What Google’s “Upgraded URLs” for AdWords Mean for You

Lorna Gill Posted by Lorna Gill

Upgraded URLs from Google should make AdWords easier for everyone: here’s what you need to know.

Google has recently changed the way URLs work within the AdWords framework. Before, the tracking and landing page information was rolled into a single URL – under the new system, this information is discrete and users can change each part of it separately.

Previously, when you changed any part of this information, the ad had to be taken down until Google approved the changes. When Google’s update is complete, you’ll be able to change the tracking part independently and keep your ad online.

What’s Happening?

Previously, the tracking and landing page information came in the form www.website.com?web=48298, the first part being the landing page and the second part being the tracking information. Now, you can control each part independently, in its own field on the AdWords interface.

Google has begun making these changes to people’s accounts and plans to complete its transition to the new system in July.

The time during which your ad would be taken down while Google checked it for internet-readiness posed a serious problem to users of the old system. The protocol meant you either had to choose a time when you could afford to have your ad offline, or risk losing traffic by taking it down at an inopportune moment.

Having to make this choice was an arguably unfair ruling on Google’s part, as tracking information doesn’t affect user experience.

Meanwhile, the data for that ad, including its quality score, would be reset, meaning that it would have to be built back up again to get the benefits.

Google has also created a hierarchical structure for tracking information. According to Search Engine Land, you can set parameters for your whole account, campaign, ad group, ad keyword, auto target, and sitelink without having to re-review. This is not the case, however, if you change the parameters for an individual ad.

As such, it makes sense to use the other options, thereby keeping your ads online for as long as is possible. These features, of course, make it far easier to gain specific knowledge about your campaign’s performance – for instance, if you wanted to know how well your ads were working among people searching for “watches” on their smartphones.

The Next Steps

These adjustments will make things a lot easier when they take effect, but the transition might be a little tricky – Google details the upcoming changes in its guide on the topic. The top thing to remember is that you can manually upgrade to the new system ad by ad, but doing so will trigger an additional review process for each change.

Google’s guide splits advertisers into groups according to how they use AdWords and, accordingly, how Google thinks you should manage the changeover.

If you don’t use tracking, for example, Google recommends the “Basic” switchover, through which you can just let the changes take effect automatically without re-reviews and the loss of your quality score data.

The “Advanced” upgrade method is at the other end of the spectrum, intended for webmasters with third-party tracking systems and redirects.

By using this method, you’ll trigger re-reviews for your ads, but you’ll be able to access more AdWords goodies after the switch –perks unavailable for other changeover types. The switch shouldn’t be a problem as long as you know the best course for your brand, so it’s best to consult Google’s guide to plan ahead.

This changeover is typical Google: big on the features, big on the complexity, and you’d better play ball when Google wants you to play. Upgraded URLs, however, should massively improve the quality of your AdWords in the long term. So plan well in advance, and good luck with the changes!

(Main image credit: Google)

About the author

Lorna Gill
Lorna Gill
Lorna is responsible for acquisition marketing at Adthena, communicating their award-winning product and generating demand. She has developed her career in fast-paced, start-up environments, including two tech track 100 companies and is passionate about translating technical information into stories that excite and delight.