Google, is the most popular search engine in the world holding approximately 70% of the market share. It has now become the leading tool to search for information on the Internet. Rushing on Google several times a day for an answer to a question became a reflex. In December 2008, there were approximately 31 billion searches per month on Google.
Companies quickly saw the enormous potential of this visibility. To “exist” on the Internet, being displayed on Google is now a must. According to a popular saying, “if you are not active on Google, you’re not on the Internet.”
There are 2 methods to be found on this search engine. Though organic indexation (natural results) or through sponsored links. The second method allows to be present on Google very quickly by advertising on search result pages.
Advertisers who use this method quickly see a great value. Having achieved good results, they come back month after month. It is no accident that Google has become one of the most profitable companies in the world.
While all this is very attractive, one must be very careful not to lose its shirt with this strategy.
Sometimes we hear of companies (or individuals) who argue that this method does not work very well or that it costs them too much. We can generally assume that these people were victims of the famous “Google Slap”.
The promise from Google to its users is to always provide the best quality in terms of results. This applies both to the organic results as well as sponsored links.
How do advertisers receive the “Google Slap”
Advertisers that are inexperienced with Google, most often commit the error to simply “test” this method with a low budget. Most of the time they don’t even have a sound strategy from the outset. They do not know where to begin or how to structure their campaigns.
By starting a campaign with a low budget, and without a strategy from start, ads will occupy a low position on the page, hence reducing the volume of clicks they could generate. One can see in the picture below the distribution of clicks on a Google search results page. Since we read from left to right and from top to bottom, the links that are seen the most (and therefore clicked the most) are located in the upper left. By occupying a lower position on the page, the ads will rarely be clicked and Google will identify them as poor quality ads.
According to the logic of Google AdWords, the more ads are clicked when they are displayed and the more they are considered interesting. Google ads will then concentrate on the “most interesting” and give precedence to “good” advertisers over “bad” ones. It is very possible to obtain a higher position and pay less per click than other advertisers located below whose campaign is identified as poor. A campaign of poor quality will always be displayed by Google but it will cost more to its advertiser.
The vicious cycle that leads to the “Google Slap”
1. The campaign is poorly planned (bad structure, bad ads, bad budget, bad segmentation)
2. It gets a lower position and a “not very interesting” status (according to Google search criteria)
3. The ads are not clicked
4. Google asks to pay more per click
5. The budget increases
6. The ads are still not clicked on
7. Google asks again to pay more (to keep the ad running)
8. The budget increases again
9. Still not enough clicks on the ads.
10. Repeat steps 6-9 until the “Google Slap”.
The “Google Slap” occurs when the costs charged by Google are so high that the advertiser is discouraged to continue with running its “poor” campaign.
Here is an example of a campaign that has received the “Google Slap”.
Because the ads have a low rating (3 / 10), they are at low positions (6, 7, 8) and do not click are (0,0,0). The system then asked to show bids of $ 2.25 to $ 18 per click. Up the slope is so difficult, it is often better to completely close the campaign and again from the beginning.
To succeed with this strategy, ads must stay in the first positions as long as possible. For this, the advertiser must ensure that the campaigns have been well designed and that the landing website is able to get the full potential of each click. The “path” between the initial click to the website, followed by the ordering process until the final page (the “thank you page”) must be extremely well optimized to avoid leakage and allow traffic to convert visitors into customers in the most efficient way possible.
Elias Geha is Web Campaign Manager at iWeb