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I hate AdWords

Just when you think you finally get AdWords....

     
3:26 am on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I've long struggled with AdWords. Whenever I have success, it's soon followed by disappointing results.

This year I thought I had it! I came out with a product, and promoted it with AdWords. My CTR averaged over 8%. My sales conversions were 5%. I know that doesn't figure into G's relevancy, but it demonstrates relevancy in my world because the user typed in words diretly related to my site and found it interesting enough to purchase.

My keywords were highly targetted and directly related to my website's content. No tricks or foolery.

The ultimate kicker - my Quality score was excellent for all of my campaigns.

Months go by and times are good and I finally think I understand AdWords.

But yes, that all changed. This month Google did an about face on the Quality Score for almost all of my campaigns. They literally went from excellent to poor overnight. Google made over 90% of my keywords inactive. Even keywords that are simply my site name were found not relevant enough (i.e. my site's name is called North American Widgets at northamericanwidgets.com with tons of content about North American Widgets - BUT the keyword phrase "North American Widgets" was disabled and G wants $5 per click to activate it.

I didn't make any changes to my site except post blog entries (about 3 per week - all good content and not spammy).

Today, I had the keyword tool scan my site and return keywords that Google think is related to my site. Why not use keywords that Google thinks is relevant right? Well out of 67 keywords I entered, 61 were disabled as being too "irrelevant."

I've contacted Google and got the standard form answer - boost my quality score or pay the $5 per click. Not very helpful.

So what gives? Why does Google hate my site?

3:28 am on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Do you sell your own stuff? Have cart?
3:31 am on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yes, but no cart. It just goes directly to a secure payment form when a user wants to purchase.
8:53 am on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Sorry to semi hijack your thread, but I have a related question with this.

What's the best way to get back online if and when you do alter the landing pages? Just edit the ad and let them re-review? Or just wait? Thanks

9:32 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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If I get poor quality scores, the first thing I do is to try to re-group my keywords into more ad groups with fewer keywords in each, making sure the "theme" of each set of ad group and keyword is as consistent and relevant as I can make it.

The next thing I do is rewrite all the ads.

Sometimes you have to keep doing it over and over, and some keywords and ads you are just never going to have again. There's just no way around that.

11:14 pm on Dec 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Nutmeg, have you actually seen changes when you do that?

ie, you have an ad group that has a keyword 'blue widgets' requiring $1.00. Have you done those steps above to actually notice the price change the closer (or further away) you get from what they're looking for?

Ty

3:28 am on Dec 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm interested in knowing if changing up the ads/re=gouping helps as well.

I had an ad group running for a while that took product id's that are popular searches (such as product codes for CPU/RAM/MOBO/Hardware/Software) and dumped it directly into the search query that sent them to the right page so i wouldn't have to create an ad group for every keyword and it would always show a matching page. (infact, i built the keyword list using the keywords associated with the products in the shopping cart)

google hated it after about 2 weeks and no matter what i did i couldn't get a bid below 5.00/kw.

Ads were doing 2-5% conversion on stuff like

Shopping for {KeyWord}
.....
.....

or

{Keyword} in stock
......
.....

really stinks that google doesn't seem to like this as it allowed us to build very dynamic ad groups and gave me a great funnel to track. I was able to see how many people just came in through google and purchased because of the ad or how many people came in, surfed the site and looked for something specific and either left or finally purchased the item. oh how i miss it ;)

7:32 pm on Dec 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Nutmeg, have you actually seen changes when you do that?

ie, you have an ad group that has a keyword 'blue widgets' requiring $1.00. Have you done those steps above to actually notice the price change the closer (or further away) you get from what they're looking for?

(NETmeg)

Yep; absolutely.

1:53 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hey-

I got here because I searched "I hate AdWords" on Google, and it took me to this forum.

I'm not a web professional, like you guys-I'm just a small business owner that could be doing well, except for AdWords. Bottom line-we sell a very specific widget that people search for-and although the entire site and it's related copy are devoted to those widgets-Google says that keyword isn't relevant enough.

I've been going back and forth with them for over a year, and I've just now given up. We're going to reinforce our MSN and Yahoo advertising, (yes, I know-both pretty lame compared to Google), and we're going back to advertising in trade magazines and papers, and doing trade shows.

If I treated my customers the way they treat their customers, I would have none. They and their automated algorithms are strangling my business-I thought their motto was "Do no harm"?

3:44 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The best way around this is to start a new AdWords account. We have seen many of our clients run into problems and a simple quick fix is to start a new account from scratch. It may not be perfect but things get better.

