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I Didn't Realize I was a Charity?

Thought I was a Business

     
7:23 am on Jul 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well, Google doesn't like my landing page. The landing page that has run for 2 years and created 200k in earnings for Google.

I guess I didn't have enough "content" on the page and I (God forbid) was selling something.

So apparently I'm running a charity. I'm supposed to pay Google to drive people to a site that sells nothing overtly and doesn't require any sort of action on the users part.

Only then can I be deemed worthy to sit alongside the likes of "Free ipods!" and "Find Waffles on ebay" ads.

Like I said, apparently I'm running a charity and just needed Google to tell me so.

7:56 am on July 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Same problem here. My e store is database driven generating dynamic pages for logged in users. Unfortunatley the bot cannot detect these pages and I am 'low quality' and hence cannot advertise on Google. What a shame!
11:29 am on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well the manual review failed. They donot want small stores providing niche products who might not have beautiful designing and lot of 'useless' but unique content.

Google wants expensive websites with beautiful layout with fancy addons to please the surfer.

No other business model is of interest to them.

It does not matter if you are MFA/Merchant/affiliate.

You must have well designed website with lot of 'B** S**t' content, out going links etc to please the surfer. They donot care if the surfer WANTS to buy from you . He must just have a 'BEAUTIFUL' experience so that his aesthetics are not hurt and he feels all benevolent and nice inside.


We are now in the business of providing 'a unique and aesthetically pleasing experience to the surfer'. It is not really important to sell anything to them. G is not concerned with the fact that we have to make a living by selling a PRODUCT.

2:59 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I keep hearing this repeated but even Google has to realize if the person is searching for "fuzzy green widgets" that they really want to find them. It does nto mean i want info or anything like. I would like to be able to buy them. especially whenthe ad says "get fuzzy green widgets here" or something close.

I was looking for something this morning and getting a search page full of adsense wasa bad experince but I noticed that they do not prohibit this. They just charge him more...maybe?

3:36 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I keep hearing this repeated but even Google has to realize if the person is searching for "fuzzy green widgets" that they really want to find them. It does nto mean i want info or anything like. I would like to be able to buy them. especially whenthe ad says "get fuzzy green widgets here" or something close.

In another thread, I mentioned last year's Doubleclick "search before the purchase" study, which studied online shoppers' behavior in a number of sectors. The study revealed that the average prospect conducts about five online searches before reaching a purchase decision, and the shopping or research process goes on for several weeks.

If you think about that, you'll see why Google thinks the "user experience" is important. The average user who searches on "fuzzy green widgets" isn't just looking to click an order button; he or she is trying to gather information to reach a purchase decision. Finding a page with nothing more the same boilerplate photo and copy that are on a hundred other sites isn't helpful to that person who's researching a purchase. The user is likely to be dissatisfied, and--because of that--he or she may be less likely to click on AdWords in the future.

The bottom line here is that Google has a business to protect, and providing a satisfying user experience even to people who click on ads is essential to protecting that business. Ultimately, providing a satisfying user experience may be good for the advertiser, too--or at least for those advertisers who understand the implications of the Doubleclick study and are willing to reach beyond the low-hanging fruit.

3:43 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Dear EFV,

I want to sell my PRODUCT. This is my priority. This is the useful experience, I want to give to my visitors ( a product which is a niche item, not easily available on the net) , not direct them to other websites for God's sake...

Can anyone understand this point?

Or am I saying something weird?

Regards

3:50 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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and I want to do it MY way.. That is why I am willing to pay for ads..
4:00 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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and are willing to reach beyond the low-hanging fruit.

Better to enjoy the low-hanging fruit than to let it rot. What a waste.

4:08 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I want to sell my PRODUCT. This is my priority. This is the useful experience...

So why not create a high-quality landing page that will help you do just that?

4:10 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google wants expensive websites with beautiful layout with fancy addons to please the surfer.

I just did a test that is but one data-point, and unfortunately non-conclusive. But as a Google user, I sure don't like the outcome.

Your description of your store made me think of a recent very positive shopping experience.

I wanted to soundproof the equipment rack that I have in my office. I used Google to do searchs first to get information on materials and methods, and then to choose a vendor. My shopping experience was very much along the lines of what EuropeForVisitors describes, spanning a period of a couple of weeks.

I ultimately settled on a local vendor who had good information on their web site, was very helpful to me on the phone, and had the best prices of any of the stores. I was impressed that they were willing to take the time to help me with my little rack-cabinet project when mostly they sell much larger quantities of material for soundproofing home theatres, commercial buildings, high-end residential construction, etc.

