The End Is Near for Inactive Keywords

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As announced on August 21 on the Inside Adwords Blog, Google is rolling out some fairly major changes to their Quality Score. Much talk has focused on the new dynamic Quality Score, but I think this part of the announcement is just as big a deal:

“The new per-query evaluation of Quality Score affects you in that keywords will no longer appear as ‘inactive for search‘ in your account. Instead, all keywords will have the chance to show ads on Google web search and the search network (unless you’ve paused or deleted them). Keep in mind, however, that keywords previously marked ‘inactive for search’ are not likely to accrue a great deal of traffic following this change. This is because their combined per-query Quality Score and bid probably isn’t high enough to gain competitive placement.”

Despite what Google says, I think this could be huge for some advertisers. While inactive keywords are often the result of poor keyword selection and lack of relevancy, sometimes very relevant keywords get marked inactive for other reasons. When I was at MagazineLine, we frequently had inactive keywords which were the name of the magazine we were selling – for instance, “cosmopolitan magazine.” Click-through and conversion rates on these keywords were great – but sometimes we got slapped with trademark restrictions by the magazine publisher, and I believe that is why the keywords were marked Inactive.

I’ve seen similar things with some of our current clients. I’m anxious to see how this all plays out. Will these theoretically low-position keywords get any traffic? Will bids still need to be crazy-high in order to show up earlier than Page 10?

I haven’t heard from anyone who’s seeing the new “First Page Bid” info in their Adwords account yet – if you are seeing this, post a comment here, or at this thread over at Search Engine Watch.

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