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Hard Evidence of Arbitrarily Inflated Minimum Bids?

     
6:42 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I created an empty AdWords campaign into which I need to temporarily move a few keywords. I called the campaign 'Tester', inside which I created an AdGroup called 'Tester_001'.

Now: this adgroup needed at least one keyword in order to go through. So, I literally used...

placeholder keyword

as my keyword phrase. And I put it in brackets, which means someone must be searching Google for those specific, exact words -- not merely contained within a broader search query.

Guess what returned as my Minimum bid:

US$0.15

So...right. There's fierce PPC competition going on for 'placeholder keyword' searches?

7:19 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Minimum Bids aren't directly reflective of competition for a keyword. It cannot at all be assumed that if there are no ads shown for a query, or if the keyword is unlikely to have ever received searches, that the allowable bid for these keywords will be a penny.

Minimum CPC bids are determined by a given keyword's Quality Score - and if a keyword has minimal historic data (like "Placeholder Keyword") - what Google anticipates it's Quality Score will be...

7:21 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I have hard evidence of G charging the advertiser MORE than the Min Bid when there's NO other advertisers.
7:30 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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...and quality score is based upon search history for that keyword? Or, I'm to believe that a sophisticated alogorithm actually analyzed placeholder keyword for relevance against my product line and/or the other keywords in my campaign? If so, then a virgin keyword (or say, a brand new fanciful trademark name for a new product) will start at $0.15 -- instead of $0.01 and increasing from there as the search market tests it out in real time. You can't convince me there's any way under the sun the keyword phrase: placeholder keyword has already been sent through the testing rigors of realtime search engine queries. De facto, the $0.01 minimum bid is in actuality supplanted by floating arbitrary minimums, and the 'minimum bid' is such in name only.

I'm half-expecting one of you to pipe in with a post about the mysterious ways of Google's deep algorithms...as religionists explain hypocrisies and contradictions in their dogma, eg: "The Lord doth work in mysterious ways."

7:50 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Fine, then. But, to answer your question:

So...right. There's fierce PPC competition going on for 'placeholder keyword' searches?

The answer is "no".

3:15 am on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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>I'm half-expecting one of you to pipe in with a post about the mysterious ways of Google's deep algorithms<

Nope, in years past I used to purchase advertising from Google. Now I'm playing in a casino. They're just gaming each individual account now to see how much you're willing to pay.

4:03 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If your landing page isn't all about the keyword and have the other mysterious quality indicators then you are going to pay above the optimum min bid - whatever that is.

Actually I'm surprised that the keyword would be activated at all. Note that just because it say 'active' doesn't necessarily mean it is active. Did you do a search and find your advertisement?

Even if it is truely active now I bet it goes (secretly) inactive in a week or two.

ps. google doesn't 'inflate' minimum bids - she just sets them to what she thinks is best for G.

9:26 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

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tell us more about your landing page and it's relevancy to the keyword you used?
3:18 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Placeholder keyword has absolutely zero referent, literal or remote, anywhere in my site text. I believe I can safely assume the same for the backlink text. My site sells physical merchandise, and contains no text whatsoever related to the topics of SEO, keywords, or... 'placeholders'.

The $0.15 min bid came up instantaneously after clicking "save" to submit. As soon as I moved my intended keywords to that adgroup, I deleted placeholder keyword. It wasn't sitting in the adgroup for very long.

3:48 am on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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What you should do to take this experiment to the next level is build a content rich, quality adding site dedicated to placeholder keywords.

You might even uncover a rich untapped niche. Hell.... who couldn't use a placeholder keyword.

Firstly though, read some of the previous discussions re. landing page quality score or you could blow this baby out to 10 bucks a click, which would be a shame as I for one think the world needs more placeholder keyword entrepreneurs.

6:41 am on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I doubt the 1c clicks exist any more....
8:46 am on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"I doubt the 1c clicks exist any more.... "

One of my keywords generates apx. 300 Clicks at 1.5 cents.

I am trying to bring it down to 1 cent but have not succeeded so you may be right there ;-)

Well.... I am quite happy at 1.5 cents also.

9:11 am on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I do not believe this "landing-page-relevancy-thing" ...
It would be too simple to just add whatever keyword you are bidding on to the landing page and fool the Adwords bots.
I also saw advertisers on top positions with landing pages that does not contain the keyword at all. But maybe the keyword is related.
So I suspect it must be something else. Manual review?
2:42 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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"It would be too simple to just add whatever keyword you are bidding on to the landing page and fool the Adwords bots."

G just may have learned a thing or two regarding this in their years of organic ranking... :-)

10:41 pm on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

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G just may have learned a thing or two regarding this in their years of organic ranking... :-)

Yes :-)

But.

"Organic rankings" require analyzing a web page in the context of the web and establishing its keyword relevance and importance by using on-page and off-page factors. Off-page factors (the only factors that are not easily controlled by the web page owner) are not available for ad-hoc landing pages.

So I do no longer believe this "relevancy-of-the-landing-page-to-the-keyword-thing" ( I used to :-) ). For example, we are paying 0.02 cents for keywords that do not even appear on any landing page.

1:49 am on Feb 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Just to clarify....

Of course QS exists, but in my opinion it is not related to "page relevancy"...

QS is related to quality factors of the landing page, such as:
- privacy statement?
- too much Adsense
- unique content
etc.

I also think each Adwords advertiser may be categorized in a business model, manually and historically. This also effects overall QS.

But "page relevancy" for a keyword, it is not a factor in my experience.