[edited by: tedster at 6:10 am (utc) on Jan. 30, 2008]
[edit reason] no extended sigs please - see TOS [/edit]

4:11 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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PPC Geeks when you say open up a new account do you mean with a new bank account? In other words, when I try to sign up, is Google going to say "Sorry, there is already an AdWords account with this bank account."?
5:16 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've done it.

Three, four times.

It works for awhile...then, eventually, they just run the cpc up.

Their answer is "find other keywords or combinations of keywords" with higher Quality scores. The problem with that-the highest ranking two word keyword gets less than 5% of the number of searches that the single word "widget" does.

The other problem-I just don't want to give our money to a company I hate anymore.

7:28 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Jim I share your frustration. I got into AdWords because I was tired of playing the SEO game. AdWords has the same guessing games and quite frankly their help section isn't really helpful and neither is their (no) customer support simply because in both instances everything is purposely vague. I understand they have to prevent abuse of their system, but at the same time, they owe paying customers actual information that will help, not generic and purposely vague theories.

Just curious, when you set up new accounts, how long until they jacked up the CPC?

8:32 am on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I fully understand what all of you are going through... I've just had the same occurence last week... I went from paying R1.20 for a keyword to R35.00 for it! The product i'm selling for my company is not a common product at all and adwords all of a sudden tells me that my keywords (which are directly related to my site) aren't relative at all.....

I don't understand the whole Adwords system at all... My boss isn't getting very happy with these high costs either and I'm getting the blame for it, fair?

How is this fixed? How?

5:23 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's fixed by everybody saying "No, Google Adwords isn't a good use of our funds. What's our other options?"
6:24 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I don't understand the whole Adwords system at all... [...]

How is this fixed? How?

For those who would like to more deeply understand the subject of Quality Score and minimum bids (the understanding of which is key to success with AdWords, in my opinion) I have linked to a bunch of topics from the AdWords Help Center below, as a good starting point:

* Quality-Based Minimum Bids
[adwords.google.com...]

Excerpting from that page:

[...] Minimum prices are based on the quality and relevance of the keyword, its ad, and associated landing page. This minimum price is called a minimum cost-per-click bid (CPC bid). This pricing model favors higher quality ads by requiring lower minimum CPC bids for them to enter the auction. Lower quality ads require higher minimum CPC bids."

* What is a 'Quality Score' and how is it calculated?
[adwords.google.com...]

On the page linked-to below, you'll find some general guidelines regarding the creation of landing pages that could help improve your landing page quality score:

* Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines:
[adwords.google.com...]

Also, please be aware that there are some types of websites that will simply be difficult to advertise affordably with AdWords - as discussed on this page from the AdWords Help Center:

* Are there any types of websites that merit low landing page quality scores?
[adwords.google.com...]

Finally for those who want to take a really deep dive into the subjects of quality based bidding, Quality Score, minimum bids, landing page quality and so forth, you will find literally dozens of pages of information, starting with the four links on this page:

* Ad Quality and Performance
[adwords.google.com...]

AWA

<edit> fixed first quote </edit>

[edited by: AdWordsAdvisor at 7:16 pm (utc) on Jan. 29, 2008]

8:05 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Reading the Google documentation can be overwhelming. When creating Google ad campaigns just remember the content of your site must be relevant to your Google keywords.

Example keywords:
Keywords have relevance
Keywords must have relevance
Keywords have relevancy
Relevant keywords
Keyword relevancy
Keywords are relevant
All keywords should be relevant

Example Ad:
Title: Get Relevant Keywords
Description 1: How to lower your bid Cost
Description 2: By using relevant Keywords
Display URL: www RelevantKeywords com
Destination URL: http:// relevantkeywords com/relevant_keywords.htm

Example Landing Page:

<html>
<head>
<title>Relevant Keywords</title>
</head>
<body>

<div id=”relevant_keywords”>
<p align=”center”>Relevant Keywords</p>

<p> Lower your Google Adwords bids by choosing relevant keywords</p>
</div>
</body>
</html>

The URL's in this example are just for illustration.

9:31 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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The name of my company is Acme Widgets. "AcmeWidgets.Com" to be exact.

The landing page is full of references to "Widgets" and "Widget". Behind it are 20 pages of nothing but various styles of widget. How much more relevant can we get?

Yet...while we still have a reasonably low CPC on "Widgets", they now want $10 for the keyword "Widget".

And contacts with AdWord advisors are like talking to characters from Alice in Wonderland-it's all vague doublespeak and form letters that say absolutely nothing of value-and no actual help whatsoever.

10:32 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Are you using the words in your web pages in your Ad title and keyword list?
10:39 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I went to the website you listed and it redirected me to Avvanta Communications.

There are no widgets on this site.

