Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Quality rather than quantity for Google

Graham Donoghue at TUI writes:

Google makes another move this week to improve the relevancy of its pages, and deals an almost deathly blow to some affiliates, causing a real stir in the search engine marketing circles.

Landing pages are one of the best ways to lure customers into your site, in that never ending quest for the free click or to drive better conversion from your search campaigns.

Most smart advertisers know that a click to a homepage just isn’t good enough.

Now Google has decided to include the quality of your landing page into determining your overall quality score, which goes to determine your Google AdRank - simply put: you want the highest AdRank you can get, as AdRank determines your position.

Now I can understand why Google are doing this but the way it seems to have appeared under the radar is another worrying example of the search giant’s power.

I’ve been reading about some big fallout as a result of the changes with some affiliate bids going up by 2000% and some accounts being frozen. A few reports even claim this may be the start of a mass defection to Yahoo and MSN (not so sure myself).

The message from Google is clear, be relevant and don’t try and beat the system as we have hundreds of PHD’s that are just far smarter than you and if you are a click arbitrageur, forget it.

So if you have found that your SEM spend has suddenly increased, I suggest you look at your relevancy of your campaign landing pages and try a bit of retrofitting for the Google spiders.

Now if that was not bad enough for you, rumours are they are looking at implementing more changes in the coming weeks in relation to CTR (click through rates) and quality scores.

This could lead to more inexperienced search marketers blowing budget much quicker to combat the issue by increasing maximum CPC (cost per click) to maintain traffic levels.

This could in turn lead to a surge in advertiser’s turning to experienced agencies for assistance as its just turning more and more in to a real black art.

A good agency should alter the structure of your Adword account, campaigns, ad groups and keywords, move around budgets campaign budgeting, refine content targeting, optimize for your max CPC/CPA (cost per acquisition) or CPR (cost as a percentage of revenue.

Select proper keyword matching, ensure rotation of quality ad text, proper keyword selection, continually remove negative word, monitor website landing pages for relevancy and more. So in the future the quality score looks set to be more important that the CPC rate.

To put a bit of icing on the cake, the second quarter Google results were revealed recently and profit has doubled in Q2 to $721m.

Furthermore Microsoft, who clearly Google are gunning for, announced a 24% drop in earning for the quarter and has plans to buy back $20bn worth of shares.

Graham Donoghue, new media director, TUI UK

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