Where did the traffic go for my best keyword?

A reader wonders:

I have been using one particular keyword that has been garnering lots of impressions and clicks over the past 8 days.  Today, nothing. What happened?

My reply:

Several things may have happened. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Google may have reassessed your quality score. If it went from Great or OK to Poor, then your current bid may not be enough to put your ad on the first page of search results.

2. Did you activate position preferences? If so, you may be bidding for positions 4-6 while limited your ads to positions 1-2, for example. In that case, your ad would stop showing completely.

3. You may have new competition: more or higher bidders.

4. You may have maxed out your monthly budget a little early.

Here’s what I would do:

1. Show the quality score of your keyword. (The Look Over My Shoulder AdWords Video Series has a nice video tutorial on how to do this.) If it’s poor, then click the details link to find out why.

2. Use the Ad Diagnostic tool to see why your ad isn’t currently showing.

If neither of those methods reveals the path to keyword salvation, then you might want to reach out for help. You can try contacting AdWords help, or call in a pro. (Gentle plug: this sort of situation is exactly why I created the Ring of Fire coaching club. Included in the Ring of Fire is a Help Desk, manned by me, to get you the answers you need without having to hire me as a private consulting client.)

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