Google Ads Brand Attacks…Misspellings as a Workaround (i.e. Nagage)

While Google allows bidding on other firms’ brands (think Coke bidding on people looking for Pepsi), it doesn’t let Coke use Pepsi’s name in the text of the advertisement itself. So for example, while Mockingbird can bid on Scorpion, we couldn’t have an add that says, “Don’t get trapped by Scorpion’s proprietary website platform” or “Scorpion won’t give you access to Google Ads campaigns, but we do.” Part of Google’s position on this, I suspect, is to avoid the potential subjective call of Coke pretending it is Pepsi. While that may be an unlikely mistake for big well known brands, its much more of an issue for mostly unbranded industries, such as…legal.

One sneaky work around for this is misspellings of the patsy’s brand name. To whit…here’s Apex Chat advertising their superiority to…Nagage on a search query for “ngage chat.”

Note that Apex is bidding pretty aggressively as they are outbidding Ngage on their own brand and presumably have a much lower quality score for that term. Think this is just an innocent spelling mistake? Oh your naivety amuses me. Here’s another ad from Apex showcasing how they deliver more features and more leads than…Nagage.

As our Director of Advertising told me, it’s most likely against the rules, but could probably work for a while though…until it gets flagged. And Nagage Ngage, don’t send me a thank you note…you are on SEO Santa’s naughty list too. Just hope Scropion doesn’t notice our ads…

Google SEO Penalty for Chat Pop-ups Coming?

Ichat penalty‘ve long ranted against many of the implementations of chat conversions – especially on mobile devices – in which the chat is so aggressive that it covers up content, as well as all other forms of conversion – phone numbers and form fills.  In most cases, chat implementations are configured to maximize revenue for the chat provider, NOT the law firm.  Some providers have gone so far to refuse to allow customization of how aggressively their chat is implemented.  This is further exacerbated by most vendors positioning their service as a marketing channel instead of what it truly is – a conversion channel.  (i.e. just because someone ultimately converted through chat – the marketing cost for that user should still be attributed to SEO, Adwords, Avvo etc.)

This is even worse on mobile implementations – with both limited screen size and a (very) high converting device (a phone) being overruled by the obnoxious chat box.

Don’t get me wrong, chat works – just pick your vendor very very carefully.

But that may all change on January 10th.  Google has announced a penalty on sites implementing intrusive interstitials (those annoying pop up chat boxes would fall into this category). While chat isn’t specifically called out, the announcement does describe the concerns; including interstitials that cover the main content as they “provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible”.  Google very specifically calls this out as a SEO penalty for mobile – those types of pages “may not rank as highly”.

While Google has said “responsible interstitials” may remain – based on their description, I read the tealeaves as meaning chat pop ups that very quickly and aggressive cover content and all other forms of conversion most likely will incur an SEO penalty for mobile based searches.