The Mystery of the Google Adwords Slap Explained:
As many of you know, there are many unexplained aspects within Google Adwords. Google, makes it a point, to leave specific aspects of the system mysterious, leaving their advertisers to figure things out on their own. This is especially the case for affiliates. I have been using Google Adwords since 2001, and throughout my years, I have seen the Adwords program evolve drastically. Specifically, within the past 3 years, since the emergence of the almighty Quality Score, there are some specific aspects of Adwords that are still unexplainable. I have formed strong assumptions based on “What I think”, or “How exactly it works”. These assumptions were based off of my experience and countless hours of trial and error to form my conclusions. Still, there was always that random slap, quality score decrease, or ad variation denial that never made sense to me…. Until now….
I recently had a extremely indepth conversation with an Adwords representative about the Adwords program, and exactly how it works. This was a face to face conversation, during non work hours. I can confirm that many of my assumptions were dead on the money, while others were surprisingly off. The conversation lasted for well over an hour, and I can truly say, that I feel I learned more from that single conversation, then anyone in the industry could from years of trial and error. Below is some information provided to me directly from the rep. These are answers that many affiliates have been seeking for years, and can make all the difference for those of you who are not already banned or given up on Adwords.
1.) Google slaps are entirely automatic. I always assumed that there was automatic slaps and manual slaps. A manual slap is EXTREMELY rare. There are tens of thousands of publishers using Adwords daily, and hundreds of thousands ad variations. This makes it extremely hard for manual monitoring of campaigns, which is why it’s an automated process.
2.) So what are the main reasons a site gets slapped if it’s done automatically? A slap, is a complex equation that takes a variety of campaign and account variables into consideration. Some of the main variables are:
a.) Duplicate content – This is the reason most affiliates get slapped. This is because there are so many other affiliates copying landing pages from each other. Duplicate content is not just limited to sites using Adwords, rather, it includes ALL websites indexed in Google search. Even when someone copies your own landing page, both parties are penalized. Content exceeding over a certain percentage of duplicate material is almost always an instant slap.
b.) Account History – This includes account age, and account spend. $50,000+ spend has extra weight.
c.) Rebill offers – Slaps weight more heavily on specific niches notorious for consumer complaints. Specifically weight loss and teeth whitening. Google will monitor for keywords and weigh against your campaign for rebill type words, such as “Free Trial” and “Acai berry”
d.) Severity of previous slaps – Google does not only take into account how many times your account has been slapped before, but also the severity of each slap. For instance, a slap from duplicate content does not weigh as heavily as a slap from a rebill teeth whitening campaign that has been reposted and slapped 5 times already.
e.) Content is king! The more content you have, the more it waters down the algorithm. Meaning, if they are looking for specific faulty words, and then placing a value to that word based on the comparison of total words on the site, the more words the better! This is why I always recommend to the people I mentor to get 20-30 unique articles minimum for your landing pages.
3.) How often does Google do these automatic checks? Every single time Google updates their algorithm, it automatically recrawls ALL of the sites on the Adwords system, whether they are paused or active. So this means that between the time of the last algorithm crawl, if there was another affiliate who copied your landing page, you will get slapped. Additionally, their updated variable could spin your site’s slap score in an entirely different direction, for better or worse.
4.) So how often does Google update their algorithm? Basically, it is unpredictable. It could be 2 months, it could be 2 days. It’s sporadic based on when the guys in charge change the algorithm. I will say from experience, it seems to be around every 2 weeks.
5.) Having the keyword in your domain name is huge! This is especially the case for assigning a high quality score. It’s good practice to have your targeted niche keyword once in the ad variation title, once in the ad variation body, and once in the ad variation display URL.
6.) Always keep your ad groups under 25 keywords. Over 25 keywords in an ad group can KILL your quality score. The quality score is as much about how you group your keywords as it is with the content of your page.
7.) And Finally…. what’s the deal on all the random bans? The mass amounts of Google Bans that occurred during November and December were automated. These bans looked at severity of prior slaps, duplicate content frequency, and if your promoted a questionable offer. Being said, the automated banning method completely screwed some undeserving advertisers over. Google will not give out much info as to why a specific account has been banned, and if you are one of the unfortunate ones, there is nothing you can really do. Moral of the story – don’t promote rebills on Google!
I have much more info that I plan to write in the Bevo Classroom, however that’s all I’ll blog about for now. I hope this cleared up some confusion from the affiliate side of things. If you guys need any further explaining about what was wrote, let me know and I’ll try to explain the best I can!