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The Google Slap and Resolution

At approximately 5AM on the morning of November 9th, 2009, GoogleBot switched off all of my AdWords advertisements. GoogleBot didn't tell me about his decision - it was a week before I even realised what had happened. I've had a frustrating two weeks working out how to get the ads re-enabled. Here's some advice on steps you can take where you've had the same experience.

First off, there are a lot of reasons why GoogleBot might not be showing your ads - this advice really only applies to a specific situation, Here's how to diagnose it, call it the 'Google Site Slap'

1. All keywords in ad groups with ads that have a landing page on a particular domain have a LPQS (landing page quality score) of 1/10.
2. No ad impressions will be displayed for these ads, for any keywords, at any price.
3. If you create a new Ad Group, with an ad with a landing page on the domain, a few impressions might be served, but as soon as the ad moves from 'Pending Review' to 'Approved', no further impressions will be served.
4. If you create a new Ad Group with an ad for another domain, it may work fine - try creating an ad leading to a Wikipedia page to test.

This happens because there's something about the site that GoogleBot doesn't like. Because he doesn't like the site, he won't send any AdWords visitors to any page on the site. Check Google Webmaster Guidelines for ideas.

There's a lot of ideas there - to narrow it down, have a look at your raw weblogs. Do a text search for 'GoogleBot' - if there's a particular page(s) that GoogleBot is visiting very regularly, the problem may be on that page. For my website, there were three pages that he was visiting every 6 hours and 20 minutes. They all had something in common - I publish quiz software and the pages all had sample quizzes that opened in a new window with the new window being automatically resized. I changed the behaviour on those pages to show those quizzes in the same browser window. Within 24hrs, GoogleBot re-enabled the ads.

Final Thoughts
AdWords support reps are well meaning but take 24hrs to respond. My sense is that they don't have any great insight into GoogleBot nor have much influence with him.
My pages are heavily interlinked - it is possible that all the pages with a LQPS were simply linked to a page on the site that GoogleBot didn't like. So it is also possible that linking to a page on another site that GoogleBot doesn't like might cause the same difficulty.

Posted by Alexander on December 02, 2009 | The Google Slap and Resolution | Comments (1) | TrackBack