Google announced today that they are making things tougher for Made-For-AdSense (MFA) sites who use AdWords for advertising.
Google had this to day:
As you may recall, we began incorporating advertiser landing page quality into the Quality Score back in December 2005. Following that change, advertisers who are not providing useful landing pages to our users will have lower Quality Scores that in turn result in higher minimum bid requirements for their keywords. We realize that some minimum bids may be too high to be cost-effective — indeed, these high minimum bids are our way of motivating advertisers to either improve their landing pages or to simply stop using AdWords for those pages, while still giving some control over which keywords to advertise on. Although it is counter-intuitive to some who hear it, we’d rather show one less ad than to show an ad which leads to a poor user experience — since long-term user trust in AdWords is of overarching importance.
From time-to-time, we improve our algorithms for evaluating landing page quality (often based on feedback from our end-users), and next week we’re launching another such improvement. Thus, over the coming days a small number of advertisers who are providing a low quality user experience on their landing pages will see increases in their minimum bids.
I see this as a direct attack against MFA sites. MFA sites are sites which display AdSense ads and provide no useful content. Usually the content is simply copied from search results. These MFA sites target high paying keywords while using very low bids on the AdWords system to get traffic. Since there is little useful content on the pages, users end up often clicking on the ads. Many AdSense publisher despise these sites because they drive down the cost of an average click and do not provide users with any useful information.
The Google AdWords Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines clearly state that MFA type sites are not considered quality sites:
- In general, build pages that provide substantial and useful information to the end-user. If your ad does link to a page consisting of mostly ads or general search results (such as a directory or catalog page), provide additional information beyond what the user may have seen in your ad or on the page prior to clicking on your ad.
- You should have unique content (should not be similar or nearly identical in appearance to another site).
If this works out the way Google intends, it will be good for everyone in the AdSense ecosystem: publishers, advertisers and users. The only ones who will be hurt will be the MFA producers.