Help! My Bids Got Jacked Up by Google – What Do I Do?

Clive Lobo

I had an interesting experience yesterday working with a potential ppc management client to evaluate why his bids went from $0.60 to a $12.00 minimum. I have seen this many times before and thought I would share my process and list of things to check when evaluating why your Google AdWords bids have been jacked up. In this case, the clients CTR’s were great in almost all keyword cases and his overall average was above 4%. Thus, his CTR wasn’t the issue for the minimum bid spike.

Start by refreshing yourself with both the AdWords Terms and Conditions and the Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines. It will give you a framework to evaluate your page and AdWords campaign. If any of the information contained in these documents raises some red flags for you, I would start there.

1. What recent changes did you make? – Have a look in your account at your change history tool. This is located under Campaign Management, Tools and My Change History. Change the date range to go back to when your bids were low and evaluate the changes leading up to the bid increases. Have some specific look at your ad changes, did any of your landing page URL’s change?

3. Website Downtime – If you have downtime monitor running, have a check to see if your site experienced some downtime closer to when your bids were raised. If so, this could be the problem and should be fixed by upgrading to better, more reliable hosting. Another, more in-depth check is to see if Google’s robots are having issues crawling your site. You can check this if you have Google Webmaster Tools running on your site. Check the robot.txt to see if the Google AdBot was having issues with your landing page and site.

2. Landing Page Load Time – Run your page through this page load time tool. Have a look at the speed in which your page loads. Are there any images that are taking a long time to load? Is there flash on your page that is eating away at your load time? If so, consider changing this to decrease your load time.

3. Landing Page Content – Have a read through the content on your landing page and pass it around to a few people who are removed from the situation. Ask them to give you 5 – 10 keywords that sum up the page. If these keywords are different than what your advertising on – they you just failed a human review. Run your site through the following tools and see what Google finds relevant for your page.

a. Google Keyword Tool – Enter in your sites url and see what keywords the tool suggests.

b. Google Adsense Preview Tool – If your using IE, you can download this tool here. Follow the instructions and use the tool on your page. See what Adsense ads Google would display on your site. Are the relevant to your topic and industry? If not, that is a good indication that Google doesn’t like your landing page. If your a Firefox user, you can download a Firefox extension for this here.

4. Privacy Policy – Google’s system tends to disfavour sites that request personal information without a clear purpose. Here are some specifics from Google’s Help Centre to guide you:

Visitors’ personal information:
– Unless necessary for the product or service that you’re offering, don’t request personal information.
– If you do request personal information, provide a privacy policy that discloses how the information will be used.
– Give options to limit the use of a user’s personal information, such as the ability to opt out of receiving newsletters.
– Allow users to access your site’s content without requiring them to register. Or, provide a preview of what users will get by registering.

5. If you are disfavour puzzled, you can try calling up Google and requesting to speak with a rep who can elevate your issue to be reviewed. I am not promising this will lead to anything, but if you get the right person on the right day… sometimes you can get lucky. Failing that, you could always get in touch with an internet marketing agency like us 😉 who has dedicated agency reps and can further shed light on the issue.

Clive Lobo

Spark’s resident boss man, Clive possesses the very nature of an entrepreneurial spirit.

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