Landing Pages

All Your Content Impressions Are Belong to Nexus One

Adwords content advertisers might be left wondering where all their impressions disappeared to today.  That impression vacuum?  It’s Google bogarting a large portion of their content network with Nexus One display ads.

This morning, Adsense publishers were reporting a dramatic drop in Adsense clicks and revenue.

Sadly, many of the sites brandishing Nexus ads weren’t exactly tech-related…

Have a cooking site?  Google thinks the Nexus One ads are a perfect fit for your visitors.  Soccer fan site?  Here’s some Nexus One for you too.

But if you’re a content advertiser looking to advertise pots and pans on cooking sites?  Sorry, no impressions left…

Obviously, search impressions are Google’s to do with what they please, but publisher inventory is a bit different.

Given Google’s big push towards making advertisers provide a more “magazine content-style landing experience”, it’s with keen interest that we examine Google’s Nexus One landing page:


10/10 Quality Score?  As we can see here, the user experience is nicely augmented here by the volumes of valuable ‘magazine-style’ content.

To be fair, Google has a nice little click-to-learn-more interface on the phone and a 3D tour to boot.  Hopefully they were just kidding about the amount of content and navigation they’ve been asking advertisers to incorporate on their landing pages at the expense of conversions.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Chrome ads are also around, but not in anywhere near the volume of the Nexus One units.

Some have also noted the mantra of the ‘clean Google search page’ has undergone some adjustment:


At least Adsense pubs can take solace in knowing that the ads are good enough for, so they should be good enough for them.

Hopefully this is just a one or two day push and when they’re done perhaps Google’s advertisers can have the content network back.

The Differences Between Countries Can Cost You

1 Comment » Written on October 30th, 2009 by
Categories: Geo Targeting, Landing Pages

Do you run your PPC ads in different countries? If so, do you change your ad copy and landing page copy when targeting those different markets?

For many years, global brands have altered their marketing campaigns to target different countries.

An advertisement for a food product running in Australia may be markedly different from an advertisement for the same food product in the USA.


Whilst we share a common language, cultural values and norms differ markedly from country to country, and even region to region.

For example, what is considered soft sell in the US is often considered hard sell in the UK due to differing acceptance of overt commercial activity in those two cultures.

There are many differences:

Viewed from commercial America, British advertising looks like something bent out of shape by a culture so consumed with embarrassment it can’t look a salesman in the eye when he’s making a pitch, particularly if that pitch is laden shoulder high with emotion – love of country, family or God. From a mainstream US perspective our quirky elliptical leave-them-guessing advertising approach is kind of charming, but kind of unworkable too in America, with its fragmented audiences and ethnicities, its raging sensitivities and, above all, its huge risks. American advertising is risk averse because there’s so much at stake with those huge clients and their mega-spends. It means everything is researched to death so all backs are covered.

If you’re running a PPC campaign in different geographic markets, then you’re running a global campaign. So, you need to think about approaching such a campaign as a global brand would do, and tailor your message accordingly.

Your competition – who may understand those local markets intimately, as they live and work in them – will be designing their pitch based on local norms, so too should you, if you want to convert.

Here are a few ideas on how to target different cultures effectively:

1. Watch What Others Do

Take a look at how your product or service is advertised in other media in your target country. What language do they use? What imagery do they use? How are they making the pitch? Is it subtle? Hard sell? Humorous?

Now evaluate the ad copy and landing pages of your PPC competitors. What similarities do they share to each other? To ads in other media? How do they differ from how you would advertise in your own local market?

2. Spelling

A PPC ad written using US spelling displayed in another country screams “not relevant to this market”, especially when surrounded by ads that use local spellings.

Use “s” instead of “z”, and watch those vowels! 🙂 Color becomes colour, center becomes centre and check becomes cheque.

Here’s a good reference guide to common differences.

3. No, They Don’t Think “Because It’s American, It’s Great”

Every culture thinks what they do is great, and what foreigners do is suspect.

Just as you don’t assume that something from Germany is great, Germans aren’t going to assume that something from America must be great. Some may even be hostile to the US – it just comes with the territory of being the new Roman Empire 🙂

It’s not that you have to cave to others demands, but it does pay to be aware of them. If you’re trying to convince someone to buy something, then you need to talk the customers language, on their terms, no matter if they live in New York or, well, York.

4. There Are Regional Differences

Just to complicate matters, there are significant differences between language in different regions in many countries, and particularly in the UK.

Just like there are differences between New Yorkers and Angelenos, there are differences between those in the north of England, and those in the South.

The South tend to think of themselves as intellectually and culturally superior to Northerners, and Northerners tend to think of Southerners as soft, fake and, well, elitist. These are generalisations, of course, but be aware that they exist, as these differences may alter your pitch.

5. Test

As always, test.

Change the language of your landing pages and ads depending on the accepted norms of local markets. Align your language and style with the most successful PPC ads targeting those markets.

Run with the winners and cut the losers.

Final Thoughts

The world is get smaller. The internet, and tech in general, is being driven from America. Naturally, it comes bundled with US cultural values.

This is leading to the Americanization of other countries and making boundaries, both physical and cultural, less of a block than they have been previously.

