Monday, 21 May 2007

Is it Goodbye Google?

For the last seven years I have been using google adwords over any other form of advertising. At the start, keywords were very cheap as there was very little competition, but of course, like all new things the honeymoon period is over.

Over the last 12 months Google has changed a lot of its algorithms to return better results and continue the fight against spam. However this fight may have gone one step to far...

As a small business every penny counts, I have invested a lot of our revenue into Google adwords over the years. I also look after quite a few of my clients adword campaigns, but over the last 12 month I've seen 3 major factors change, and it may be Goodbye Google as far as spending money on adwords is concerned.

1. Naturally there is more competition now on adwords than what there was 5 years ago, or even just 12 months ago. My cost per click has almost doubled in the last 12 months, and to also add salt to injury my conversion of enquiries has dropped considerably. These two elements compound the fact that costs have gone up and conversion has gone down, which in turn means the cost per sale has risen dramatically.

The content advertising has also seem to get weaker for many of our adword campaigns, we have recently stopped advertising on the content network. I have tracked many clicks coming from bogus sites over the years, and I'm not sure google can track all the bogus sites and clicks.

I know Google rewards sites for good conversion, I'm pretty sure that our conversion rate is one of the best, so I would hate to think how much the other sites with lower conversions are paying. Over the last 12 months I have managed over $200,000 in adword advertising.

2.The second reason we are looking at alternatives is our Adsense revenue is 1/4 of what it was last year. The weak Dollar against the GB Pound really also does not help. What I am unsure about is how Google is charging more for adwords and maybe paying less for adsense? Or is it because of reason 3?

3.Over the last 18 months has been a nightmare for any internet business relying on traffic from natural searches. Since Google's updates, many of our sites which were doing fantastic, have now gone. I can understand link popularity and the reasoning behind it, but the fact is most small business do not have the time or the resources to do the link building that is required of them.

I will give you an example, my number one revenue site for sales

After a long hard effort the site's home page came back for the keywords:

Edinburgh Stag Party

But the many 100's of keyords like Edinburgh Hen Weekend or Edinburgh Stag Weekend we have never returned for. I would expect at least Edinburgh Hen Weekend or Edinburgh Stag Weekend to be just as effective. I know there will be many of you out there saying well this page is not optimised that alt tags is missing etc, but I can give examples of sites higher than mine who mention the keyword once. Google used to rate them for the keywords, so it knows what the page is about, but for whatever reason has decided to supplement most of my pages.

I did a test last week and for the first time in a long time, I got a much better result from advertising in a paper than I did in Google adwords. What I think has happened is Google has taken such a large proportion of companies advertising spend like mine, that it's forced the traditional channels of advertising to me more competitive. So for 2007 I will be spending less with Google and more on other advertising mediums, I will also be advising my clients to also consider looking at similar avenues.

I would love to hear feed back from anyone else, I'm sure I am not the only one in the UK who has noticed it.

I saw this more feed back on other people with issues about google Scobleizer

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