Hey Google Overlords! Stop pressuring me to increase my quality scores by adding bullshit keywords!

Featuring our Top Three Strikes You Can Use to Better Manage Your Google Efforts

Remember when Google was everyone’s favourite online encyclopedia that we relied on when completing research projects at university? C’mon, you remember, back before the messy sexual harassment accusations, and before good neighbour Sergey got all choked up on adrenaline and went hardcore on our asses?

Back then, Google was not wired up with the extensive machine learning algorithms and the AI (artificial intelligence) that has become onerous and invasive to our daily lives.

(And Twitter Can Mess You, too.) 

Truth be told, we were the generation that developed Google’s intelligence and data prowess. Back then, perhaps unknowingly, we were turning a search engine into THE search engine by making it more accurate, more insightful, and more essential every day, every minute!

And why not? Even then, it was a major cut above the rest, getting us information that was relevant, accurate and fast as hell! Bing, Bang, Yahoo cares anymore, right?

And then it all started. POW! The Google Gods woke up one day and got punched with keywords almost everywhere. Get a keyword, throw it in and just let it stick somewhere to your content, doesn’t even need to make sense. That certainly scared the Gods.

Talk about adding insult to injury. Folks have also tried implementing black hat and white hat keyword strategies to get their new website right to the top in the shortest possible time. Google realized this and changed its approach, especially towards those who were trying to game the system. They implemented a more robust SEO logic. Cheeky those Google folks.


And still the Google Overlords are pressuring us to increase our quality score by adding non-relevant keywords! I got a couple of choice key words for that. The first starts with “F” and the second word is “off!”

Why should we be expected to add irrelevant keywords to our content to be 100% optimized?

Take for example an ad related to open banking. We have a selection of open banking keywords that are related to banking innovation, etc. But somehow Google says we are not optimized to 100% and instead recommends we apply keywords like “time bank opens” to get to 100% optimization.

Well, maybe Google is being a sneaky little devil, using this opportunity to learn about our site and keywords – and using our ad strategy to further learn about our audience and segments – so they can share it with our competitors as “generic” market indicators.

Like a devil indeed, Google comes back again with another devious recommendation to tell us to remove the keywords they initially recommended and instead, add on newer keywords to our ad group for further testing. By then your brain is spinning with Google’s hypnotism, and you start repeating into your monitor, “I will do whatever Google says … whatever Google says … whatever Google says …”

Snap out of it! Ever watch a horror movie and get angsty because the victim always falls for the trap and gets suckered into a corner of despair? If you implement every single recommendation Google provides, then you’re paying a portion of your budget towards data testing and keywords analysis (for Google) rather than focusing on reaching your audience. You can’t take that to the bank!

Oh sure, some might suggest we all drink the Google-Aid in pursuit of making Google better for the greater good, for all of us. (cue Disney music) Wake up Cinderella! Google does for Google first, not you. Best to work with that reality and play smart. Otherwise, you’ll have people looking for when your bank opens and not looking for your innovative open banking service offering.



Blade’s Top Three Tips on what to do when Google tells you’re not 100% optimized:

1. Ignore Google’s recommendations 

Yes, tell them to go take a hike. Not all the time, I mean have a look-see but say no first instead of saying yes. Because if you already did thorough keyword research before programming your ads, then why are you consistently looking to Google to make it better for you? Or are you greedy and you think Google has your back and looking at your ads to understand your business revenue goals?

In case your best friends are Siri and Alexa, then you might benefit from remembering they’re bots, programmed to crawl into your data to get information just like Google. You don’t really think Google can remotely understand your business needs, do you? Truth be told, you are telling them what your goals are. You are programming your ads. You are feeding them the data for the bots to read. You are in charge. Remember that the next time you see Google’s recommendations annoying the crap out of you.

And by the way, Google ads are always learning in the first 3-5 days, so based on that information, Google is making recommendations based on algorithm learnings in the now. If you are in it for the long haul and you know your business and your keywords research is pretty extensive, those quickie recommendations from Google should be censored in your head. 


2. Evaluate your keywords against your goal metrics, NOT Google’s

Instead of wasting your time and spreading your budget thin across more and more keywords, stick and focus on the keywords that are driving the most impact. In other words, optimize when you have enough data and learnings. Sometimes, you don’t even touch the keywords at all. We can’t imagine changing our keywords targeting every 2 weeks much less after 5 days. Look, keywords, search trends, and the analysis must take time, and to be more scientific the search terms will follow a normal distribution and you need time to let that play out before conducting an analysis. Got the word? Normal Distribution.

So, start with a strategy that allows a decent bandwidth of keywords a few hundred based on raked data from websites and then reviews their performance gradually over the months and then when you see the keywords reaching a normal distribution, slowly trim the keywords down the end tails of the distribution. The trend is to focus on only 20-30 keywords- that is not a decent size for any mathematical regression on keywords to happen. It has to be more than that at the beginning. Get that tattooed in your skull.


3. Rake your keywords yourself and update regularly

This comes back to the whole understanding that search terms and search keywords are evolving, dynamic, and are never going to be stagnant. Search terms and search learns from the actions of actual users who are searching on Google.

Buzzwords like YOLO never existed 15 years ago but when the search terms and learning happened, it emerged as a keyword but then because it was a commodity at some point, it is now part of the lexicon in search engines as a common word. As the old saying goes, life equals keywords equals rollercoaster, you just got to ride it. Woohooo!

Well, you have to do the hard work to rake your keywords. Sites that offer keywords and keyword options in a nice spreadsheet – don’t you ever question their mathematical formula and approach to getting those keywords? Oh I see, you like the couch and the potato.

Hear that? That’s the sounds of our rake. We prefer to get off the couch and do it ourselves. If you understand that keywords are based on search terms of needs of your audience, then you don’t need to buy keywords. Instead, be curious to understand the search terms, experiment, and learn how to rake the keywords from websites that are emerging based on the search terms. Do this regularly.


Once you have done that, you can go ahead and throw all your existing keywords out the window … NOT! What you do is add these new keywords to the list, and conduct an analysis again to learn more about the performance of the keywords in the entire mix.

If this makes sense to you, great! But do you know how to put your plans into action as fast as you’d like to get the ROI you need? At Blade, we get Google and, while we appreciate its value, our job is to ensure you get better value out of using it. Reach out. We’d love to talk with you.