A pitch that works in America can translate into other cultures without change, but that won’t happen as a matter of course.

Think local.

Banned From AdWords? How to Improve Landing Page Quality Scores

12 Comments Written on September 29th, 2009 by
Categories: Google Adwords, Landing Pages

Over this last weekend, some Adwords users have received a warning email from Google stating that their landing pages are of poor quality and do not comply with Google’s landing page and site quality guidelines.

Some users have already been banned outright.

Here’s an automated response from one user who queried the ban:

As the email you received on Friday explained, your account has been suspended due to multiple submissions of poor quality landing pages. We are unable to revoke your account suspension, and we will not accept advertisements from you in the future

Check out the discussions at Webmasterworld and the Google AdWords Forum. Has there been a change in quality standards? A new rule? Perhaps a harder enforcement of a previously lax guideline?

Naturally, webmasters are irate. There appears to be no official comment from Google, but we’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at Google landing page quality standards.

Adwords Landing Page Guidelines

Google introduced a quality score back in 2005. This quality score covered various data points, including the ad text and click through rates, and helps ensure the user finds what they’re look for.

Soon after, Google added a landing page score to the mix.

This score evaluated the landing page in terms of relevance i.e. the page should reflect the promise made by the ad.

The text also must be original, so that users aren’t seeing the exact same landing page if they click on different ads. There should not be excessive pop-ups, or any means to “trap” the user i.e. disabling the back button.

In many ways, these policies mirror the type of sites Google ranks in the organic serps, relevancy to the keyword term being the primary requirement.

Here are Google’s official landing page standards.

Now, Google uses an automated bot to determine compliance, yet Google doesn’t provide a means for webmasters to test their pages, presumably because they want to keep their scoring mechanisms a secret.

How Can You Tell If Your Landing Page Is Optimized For Google’s Quality Standards?

Dave Davis has an excellent tutorial on SearchEngineJournal.

Check out W3 Semantic Extractor and the Google site related keyword tool. What better way to get information about what Google thinks your site is about then using a tool designed by Google to figure out exactly what your site is about?

In summary, you need to ensure your page contains the same or similar terms as appear in the Adwords ad, and these terms need to be displayed prominently on your landing page in order to comply in terms of relevance.

If you go one step further and test your pages using the site related keyword tool, and the semantic extractor, you stand a good chance of achieving a high quality score.

Google’s Tips to Improve Quality Score

Google, as usual, require you to read between the lines. Let’s examine some of their guidelines more closely:

Link to the page on your site that provides the most useful and accurate information about the product or service in your ad.

Ensure the landing page and the ad are identical in terms of subject matter. Click-backs can affect your quality score, so make sure you repeat the keyword term high up on the page, in bold, in your copy. This also helps reaffirm to the user that they’ve arrived at the right place.

If your site displays advertising, distinguish sponsored links from the rest of your site content

Your page can’t consist mostly of ads. I’ve seen a lot of pages getting away with this, however.

Try to provide information without requiring users to register. Or, provide a preview of what users will get by registering

Pretty obvious. Users typically don’t register for something unless they desperately want what you’re offering. There is a high likelihood they’ll click back if presented with registration as the only option.

In general, build pages that provide substantial and useful information to the end-user

That’s a big one. Google don’t want just an ad, and certainly not a misleading one. They want information, much the same as they require in the organic search results. Focus on providing user utility and you can’t go too far wrong.

If your landing page consists of mostly ads or general search results (such as a directory or catalog page), you should provide as much information as you can beyond what your ad describes. For example, if your ad mentions <’Free travel information,’ your landing page should feature free travel information (versus links to other sites that do).

Your page should be an informative destination in itself. Of course, you need to balance the commercial imperative – making a conversion – with an informational one.

You should have unique content (should not be similar or nearly identical in appearance to another site). For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

As mentioned, earlier, Google will want to avoid showing the same page to users if they happen to click multiple ads. It’s not hard for Google to spot duplicate content, so make sure your text is original.

Increase value & customer satisfaciton through using different strategies. To avoid duplication, consider various angles. i.e. instead of talking about the product itself, provide a “how to solve a problem” page for users. This how-to, of course, will recommend the product in question. Tell a story about using the product, provide unique testimonials, etc. Avoid cutting and pasting from the suppliers website.

What Service?

Finally, a lot of the emails concerning the banning appear to have been sent to affiliates, both direct-to merchant and otherwise. There are some big spenders in there, so it looks like Google is tightening the noose on the middle man, once again.

It’s easy to understand the frustration, given the vagueness, and neatly summed up by a WebmasterWorld poster:

You buy a laptop for $1K from HP,DELL, or IBM. This laptop has much lower margins than sending a few bytes over the wire. Yet, if you have a problem you expect, and you will be able, to contact someone in support via toll-free phone, live chat or email to resolve the problem. If the result is not satisfactory, you can get the problem escalated to a case manager or eventually executive support. At some point someone with sufficient *authority* to fix your particular problem will respond.
But, if you spend $100K on ads, the best you can get is a vague automated email.

Heh. Makes you wonder what some of these pages look like? Anyone got an example of a banned page they care to share?