Recently on the AdWords site, Google announced it was sending a new robot out into the world. The name of the robot is Adsbot. Adsbot isn’t an ordinary spider like Googlebot, because it doesn’t examine your regular website, it examines the landing pages from your AdWords campaign. To quote AdWords:
“The AdWords system will visit and evaluate all pages specified by your ad Destination URLs. It will also follow redirect URLs. (Redirect URLs send a user to another website page without any action on the user’s part.) To fully understand the quality of your specified page, the system may follow other links on the page.”
But wait a minute, look at Google’s published definition of Quality Score:
“This is the basis for measuring the quality of your keyword and determining your minimum bid. Quality Score is determined by your keyword’s clickthrough rate (CTR) on Google, relevance of your ad text, historical keyword performance on Google, the quality of your ad’s landing page, and other relevancy factors.”
What did Google mean for the last year since Quality Score was introduced by the phrase, “the quality of your ad’s landing page?” Some people claim that Google has told them that they do a hand check of the landing pages. That sounds hard to believe since Google is against ANYTHING that is labor-intensive. What might be more likely is if someone complained about relevancy, like a competitor, then Google might have looked at the landing pages.
Since Quality Score came on the scene, SoftCast Marketing, a PPC agency based in New Jersey, has claimed it’s been an empty feature of AdWords. They came to this conclusion by testing and then receiving confirmation from a Google customer support rep—but no, the Google rep didn’t put this in writing.
Carl Sgro, President of SoftCast, feels that while website relevancy is the mantra for organic listings, relevancy doesn’t seem to apply to AdWords campaign, a direct contradiction to Google’s own definition…at least up until now.
If you find this hard to believe, go into Google and type in Google’s stock symbol “GOOG” and see what you get. Right now, you’ll see a funny ad for Woot.com, but nothing to do with Google’s stock. Better yet, go into your own AdWords account and bid on “GOOG.” As things stand right now, your landing page isn’t taken into consideration.
So until AdsBot is unleashed into the world, you can count on two major factors when bidding. First, your landing page doesn’t count for anything. Second, Google will continue to use the ignorance of unsophisticated bidders to maximize its bottom line. Oh, wait on that second point, that will continue …Caveat Emptor.
On the brighter side, now that Quality Score is going to actually use the landing page as a factor, it brings up an interesting point. Just what is the difference between Google’s organic listings and its sponsored links? Seriously, when it comes to commercially-driven sites, and the related search terms that a search marketer would pursue, where would organic end and the sponsored begin?