Google alerted me within the control panel that new bid prices were required to re-activate these keywords. The new bid prices were anywhere from 100-1000% higher than previous bids.
I was looking through most of my campaigns, and noticed this happened for mostly low-cost keywords of the $.05 and $.10 variety. However, I have heard from other Adwords users that this happens for keywords of up to $1.00.
This would be a signal that Google is trying to clean up the PPC ads to match their organic results. This is not a good sign for those "panning for gold" by scooping up cheap keywords. such as those worthless "top 8" sites that so obviously violate Adwords TOS, that I am amazed they still slip through. It might also reduce some of the "Adsense-ready turnkey site" manure pushers, fleecing naive folks trying to get into marketing via the Internet.
For those with a business plan that extends beyond pay-per-click arbitrage, they should ride through just fine.
Adjusting to the New Google AdWords Update
- Have a Strong History of Spending Cash with the AdWords Program - large advertisers are able to get overrides on many of these keywords by talking to their account representatives.
- Get More Content Indexed - I have evidence where keywords leading to landing pages on small (1-3 page) websites were added to large websites. The keywords magically renewed.
- Content Network is Still Open for Branding - That is the only way I recommend using Google AdWords' content network... unless you can get any kind of positive ROI from it, which I have not been able to do.
- Find Something Else - If someone is running a one-man-show, chances are that there are higher-leverage activities that they could be participating in to drive more traffic, or monetize the traffic they currently get. Chasing low-price keywords often falls in the other side of Pareto's 80/20 Principle. Relying too strongly on any marketing channel is a sure recipe for disaster
Stay the Course
Google is always screwing around with their algorithms, so let's focus on what we can do.
- Test elements of PPC ad - Keep testing different headlines, ad creatives, and landing pages.
- Isolate Unproductive Keywords - If there is a keyword that gets traffic, but no results? Move the unproductive keyword into a new ad group.
Outsource Your PPC Campaign
How busy is your day? Do you have time to keep an eye on the idiosyncracies of Google's AdWords campaign? Even if you did have time, would you want to?
Your company may wish to consider outsourcing your pay-per-click advertising campaign. This allows you to take advantage of your core competencies, and leave the complexities of Internet Marketing to those wierdos who truly enjoy it. You would be surprised exactly how affordable it is.