Will Be Back Soon

Posted: 30th March 2014 by blackhat in Black Hat PPC

Thanks for all those of you who are still following Black Hat PPC.

We have had to ‘go underground’ for a while, but the day where we will make a return is coming again soon.

We will keep you posted.



Apologies to our readers for being away for a bit. We could blame it on laziness but the real truth is we’ve just been silly busy with our own projects.  Unlilke other PPC blogs out there (cough cough…PPC Hero) we aren’t a blog with a team of writers regurgitating PPC best practice to drive traffic to our own websites for our own gains…

Which is we guess what makes Black Hat PPC different…we our an ad free blog and we are anonymous…we do this blog for one reason and one reason alone…

We dont believe everything our ‘ dont be evil’ friends at Google say. So we voice our opinions against,  lets face it, the biggest and most innovative company in the World. (we think its fair to say we are underdogs!)

Now before you think we are Google haters…we aren’t…the World is a better place for Google, we all have jobs and work in the Search industry as a result of Google. But having said that it doesn’t matter if it’s Google or some other company. ..the issue is that we work in a rapidly developing industry worth millions and millions of dollars/ pounds/euros/ yen/milk tokens. But we want to voice our thoughts  that whilst working with Google we don’t believe everything they say.

Let is take the latest example of Google hippocracy…an article they posted this week on their blog regarding Google Quality Score…


As part of our ongoing efforts to help improve the quality of our ads, we’re announcing an update that changes how each keyword’s 1-10 numeric Quality Score is reported in AdWords. Under the hood, this reporting update will tie your 1-10 numeric Quality Score more closely to its three key sub factors – expected clickthrough rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience. We expect this update to reach all advertisers globally within the next several days.

We’re making this change so that the Quality Score in your reports more closely reflects the factors that influence the visibility and expected performance of your ads. We hope that providing you more transparency into your 1-10 Quality Score will help you improve the quality of your ads.Please note that this is only a change to how a keyword’s 1-10 Quality Score is reported. It does not change how Quality Score is calculated in real-time for each auction, and thus won’t have any direct effect on your ad performance. So unless you have automated rules tied directly to your reported 1-10 Quality Score, your ads should continue to behave as they did before.We believe this improvement will make it easier for you to take specific action to improve your ads and to recognize when your changes are working. Our goal in making this update is to provide you with a better understanding of your Quality Score to help you run a more effective AdWords campaign.

To review the basics of Quality Score, please see our help center article on how to check and understand Quality Score. We also recommend reviewing 10 things you should know about Ads Quality, which addresses frequent questions and common misconceptions on Quality Score and other external factors that influence the performance of your ads.

Posted by Jen Huang, AdWords Product Manager


Thanks Jen for this amazingly vague article! This article implies that Google has changed its Quality Score algorithm. But it doesn’t go into detail about how.

 Well let us tell you how… 

Google has turned its ‘magic dial’ in the background that has improved the overall Quality Score numbers that are being reported across accounts. We track Quality Score across a number of advertisers that we run PPC campaigns for (yeah, contrary to popular belief, we aren’t just PPC geeks sat in a garage somewhere…we have access to Millions of pounds worth of advertiser spend with Google AdWords) and we have seen Quality Score increase dramatically in the last month or so.

Why has Quality Score increased?

Well we’d like to think its thanks to our amazing optimisation skills, however, we have been tracking Quality Score for years now and we have seen increase of up to 2 numbers in the last few weeks across the accounts we monitor. So where as you may have an average Quality Score of 6.5 for your keywords in your account, its all of a sudden jumped to 8.5!!!

Why the dramatic increase in Quality Score?

Simple…in two words…Enhanced Campaigns! 

Enhanced Campaigns means that landing page Quality Score is in totally disarray as advertisers are now landing keywords on both Mobile and Desktop websites, how relevant are each or those landing pages? Sure they are different…but how is Google calculating Quality Score when you have keywords and ads going to different sites? What if your desktop site is optimised to your keywords but your Mobile site is total garbage with no relevance to your keywords or ads? How is Google attributing Quality Score? We dont think even Google know.

Why has Google done this?

Even more simple…they know that there are many PPC professionals out there who track Quality Score. Studies are due to come out any time now showing increase/decrease in CPC’s as a result of Enhanced Campaigns. Everyone in the industry is expecting it, but the funny thing is, that Mobile CPC’s aren’t increasing as much as first estimated (maybe 5% overall) as advertisers are ‘dialling down’ their Mobile Bid Modifiers. Where CPC’s are going up is on Tablet (about 20%) as advertisers have no control over their Tablet bids as they are the same as Desktop bids now. (If you are reading this and dont work in PPC, apologies, we have probably lost you long ago!)

So is it just a coincidence that Google amend their Quality Score algorithm just after Enhanced Campaigns are implemented?

We dont think so. This is just a cunning way of Google hiding the way of CPC’s increasing. They have turned the dial on PPC to increase this nomial score called Quality Score, to give advertisers a better score and can claim that is due to better relevancy of ads. However, as in SEO and PageRank…Quality Score is just a made up number by Google that is a clever way to make Google more money when really only other metrics matter…CPC, Clicks, CTR and Spend.