I primarily used the ads, rather than organic search, particularly in the latter phase of making a decision.

It struck me at the time that the company has a very non-asthetic amateurish-looking website. But that didn't bother me after they were so helpful on the phone, and I certainly had no qualms after going to their very-real warehouse to pick up the material. It was the kind of place with old beaten-up wood desks, but obviously was pushing a lot of material through the warehouse, was obviously a well-established business for years, and obviously was making a lot of customers happy.

I was happy that I'd found this company, and have recommended them to others for different soundproofing projects.

Guess what? Their ad is no longer displayed. Gone. History.

They are, however, still the top organic listing for the subject. (Actually, they may have moved up - I don't recall them having been the top organic listing before.)

The reason I say this is non-conclusive is that some other vendors that do have ads displayed also have amateurish-looking websites. Good information - just not too pretty. I do note that vendor that now has the top ad position does have a very professional-looking website. But sky-high prices (close to DOUBLE what I paid for the same material) and is on the other side of the country (impractical to pay for shipping).

The non-pretty website of the vendor I choose positively-influenced my decision. I feel very comfortable buying from "mom and pop" operations that are nevertheless well-established. In fact, I prefer it over big faceless corporations. This came through in their website design. :)

Now, how the hell do you measure this sort of thing with an algorithm looking at landing pages? You can't. This is why I think what would server users best would be to scrap everything except:

1. Market forces - e.g. a genuine auction based only on CTR and bid price

2. Strict enforcement of well-defined rules and policies. This STILL is not in place. They'd rather fiddle with murky black-box algorithms than implement simple checks to insure that policies aren't violated.

As a user, I'm now included to install a Firefox extension that will block Google ads from being seen on the SERPs. I think the organic listings will now serve me better.

[edited by: jtara at 4:13 pm (utc) on July 15, 2006]

4:12 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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BTW, I have increased my bids by 60% or so and in combination with the content network, I have reached 30-40% of my erstwhile traffic. So google is actually s****** me for more money and sending less traffic. I suppose, if I pay more, the 'Google Surfers' will have a better quality, and heavenly, lovely, aesthetically pleasing, secure, private experience...... Is this BS or not..

Better for them to say...

We have decided that some randomly selected advertisers have to pay more for advertising and you are one of them.

I will accept this. Not BS...

4:20 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So why not create a high-quality landing page that will help you do just that?

Don't most 'high quality' pages contain a lot of fancy images and such which make it very hard for a google bot to read?

It's funny because before I had one of my landing pages booted a few months back when they did this before, I used to have more graphical headers, and a much better layout. Then when I was booted and learned about 'quality score', I got rid of the fancy stuff and made my header into more SEO friendly type of h1 tags and such. Why bother being fancy if i'm forced to impress a bot?

4:24 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Don't most 'high quality' pages contain a lot of fancy images and such which make it very hard for a google bot to read?

Some do, some don't.

What counts is the text on the page.

4:26 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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EFV wrote..

"So why not create a high-quality landing page that will help you do just that? "

I donot really know G 's definition of high quality. They will NOT enlighten me as to what changes they will accept.

Also I sell very very cheap widgets.. These widgets sell in established websites at USD 8-10 / Pc. I sell at USD 2-3 /PC ..

How?

I offer offline payment . This saves me a lot of money.
I ship using discounted Couriers that are a little slow but get the job done.Shipping is a big part of cost for my 500g/1000g widgets.
I source my widgets from non traditional sources.
I keep my profit margin low and try for volume sales.

So my website asks serious customers to:

Register before browsing. (This is anti G policy)
( but helps me save bandwidth and money)as non serious customers click out using adSense.

My pages are dynamically generated. ( Not acceptable to G bot, as they cannot check quality).

My privacy policy is one small page. I am honest and use simple language ( can't hire a lawyer)

My Disclaimer is one half para. I don't BS on and on...

My Site is not verisign secured etc as payment is offline.

These huge savings in cost I pass on...to customers, they love me. I receive many appreciative mails for the concept I have pioneered. But G hates me .

30% of all visitors book mark my site.

BUT G THINKS I am LOW Quality. Their manual reviewers written me so. They have hinted at all poiints I have mentioned above.

But If I pay more, it is all forgiven....and I can advertise..

4:41 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Register before browsing. (This is anti G policy)
( but helps me save bandwidth and money)as non serious customers click out using adSense.

