The Heavy Chef Project’s resident Pay Per Click expert Andy Harris from Custwin has been experiencing some issues with Google Adwords this week that he felt were really important to share. His comments not only ring true for small businesses but also for South African pay per click (Google Adwords in particular) as many industries will only be receiving small impressions for particular words due to smaller numbers of people online.
It’s confirmed – Google don’t want to have small businesses as advertisers anymore! At least, that’s what it looks like from my recent conversations with them over a problem I had with a client campaign.
This client had a PPC campaign that ran OK but his website wasn’t strong so we created a stronger website and a completely new PPC campaign that linked in a much stronger way. Within days Google had made numerous keyword phrases inactive. That should never have happened because the old campaign was weaker and the new one much stronger.
Google’s answer was that the new campaign didn’t get the right ‘Quality Score’ – that’s total rubbish when the old campaign was of a lower quality but hadn’t been penalised. Reading between the lines, Google are taking a much harder line with new campaigns and are actively pushing people towards using fewer keyword phrases (that, of course, are more expensive because they’re generally competitive).
I then asked Google why the advertiser couldn’t have their company name as active. It’s a unique name, with no competition in PPC but the ‘Quality Score’ system made the phrase inactive because IT considered it wasn’t of high quality, i.e. not many people would type it. How ridiculous! If a company wants to have their company name visible on the few occasions that people type it into Google, then that should be their right. For the Google system to say "no, you can’t have that company name, even though you had it before for pennies per click and now if you want to reactivate it, it’ll cost you 2.50 a click even though there’s no competition" is nothing short of insanity.
Taking this further, if I had a business selling purple perspex elephants and I had a keyword phrase set up for ‘purple perspex elephant’ (ridiculous example I know, but you get the idea), then I, as an advertiser, accept that few people will search for that exact phrase, and I accept that I should pay more for ‘purple elephant’ or ‘perspex elephant’ – HOWEVER, I have the expectation that IF someone searches for ‘purple perspex elephant’ then my advert will be visible. As things stand, the Quality Score system will look at that phrase and make it inactive even though I, as an advertiser don’t care that I won’t get many clicks but I DO want to be visible if someone searches for that phrase.
However much I’ve barked at Google, explaining that small businesses will start to look at alternative search engine systems, they really don’t care – complacency is an understatement. I accept that Google gets great results in many cases but from what I see on a daily business, they’re pushing small businesses out of the market bit by bit and therefore, the only answer is to create multi-system campaigns and for clients to then judge which system lets them be visible for the phrases they want to be visible under. Once other advertisers start to get as fed up as I am with Google, we’ll start to see some interesting things happening.