Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Adwords Quality Landing Pages - The Myth Revealed

So we are all familiar with the new 'Quality Landing page Score' that Adwords introduced a few weeks ago and literally destroyed thousands of advertisers livelyhoods. They said they wanted your landing pages to be of high quality. I have to say hogwash, they want your budget to be HUGE.

If you know me you know I have been working on a new project in my free time this summer, FindMyGolfCourse.com. The site provides a searchable directory of every US golf course, plus I took the time to Mash up the course lcations on the Map too. I have yet to see any competitor try this approach, so I feel it is pretty unique. It uses Google Maps no less. I know the site is not the best looiing site I have ever produced, I was not concerned with that at this point, just what produces revenue and what does not. So keep that in mind when you check it out.

I was gradually progressing with the site and even got up to a $50/day profit mark the Thursday before Black Friday (the day they axed most of the valid advertisements). Some of the revenue came from Adsense, but more than half was coming from affiliate ads, all typically relevent to golfers.

My bids were OK for a few days, then the next Tuesday I got the boot and told to hit the highway. I have sinced asked for a hand evaluation by Google, which they responded with a basic you suck, go away. I then sent a response asking how my site could get the boot while some of the most non-relevent sites did not. I also told them it looked as if they only kept advertisers in the 7 figure a month range and got rid of all the small shops. They responded, no your site just sucks and we do not discrimiate by budget. The budget thing may be off base, but I do not think by much. Especially since several have chimed in saying their $1-400,000/month budgets were destroyed too.

So let's examine some of the Google Adwords results for 'Texas Golf Courses'. That's right go ahead and open it in a new tab (for those of you without IE 7 a new window will do). When I do it I get 6 ads returned. I get a few of these ads on just about every golf course keyword I used to be able to bid on, and I want to review each of these sites so we can see just what Google is looking for in a Quality Landing Page for our sites. That way we can go back rebuild our sucky sites and get back to running our businesses.

1 - Best-Prices.com : This is just a high-end MFA site. Does not really look like a true MFA, but it is. The links that are returned are sort of themed for Golf, but when you click on them, they are no more than a redirect through Adsense (man I wish I could do that). In fact many of the links I got (they rotate BTW) went to the other sites on this list.

2 - FindAGolfResort.com : Probably a legit Travel related web site. Has a few bits of info on some texas Golf resorts, an AdSense Skyscraper and a way to book travel reservations.

3 - Ivue.com : SPAM, MFA, SPAM, MFA, SPAM, MFA. A poorly done frame of a Golf Green, two AdSense skyscrappers and man what a hard day's work. Now to make millions. What a joke, this site is hosted with 4000+ other domains all prodicing the same layout with a different framed photo. It shows up on just about every Golf keyword I uused to advertise.

4 - CollegeOfGolf.com : See above, but now three skyscrappers and a few Golf links at the bottom of the page. I went to college for this?

5 - OnlyTexasGolf.com : Super-Charged, contracted AdSense publisher. They do not even need the AdSense javascript, they just put the money generating links on the page with nothing else to click on. Google has this guy on contract. This site is hosted along iwth nearly 40,000 variations. It shows up on just about every Golf keyword I used to advertise.

6 - GolfSimilators.com : Finally a real legit golf site and what, they get the bottom slot. Shame on you AdWords.

So what can we conclude to from this simple evaluation? Which by the way is just a small example of the many keywords I studied and they were not all golf rleated keywords. Just keywords I wanted to evaluate to see what it would take to compete in a niche with legit sites. I think we can determine that Google loves Spam sites. Yes, sites that offer no relavent content to the visitor, but just AdSense Ads. Maybe a topical photo, but that is not really nessecary.

So off we go, everyone stop creating relavent sites and start making SPAM, MFA sites as fast as possible so we can all pay our mortgages!

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