Business website owners who closely monitor their site’s performance are painfully aware that Google has been increasingly masking the searches visitors used to find your site. In a further development Google announced yesterday they are now applying search term masking to AdWords as well.
I’m steeling myself to not fall into a rant about Google controlling the internet for their own COMMERCIAL PURPOSES and will now CALMLY describe how this might impact your Adwords campaigns…
How AdWords search terms are used currently
Adwords matches your declared target terms to as many searches as possible (keyword matching syntax will influence this**), so lets say I wanted my ads to be shown to folks searching for Internet Marketing Adelaide. Adwords may match and show my ads to searches like:
- cheap marketing ($8.25 a click)
- seo adelaide ( $43.29 a click!)
- marketing courses ($ $15.08)
I wouldn’t want to pay for the clicks for cheap marketing or marketing courses because they don’t relate to my business, but unless you can see the actual searches (usually via the AdWords Search Term Report) and negative these terms out of your campaign you would be blithely unaware and simply pay more money to Google for even more clicks hoping to get some real sales leads…
** An astute Adwords operator will use Keyword Matching to reduce the probability of this sample of mis-matching – but even after thoroughly doing this, you still can’t be certain what other mis-matches Adwords will make to reduce the effectiveness (read ROI) of your campaign unless you know what the punters ACTUALLY searched for. At that point you need to make a business decision about whether the matched search is sales-relevant and then use negative keyword(s) to eliminate that search from re-occurring in the future.
Where do we go from here ?
The critical thing with Adwords tuning is eliminating mis-matched keywords to get the best possible outcomes (ie conversions)
It’s really easy to waste heaps of clicks (ie your $$$) on terms that are close to, but are not, sales lead generators.
I think Google is in a really compromising situation here and needs to demonstrate clearly that they are not trying to rip us off, because it looks like Google has chosen to mask data that helps reduce your advertising spend with them…