Problems with the Quality Scores in Google Adwords were first noticed late last month and were fixed, according to Google, but now they appear to be having problems again.
Late October the Google Adwords help forum noted there were problems with Quality Scores - which Google claimed were merely reporting issues and would not impact prices of clicks. "This issue was limited to the reporting of Quality Score, and the fix should be live for all within the next 24 hours. For those keywords with a status of Low search volume, the fix should be live within the next few days," a company employee, AdWordsPMAdam, reported.
The conversation in the help forum at the beginning of November suggests the 'bug' was not fully fixed and some ads were showing very low QS and even notices that bids were too low to appear on the front page.
"Not solved me me either, I am at my wits end, I have keywords that are 100% relevant and the landing page URL's contain the keyword as does the landing page for
example the keyword health and safety policy landing page is called health and safety policy and before the bug 10/10 and now 4/10, Ive watched the conversations in this forum and believe that I will need to request a review..
Its soul destroying when after careful and hard work to see it all go downhill, spending thousands a month on adwords and no official word........I await the next instalment with bated breath," terrainguy posted to the help forum.
Fears that reactions to these changes will cause increased bidding by Adwords advertisers unaware of the problems and raise the cost of clicks others have to bid to keep up have been voiced.
"The problem is still out there for our account as well. Adwords interface reports our bids are low for first page impressions but we continue to appear on first page non-stop.
So I do not think the "bid notice" is correct. But how about the new QSs reported. Are they correct?
If my competition is getting the same incorrect bid notices, the average CPCs will sky rocket," halukakin stated.
"Another advertiser -- based in the UK -- tells The Register that as his quality score has dropped, his cost per click has jumped from about £0.90 to £1.40 on one campaign."
Meanwhile, Google had some problems with mixed messages when an initial report said the new problems were part of the earlier bug. This was corrected in the forum by Adwords Pro.
"Please disregard my colleague Bindu's post earlier in this thread, in which she mistakenly referred to the issue that occurred in October.
It is understood that what is being described here is what appears to be a similar but separate issue that folks started seeing on Friday evening, November 19th.
Engineering is taking a look into this, as a priority - and I will report back in this thread when I know more.
In the meantime, my apology for the inconvenience and upset this issue has caused you," he stated in the forum.
German based intelliAd Media GmbH has seen major "rise of the keywords given a Quality Score of 5 or lower from 20 % to just under 70 % over the last few weeks. This is remarkable because the Quality Score is normally only subject to minimal fluctuation."
"We are seeing customers, where even their own brand keywords receive low scores and where the companies are experiencing major upsets as a result. However, a further investigation also showed that you cannot assume that click prices are rising across the board in this scenario," says Mischa Rürup, COO of intelliAd Media GmbH.
There is a conspiracy theory about changes Google seems to make just prior to the holiday season - major algorithm changes have been made in previous years just before shopping season. There have been changes and it does appear that Google profits from them, but as Michael Gray points out - everyone looks to put their best foot forward just before the shopping season and as a business so does Google.
"No I don't think the holiday update is designed to shake up SEO or drive up adwords revenue. Those are just nice side bonuses," Gray noted.
Upcoming Webinar: PPC Pause and Reflections for 2013
Thursday, December 12 - 2013 was a major turning point in search advertising. With Google's Enhanced Campaigns and Bing's innovative Smart Search capabilities in Windows 8.1, now is a great time to pause, reflect, and plan for the new year. Webinar attendance is free. Sign up today!