Defeating The Google Slap – More AdWords Advice From Perry Marshall

I spent some time yesterday in my jet-lagged state going through mail built up in Brisbane while I was away in Canada – that’s real normal mail, not that fancy electronic stuff we use nowadays.

I have a pile of newsletters and audio CDs from Perry Marshall’s Renaissance club that accumulated over the last six months.

I don’t know what it is about Perry but I like his style a lot more than most Internet marketers, probably because it’s more down to earth and he writes like I write. He rarely puts on a hard sell for anything he does. Although he doesn’t push himself as a copywriter (he’s generally considered the Google AdWords guru), his copy is clean and again, down to earth, and I tend to follow his copywriting style as a template for my own.

Most of the Renaissance club newsletters are about using the web for direct marketing and general Internet business stuff. Perry has the whole formula for marketing a business online down to a tea – run adwords for traffic, use a namesqueeze, demonstrate expertise to make sales and zero in on the ideal customers so they come to you rather than you going to them.

If you would like to join Perry’s newsletter (it’s paper and comes in the mail once a month, usually with an audio CD too) you can check out all the details here –

Perry Marshall’s Marketing Letter & Renaissance Club Newsletter

It’s still the cheapest way to get a copy of his Definitive Guide To Google AdWords ($29.95 as part of the welcome package for joining the Renaissance Club) and if you ever plan to do anything with Google AdWords you have to have this book – it’s the Pay Per Click bible.

Advice On Defeating The Google Slap

There was a section in one of the newsletters on the Google Slap that I want to share with you. If you don’t know already, the “Google Slap”, as it has been labelled, was an adjustment made to Google AdWords that penalized people who used a landing page with little content. It really hurt a lot of people using namesqueeze pages because they suddenly had to pay stupid amounts per click when previously it was pennies per click.

Since then Google has continued to slap advertisers whenever their system determines the site you are sending traffic to has little content.

Perry included an excerpt from an email communication with Glenn Livingston, who had some great tips for beating the Google Slap.

I summarize the tips here for you:

  • Add a sitemap
  • Add outgoing links to high PageRank sites (you can put these in the footer so you minimize the risk of traffic leaking away)
  • Stop using bullet points and replace them with full text content – sentences and paragraphs
  • Make sure the anchor text on links is well structured from an SEO point of view
  • Add email newsletters as content pages on the site which are linked via the sitemap

The general theme was that you now have to do some work on SEO in order to beat the Google Slap and that work is on the entire domain name you are sending traffic to. Google must do some form of cross reference with it’s little search spiders to determine how authoritative your site is from an SEO point of view.

In a nutshell, SEO effects the AdWords quality score, so if you want cheaper clicks do a little SEO work on the domain that hosts your landing pages, especially if you use namesqueeze style landing pages.

Perry noted that Google is constantly working on “slap-type” effects so you can expect more penalties in the future. As Perry explained – that’s a good thing because the average AdWords user is clue-less to this sort of development and people in the know, like those in his Renaissance club (how’s that for a sales pitch!), are always ahead of the game, earning cheaper traffic clicks.

If you want to receive tips like this from Perry on a monthly basis then I recommend the Renaissance club as the perfect package to get you up to speed on Google AdWords. The money you save from spending less on clicks very easily outweighs the cost of the newsletter. If you currently use AdWords and have NEVER studied it before I suggest you stop right now and spend a day reading the definitive guide from Perry first.

Here’s that link again:

Perry Marshall’s Renaissance Club Newsletter

Yaro Starak
Perry Prodigy

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  • Your advice on using paragraphs instead of bullets and lists is pretty interesting I have to say. It had actually crossed my mind but I never found a cold hard justified reason to not use bullets and lists so often, thanks!


  • Right Allen – that was the part of the advice that I found interesting too.

    I think bullet points are still fine to use- they are an important part of good copywriting after all, however the message here is make sure there is plenty of sentence/paragraph content to go with the bullets or you might cop a penalty.

    Perry said relevance is key and it’s hard to have relevance when you only use a dot point list.

  • DE

    Good for google hopefully it will cut down on MFA sites.

  • I agree that it is the “Bible” of PPC. I am really glad that I spent 6 years doing SEO before getting into PPC and affiliate marketing.

    I am also glad to see the “Slap” as it is weeding out many of the MFA type sites and arbitrage sites. (Although not all).

  • All this “Google slap” stuff is starting to get pretty annoying. I don’t use Adwords much because of it. The point of Adwords for most people is to sell stuff, and with all this Google slap stuff, people are worrying more about making sure their websites appease the Google gods instead of worrying about making their site sell well.

    I think it’s more effective to focus on “free” traffic methods these days since you have to be such an expert on Adwords so they don’t “slap” your ads.

  • Gary no! That’s exactly the reason you should be getting into AdWords and be happy about the slap. Google does things like this so people who take the time to deliver the most relevancy to their users benefit the most.

    If you can work the system, which most people can’t do well, you are ahead of the curve and enjoy the traffic rewards. AdWords is still the quickest way to get very targeted traffic.

    I agree that I prefer SEO for traffic myself, but I would never ever discount AdWords and fully intend to hire and train and adwords specialist to work with me soon.

  • DMC

    I haven’t yet popped my PPCC but I can see great opportunities for using it in tandem with good ol’ SEO.

    For example, I reckon you could test out the popularity and CTR of your words and phrases with PPC before investing too much energy optimising for dud terms.

