Changes at Google… What You Need to Know

Google is changing things up (again!). If you’re not used to them changing the game you had better get used to it. They are a moving target and they will continue to change. Love ’em or hate ’em they remain a powerhouse for filling your business with leads and sales.

Google has recently made changes to it’s algorithms and this will affect you. If you are using Google, take heed. (If you’re NOT using them why aren’t you in the game? To get in the game, Click Here to request a Consult)

There are three areas that Google has recently changed:

  1. Adwords – keyword matching and ad rotation
  2. SEO -content and links
  3. Free Product Listings are now being replaced with PAID Product Listing Ads

Ok, there’s also a 4th that they just announced – Google Places is being replaced with with Google Plus Local. Have peace knowing that all Google Places pages are automatically converted to the new format. Google is making lots of changes in this arena and it will be interesting seeing the impact over time.

Here’s a BRIEF summary of each one:

1. Adwords – Keyword matching and ad rotation

First Keyword Matching: Google will include plurals, misspellings, and other close variants to your exact and phrase match keywords. The automatic default is to allow keyword matching. Keep this if you are only occasionally in Adwords and don’t care about minimizing costs or risks or about how well it performs. What this is really Google starting to blend exact, phrase and broad match so they can make MORE money from your account. If you want to maximize your returns, then it’s important to understand that this will create poorer performing and less than optimal campaigns. Every keyword is a different conversation, and altering them slightly can affect conversions greatly. Just by adding an “s” at the end of a simple search term can change it from a highly converting keyword to a “tire kicker” keyword. Smart Adwords marketers know this and have separate strategies and landing pages for both. If you want to turn this feature off, in your Adwords account go to “Settings”, “Keyword Matching Options” and select “Do not include close variants”

Next up, changes to the ad rotations. Ugh! What a pain in the butt that Google is doing this. The smart way to run campaigns is to play a game called “Beat the Champ”. Where you put two ads in a cage against each other to slug it out. The one that has the better click through rate is the champ. You retire the old one and bring on a new contender. Very powerful.

Well Google has determined they will take control of this from you and they will give 30 days (for now) to determine the winner and will give it the majority of the traffic. Makes it wayyyyyyy harder to test. This is horrible if you want control over testing because most times you want ads to run against each other for longer than Google “determines is best” … sounds like “more government” doesn’t it?

Brad Geddes who posted this on Google+was able to confirm from “multiple sources” at Google that any action in ad group, including pausing or un-deleting ads will reset the clock on your 30 days.

That means you can get around the 30 day rule by…
  1. Manually pausing ads and then reactivating them a few minutes later (I don’t know if there’s a minimum timeframe they have to be paused for).
  2. Set an automated rule, using Labels, that pauses all ads (with a Label you set up for this purpose) at a certain time and another rule that activates them an hour later (rules are only run on the hour). You could do this at 3AM on a Sunday (assuming that’s not a time your ads get much action) to minimize any impact and reactivate them at 4AM.
  3. Use the API to pause/activate ads.

What’s the big deal with this stuff? Why not just accept that Google knows what’s best for your business?

it matters a great deal… competition on the internet is much more extreme know. Industries that were slam dunks 1-2 years ago have grown fiercely competitive and it’s only going to get worse. The days of “easy money” online are a thing of the past. As business owners we need every advantage we can get. And if these little things can change your conversions by 15 – 50%, don’t you think you should pay attention to it?

2. SEO -content and links

There has been a lot of unscrupulous SEO practices that have given companies short term success. For the last 3 years I’ve been predicting that Google would come down hard on this. Well, it has started. Google launched Panda and Penguin initiatives to improve the quality of search results. (Adwords is not affected by this)
Panda: was created to lower the rankings of low quality sites while ranking sites higher that have in-depth, valuable, well researched and useful content.

Penguin: was created to lower the rankings of sites that are spamming the internet to get higher rankings by creating a lot of garbage links (using black hat SEO). In other words, to remove web spam.

Note: None of these updates are finalized. Google is still modifying and updating the algorithms. It’s not uncommon to see your site rankings higher then lower then higher, which can be very frustrating for business owners.

Buyer Beware: some SEO and link building sites have gone out of business overnight. Companies that were exploiting loopholes in Google’s algorithms are paying the price. Companies that have been building reputation and rankings based on integrity (white hat methodology), while it’s a slower build, they are generally not affected by changes like this. Unfortunately a lot of SEO has been done by wolves in sheep’s clothing. Make sure you have a trusted source.

3. Free Product Listings are now being replaced with PAID Product Listing Ads

Google Product Search is getting a new name, Google Shopping, and a new business model where only merchants that pay will be listed. It’s the first time Google will decommission a search product that previously listed companies for free. The company says the change will improve the searcher experience, but it will also likely raise new worries that Google may further cut free listings elsewhere (source SearchEngineLand.com)

This is so new that nobody really knows how this will affect things. If it follows suit as everything else Google related, savvy marketers who understand Adwords and how to convert traffic will gain an unfair advantage over everyone else.

Hope this helps give you an understanding so you can take appropriate action to avoid losing position in the marketplace.

Blessings,

P.S. If you want to know (in plain English) how any of this stuff affects your business, you can email me at Chris@ChrisGoegan.com or Click Here to request a Consult.

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