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Active Keywords Falling?

Just me or everyone?



2:03 pm on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

From the July attack, I left with 23,000 inactive keywords.
Today, I have 35,000. Traffic dropped 30% from what it used to be.
I wonder why there isn' a thread about this already?
Are too few advertisers affected this time?
What about you?

WW MemberName

10:04 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey PacWeb,
Are you involved in affiliate marketing, or do you sell your own stuff? We are an affiliate marketing house have been somewhat restricted by the new and improved Google. I just wonder what business models Google is targeting? Or are they just shootin from the hip?

Thanks for your input......

Oh and here's a good read from CNN Money...


[edited by: WW_MemberName at 10:16 pm (utc) on Sep. 7, 2006]


10:32 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My Google Adwords traffic dropped by 70%, totally unexpected, all at once on august 10th. Since then, I have promoting more expencive items on my site to make up the difference. And, I pay over quarter of a million dollars a year in Google adverting. My account rep. is a total idiot. I have been doing my own Adwords testing to see what works, with what I have left from my traffic.

I know! I love how our Google rep loves to talk to us like we are bunch of newbs..

I probably know more about the system than they do. lol


1:48 am on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)


"Google is the new Microsoft and then some," says Mark Stevens, CEO of MSCO (msco.com), a marketing firm in White Plains, N.Y. "Google poses a threat to more companies in more industries than anyone else in history."

Numerous software publishers have been threatened by Google's habit of releasing freeware that competes with their products. Google makes no apologies for crushing small competitors. "This company is organized to be disruptive," CEO Eric Schmidt said in a telephone interview with FSB.

Spot on!

[edited by: Web_speed at 1:50 am (utc) on Sep. 8, 2006]


2:47 am on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hey WW MemberName,

I do affiliate marketing. I have been hit really bad by Google, believe me. I tried Msn, no luck. I am going to give Yahoo a second chance. Google Adwords has been my main source of traffic and income for over 4 years. And I have done really well with them until august.
So, after weeks of frustration, I decided to change products i advertise, which offer higher commission payouts to compensate for my traffic loss. You know the old saying " If you can't fight them - join them"....


2:49 am on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Oh, another thing. Google does not target any specific business models. There just want more money. To pay for all the lawsuits, and to make themselves look good infront of their shareholders..


5:02 pm on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator skibum is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It would certainly be nice to have a more stable platform and to be competing against competitors the marketplace instead of having the rules change constantly.

Even with a big corporate client, we noticed something when adding in more keywords. To buy their own brand name [company name] on any match type and send the traffic to their homepage, no affiliates or anything like that, had a minimum bid 10X that of a generic keyword related to what they sell. This doesn't seem to happen across the board, cause brand terms for other clients have not been hit with this.

We're still not talking a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. The min CPCs on the generic terms are mostly only a few cents but when there are potentially 25,000 - 50,000 clicks a month that could come from brand searches, that is potentially a sizable expenditure and there is no more relevant page on the Internet.

Just because it is a large company with a relatively large budget doesn't mean that they don't take notice of things like this.


10:45 pm on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


What a change during the last 48 hours.

58 search clicks today from 78,000 keywords!

Now all my keywords are active with a simple check box change - no more search network for me. Not worth even thinking about active/inactive keywords anymore.

Waiting for the last shoe to drop - penalties on the content network.


10:49 pm on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Waiting for the last shoe to drop - penalties on the content network.

Please don't give them ideas!


4:13 am on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Wow - I must be livin' right. I'm still getting almost 15,000 clicks per day, averaging $0.17 cpc.

I haven't had any keywords go inactive. I'll chalk it up to good clean livin'.


2:43 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

dFud -- rather than "clean living", I think it's more your willingness (and ability ) to pay $0.171 per click.

