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April 27, 2006

AdWords Tweak Differentiates Terms

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AdWords users may want to consider changing how they target keywords thanks to recent tweaks made to Google’s AdWords system.

In an attempt to increase the quality of ads being shown, the Inside AdWords blog announced they will show more ads when they think users will find them useful and fewer ads when they believe users won’t want to see them.

What does that mean? For users, the changes are minimal: more ads for commercially-based queries (flowers, car insurance, etc) and less for non-commercial terms (dog friendly parks in Mountain View). For advertisers, however, the changes could mean their previously listed ads may suddenly disappear from the Sponsored Listings section.

How do you prevent this from happening? Danny Sullivan offers some advice to confused AdWords participants. According to Danny, advertisers running commercially-based ads should opt for Google’s broad match option to help ensure their ads show up. Conversely, if you’re running non-commercial ads, using Google’s exact match will get your ads to show up where you ‘absolutely, positively want them’ to. Thanks Danny.

For those still confused, the folks over at AdWords offer up some additional advice:

“If you notice a decline in impressions or clicks on some of your keywords, you may wish to ensure that your most important terms are each specifically entered as keywords in their own right, rather than relying on broad or phrase match to include them. Or, if you notice an unwanted increase in impressions or clicks for some keywords, consider adding negative keywords to more finely tune your targeting.”

And though some queries may bring up more advertisements than others, Google says the overall number of Google ad space will not change. Danny Sullivan first reported that he feared the number of ads would increase and that Google would start dumping more and more ads into the search results.

As a result, Danny created a breakdown of the number of ad positions offered by Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Google and Ask, comparing the number of paid links versus free links. He also compares this year’s data with his results from 2004. Though we no longer have to worry about Google increasing its ad space (for now), Danny’s findings are definitely worth a once over.

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