Category Archives: Google

Google TKOs Adwords API developers

In what can only be described as a blatant attempt to control Adwords data, Google has started to delete Adwords API developer tokens en-masse based on thresholds and reasons seemingly only to them.

I received the following email this afternoon, which I initially thought was an error (emphasis mine):

As stated in the AdWords API Terms and Conditions (Section II.4), we periodically review AdWords API activity. We noticed that there has been low usage of the AdWords API developer token associated with your My Client Center (MCC) manager ID XXXXXXXXXX in the last 30 days. For the purpose of ensuring quality, improving Google products and services and compliance with AdWords API Terms and Conditions, we have disabled this token.

If you wish to re-apply for the token, please visit the AdWords API Center in your account. Remember to answer the following in detail if you re-apply for the token:

  1. Describe the uses of your API application or tool with specific examples. For instance, account management or bid optimization.
  2. Who is or will be using your API application or tool? For example, colleagues in your company or advertisers or agencies to whom you are selling the tool.
  3. Please attach screenshots of your API application or tool. If the application or tool is yet to be developed, please provide relevant design documentation.
  4. Please provide a list of clients that will be using your API application or tool in an automated way.

Please know that that we will take between 5 and 6 weeks to process all developer token re-applications.

The AdWords API Team

TL;DR – We got screwed for ‘low volume’ usage, we can request re-inclusion but it will take 5-6 weeks.

It would be great to know what Google considers to be ‘low volume’. The developer token in question is used by our research tools (which matches the original application description) and makes under 500,000 API calls per month. Our usage is mostly all at once (pulling fresh data) plus ad-hoc usage throughout the month as new data is requested (sure, this is mostly KeywordEstimator queries). The thing is, there are people on the Adwords support forums who are making in excess of 8 million API calls per month and have also been disabled – so what exactly constitutes low volume, and how much data do we need to pull in order to get re-included?

My theory is that these blanket rejections are actually nothing at all to do with volume of usage. Instead, I think they’re entirely to do with specific usage patterns only. Google doesn’t like 3rd party apps using their keyword volumes for automated keyword research as they see this as ‘gaming’ – instead they want to control the spread of this data through captcha-controlled properties of their own.

This is of course great news for tools like Wordtracker who, once they get their own access back (and they will), will likely clean up in the SEO market as everyone seeks an alternative method to accessing Adwords data outside of the Google API.

Google using H2 tags in SERP descriptions

While doing some research in a niche that I have a couple of affiliate sites I noticed a weird SERP snippet showing up for an URL:

Google using H2 tags

It starts up with truncated meta description and then goes straight into using the H2 tags on the page along with a “5+ items” indicator. I’ve seen Google substitute heading tags for the title shown in the SERP before, but never for the snippet and certainly never in this manner.

Is it new?

UPDATE: looks like this is a perm change to the SERPs and not just a bucket test – New snippets for list pages (Google Search blog).

Is Caffeine Behind Broken UK SERPs?

Google LogoIn a post on the Webmaster Central Blog, Google have announced the immediate availability of a test sandbox for what they are calling “Caffeine”. Described as “the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions”, Caffeine is a looking glass into the future SERPs.

The real question though is: is Caffeine the reason the UK SERPs are broken?

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Google Adding Links Into Suggest?

Screenshot of the Google Suggest tool with direct linksI’m not sure if this is new or not, but Google have apparently started adding links directly into the Google Suggest drop-down box (right). You won’t see this on a Google UK search, but switch over to and you should get something similar.

As you’d expect, the link is what would appear in position #1 of the query suggestion at the top of the pile but I do wonder how this affects rank tracking tools that rely on Google’s ranking data in referrer strings.
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