PPC News Roundup: Google’s ‘Bad Ads’ Report Reveals Widespread Naughtiness

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What’s been happening in the world of PPC? Tom Kwei has the answers, with newsbits about very naughty advertisers, a handy new Google Analytics feature, and some useful insights from industry experts…

Google Banned More Than 214,000 Advertisers in 2014

Google banned more than 214,000 advertisers from its ad systems in 2014, according to its annual Bad Ads report.

“That’s three times the number of people who can fit into the Maracanã Stadium in Rio, where the 2014 Soccer World Cup finals were played,” the company revealed.

The inside of Maracanã Stadium. That's a lot of people. Source: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo at Flickr.

More than 524 million ‘bad ads’ were disabled in total, affecting unscrupulous advertisers in over 150 countries and territories.

Google considers ‘bad ads’ to be adverts that violate its advertising policies – for example, by hawking counterfeit goods, distributing harmful malware, or using ‘trick to click’ scams to mislead customers.

Google says it has “zero tolerance for bad ads on Google or our partner websites. When we find them, we not only remove the ad, but in many instances, the advertisers as well”.

Of the 524 million banned ads:

  • More than 43 million used ‘trick to click’ approaches, such as incorporating ‘click here’ text or imitating system errors.
  • More than 9.6 million were banned for healthcare-related violations.
  • More than 4.3 million were shut down for infringing copyrights.
  • More than 7,000 came from advertisers selling counterfeit products.
  • Over 5,000 were shut down because the advertisers were involved in ‘phishing scams’.

Google has produced a neat infographic with more facts and figures, which you can see here.

New Google Analytics Feature Lets You Sort AdWords Search Query Performance by Word Count

Google has unveiled a new feature for the AdWords Search Queries report in Google Analytics, allowing advertisers to check the performance of queries by their word count.

The new dimension, revealed in a Google+ post on Thursday, drastically reduces the time needed to sort long-tail queries from head terms.

In its announcement post, the Google Analytics team wrote:

Many advertisers have told us that they like to segment AdWords search queries based on the number of words used in the query. More specific queries with many words (long-tail queries) tend to perform rather differently from short queries with only a few words.

"For that reason, we created a new dimension in the AdWords Search Queries report: Query Word Count. You can now analyze query patterns easily, without needing to classify them manually."

Two Approaches to Building Negative Keyword Lists

Want to reduce spend and improve performance? One of the first things you need to look at is your lists of negative keywords.

And as Lisa Raehsler at Search Engine Watch points out, it’s more important than ever to build out your negatives as AdWords now matches close variant queries – like misspellings and plurals – even to exact match keywords.

Raehsler details two approaches to building out negative keywords, the proactive approach and the reactive approach.

The proactive approach takes in unwanted queries that you can predict, based on common sense and your own PPC experience. This could include:

  • Products that you don’t sell, like accessories or extended warranties.
  • Employment terms like ‘jobs’ or ‘internship’.
  • Negative associations with your product, like ‘repair’ or ‘returns’.
  • Terms which are contrary to your positioning, like ‘cheap’.
  • Inappropriate content searches like ‘blog’, ‘book’ or ‘guide’.

The reactive approach is based on unwanted keywords discovered through Search Query reports. Raehsler recommends grouping these keywords into ‘themes’, then prioritising these by cost or frequency of appearance.

For Raehsler’s full article, go here.

Why Successful SEO Strategies Still Need Paid Search

Jay Taylor, writing at Search Engine Watch, reckons even successful SEO strategies can benefit from integrating PPC advertising.

Taylor says PPC is sometimes seen as unnecessary if search visibility is already achieved through strong SEO. But there are still several good reasons to double up on search marketing techniques. Here are Taylor’s recommendations in summary:

  1. Ad Rank is stable, SEO rankings are volatile: “With Google’s constant algorithm updates and user-interface changes, organic rankings seem more volatile and unpredictable than ever,” writes Taylor. But, he points out, once you’ve got the balance right with budget and quality score, your PPC Ad Rank will remain fairly consistent.
  2. You could get twice the visibility: Even if you’re on the first page in organic rankings, you can still gain a competitive advantage by owning more of the SERP real estate with paid and organic results.
  3. Better click-through rate: When visibility increases, clicks go up. Taylor also cites a Google study that suggests organic visibility alone will not drive as many clicks as a combination of organic and paid visibility.

  1. More conversions: When clicks increase, conversions go up. In fact, Taylor writes, some agencies have reported conversion rate increases of 200% by combining PPC and SEO.

Read Taylor's article in full here.

More Paid Search News and Views

Read last week’s PPC news roundup: ROI, Innovation, American Football and Bing

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