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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Keyword Analysis Diagnostic Rolled Out for Google AdWords

Low quality scores and other keyword delivery issues can be, to paraphrase Jackie Chiles, "exasperatin', disingenuous, disrespectful, and borderin' on mischievious!".

As expected, Google has announced increased transparency on what's causing low quality scores in the form of additional keyword information. Don't get too excited. The inner workings remain safely guarded.

Many of the examples of poor quality scores come with the diagnosis "this keyword isn't highly relevant." That's not too compelling, especially when a multi-word query involving the word "cell phone" is rated "OK" but the identical one using "PDA" is seen as "Poor." (The full phrases I'm referring to are equally relevant.) It's like a science experiment in progress based on limited data.

However, I think this probably can be a good starting point, in the sense that you might be able to rule out or rule in landing page or website issues as the source of your problem.

That is, if the messages you're seeing are 100% accurate. Can I get a tool to diagnose the diagnosis? I have trouble believing certain keywords aren't relevant, when they describe exactly what the service in question is, and match up well with the ad text. It's all a little too mysterious to be truly helpful, especially when the advice given alongside the diagnosis is "delete this keyword" (yep that's really what they say).

On another example, the keyword diagnosis isn't functional because the form of geographic targeting I'm using for that account (it's a radius of a large city metro area) isn't supported. So I'm left to wonder why "crÍpes" is "OK" but "crepes" is poor. Is Google a spelling snob!?

Increased transparency takes courage, and does encourage gripes like the one you're reading. In that sense, I applaud Google for rolling this out. Ship early and often is still a good policy in the software world... in spite of the uncharitable responses it sometimes elicits.

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