In Their Greed… The Search Engines Are Getting Incredibly Slimy

In their greed… and quest to increase revenue a few percentage points in order to hit an earnings target… the largest search engines are doing some incredibly slimy things. Here are a couple examples:

A client’s spend in a paid search account was significantly up in Bing. I was digging into the account to try to figure out why. The search query report looked clean. Then the client sent me this:

In Their Greed... The Search Engines Are Getting More And More Slimy

This is retargeting… not paid search. We never opted into it. It’s basically the equivalent of the search engine throwing up a billboard or running a TV commercial without telling you and then sending you the bill.

What’s even more fun… try opting out of display advertising/ retargeting. It’s like building a rocket from scratch.

Google is no better. They set the rules for the various keyword match types and now they are breaking their own rules. For example, for one client we added the keyword +criminal +lawyer to the account. That’s called “broad match modified” and it basically means that we want to show up in Google any time someone types in a keyword phrase with both the words lawyer and criminal in it regardless of order.

Crawling through the search query report shows that we are matching to far more than just queries that contain both “criminal” and “lawyer.” In another slimy attempt to drive up spend Google was matching us to a bunch of additional keywords such as competitor company names. I don’t want to show show up for competitor keywords. If I did… I would add those in as keywords.

Might not quite be stealing… but what the major search engines are doing comes pretty dang close. As a search engine marketer, I am responsible for spending my clients’ marketing dollars as efficiently as I possibly can and things like this make my job significantly more difficult.

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