Bing Adopts Payday Loan Ad Ban

A year ago almost to the day, Google announced that it would begin eliminating all payday loan ads and title loan ads from Adwords. Now a year later and Bing has followed suit as payday and title loan companies begin to see a substantial drop in impressions and an uptick in disapproved ads.

Bing pushed out the page and buried it in their resources area at https://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/policies/financial-products-and-services-policies, but without any notice to their loan company customers.

The ban, which is in full effect on Google was defined as;

Payday loans – “Personal loans which require repayment in full in 60 days or less from the date the loan is issued (we refer to these as ‘Short-term personal loans’). This policy applies to advertisers who offer loans directly, lead generators, and those who connect consumers with third-party lenders.”

High interest loans – “In the United States, we do not allow ads for personal loans where the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is 36% or higher. Advertisers for personal loans in the United States must display their maximum APR, calculated consistently with the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).”

Now, Bing has fully adopted the same model and without warning. A Bing representative confirmed the rumor and that they are essentially drawing the line in the sand for what many people deem as predatory lending.

Many of the high interest loan companies don’t see the error of their ways since loaning money to those in need (but to individuals that typically default on their loans) is a high risk business and the high APR’s offset that balance.

This leaves loan companies only one major search engine option (for now) which is Yahoo! and that doesn’t seem like much of an option considering the very small audience that Yahoo! attracts to its search engine when compared to its rivals. However, Yahoo! does bring a lot more to the table than people expect as you can see from our previous post, so all is not lost.

But the question remains how long before Yahoo! also follows the tracks of their peers. In the interim, loan companies should clearly begin to move a bulk of their ad business over to Yahoo! before the onslaught begins. Even though Bing has made the announcement (albeit quietly and stealthily), many ads are still serving, but it’s simply a matter of time, just as Google‘s rollout was before.

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Decline Of Organic. How Relevant Is #1 Anymore?

One of the disturbing trends that has happened on Google is the ever dwindling real estate that used to be set aside for organic listings. While the space itself still exists, being number one on the search engine giant seems to mean less every day.

If a company could get to the number one position o  Google in the past, it meant a wealth of traffic. It was a position that would either make or break some companies. Nowadays it means very little, since the majority of the results page is filled with ads, Google Places listings, reviews, products, and other possibilities. All of which push the #1 organic listing way “below the fold”, meaning that the searcher literally needs to scroll down the page to even see that first organic listing.

Organic

Over the years, many people have learned to note the difference between what’s a paid ad and what is an “organic” listing. But while more people are aware of the difference, the importance of that holy grail of positions means less with every passing algorithm change.

While the paid advertising of years passed was less about relevancy and more about the bidding process, Google has greatly updated the PPC algorithm to integrate with their organic algorithm to more heavily pre-check the site landing page. With that change became a slow progression of increasing trust that clicking on an ad would prove to be more relevant than it had to be in the past.

Google MapIn addition to that element, industry specific searches like “wedding planner”, “nail salons”, and similar business types would also generate a map of the searchers location along with business listings in their area. In most cases, it will be both paid ads, location map, and even products if it remotely makes sense.

The only remaining question is how important does this make your onsite SEO efforts as compared to your paid advertising strategies? Is Google’s move towards making paid ads more prevalent strictly a monetary move for them or do they truly feel that it increases the quality of information shown?

The top organic listings that are shown are by far the more important sites for the searcher since they have gone through a much more arduous analysis by Google’s algorithms to insure that they are the highest relevancy in order to be awarded that positioning.  The problem is that Google has done a fantastic job at diverting that user via a wealth of options before the organic listings. All of which generate revenue for Google.

While paid positioning is far less stringent on the relevancy checks, the quality score still plays a part in deciding which advertiser will outrank other paid advertisers. The map is relevant only in regards to the users location. In the previous example of the “wedding planning” search, the addition for product listings was hit or miss, but because there was so much interpretation in the search term, it took a shot anyway.

That all being said, what is your view of the current state of the SERP? If you’re a paid advertiser, are you screaming, “About time!”? Or if you are an organic promoter, do you feel like your time has now been wasted or do you feel as if it gives you an additional way to push traffic while your organic efforts slowly take shape?

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