I'm convinced that the days of cheap Google traffic are over. As an advertiser who depends on low cost Google traffic, things just continue to get worse and worse for me. Here are some snippets of my results over the past two months:

Jul 5
Impressions - 8,596,920
Clicks - 155,803
CTR - 1.81%
cost/click - $0.051

Jul 15
Impressions - 3,115,442
Clicks - 52,722
CTR - 1.69%
cost/click - $0.055

Aug 1
Impressions - 4,204,036
Clicks - 76,740
CTR - 1.83%
cost/click - $0.065

Sep 5
Impressions - 1,190,617
Clicks - 41,291
CTR - 3.47%
cost/click - $0.065

Sep 8
Impressions - 524,793
Clicks - 17,979
CTR - 3.43%
cost/click - $0.069

I'm pretty sure I could get the traffic back if I doubled my bids, but then I wouldn't make any money. I suspect these rate increases are having a major effect across the industry as "direct sellers" are forced out and replaced with advertisers who can afford to build brands over the long run. It would be interesting to know if the largest Google advertisers have somehow been exempted from these rate increases.

As an publisher who uses Adsense (rather than sell unmarked "natural" listings like my competitors do), I was clearly caught up in the landing page quality algo. I completed redesigned my site with input from Google with no beneficial effect as yet.

Yet, I concluded I could live with half as much Google traffic and still make money. Yet September arrives with yet another change that we're told have nothing to do with landing page quality. I'm forced to conclude that Google doesn't want to sell cheap keywords any longer.

As a computer industry veteran, I saw PC Magazine rate increases on that scale. At the time, PC Mag held a commanding position in the marketplace (like Google) so moving our budgets to PC World or Byte didn't save the day. The industry changed. Small companies who depended on cheap (high ROI) advertising, were forced out. A handful of large companies who could afford low ROI advertising survived. I suspect this is the beginning of that trend here.

WW MemberName

3:01 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey Westsider,
Very good input, as my traffic has declined in similar fashion as yours. What is odd though, before July 17th (the beginning of our problems), we had many clicks in the $0.35 to $0.80 range. This presented many opportunities for us to make money, everything was good.

Then after July 17th, the inactive keyword problem hit. We had to raise the floor of many of our top keywords to $1.00, making it tough to make money.

Then the September massacre has hit, and our remaining keyword remained active, our CPC remained about the same, but our impressions have dropped to unheard of levels. All this at the same time trying to get a handle on the quality of traffic from Overture. Now that Google traffic’s is diminishing, the Overture traffic is becoming more critical to our success, and so far, “things” are not lookin to good. (more on that later…)

So the bottom line, I'm perplexed by the actions at Google. We have been adding content and such in hopes of improving our landing page score, planning on re-launching the site with another URL. Others have indicated that this has helped. We are in the affiliate marketing field, have beed told by Google that they are “Not too impressed with sites that pass users to parent sites” (a direct quote). So maybe Google is trying to kill affiliate marketing, maybe trying to kill the “little” people out there doing affiliate marketing.

So my POA (plan of attach..) More content, re launch the entire new site with new Google account and hope that the CPC of critical keywords come down to profitable levels.

Thanks for your input….

[edited by: WW_MemberName at 3:09 pm (utc) on Sep. 9, 2006]


3:25 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

westsider -- I suspect you're basically right.

For me, I'm blown away that I can get the amount of traffic I do for only $0.17 cpc. I manage AdWords accounts for a bunch of clients and they are all willing to pay $0.50 to $5 per click, plus pay for my time on top of that. So to me, $0.17 is a bargain.

But I can certainly empathize with your dillema. I've had several ideas that I thought were worth a million bucks if I could have got good traffic at that $0.17 cpc, but for those industries the traffic just wasn't there at the price.

Even on my $0.17 project, this has risen from $0.10 a couple of years ago. And I'm assuming as more of the local advertisers move in, as the surveys seem to indicate every month, eventually that price too will rise.

Fortunately for us, as the cpc rose so did our repeat visitors and our organic traffic. So all together it works - for us.


4:16 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Ouch, Google is coming down hard again today.

These raises in minimum bids do not only affect those looking for the cheap clicks under 10 cents. Hundreds of my keywords that were previously raised to a minimum bid of 0.38 are inactive today, asking for 0.45. And keywords that were set to 0.50 are now inactive with a minimum of 0.55

It seems that everyday I am raising these minimums and my ROI is shrinking and shrinking. I have increased my campaigns at YSM and MSN and am happy with them, but it will still be alot of traffic to lose when I have to move away from Google.

I can't believe how much time I now have to spend checking campaigns and adjusting prices keyword by keyword. And with all the "fraudulent" clicks I receive, raises bids everyday is getting harder and harder to swallow.

