advertising business that would treat their customers in such a manner.

As guess as long as they feel they can keep giving their customers the proverbial finger and we keep coming back for more, they'll keep doing it. I'm waiting for a reply from them but I'm sure it will be the usual pablum that says nothing.

directwheels




msg:3747948
 3:25 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Since about 6 PM yesterday not 1 impression, except a for a burst for about 20 minutes late last night, then gone again.

I am also noticing bursts where things returned to the good old days (as in last week) and would disappear again.

I used be in position #1 in the top middle yellow spots(not the side ads) a lot, now, I am seeing all these shopping search engine ads above my ads, i can barely make position 5. Ebay seems to be taking all the #1 positions for my keywords. I am getting impressions, but the CTR dropped from 5% to 1% because of the crappy positions.

such a bad situation......

Shadoze




msg:3748002
 4:07 pm on Sep 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm also seeing a lot more ads that are not all that relevant.. I guess that's what google defines as 'improvements'

bw3ttt




msg:3748569
 3:17 pm on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe someday Google will wakeup and realize that webmasters don't want an advertising program that takes 25 hours a day to run.

Yes, and then they will make it so that it takes 35 hours per day to run because they don't want or need us for anything. Every click to buy-cheap-widgets.com for 11 cents is a click taken away from Amazon.com for 31 cents.

ltifwwc




msg:3748630
 5:26 pm on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Is not the 31 cents ppc of Amazon.com is due to the presence of that 11 cents ppc of the non-brand guy to start with?

bw3ttt




msg:3748660
 6:39 pm on Sep 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

no, webmasters in general add very little value from Google's perspective. They want us to do SEO and leave paid search to the big guys who are willing to scrape by with little profit or even lose money for branding purposes or to deprive new competitors of traffic.

Jebus




msg:3750505
 3:08 pm on Sep 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

You can add us to the list. We spend 5 figures a month with Adwords and overnight it is almost down to zero. Ridiculous.

ppcbuyers




msg:3751208
 2:54 pm on Sep 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Anyone seeing Poor QS in Keyword Analysis, even though Details of QS (Keyword Relevance, Landing Page and Landing Page Load Time) show "No problems found"?

Nancy99




msg:3751621
 11:44 pm on Sep 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Accounts that I manage in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco for professional services like dentists and plastic surgeons are being hammered.

Here's just one example: Washington DC metro dentist Google now wants $57 per click to appear on the first page of search results for family dental care. What is totally bizarre is that he is getting clicks still with an average ad position of 4 to 7 or so for $7 plus per click! What gives Google? Why the note when you are already continuing to deliver for less?

Other accounts which are highly optimized over a 1.75% CTR and keyword dense landing pages with a great quality score are seeing a huge drop in ad position from 3 to 6 originally to 7 to 15 overnight. CPC's are increasing to be competitive 35% to 75%.

Looks like this update was not about quality, but rather about padding Google's pocket book even further. I have to say that Yahoo is looking very good at this point.

raffles




msg:3752656
 2:16 pm on Sep 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

Had my head in this for 2 weeks now. The anomalies been thrown back are getting beyond on a joke.

GOOGLE THE OLD SYSTEM WORKED FINE.

This morning I logged in and checked an account, all kw had been rated POOR, I checked back this afternoon and they were all OK again, #*$!?

The worst I have seen yet is:

KW: ourcompanyname

AD: ourcompanyname - in the title
Dispaly URL: www.ourcompanyname.com
Landing page: www.ourcompanyname.com

Google has given the rating as POOR along with ads rarely show due to low quality score. There is no trademark issue and we are also ranked #1 in organic. This is money for nothing for Google yet they don't seam to want it. Whats worse is when we see a competitor appearing consitantly for ourcompanyname, kind of like a kick in the crown jewels after you've already been floored by a heavy weight. Again, #*$!?

edd1




msg:3753151
 1:11 am on Sep 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I am totally perplexed. Is there no way Google can just say "this is the quality score" and leave it there. It's becoming impossible to deal with.

edd1




msg:3753152
 1:13 am on Sep 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

"THE OLD SYSTEM WORKED FINE"

DITTO!

I thought the ideas was to make things more transparent for advertisers. It has never been less so.

golemite




msg:3753208
 4:17 am on Sep 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

the new system makes no sense at all. keywords with 10% ctr are slowly sliding in quality score for no apparent reason. I've reactivated my Yahoo account to try to recover some traffic, but someone needs to tell us what is going on. Where is Adwords Advisor when you need him?

flanker23




msg:3753260
 7:41 am on Sep 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's fair to say, they are a nightmare to work with for sponsered ads now. You don't know from one day to the next whether your quality score is good or bad, whether your ads are showing for a given keyword or not and if they are, traffic appears 'throttled back' on some terms ie. not showing as much as it could. I'm asked for bids of $1 or more to appear on the first page of results for keywords that there is no competitor for whatsoever! (with a qs of 7/10 & 'good') and yet I leave the bids at 20-30 cents and I'm getting some impressions in the no. 1 spot (because of course there are no other advertisers there at all!)

They simply can't be that interested in anybody's business on adwords unless every aspect of your advertising and sales measures up to their expectations and requirements - I know they have built their reputation on relevence, but like has been said before, if our ads or product wasn't relevent for where we are advertising it we would simply be knocked out the market place because of ctr and conversion figures and/or we would voluntarily withdraw our ads because we know it doesn't make economic sense for us. Way to go, G!

Btw, AA is probably not replying because they won't really have a clue as to what's going on either!

bw3ttt




msg:3753539
 10:02 pm on Sep 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have just noticed today that a lot of my 8/10 great keywords have now slipped down to 5/10 OK. I reactivated my MSN account. I'm sure this is what the geniuses at Google had in mind with this latest irritating tinker.

Tehuti




msg:3757133
 2:36 am on Oct 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

I want to crack someone over the head with a baseball bat! Preferably, someone from Google. I've completely had it with these DAMNED morons!

I've never been hit by any of their stupid system updates, except this one. Every single keyword in my account was Great a week ago. Now, three-quarters of them are OK. Keywords with all-time CTRs of 47% have dropped from Great (10/10) to OK (5/10) overnight!

What the heck are these idiots doing?! I've been split-testing ads and managing keywords for ages, to the point where I can't get any more relevant or produce better performing ads. How the #@#@ am I now supposed to regain my old scores?!

I am so, SO annoyed with these fools right now . . . I wish we could arrange a mass boycott of their retarded system and make their shares dramatically drop.

Yes, I know that's a bit low. But, heck . . . That's how I feel.

Tehuti




msg:3757153
 3:28 am on Oct 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

On a more positive note, there is something that I should add . . .

I spoke to one of their phone representatives yesterday about my situation. He said, after speaking to a technician, that it's possible that some people may observe temporary dips in quality score during the changeover (emphasis on the word "temporary").

Hopefully, that is the case.

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