"as non serious customers click out using adSense?"

If it walks like arbitrage, and it talks like arbitrage... what else is Google supposed to think it is?

4:53 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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jtara, very good example, thanks. The fact is Americans are extremely savvy buyers and shoppers. The prettyness of the website really does have very little to do with the purchase. If it has what they want, and appears to be legit, then it sells.

Next time your in the grocery store and see a new product group (maybe you want to try a noodle product but there are 20 different brands/flavors. Just buy the one that is selling.

In other words if an ad/product is paying for ad placement on an engine for months and months then the consumer has already deemed it legit or they would not be paying the ad price month after month.

Are you listening Google insiders? : )

4:58 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"If it walks like arbitrage, and it talks like arbitrage... what else is Google supposed to think it is? "

SO this is not allowed?

Who said so?

Arbitrage?

I am providing surfers ' a useful experience' as they can find other avenues to explore, if they want something else.

So adSense is only for organic traffic..

I did not know this. So sorry for everything I said..

5:06 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Oh I got it ..

Google definition of high quality:

DO NOT ARBITRAGE OR HAVE THE POSSIBILITY OF ARBITRAGE ON YOUR SITE. IF YOU HAVE ADSENSE. DONOT USE ADWORDS.

Why don't they just say so.....

I will remove adSense and we will be all O.K.

5:14 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What counts is the text on the page.

So a company can spend hundreds of dollars hiring a pro flash designer, make an amazing flash presentation for a landing page, but google would decide it's not quality enough because the text on the page isn't up to their standards? Something about that doesn't seem right.

I always thought PPC was so you don't have to do SEO.

Anyway, I don't believe it's what's on the page that matters. If it were, they would have shut down all my campaigns. They only shut down half. If I showed you links to all of my landing pages and told you to guess which ones were shut down and which were left alone, i'd bet you anything you couldn't pick which were which unless you guessed.

Why is that? It's because they're all the same page. The only difference is that the sponsors on the page are more in line with the keyword being searched.

Picture it like this.. go to amazon.com and click on the menu on the left. First click on books, then click on DVD's. Then randomly pick one and say that isn't 'quality' enough for google, but the other is. That's what I went through, which is why I think landing page quality takes a back seat here to $$$. The ads that were shut off for me were my better converting ads. The ones that had a high CTR and low CPC. The ones they can easily get rid of and make 2-3x per click by allowing someone else in my slot.

5:20 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google doesn't want their users to click an ad, then end up on a page where the users only choice is to click more ads because the page itself fails to address their intent in any way. (and neither do most users)

Google doesn't want users to be required to register in order to see content. (and neither do most users)

You've combined those two problems into a page that would send up a red flag by Google's standards. (and most users)

5:23 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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GG, aren't these holier-than-thou types fun?

I've spent the last two years trying to provide the most relevant, highly-converting pages to surfers looking to ***BUY*** specific products.

Perhaps I over-optimized in my endeavors. I can't help but think that is why I'm being penalized. All I know is that for over 2 years, I tested and tweaked...tested and tweaked...tested and tweaked...both my ads and my pages...until I could no longer improve my overall rate of conversion. In some cases, I doubled or tripled order volume by keeping things nice and simple for the surfer with a clear sales message and a link to make a purchase. I initially had a lot more "informational" content, but I actually found that it often worked against me from an ROI perspective. Does it really make sense to give your customer 20 times the information if that will result in a 30% reduction in order volume? Not in my world.

I'm beginning to understand what google is trying to accomplish here, but this is a tough one to swallow.

As EFV, et al, will be happy to hear, I'm spending today fleshing out privacy policies and adding dramatically more internal and external links and expositive text to my sites. This will - without a doubt - hurt my overall rate of conversion. But as long as it keeps my campaigns alive, it is worth doing.

In my heart, I really don't want to "game" the system. But I have my doubts that my quality score will ever recover...even with these substantial changes being implemented.

Should be interesting....

Has anyone gotten any feedback from google as to how often your quality score is re-evaluated for a particular site/page?

5:32 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Are my comments "holier-than-thou?"

I thought I was helping to explain how Green_Grass's site choices would be interpreted by Google, specifically the one that I saw might be the main source of the problem.

Maybe I was expected to grab a pitchfork and light a torch instead of working towards understanding what's going on?

5:36 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'll voice the opinion of the great silent majority: when the complainers describe their own sites, I'm glad that Google is having the integrity to get rid of these guys. Good riddance.

