Posted August 22, 2008 10:21 am by with 19 comments

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Update: A Google spokesperson sent us this clarification:

Some reports have stated that all inactive keywords will be eligible to run and that advertisers will see increases in traffic and spend on those keywords. While it’s possible that some keywords may start accruing impressions once the changes go into effect, a keyword and
its corresponding ad, landing page, etc. must still merit a high enough Quality Score and have a competitive CPC bid to be eligible for placement. We will evaluate Quality Score on a per-query basis, but
our quality measures remain, such that even if a keyword is technically considered active, the system still will not deliver poor quality ads to our users. The key change is that the decision to show
an ad will be made at the time of the query, rather than by assessing the keyword’s active/inactive status once per day.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have such a cynical eye. That way, when I saw news–such as Google’s Quality Score improvements–I could simply enjoy the updates in my naivety.

This is what Google announced:

A more accurate Quality Score

Most importantly, we are replacing our static per-keyword Quality Scores with a system that will evaluate an ad’s quality each time it matches a search query…

Keywords no longer marked ‘inactive for search’

The new per-query evaluation of Quality Score affects you in that keywords will no longer appear as ‘inactive for search’ in your account. Instead, all keywords will have the chance to show ads on Google web search and the search network (unless you’ve paused or deleted them)…

‘First page bid’ will replace ‘minimum bid’

As a result of migrating to per-query Quality Score, we are no longer showing minimum bids in your account. Instead, we’re replacing minimum bids with a new, more meaningful metric: first page bids. First page bids are an estimate of the bid it would take for your ad to reach the first page of search results on Google web search…

This is my translation:

“A more accurate Quality Score” – more revenue for Google.

“Keywords no longer marked ‘inactive for search” – more revenue for Google.

‘First page bid’ will replace ‘minimum bid’ – more revenue for Google.

I’ll admit, I use Google AdWords about as often as I wash my car–which is not often–so, if you’re a big time AdWords user, please tell me what you thought, when you saw the new Quality Score updates.

  • So they admit it only makes sense to bid for a position on the first page 😀
    I see this update as having both positive and negative impacts, depends which side of the barricade you’re on. Is certainly designed to drive eCPMs higher, and I wonder if it will have any effect on finally killing what’s left of arbitraging.

    Otilia Otlacan’s last blog post..comScore Releases July 2008 U.S. Search Engine Rankings

  • So has anyone seen these changes in the backend yet? I have not.

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  • Google’s just trying to find out new strategies to make more and more revenue…..

  • I agree with Webmaster’s Forum. Just a tactic to make more money not really to help out any more.

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  • Tell me this. Does anyone here ever “improve” without the intent to “improve” revenue?

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  • Mike

    I don’t think anyone here begrudges Google’s business imperative to improve revenue. I think the concern is the double-speak used to give their Advertisers the illusion that somehow their experience may improve (better CTR’s, more competitive pricing, more intuitive data) when in fact the changes are not meant to improve the advertisers experience but rather Google’s. It’s a cynical view to be sure. If Google wishes to raise prices, they should just be up front about it. However, perhaps Google is being quite honest and the rest of us are simply to cynical and jaded to believe them.

  • My take was that:

    * Algorithmically getting clicks from higher CTR people based on geo and time of day is actually very cool- clickers feel ads are more relevant.

    * This could require me to rethink some of the geotargeting in our clients’ campaigns… Expanded broad match is bad without negative keywords, and broad match keywords have often gotten worse results than phrase or exact match- so will the new dynamic approach improve the quality of expanded match? We’ll have to create a separate campaign for certain advertisers to test it.

    * But as usual, AdWords optimizes mainly based on CTR, not conversions- higher CTR is more revenue for them, but our clients’ KPI’s are cost per lead and ROAS, and high CTR does not always yield a better KPI.

    So I’ve asked our Google AdWords people how this will impact our existing geotargeted campaigns and if it will have consequences on optimizing for our KPI’s over CTR.

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  • Thanks Posting Grate

  • Meredith

    I think it’s really a bad news for me who work in Google Adwords agents from China.I might lose a lots of clients.

  • I talked to my Google AdWords rep and got some answers… wrote a blog post about it here:

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  • I’m not a fan of these changes on paper. I think we’ll have to play around with it before I make a decision. I’d hope Google doesn’t make things considerably more expensive for advertisers.

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  • What I don’t like is the new real-time QS. It will be based in part on geographic

    location. The great thing about the internet is that it opens you up to the world.

    Now the Google changes are shove right back into you geographical box and show you

    merchants from you neighboorhood.

  • Nix

    I just noticed my ad is not showing. Recently.
    Nothing else makes sense unless Google is just trying to charge more. Check this out.

    Let’s just suppose I have a haunted house in “Indianapolis, IN.” One of my keyword phrases is Indianapolis haunted house. I also have Kentucky haunted house, and Indiana haunted house and Indiana Halloween.

    Indianapolis haunted house has a higher Click through performance than any other keyword combo. Makes sense. It’s more targeted than the others. There are no other ads showing currently competing for this. Yet, my Max Bid cost is increasing every week. And, the quality score of this keyword is no different than any of the others.

    In fact, at 6/10 this quality score not being higher than the others makes no sense. It’s a haunted house in Indianapolis. Indianapolis haunted house. Go figure. Kentucky haunted house is more targeted than the specific city it is in?

    Something is fishy here.

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