11:16 pm on Jan 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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My apologies-

I was using a metaphor for the actual address of our website.

12:16 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It sounds like you got Google Slapped.. If that's the case you're screwed.. Just get a new domain and start over.. It happens to me about every 6 months and takes about 3 months to get back to where you started..
12:58 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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naw-

we're an established company with an established domain. We're keeping it-

Screw 'em. We'll do fine without Google.

1:10 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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That's what everyone says, but the fact is that MSN and Yahoo are a pain as well and have much less traffic..

I'd get the .net or .us version of your domain name and start over.. At the very least get the ball rolling because most who say they're through with Google are in fact not through with Google..

5:35 am on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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After speaking with Google, I agree with Jim. It's interesting but AdWords is an advertising medium, run by people who know nothing about marketing and want all their sites to be content sites. NEWSFLASH: 99.9% of all advertising is selling something. I was literally told that because I'm selling something my page is not of use to the user. It says right in the ad I'm selling something! My landing page is advertising a book. While the page gives information, it can't spill the beans, otherwise who needs to buy the book? BTW, my ad mentions it's a book, and even mentions the price. No trickery here. Maybe it's me, but it seems to me if you're in the advertising business, you should probably hire advertising and marketing people to run it, not computer programmers.

Moving on.....

3:39 pm on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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bw3ttt, I agree with every word.

tama and JimInDetroit ;

Have you ever thought that maybe Google had found even more relevant keywords for your business, maybe you're missing something?
I'd check myself again, you ppl are doing something wrong.

But if you guys still want to perform only for your current "relevant" keywords,
You'll have to just say goodbye (temporary) to a couple hundred of dollars and pay that "fine" ($5.00 per click) for a period of time, soon you will understand what keywords are still worth to pay that much and by time (tested) the CPC will be decreased, you'll do a research and you will find those low-cost keywords and soon the ROI is guaranteed, investment fully returned.

Try your luck in Yahoo & MSN, I'd really be glad to see if you get near that quality traffic Google has to offer. There's a reason why it is by far the best ad serving platform online.

6:21 pm on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Have you ever thought that maybe Google had found even more relevant keywords for your business, maybe you're missing something?
I'd check myself again, you ppl are doing something wrong.

Of course. I have over 300 keywords that Google themselves suggested that are disabled/inactive for uh, "relevancy." Go figure.

Like I said, when I talked to a live human, I was told it's because I have a sales page. Imagine that, an advertiser advertising something for sale.

6:59 pm on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I understand lots of people's frustrations with Adwords because I see it every day.

I manage dozens of accounts. The thing I see over and over again is the poor USE of AdWords. Most people using Adwords have no idea or the wrong idea about marketing.

Earlier in this thread, someone says he uses the single word "widget" because he gets much more impressions and traffic with it. That is the wrong approach and every one on this board who is successful in using Adwords knows it.

So instead of complaining and saying I hate Adwords, educate yourselves and learn how to do it right. Believe me, it will be worth it. If you don't have the time or inclination to learn, hire someone competent to do it for you. Again, it will be well worth it if you hire the right person.

I have many clients doing very well using Adwords. They are doing well because they let ME handle their campaigns. NONE of them are frustrated (some used to be until I arrived) with the system.

I don't care to read any more threads in here about how stupid the system is because I know that is not the case. Mishaelo is right, you are doing something wrong. Pause your campaign and find out what that is. Or hire someone with experience to fix things. Otherwise, stop using Adwords, simple as that.

7:23 pm on Jan 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We get more impressions, more traffic, and more sales using the single word "widget" than all of the nearly 200 other keyword combinations we use combined.

Because that's the way people search for uncommon items. If you need a unicycle, you're going to search for "unicycle"-not for "blue unicycle in Tulsa Ok"

and we are leaving AdWords-because I expect companies that I give money to treat me like a valued customer, not like I'm lucky that they'll allow my company to be there.

7:03 pm on Jan 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This company has billions of dollars and are eating up more of the internet as we speak.. They couldn't care less if you're unhappy because you're a peasant just like me :)

So you spend $100,000 dollars per month.. They don't care.. There's another guy who will spend $100,001 in your place.

Just remember that Microsoft is an even bigger, uncaring corporation and they have a frustratingly screwy interface.

And as for Yahoo.. They were the original uncaring entity. Super frustrating with highly questionable traffic sources that make you want to scream.

So basically your choice is to quit advertising on the internet altogether or to deal with the frustration of dealing with a company that constantly erases your hard work with no explanation and offers no apologies for doing so..

Also, just remember that Google is the front-runner and everyone else is slwoly but surely copying their methods in order to compete..

There's no escape from PPC hell!

 

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