Google has been making a lot of advancements in its paid search features recently. Honestly, they roll out new improvements every week, which becomes frustrating for us since we always need to replace the screen shots we have in our AdWords training courses.
In the past few months we've seen the following changes to AdWords:
* Keyword Research Tool
* Negative Keyword Matching for Campaigns
* Keyword Opportunity Suggestions
* Limitations of the number of URLs used in Ad Groups
* +1 Recommendations by your friends was launched earlier this week
The latest new feature will completely change the way the SERP page 1 functions because Google will now offer paid inclusion in the organic listings to qualified advertisers. The trick is that Google won't identify a "paid inclusion" like it clearly identifies the "Ads" on the top and on the right.
Here's how it works:
In the "Opportunities" tab of your AdWords account click on the new option for "Paid Inclusion." If you don't see this option, you will have to upgrade your AdWords User Interface to the newest version; look in the Announcements in the top right to find out how to upgrade.
On the Paid Inclusion page, you will need to enter the URL of the page you want to have included on page 1 of the SERP and the keyword phrase you want to be included for.
You can enter as many URLs as you'd like, but you can only have 1 URL per phrase. Once you fill out the form you will have to wait 24 hours before you can proceed.
Tomorrow, when you log into AdWords and go back to the Paid Inclusion page you should find a Quality Score rating. This is the same type of quality score you also see assigned to keywords and ads. The trick here is that your quality score must be an 8, 9 or 10 in order to even qualify for inclusion.
It seems Google is interested in making money, but they also want t make sure the SERP Page 1 doesn't turn into a wasteland of ads. Forcing the quality scores of 8 or higher means only the best of the best will be on Page 1.
Most websites are poorly written and could never achieve a quality score of 8 or higher. This will really force you to rewrite your pages over and over again until you get it right.
Once you reach that high quality score level, you will be able to fill out your requested Position Preference, and the max you are willing to pay for that position. Expect to pay at least $249 per click for these paid inclusions, and as much as $819.
If you've been around long enough, you might remember Lycos had a paid inclusion system in the early years. This Google version has a lot more features, including the number of clicks you want to pay for every day.
So that's it. Page 1 of the SERP won't be organic any more. All normal organic listings will now start on Page 2. We'll wait and see how this one works out, but you can assume BlueNile and JamesAllen will dominate the SERP even more than before.
More than ever, SEO will become important. If you can't afford the paid inclusion on page 1, you better get your organic act in shape for Positions 1, 2 and 3 on Page 2 of the SERP. Give us a call if you need help.