I am really looking forward to microsoft's rise in the PPC market, and the release of the new YSM.


4:39 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm introducing a new topic as a follow-on to this discussion entitled "Has Google Become an Illegal Monopoly?"


5:11 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

How do you guys keep paying more but as a publisher I keep getting paid less?

Extremely frustrating to listen to you advertisors complaining during the times my per click keeps falling..

Frustrating because I know you guys/gals are paying more..I know I'm getting less .. so that leaves me with irratating knowledge that "someone" is making more.. which is frustrating because I know my traffic is as on target as it can possibly be


5:20 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am done with G... From 35,000 hits in july to 10,000 in august... I signed up with Yahoo search 2 days ago and doing great!


7:02 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member


Google is a middle man.

What do middle men do?

Play both sides against the middle.

It's right there up there next to the oldest profession.

We need more profit? Hedge both sides.

Pretty simple.

Google "gave" 78% to publishers (average), I bet you that number is changing right now.

[edited by: Khensu at 7:05 pm (utc) on Sep. 9, 2006]


8:08 pm on Sep 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Just activated my yahoo ads... been over 2 years since they were active. With Yahoo and MSN ads going full bore I expect to get 100-200 visitors a day compared to as many as 10,000 with Adwords ( in the good ol days ).

Why can't MSN and Y deliver visitors?

It ain't me that has all their eggs in one basket - it's the whole darn search community.

The next time the GDP takes a dip I'll say Google did it (I may not be too far off).


1:41 am on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm curious - when the minimums keep raising for you guys, what is the average position of your ads. I never run into this "minimum" issue. But I try to keep all ads running within the top five spots.


5:30 pm on Sep 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


Maybe there is some connection with position. My keywords average in the 10th-11th spots.


2:18 am on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The only solution seems to be to stop using adwords altogether and send a clear message to google. They cannot control the market with total uncertainty without a revolt from advertisers. I can see the seeds of discontent brewing. Imagine google got no revenue (or very little) for a period of time. Most advertisers feel the quality debacle has added a layer of total uncertainty to advertising. Its a shame that google controls such a large part of the market and has gotten arrogant. More and more people are being affected, and more and more of us are angry. A clear message of discontent has NOT been delivered to google. Shutting off your campaigns will send that message.

My advice to google is to eliminate the landing page quality checks. And eliminate uncertainty that they have introduced to advertising. I cannot think of any time in history that advertising has been so unpredictable.

WW MemberName

2:28 am on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey vphoner,
Don’t worry about shutting down you campaigns, by the end of the month; Google will do that for you!

The situation is mind-boggling as least, confusing at best. Are they really concerned about quality or profit? Hard to tell, but profit seems to be in the lead. I imagine that they either completely know what they are doing and don’t care about missed revenue, or the 20% to 40% rise in CPC covers missed clicks. Either way, they have so much money that the short term is not a big concern to them.

I've throttled back all ad spending with them as it's hard to tell how the changes with effect us. But it clear the 30% to 40% rise in advertising cost is not good for the little guy. Maybe in the near future, keyword, clicks and impressions will return…

Good Luck….

[edited by: WW_MemberName at 2:28 am (utc) on Sep. 11, 2006]


3:23 am on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Advertising costs should be determined by supply and demand, not by google. And not by imposing a confusing and in my opinion an idiotic quality score on the landing page quality. Thats not something that google should be meddling in. It does not make sense that people that advertise should just "take it" with every blow that google sends our way. If we do nothing, they will impose even harsher penalities and impose more uncertainty into the system. A revolt will occur, its just a matter of when, not if. My stack is about to blow.


4:56 am on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Assume for a second that there are AdWords 10 clicks available per day for a given keyword.

Assume 7 of ten advertisers are willing to pay $0.80 on average
Assume 3 of ten advertisers are willing to pay $0.10
Assume 1 of ten clicks go to the group of 3 advertisers willing to pay $0.10, and the other 9 clicks go to the 7 advertisers paying $0.80

If Google can price those three advertisers out of the market, then on that tenth click they make $0.80 as opposed to $0.10.

What's better for Google:

1)making [(9 x $0.80) + (1 x $0.10)] = $7.30; or
2)making (10 x $0.80) = $8.00?