    Conversely, digging through your SEO data can give you all sorts of clues as to the patterns of language consumers are using to communicate with SE’s. Extrapolate those patterns to cover terms and concepts you’re not currently hitting with SEO but you reckon people are searching for and cast the PPC net. If your creative and you’ve set your campaigns up properly (seriously… read Perry Mashall’s book) you’re either gonna end up scrapping a bunch of non-performers or you’re gonna end up with a nice new source of cheap relevant traffic. Probably both, you just gotta keep testing and tweaking!

    As a bonus you’ll probably stumble across a boatload of concepts that are connected to the core theme of your site that you can build some content around that’s actually gonna be of use to people. Build some optimised content and use PPC to drive cheap traffic to the pages until the SEO can carry it’s own weight.

    I haven’t tested this out yet so it’s just a hunch but I’m dead keen to give it a go.

  • Pua

    hi yaro,
    read your entire article plus what mike perry had to say about his ‘adwords bible’.

    i was just thinking about starting an adwords campaign for one of my websites and here is your post about adword advertising! shouldn’t the adwords system work w/o having to study another ebook or manual?!

    this is frustrating but of course i have to agree with mike ‘this is not 1999’! what DMC said sounded good “Build some optimised content and use PPC to drive cheap traffic to the pages until the SEO can carry it’s own weight”.

    will follow your discussion. thanks guys. pua

  • The “Slap” or quality score algorithm is making it more difficult to use adwords effectively straight off the bat. This is a good thing.

    I have poured literally HUNDREDS of hours reading up on adwords, watching the learning center videos, becoming certified. To use adwords effectively now, you need to know what you are doing. It is NOT as easy as some people make it out to be.

    I love seeing people coming into adwords with some scam offer and getting their budget melted in a day. LOVE it.

    If you put in the time and effort, adwords can REALLY pay off.

  • Dave – quite right. I’ve read Perry’s book and it gave me a solid foundation of what works, but I don’t spend enough time to really come to an intuitive understanding of PPC. I made a conscious decision of course to be like this because I don’t think it’s my core strength, I’d rather hire people who love PPC.

    It’s an area you definitely don’t want to rush into without education.

    Pua- Yes, the PPC + SEO combination is great and like DMC said, AdWords can be fantastic market intelligence for your SEO as well – they are definitely interralated since they both target the same audience.

  • I agree with that too. All the free and paid keyword tools in the world cannot give you the information a broad match PPC campaign can.

    With a new site I love to optimize for the most popular no competition longtail searches. Some of these can be VERY surprising.

  • I have a developed a bit of a grudge against adwords, primarily because it is not working for me, and I wholeheartingly agree with Pua’s comment:

    “Shouldn’t the adwords system work w/o having to study another ebook or manual?!”

    I find adwords extrememly complicated, offering features which are either too complicated for the average punter to understand, let alone take advantage of. In my undergraduate IT days, the motto of human-computer interaction (which I think is applicable in the case of google adwords) is that the average joe should be able to intuitively use the software without having to consult a manual. Google Adwords, in my opinion, does not meet this criteria.

    Yaro, perhaps an idea for a article. While you extoll the virtues of adwords, I’d love to see something which analyses overcoming beginner’s difficulty with the system. I find the terms and acronyms annoyingly hard to understand. Its all technobabble.

  • Hey Darragh – Long time no see man! I’m curios what exactly you would be advertising with AdWords – your band?

    Anyway, yes, I know what you mean – it is daunting at first even just to understand things like a quality score, CPC, CTR, Conversion rate, etc etc.

    My short answer is to buy Perry’s book, which will do a better job of teaching absolutely everything you need to know about AdWords.

    However I wouldn’t buy it until you know what you plan to market.

    I may put together more info on AdWords in the future, but it really isn’t my strong point. I understand how great it is and the principles behind optimizing it, but I outsource the job of maintaining it, which is what I recommend most people do unless you get off on tracking CTRs and know your market better than anyone else ever could.


  • […] your AdWords campaigns, including these two articles on the Google Slap and Quality Score here and here, my introduction to AdWords and Pay Per click here and here, and the best resource if you want to […]

  • Some copywriting may be entertaining and make people laugh but a good copywriting has the ability to move people to action. Fortunately good copywriting is more a science than an art.

  • It’s got to be content full. I used to use small landing pages to help my affiliate sales but the CPC kept going higher and higher. I finally decided to do some digging and after extensive reading, I made a nice content filled blog which has maintained its CPC.

  • Well, it’s been a while since people have been affected by more “Google Slaps.” Back in March of 2008 a few people saw that there was likely another mini-slap dealt by Google, which was probably just a further step taken by Google to enforce their AdWords user guidelines. I’ve been wondering about possible future slaps that Google might decide to place on people. I have come up with a couple of suggestions and wrote almost an entire article on the topic and placed it on my blog. I would love to hear what you guys think might be some future occurances of Google’s slaps. Let me know what you think…

  • I was Google slapped in Dec07. I was a newbie trying to lean and never got to launch a single add. Google slapped me for the bad ads I hadn’t launched.

    Since then I have been approved for adsense, but again Google doesn’t like me. My account has been frozen because i need some kind of international form. When i contacted them to ask the title of the form, where to get and where to send it. I was curtly informed that I was not a member of Adsense. My account was frozen and I cannot access my earnings. Despite all this Google is placing many Google ads on my hubpages. I do not get no credited for these. What’s worse, they won’t pay me the commission I have earned.

    Has anyone got a suggestion?

    Kirsten Plotkin
    Goldcoast Australia

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