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I have had to change the display url and the domain urls (destination and tracking) from say www.widgetstogo.com to www.widgets.com. I had position preference set and have had to switch it off because the ads have dropped out of the top 3 positions which I had it set to.
What is the long term effect of this? For example how long will it take the history to catch up and for us to start to rise again?
An additional question I have is this, I want to clean up the account and make the adgroups more relevant for example widgets for teachers, widgets for doctors, instead of just widgets aimed at everyone. If I set up new adgroups in current campaigns and copy across from the old adgroup to the new adgroup what affect will this have on the performance of the keywords/ads. Will I have a downtime of say two weeks before getting back to their current SERP or will we never get back to where we are now? We are in an extremely competitive market.
Two things happen when you change the URL for your ads; the quality score for the ad needs to be re-evaluated as it is a new ad, and it needs to be reviewed and approved again.
The latter is especially important if you were showing above the search results, as only approved ads can show in those top positions.
For the former, the ad itself does play a large role in the quality score of the keyword, but the effects of changing the URLs only should not have a major lasting effect, if the content of the two domains is the same. A return to normal performance usually doesn't take more than a few days.
If you're just testing new ad text variations, leaving your existing one running to test it against the new one is always a good idea. In addition to giving the new text a chance to build up a quality score of it's own, you also get a chance to do a comparison of response to your new text next to your old.