Right or not, Google is getting rid of you to make more money. I don't fault Google for this, it's their search engine and I'll bet a dollar against a penny that they're sure they're going to get a neutral or positive user experience out of it (as measured by AdWords CTR, AdWords overall CTR, # searches/searcher, etc).

WW MemberName

1:41 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi shorebreak,
You're logic all make sense if the advertisers paying $0.80 are indeed making money. If not, that list will dwindle from 7 advertisers down to maybe 2 advertisers. At some point basic market fundamentals will take hold.


4:22 pm on Sep 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The alternative of not using AdWords is not practical -- they've got 55% of search and growing. Essentially, if you want to operate a web businesses, Google controsl access either through AdWords or natural search.

Ironically, a lot of us started businesses using AdWords because we thought it would be a firmer foundation to have a commercial relationship with the traffic supplier.

I don't think it's possible to herd enough AdWords buyers into kind of a buyers union. Maybe the FTC will take an interest at some point and force Google to be more open about the algos,


3:07 am on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ShoreBreak has got the issue absolutely right as far as the economics.

[excuse me while I act like I really know what I'm talking about]

But let's realize why Google is trying to also control the quality of the user experience. Think about it like this:

- You search for a widget that you want to buy. Up comes 4 or 5 ads. - You click on an ad that seems appropriate.
- You go to their site and purchase their widget at a reasonable price.
- The advertiser is happy. Google is happy.
- You are happy. You repeat this process frequently.
- Everybody is happy. Ad rates go up because more advertisers are willing to pay more. If all advertisers provide the users with a good experience, then Google lets them fight it out based on CPC.

Now on the other hand, imagine this. Your search brings up 50 ads. 45 of the ads are affiliate ads for slow pages loaded with flashing ads, pop-ups & scams. Maybe you try a couple different ads, but eventually you give up out of frustration and grab the yellow pages. You are less likely to click on those ads in the future.

Google is trying to train the users. If you are doing research look at the left side (organic). If you want to spend money look at the right side (AdWords). Right now users are like mice in a lab. If the user typically gets a piece of cheese when they push that button, they are going to pussh that button all day long.

This situation is only going to get worse. I'm talking to businesses everyday that didn't want to advertise on Google a year ago because it was too expensive. Now they are just about begging me to help them do it because they know they must. Their customers are telling them that they couldn't find them on Google, and often they are talking about the right side of the page.

I told a client just last week that I didn't think it made any sense for him to pay more than $1 per click because even if he was willing to pay an average CPC of $2 it looked like he'd only get about 20% more traffic. It was something like $100 per day for 100 clicks or $240 per day for 120 clicks. HE TOLD ME IT WAS WORTH IT!

That is what you guys are up against.

If the only way your business model works is for you to get $0.05 or $0.10 clicks from Google, you better find a difference business model. It's only going to get worse.

Forget the FTC. Forget a buyers union. Whine if you want to. Pull down your ads and complain to everyone you know. But it won't help.


3:23 am on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

We are just about done with AdWords. We used to spend close to $3,000 a month with them and now a tenth of that. They quadrupled the minimum for most of our bids, despite excellent CTRs. When we met the bid requests, they deactivated the keywords with no warning. The keywords that remain "active" are no longer showing except occasionally. Our site is full of fresh, relevant content and no affiliate links but that makes no difference to Google.

So we are just about done, and I say good riddance. What company that is dependent on advertising for its revenue works so hard to alienate its advertisers? Google.


4:05 am on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

ember - again, I'm curious, what positions do your ads typically run in?


5:19 am on Sep 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't think this has any corelation to ad position dfud. I am typically on the first page, usually average about position 3. My bids are in the 30-60 cent range and minimum bids are rising steadily each month.

Yep, I get the distinct feeling google doesn't want me advertising with them. Slowly outpricing me so that in the end I will say "oh, I just can't afford adwords anymore.", rather than, "google kicked me out of adwords with no explanation, beware."

I too am just about done. I am still pulling in about 1000 visitors a day through adwords, but the results I'm getting elsewhere are showing me that there is life beyond adwords. Google has taught me a powerful lesson about the value of diversification... I am beginning to feel more and more secure with my multiple traffic streams and decreasing dependence on G. Thank you google.

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