Mona Eisley highlighted that the Yahoo! / Google ad deal intends to focus on the monetization of longtail keywords. There are a few major flaws with this deal from the onset though
- Google is more selective with distributing ads than other search engines are, and tends to not show advertisements on many hard to monetize longtail queries.
- When Google does show ads on longtail queries they generally are showing ads for head keywords via their broad match and automatic matching options. Many of the lower end aribtrage plays have been killed off through search ad quality scores.
Google AdWords Ad Selectivity
This SearchEngineLand chart compiled from comScore research shows that Google shows fewer ads than most of its competitors do. So part of Google’s solution for the long tail is to ignore monetizing it to offer a better user experience and win marketshare.
Google Ad Recycling
Andrew Goodman left a great comment on the above linked post
Google is definitely heavily testing this recycling of ads concept and the new automatic matching. When you think about it, though, filling up the ad space to a user for a tail term with an ad they saw previously is a pretty brilliant tactic on Google’s part, as long as users don’t revolt. Instead of lowball affil & arb ads or white space, a high quality advertiser from a previous search gets re-shown, and another chance to make an impression.
With the way Google AdWords is heading it seems the key to dominating the tail of PPC is to dominate the head – improve your conversion rates and value per visitor so you can bid more aggressivley and use broader matching options to get the additional longtail exposure.
On organic search publishers still have many options on the longtail front (publishing niche content, guest articles on authority sites, exact match domain names, etc.), but some of those are disappearing through the promotion of mega-authority broad sites like Wikipedia, About.com, and even newcomers like Mahalo.
How Yahoo! Could Fix Their Search Monetization Problems
If Yahoo! would just allow searchers to opt out of arbitrage traffic and syndication fraud their click prices would come up and they could serve their own head keywords across the long tail. But if they let Google serve too much of their inventory before they fix the syndication problems they will never have a chance to fix it in house.