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Will Google’s decision to introduce an algorithmic element into its Adwords ‘Quality Score’ spell the end for sponsored keyword arbitrage and add further pressure to affiliates to clean-up their act?

Up until now the optimisation of an Adwords campaign consisted of creating good advert titles and descriptions which, combined with a bid value and user click-through, gave a Click Through Rate (CTR). Now Google says "the quality of your ad's landing page and other relevancy factors will now come into the equation".

Theoretically this is generally good news for the searcher as it provides another incentive for advertisers to make the search experience relevant and easy.

Although many advertisers already spend a lot of time trying to maximise their click-to-sale conversion rate, there are many whose sole existence is based on their ability to sell-on traffic, either via an affiliate route or by reselling the click through a higher priced listing, pocketing the difference in revenue commission.

If Google has some success in controlling this market (one that it has turned a blind eye too for a long time now) then the move could be a catalyst for marketers to consider a more holistic approach to search, where paid and natural search, usability, creative and site design are all considered as part of the Search marketing mix.

Additionally, the move could provide a boost to the companies who really get Google algorithms i.e. Natural Search specialists (who will be able to help advertisers get the best value for position in the paid-search market). More on this as soon as we have some meaningful data based on our Adwords tests.

Search has reached a point of unprecedented popularity, but it is not without growing competition from the exponential growth of online social networks.

If search engines fail to improve the journey still further, the public’s voracious appetite for new and more relevant communication channels may yet become a threat to the revenue model – but don’t sell your Google shares just yet…

Arjo Ghosh

Published 31 July, 2006 by Arjo Ghosh

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