Recently I've heard a number of people complain about having their adwords listings quality score drop from 7 (or even 10) down to 1. As a result they've gone from having to pay normal prices per click, e.g. 50c to prices like $20 per click if they want their ad to display.
Many have suggested that Google is slapping review sites and affiliate CPA sites.
What I'm going to do below is give you my thoughts on it based on what has happened inside my own adwords account. I'd appreciate comments from others.
After carefully combing through my adwords account I've found only a small percentage of my keywords have been 'slapped'.
There is a common theme to the slapping and it doesn't appear to have anything to do with review pages. I have several review pages on my different affiliate sites and the vast majority have remained unaffected.
The common theme that I've noticed has tended to be more to do with the on page optimization of the landing page. I've found that when I use Traffic Travis and run a page analysis on any keyword phrase that got slapped, I find that the page that it was directing traffic to received a B- or lower as the rating.
The other pages that didn't get slapped were search engine optimized for the keyword phrase that I was bidding on and received Traffic Travis 'page analysis' ratings of anywhere between a B and an A+.
I also need to point out that my affiliate sites all have at least 30 pages or more in content, so the overall site is a quality one. It is just the landing page itself which seems to be my particular problem. However for others of you, you may wish to make sure that your website itself is quality (ie don't just build a 5 page website and expect that to be enough).
I also make sure that I have 'no-index' on each of my ppc landinge pages. That way I can create relevant landing pages, without worrying about duplicate content as I've told Google not to index these ppc landing pages.
I won't call my writeup above a definitative answer just yet. I'll need to now go ahead and adjust some of my PPC landing pages and resubmit them to see if they rise in quality score or not.
Hopefully I'll have more results by next week.
It certainly doesn't appear that we need to 'cloak' links, or pretend that we aren't affiliates, which is what I've heard suggested around the place. Although that isn't a bad idea in any event as it makes it harder for people to track what you are doing.
So, what does everyone else think?