Okay…rant over. But in summary:

Google have changed their Quality Score algorithm to artificially inflate the number that advertisers see in their accounts in order for them to hide the real truth that CPC’s are increasing as a result of Google Enhanced Campaigns. 

Brought to you by Black Hat PPC.

Googler’s have a new buzz word at the moment! Gone are the days where Google reps couldn’t say 3 words without mentioning either ‘You Tube’ or ‘Mobile’…no thats so 2012…now its all about ‘The Google Stack.’

Now the first question you may ask is…what the hell is The Google Stack?

Well let us explain…

This is Google’s new buzz word and it refers to Google’s suite of products that it can provide to advertisers such as:

  • Google AdWords and Enhanced Campaigns
  • Google Universal Analytics
  • Google’s DS3 bid technology tool
  • Google Tag Manger
  • Google Wallet

to name but a few…but you get the idea.

So why are they going on about The Google Stack?

This is what Google are pitching to advertisers at the moment, with the idea that if advertisers use all of Google products then they will get added benefits from having an integrated solution. A simple idea we’ll admit, except for a few minor points…

  1. Google don’t see it from the advertisers point of view. Advertisers are very cautious of Google and the amount of data it has on their companies which is why many companies wont want to use tools like Google Analytics and DoubleClick because they don’t want Google knowing their companies online revenue.
  2. Google’s tools are inferior to other competiting tools in the market. Google’s DS3 tool is still in its infancy, its bid technology algorithms are still inferior to the other main bid technology providers on the market. And Google Tag Manger doesn’t have any customer support for it at the moment…which is just crazy for a container tag solution and there are much better and more established tag management solutions in the market. (One example of this being Marin…which isn’t compatible with Google’ Remarketing Tags…funny that!)
Why are we writing about The Google Stack?

Because already it is annoying us! Google are going to go on pushing ‘The Google Stack’ to advertisers because it is in Google’s interest to have advertisers using their products. Google get to collect more data that way and have the aim to put the competitor products out of market…why? Because if Google can get advertisers signed up to using their products…aka, the Google Stack…then Google will be able to get rid of digital agencies and work directly with advertisers (which is there 5 year plan.)

So we are starting a new campaign…


The Google Stack

Brought to you by Black Hat PPC.

The BlackHatters were told (thanks guys) about this new and innovative way to improve the CTR rate of your Product Listing Ads (PLA’s) that Firstbathrooms.com has come up with…

Using Naked Chicks in your images!

Check out this ad for the term ‘shower enclosures’…

Nice! They have used a naked girl to model in their shower enclosure image! Definitely makes their ad stand out from their competitors!

And whats even better is when you link through to their landing page, there is a choice of close up images of their shower enclosure…

Liking the photos! 

We are sure this must have improved their CTR but we wonder if their conversion rate has increased as well…maybe the girl comes with the shower enclosure???!??

Not quite sure how Google approved this image, but we would like to see more PLA’s of this type (and maybe some more front on shots!) :-)

Brought to you by Black Hat PPC

A Career in PPC

Posted: 23rd May 2013 by blackhat in Questions & Answers

Thinking of getting into PPC?

What can you expect from a career in PPC?

We were recently asked these questions by a few of our readers (thanks for the support! :-) )

Here’s our guide to the kind of roles and salary expectations you should have for the first 5 years on starting off in a career in PPC…

A career in PPC

Now we understand that this wont be the case for everyone, but if you do find that PPC is your thing, then this should give you a fairly good guide as to the kinds of roles and salaries you can expect from a career in PPC. Whilst currently there is no recognised university qualification for a career in PPC, a lot of people enter the industry with a wide range of qualifications…

So for those who are thinking of a career in PPC, here’s 7 things you should know:

1. You should like puzzles. PPC Accounts are like a big puzzle where you have lots of different factors that you need to all get working in unison, in order for you to get the best performance from your PPC Campaigns.

2.  You should be analytical. There are a lot of numbers that you have to deal with in PPC, so you need to have a good grasp of numbers but you don’t need to be a mathmetician.

3. You need a creative side. You need to be able to write lots of different ad copies in PPC and having that creative side will make your ads stand out from the competition.

4. You should like sociology. You need to get inside the head of consumers. Try to think what keywords people would search for a product or service, what creative message would attract them to come to your website?

5. Constantly changing environment. The rate of innovation in PPC is unlike any other industry thanks to Google. The PPC accounts now are very different to what we were doing just 2 years ago. What PPC will be like in 5 years time is anyone’s guess…but if there is an auction model involved in advertising, then it will be PPC professionals who will be at the forefront of future innovations.

6. Learn about other businesses. In an agency you come across many businesses that you work with to run PPC campaigns for them. You’ll get to learn all about how other industries and businesses work which always help with your own entrepreneurial ideas!

7.No suits! Being in the new media industry you get to dress down a bit. General attire is jeans and trainers which if wearing a suit and a career in Finance isn’t your thing…then PPC isn’t a bad choice when you consider you can earn reasonable money relatively quickly and get to wear casual clothes to work! :-)

If you are interested in a career in PPC, then you can always send your CV to the Black Hatters at blackhat@blackhatppc.co.uk as we have contacts with most of the PPC and Search agencies in the UK and can give recommendations.

Brought to you by Black Hat PPC