Column (blog is so passé)

Relevance Takes Time for Google AdWords


A sudden jump in search query volume at Google (something that happens once an hour) causes ads to be displayed for the wrong searches. This is an all too common occurrence. Google's AdWords system isn't often fast enough in ranking relevant ads. So, your money gets wasted and unless you know how to battle Google and win like we do, chances are you you are going to get taken by those crooks. Last month, we recouped over $600.00 for our clients. Near the end, Google was becoming testy and tried not to give one client theur money back. That's where the phrase "Charge-Back" comes in - and it's such a powerful weapon.

You see, if Google starts getting too many charge-backs, the hold-back on their credit card merchant account will go in to the hundreds of millions of dollars. So, they are very freightened of that term and when they tried to mess with us, we simply started costing them more money. Did it hurt Google? Certainly not. Did it help our small business cleint and make us look good? Oh yeah.

The Challenger explosion, a quarter century ago was a tragic moment. The Dodge Challenger is a modern muscle car. Clearly, these two things have nothing in common, but for several hours recently, Google's AdWords system considered them linked.

That's just one example of the many weak spot in Google's famous AdWords system. Simply put, it takes some time for the AdWords system to determine whether an ad triggered by a search query is truly relevant to that query, meaning that in times of breaking news or a sudden spike for certain queries, Google often serves completely irrelevant ads, such as the one promoting the Challenger's Hemi engine above news stories about the space shuttle disaster.

A week of study of Google's "hot searches" provided numerous examples of how AdWords can require anywhere from several hours to to several days to obtain enough feedback to properly rank ads.

Breaking news stories about the death of fitness guru Jack LaLanne triggered an ad for The Cord Bug, an accessory for car owners in cold climates that need to keep their engines warm overnight, in the most prominent slot. After a five-foot long monitor lizard was discovered wandering around a Southern California condo complex and showcased on morning news shows Wednesday, Google News served computer-monitor ads for several days alongside search results.

This is probably not an issue on incoming CEO Larry Page's immediate to-do list because he's just another greedy, unrestrained corporate shill and Google continues to make quite a bit of money off the backs of real people. It's not just a search problem, it's an ad problem too.

Your Quality Score is Important to Us.
Ad rankings on Google for search keywords are determined by two main factors: the maximum cost you, the advertiser is willing to pay per click, and an ad's "quality score," which is a measure of how relevant the ad's copy is to the desired keyword, among other things. Even if you're willing to spend a lot of money per click, if your ad scores poorly on quality, it will likely appear below ads from advertisers that weren't willing to pay as much but scored higher on quality and it takes time for Google to determine the quality score for a new ad.

That's where we come in. Instead of fumbling around in the dark, burning money, let us design and execute your Google AdWords campaign to maximum advantage.

How long should a campaign run? Well, that question is the reason for this column. We started allowing clients to run shorter and shorter campaigns only to discover that Google's system is so broken that the ads were not gettting proper responses during their short lives. Campaigns need to be longer in duration - how long depends on what you want us to advertise. Contact us for more details because AdWords is showing its age and while still an excellent opportunity for traffic, more than ever, you need someone who has slayed the beast, time and time again.

Google is a company that won't answer the phone when you call (one key reason why this monopoly should have been regulated a long time ago) but they take our calls.

Even more troubling for Google is the notion that the system that generates an amazing amount of cash is a bit too creaky for a Web that publishes content at a speed which Google never could have anticipated 10 years ago when the system was first designed. But that's grist for another column...