Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Adwords/Quality Score Voodoo

A few months ago I got hit by an AdWords Quality Score update in a big bad way. It happened just around the time that I was attending PubCon in Las Vegas. Frustrated like many with the nonsense Google-Speak centered on 'principles', and unable to cure my Adwords quality score issue by following these principles, I hit the forums for help.

The most hope I was able to get in Webmasterworld Forums was to hang in and wait until the next landing page QS algorithm change, or at least until the bot comes around again and notices how I turned my "very poor quality" site into a high quality site by following Google's guidelines.

Nevertheless, nothing worked. I read Greywolf's interview, and I reviewed Brad Geddes' presentation on Quality Score. Nothing new.

I knew my problem was landing page, because my CTR was sky high and my ad copy and title matched the keywords.

So this week, when one website which Google had branded "very poor quality" in their form email, was linked to by the Wall Street Journal as an authority, I got angry and pulled out my best voodoo techniques.

I tested everything I could with the interface, including:

-Setting up a new account using the same keywords, landing pages and copy
-Deleting and setting up new ad groups
-Rerouting the keywords and copy to a slightly different domain name and 301ed the new domain to the original domain.

The third option worked 100% and I'm now paying the same minimum bid that I enjoyed previously for all keywords. The other two met with limited but measurable success.

Message to Google Adwords: Make it easy for users to do the right thing. When it easier and quicker to exploit the system than to decipher Google-speak in an attempt to do the right thing, there's a problem.