Google Adwords Changes Hit Small Businesses Hard!

If you are using Google Adwords as a lead generation method, then you absolutely should check your account TODAY.  Google have made changes that are causing panic, confusion, and a lot of anger with business using their advertising service.

I’ll cover some of these today, and more as those of us who work with Google Adwords figure out exactly what the new changes mean for Internet Marketing strategies going forward.

THE BIG LESSON

I’ve read posts on forums about busineses that have literally gone from thousands a day in profits to being shut down by the new changes at Google.

The ONLY WAY this can happen, is for a business to rely soley on one source for the majority of it’s new leads and thus it’s income.

This is a COLOSSAL mistake.  If you learn nothing else from me, learn this lesson.

Never put all your advertising eggs in one basket

It’s easy to be lured in to using only the Internet to get leads because it seems ‘cheap & easy’, but this is not only folly, it’s near madness.  You’ll never see the top businesses in any field rely on just one source of lead generation.

Just like you should never invest all your money in one stock (think Enron), you should never invest all your advertising dollars or efforts in one media.

ANALYSIS OF CHANGES AT GOOGLE
(so far…)

I’ve been doing more reading this morning on the new changes at Google and how that will affect adwords costs, and what seems to be causing Google to raise bid prices or shutdown adwords accounts..

There are a large number of Internet Marketers who have been  doing testing to see if they can figure out the new Google changes.

It seems that if a site has been listed for awhile, has links from the landing page into the site, has content that matches the keywords in the ads, and has a site map, then they have (so far) been ignored by the changes in the Google Adwords Quality Rankings.

If a site has just a single landing page, especially if it’s a ‘squeeze page’ (also known as a name capture page) or if it’s a long form sales letter only with no images, or other content.These have been hit the hardest.

In some cases the adclicks have gone from $0.05 to $1.00 overnight!  This makes their traffic way too expensive and they have to shutdown.

In other cases, Google just shut the account down completely.  (I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t give me a warm and friendly feeling about Google)

For thousands of business owners, Google went from friend to ENEMY overnight!

So here are some things you can check for:

RELEVANT KEYWORD FILLED CONTENT

This is going to be the biggest measure of ‘quality’, does the landing page actually have content that matches the google ad.  Apparantly testing has shown even a ‘squeeze page’ that has relevant keywords did okay with Adwords ratings.

LINKS INTO YOUR SITE

From conversations with Google reps, it seems a high measure of quality is having links to other parts of the site on the landing page itself.

HOW MANY PAGES OF YOUR SITE ARE INDEXED?

Another important measure of quality thing is about how much of the domain is indexed, and to check this by using this type of search in  Google.

site:www.yourwebsite.com

The more of your web pages that are indexed, and on topic for the keywords you use in your advertising, the higher QUALITY site rating you’ll get.

Example:

site:hypnosismarketingtips.com

Shows 19 pages from this blog are indexed in Google.  This is a good sign since this blog isn’t that old.  I’ll have an article soon on why blogs are great for getting search engine attention.

CREATE A SITE MAP

A site map makes it infinitely easier for the robots to index the site content. Google has a free tool that will create a site map easily.  All you need to do is place a link on your landing page and other pages so the robots find it.

Your site visitors will appreciate it too!

Here is the Google tools link:  Google Sitemap Tool

SEO BASICS (Search Engine Optimization)

Google doesn’t index sites, google indexed PAGES.

You need to get all your content pages into google as quickly as possible to improve your site Quality Ranking to keep your adwords bid prices low.

Here are the basics of SEO for any web page, all of these things will help your pages get ranked higher in ALL the search engines.

  • Title tag has relevant keywords
  • Heading tag (robots look at H1 tags) with keywords
  • Meta Keyword and Meta Description tags with keywords
  • Text within the Body area matches keywords in title (and your Google ad when relevant)
  • Link text and Link URL for links in your pages are relevant to keywords
  • ALT attribute for Image tags (the ALT tag may be less significant than other areas of the page) robots look at this to help them index the images.

Make certain your page titles are unique and reflect what the content on the page itself is about, since each page is indexed as an individual entry in the search engines.

It’s a common mistake, but most images do not have alt tags and it’s simple to do.

HTML VALIDATION

It’s important to ensure that the HTML code that makes up a web page is correctly formatted. If there are errors in the code, then search engine robots may have difficulty indexing the page’s content.

If you use Dreamweaver it has tools built in to validate html.  Most people never check their pages for errors.

I also recommend you use the latest xhtml standard instead of html 4.0 legacy standards, but regardless, just make sure your html doesn’t have errors.

There are also free tools online you can use. Here is one of them: Free HTML Code Validator

ROBOTS.TXT

If you are not showing your site as listed in Google, there are a couple of things you can do.  One is to check and make sure there is a robots.txt file in your website directory.

This file tells the search engines what content you WANT indexed, and what content you DON’T want listed.

If you do not have a robots.txt or if it’s set up incorrectly, that can keep your site from being indexed.

Besides making it hard to find you, this will severly impact your Google Quality ranking.

Here’s an explanation of how robots.txt works:

You can easily create a robots.txt file here:

META TAGS

I  the robot.txt thing is too confusing, you can  also add the robots meta tag to your individual web pages to help be certain they get indexed and links followed.

It’s a simple one line addition in each html file that looks like this:

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”INDEX, FOLLOW”>

This would tell any robot, spider, or crawler that they SHOULD index the page, and follow the links deeper into your site.

You can read more about Meta Tags here:

PRIVACY PAGE

It seems that Google might be looking for a privacy page that matches the W3 standard as indicated here

How to create a standards compliant privacy page:

There is not yet enough data to say for sure, but you may want to implement a privacy page now.  It seems that if not now, soon this will become a standard part of every web site.

CONTACT US PAGE

You should have one of these anyway, but if you don’t, do it now!

People contacting Google have been told this is important to a quality domain ranking.  But they google folks didn’t say what they look for on this page.

That’s it for now.  More when I know it.

Cheers,

Craig

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