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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Types of Sites Penalized by AdWords

Yesterday a new post was made to the AdWords Blog, websites that may merit a low landing page quality score.

The post talks about two categories of sites - one set that will almost automatically receive a low landing page quality score and may even lead to AdWords account termination, and, another set of sites that will "likely" lead to a low landing page quality score.

Here are the types of sites the AdWords team say will receive a low landing page quality score:

- Data collection sites that offer free gifts, subscription services etc., in order to collect private information

- Arbitrage sites that are designed for the sole purpose of showing ads

- Malware sites that knowingly or unknowingly install software on a visitor's computer.

Interesting list, and obviously it's open to interpretation. Some would argue that services such as Gmail (or a Google account in general) would be classified as "data collection" and search results pages as "Arbitrage" pages. Google search results pages exist for the sole purpose of serving ads, right?

The post also referenced additional types of sites that "may" lead to a low quality landing page score. Those sites include sites such as:

- eBook sites that show frequent ads or install malware

- 'Get rich quick' sites

- Comparison shopping sites

- Travel aggregators

- Affiliates that don't comply with our affiliate guidelines

The reference to ebook sites seems odd. "Frequent ads" is obviously a relative number and malware sites were covered in the "likely to be penalized" list. I guess there must be a large number of ebook sites that dabble in arbitrage + malware.

The "get rich quick sites" listing is also a bit odd. What's your definition of quick? How about rich? In the past few years people have made significant incomes via AdSense practically overnight. Adsense publishers literally make money while they sleep. Google promotes AdSense over the AdWords network - I'm willing to bet the AdSense landing page does not have poor landing page quality score:-)

Next up is comparison shopping sites. Google has one of those too. Bet it doesn't get a low landing page quality score:-)

Finally the list closes out with travel aggregators and affiliates that don't adhere to Google's affiliate guidelines. I haven't really spent any time in the travel space and off the top of my head would think that some travel sites that pull info (i.e. consolidate) from other sites to help a potential traveler get a good deal or review lots of information from various sources at once would be helpful to the end user. I guess like the ebook sites that show "frequent" ads and/or install malware there must be something in the travel space I'm not aware of. In terms of affiliate sites, I don't think that surprises anyone. Any who's an affiliate and an AdWords users has known about this for quite some time now.

On the bright side the post from the AdWords team will help end some of the speculation about what AdWords is looking for and what they are looking block from their system. On the not so bright side it seems to this marketer that Google is following the "do as we say not as we do" logic and is making exceptions for their products and services that may fall into the site categories they listed in the post.

Feel free to share your thoughts, comments & opinions on Google's landing page quality score post.

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At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Andreas said...

Has anybody an idea why G wants to penalize travel aggregators? Don't they want Expedia's, eBooker's or Thomas Cook's millions they spend each month?? Why would this policy lead to a better user experience?

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Jeremy Mayes said...


No idea. I posed the same question in my post. If anyone who plays in that space has any insight I'd love to hear it.


At 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had this experience advertising a client who offers a free autoresonder coarse... obviously in exchange for your email.

I suppose that these sites will suffer as being classified as "data collection" sites.

nobody can penalize the biggest offender of data collection: google.

Welcome to a brave new world... the world of Google, your big brother... do as I say not as i do.


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