Register-to-browse, no online payments, lousy shipping options, no images, lack of descriptions just "click to buy", affiliates -- these are the ultra-low-quality sites I hate to waste my time on while I look for a good merchant. They have infested the Google AdWords ads so thoroughly that you are forced to instead go to human-reviewed recommendations of merchants to find a good source for purchasing.

I'm delighted that Google is booting out these sites. It will be a big improvement in internet commerce for the vast majority (everyone except the few running the rotten sites). Now, there are so many terrible sites that people buy everything they can from Amazon just to avoid spending the time to find anyone else--I do the same. I even keep a list of every quality merchant I find, because they are so rare. There are some good merchants succeeding on the web with high quality--of product information, online inventory, payment, and shipping--and life will be better as there are more of them. (Even on Amazon you have to look for "sold by and shipped from Amazon"--many of their third-party sellers are very poor, too.)

I'm sure this has been a tough step for Google to take, so maybe it really does come from the Google founders. The best result will be to inspire Yahoo and MSN to do exactly the same thing to improve their quality similarly.

5:36 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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GG, aren't these holier-than-thou types fun?

The appropriate description isn't "holier-than-thou," it's "pragmatic."

Google obviously feels that certain standards (its standards) are necessary for the continued success of AdWords. You can go with the flow or try to swim against the current, but Google gets to decide where the water is headed.

5:37 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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whoisgregg, I actually did have you somewhat in mind when I made that comment. Apparently, I've fried my brain this AM reworking my sites and stressing over this.

Upon re-reading your posts, I have NO IDEA where I got that impression. You were most definitely NOT holier-than-thou. Unless holier-than-thou = constructive. I've lost my mind :)

Sorry, man.

5:38 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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what is this topic about?
how can anyone be refused for adwords?
sorry, maybe i am too young to understand. can anyone explain that to me?
5:48 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Google doesn't want their users to click an ad, then end up on a page where the users only choice is to click more ads because the page itself fails to address their intent in any way. (and neither do most users) "

That is an MFA.

I sell only in my country. My intention to keep adSense is that when surfers from other countries land up on my page they can find an alternative.

I sell only 'Cheap Red Widgets'. I donot sell 'Widgets'. If a surfer lands on my page by misunderstanding my ad, they can click out or close the window, I don't care. AdSense gives me a little money to defer my advertising cost.

BTW my ad is very specific ...'Cheap Red Widgets here' geo targetted to my country only.

I put samples of my products on the landing page so as to encourage surfers to register. I explain why they need to register and I also have a privacy policy.

I wrote to G explaining above. They did a manual review and say I am low quality.

I cannot change my way of doing business, trying to make guesses as to what will please G. I need a specific answer.

BTW , I repeat, a 60% extra spend will bring me 30-40% of my erstwhile traffic. So 'Quality' is a farce. It is something else.

Oh I forgot to mention, since this problem, my ARBITRAGE profits are up.... You see AdSense is paying more per click and I am generating some traffic, advertising on other portals etc ...How about that? .. This was however not my intention. I want to promote my main website. Unfortunately, other traffic is not as targetted as AdWords , so I will lose in the longer term..My Biz. will suffer.

Good Night.. It is night here .. I am off to sleep .

5:51 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've lost my mind :)

Sorry, man.

No worries, we all lose our mind when we get hit by stuff like this. I come to WebmasterWorld when I lose mine because I know the folks here will help me get it back. :)

5:52 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Register-to-browse, no online payments, lousy shipping options, no images, lack of descriptions just "click to buy", affiliates -- these are the ultra-low-quality sites I hate to waste my time on while I look for a good merchant. They have infested the Google AdWords ads so thoroughly that you are forced to instead go to human-reviewed recommendations of merchants to find a good source for purchasing"

WHAT CRAP!

Try to understand my model.. I guess , I am wasting my time here.

I don't have a single affiliate set up on my site.

I stock 5000 Pcs of my widget in my warehouse.

All my customers are repeat customers.

I have only one copmplaint in the last 2 years .

This is my last post on this thread.

6:35 pm on July 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If it walks like arbitrage, and it talks like arbitrage...

If one of the goals is to eliminate arbitrage sites, then why not simply state that as a clear rule - no arbitrage. And then enforce it. Not with a murky black-box algorithm that fiddles the price, but by a simple, direct check for Adsense, etc. and just outright ban the ad.

Clear rules. Clear actions. No exceptions.

We will never see that from Google, though.

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