I’m sure many of you already heard about the recent changes made to Google AdWords. Advertisers logged in to see their keywords disabled with huge minimum bid prices in order to reactivate their campaigns. Personally none of the campaigns I look over were affected however based on the amount of emails I received flying around about it, there were a lot of other people who got hit hard.
Google’s intentions, as always, is to increase the relevancy for it’s end users – the people conducting searches – so that when they click advertisements they get answers to their questions or solutions to their needs. Logically then the recent changes made were designed to increase ad relevancy, but what surprised me was the lack of any official instructions from Google on how to deal with the changes. The first I heard of the changes were from the Internet marketing email lists I subscribe to.
Then again, if Google did release advice on how to deal with the changes they wouldn’t really have any effect, since the campaigns they want to penalize – those with poor relevance – could manipulate the system to remain active. I think Google intends for advertisers to figure things out for themselves, always with the notion that to win with Google AdWords you need to have the most relevant advertisement for the end user based on the keywords searched for. If you can do this, you don’t get penalized.
AdWords is not my specialty and more experienced AdWords experts have done the research and provided advice on how to deal with the changes. I’m not going to look at this problem in depth – I’ll just draw for you the conclusions I have reached based on what emails I have received from the experts.
As expected, Perry Marshall was the first person to provide me with a real credible answer, which I believe was sent out to his mailing list, however I have heard that it may have only been his Renaissance Club (aff) members who got the email about it. No matter what, his information pretty much summed up why the changes were made and how to combat them so your campaigns don’t get penalized.
I also received some great information about dealing with the problem from Daryl and Andrew’s mentoring program. John Reese sent through an email but it largely just said he was still “looking for answers”.
Why Did Google Make These Changes?
In a nutshell it appears Google instigated this round of changes mainly to deal with the relevancy of landing pages. Basically if the content on the page that your Google AdWords ads click through to – the “landing page” – has poor relevancy to the keywords you include in the campaign, you got penalized by having your keyword minimum bid prices shot through the roof to prices Google doesn’t expect you can pay.
This largely affected two groups of advertisers -
- Those who use namesqueeze style pages, with very little content on them (designed just to capture an email address or some other form data) and standard Internet sales pages, again with little content besides sales copy.
- And people with AdWords campaigns set up poorly where keywords aren’t broken down into niche keyword groups, often resulting in the relevancy of your keywords not tightly enough matching the content on your landing page. For example if you only have one adgroup and pile all of your relevant keywords into the one campaign. This obviously is a poor tactic to begin with and would normally result in low click through rates and even worse conversion rates.
Essentially what I took away from the advice I received was that if you build your campaign well and really drill down your adgroups into sub-niches with small sets of keywords and highly targeted adcopy that – and here’s the most important part – clearly matches the keywords on the landing page you use to go with that adgroup, you will be fine.
Of course the smaller the landing page the less content you have to play with so it’s always going to be most difficult with a namesqueeze style page since they often only have 50-100 words. My Blog Traffic King page is a namesqueeze but as you can see it has a lot of content and I only use very focused keywords in my AdWords campaign to drive traffic to it. Consequently it was not penalized.
If you are having problems some possible solutions include breaking up your AdWords ads into even more focused groups, adding more keyword relevant content to your landing pages or making sure your landing pages are hosted on full websites with lots of content. Google doesn’t just look at the content on the landing page, it reviews the content on the entire domain, so if you have a landing page sitting as a subpage on a large content site or blog, you can get away with the landing page itself not having much content. As Perry said though, you have to experiment and see what happens, we are dealing with Google AdWords afterall, the one place were testing really makes a difference.
Dazed and Confused
If all this is flying over your head it probably means you haven’t studied up on Google AdWords yet and you aren’t a disciple of Perry Marshall like me. The only reason I could even explain as much as I just did regarding this problem is because Perry keeps me updated with all the Google AdWords changes. I have bought his book, taken his free course and I read his Renaissance Club newsletters.
If you are planning to do anything with online marketing Google AdWords is your first port of call to start driving targeted traffic to your site and Perry Marshall is the master of this topic. Try his free 5 Days to Success with Google AdWords E-Course and then upgrade to his Definitive Guide to Google AdWords E-Book (aff).
I’ll have a full review of the Definitive Guide sometime soon, but you can rest assured it’s going to be a glaringly positive review because it is a top class book.