It’s All Relevant: NOT!

By Sean Corso | Jul 26, 2007
More Articles by Sean


Relevancy is a term that is thrown around in many situations, conversations and debates. I can’t recall the number of times that I’ve answered an insightful inquiry with a measure of the relevance factor. “Is it relevant to your market, your product, your competition?”

With the recent rollout of Google AdWord’s Search Query tool in its Report Center, we’ve discovered that across the board there are some serious concerns as to whether broad match is indeed delivering ads based on queries relevant to your keyword list. The answer is clear! It’s NOT!

Sure, nothing is perfect, especially not a computer algorithm. However, while mis-matching brands or competitors is certainly disconcerting and not acceptable, the following example is straight up ridiculous.

In one particular case, the Search Query Report revealed that an ad was delivered for the search term ‘big black sex.’ First, let me be perfectly clear: In absolutely no way is this client’s keyword list or site related to that search. The client site and keyword list might as well be about apples or oranges; it simply is not related.

So it had to come from somewhere, but where? Using the Google Toolbar and searching for the words ‘big black sex’ on the client site, I see where Google got it, but that just makes it all the more ridiculous.

Google evidently crawls the client’s destination URL for “relevant terms” to trigger ads. On one particular page, there was a sentence that had all three of those terms, but not in the order or context that would suggest delivering the client’s ad.

To further illustrate, the sentence might as well have been the following (in that it clearly had nothing to do with the aforementioned search):

“Depending on age and sex (gender), there is big difference among consumers as to whether they will purchase bananas with black or brown spots.”

Definitely not relevant!

As Tad mentioned, a Google rep suggests using negative keywords with your broad match to ensure maximum relevancy. Who in the world would think to use those negative terms for this client? Sure, I can and will the run the Search Query Report on a regular basis in order to find eliminate such a repeated occurrence, but I’m left wondering, who knows what crazy search query will Google trigger the ad for next.

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