Google Instant is Instantly Wrong – Will Adwords Users Be Penalized?

I was Googling around, checking in on some local listings and seeing if Pittsburgh’s Google Local listings (or ‘Places’, whatever it Google is calling it today) had any of the new changes that Andrew Shotland was talking about in his blog post last night, when I noticed that Google Instant is very screwy.

First I was Googling for ‘pittsburgh dui lawyers’ (not for myself, for a client!!) and then I wondered if a more common search term would display the new changes, so I typed in ‘pittsburgh dentists’, and this is what happened:

So there is one dentist (the first result) that comes up in the sponsored results, but the rest of the PPC ads are lawyers, left over from my previous search. All of the organic listings are dentists.

Obviously, you can see where this could cause problems. My questions is, if I were to click on one of the “Lawyer” pay-per-click ads after using “pittsburgh dentists” as a search term, would the law firm be charged for that click? I know the lawyer isn’t bidding on “pittsburgh dentists” for a keyword!!

These two search terms are completely unrelated, but what happens when search terms ARE more closely related, for instance, what if I typed in “tennis shoes” and then Googled “work shoes” — will Adwords advertisers be charged for clicks they didn’t bid on?

Would love to hear your insight and comments.

p.s. Notice that Google Places (what I was originally trying to have displayed) did not show up at all!!

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4 Responses to “Google Instant is Instantly Wrong – Will Adwords Users Be Penalized?”

  1. John Ellis Says:

    Nice find. I have my concerns with Instant as well.

    Here is what I wrote on the day Google introduced it:


  2. admin Says:

    Thanks, John — I remember reading that article, and I can see your point about the long-tail being affected by Google Instant, as well. It is distracting to people; before they can even get their thought out there, they’re being told what to do.

  3. Chris Leone Says:

    Very interesting find.

    Regarding click charges, this would be easy enough to test if you want a quick answer. Although, I wouldn’t test it with a law firm client. We know how expensive those clicks can be :)

    While I agree Google probably needs to fix this, I wouldn’t stress toooo much about it. For one, if you were looking for a DUI attorney and then decided to look for a dentist (maybe your teeth got knocked out in your drunken accident), you are now set on finding a dentist. Anyone who clicks on the attorney ad after that point wouldn’t be doing so intentionally. For all we know, Google Adwords may credit this click back to us.

    Second, does this bug only occur when you do back to back searches? If so, the ad isn’t completely irrelevant, is it? We had to do a search to trigger the ad originally, so if we do receive the click, we can’t say it’s a complete waste (of course, we have Google Analytics to tell us if that’s the case :) ).

    All in all, yes, it probably needs to be fixed. But it’s not the end of the world.

    Again, good catch!

  4. admin Says:

    ha, yes — i don’t want to waste my clients’ moolah to test!

    i see your point, but what if the two industries are more closely related like ‘tennis shoes’ and ‘running shoes’. if someone searches for tennis shoes, changes their mind and then searches for running shoes, clicks on an ad that bid on ‘tennis shoes’, but NOT running shoes, would that shoe company then be charged for the click? because the searcher has already determined they are looking for running shoes at this point, NOT tennis shoes.


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