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404S Generated By Google Site Extension Ads On A Wordpress Platform


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6 replies to this topic

#1 DJKay

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 10:18 PM

Alright...this one is a real stumper. Upfront, it could go in a few different categories on the forum but I am putting it here. Jill will move it if it needs to go else where. Buckle up and here we go...

We just launched a new product on a WordPress platform. Its going awesome!! The development group I outsourced it too is awesome and specializes in WordPress [among other things]. The site is wicked fast, clean, has rich snippets, cool subject..The site is growing in traffic..its .freakin awesome..yeah baby! And a refreshing project all around...now here is the fly in the ointment.

From July 1st on, we have been getting these 404 errors, very weird, for urls that look like mydomain.com/keyword+keyword/

At first glance, it looked like they were a tagging thing, except, when the project person working on the site researched it further, the urls looked like they were coming from dynamically inserted keyword site extension ads. Full disclosure, we do use adwords for the site, its a content site, so we are doing some ppc, display and remarketing campaigns. The call to action is to sign up for a newsletter and the conversion [ atleast for right now..its just getting started building an audience] is the newletter sign up. They were going well and we had a little room in the advertising budget so I decided to test some site link extension ads.

Now the funny thing is, the 404s start happening exactly at the time I started with the site extension ads. I called Google and talked to a rep, we reviewed the account and campaigns are set up properly. The weird urls in question, mydomain.com/keyword+keyword/ is the display url in the site extension dynamic keyword insertion ads. Of course, underneath that display url is the destination url and those are set up correctly with tracking and work fine. I verified all of this with the rep.

So the ads look something like:

Keyword Keyword: News and information on blah blah that impacts your bottom line
mydomain.com/keyword+keyword/

Site link (1) Site Link (2)
Site link (3) Site Link (4)

Again, the destination url under these ads is fine and works fine but its definately not mydomain.com/keyword+keyword/. Now, it could be that people are seeing this and typing it in, but given the nature of the web, it seems unlikely and the number of times these 404s are getting fired off makes it unlikely.

Now here is the kick in the head, what do I do about it? Short of shutting off the site link extension adwords campaign. ????

How can I set up 301 redirects for queries generated by Google's dynamic keyword insertion ads when I don't know what query google is serving up until they try to access my site through one of my ads? Short of getting adword management software that manages dynamic keyword insertion and works with your CMS to deliver a page on your site at the end of the query that is customized to that query. Major bucks there and won't be spending the money any time soon for that...

So I am stuck with a list of 404s that look like mydomain.com/keyword+keyword/ and the list keeps growing day by day. I am waiting to hear back from Google adwors as they are researching it and having a developer look at it.

So any thoughts on this head scratcher would be greatly appreciated. You guys are just truely great...forum members are super smart, so maybe you know of something with WordPress and how it generates it urls, 404s and site extension ads that use dynamic keyword insertion that could help me figure this out.

Thanks in advance. DJKay

PS. One last thing, the tracking urls under each of the site links in the ads are set up correctly and working. I checked those also with the Google Rep..

#2 Jill

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 09:33 AM

Does GWMT provide any further clues?

#3 chrishirst

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 11:36 AM

How can I set up 301 redirects for queries generated by Google's dynamic keyword insertion ads


You cannot redirect any Adwords "landing page" URLs as it is contrary to Adwords ToS, what to may have to do is to capture the requested URI on your 404 URL with PHP, then use an include() statement to pull in and send the correct content to the user agent.

The fact that the 404 document is scripted means it WILL return a 200 response AFTER the 404 has triggered the 404 URL to be requested and served out and you will have to make allowances for that if your PHP does not trigger an include.

#4 DJKay

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 07:48 PM

Jill- I am going to look at GWMT again...I did not see anything else except the 404s. Like I said, its a clean site - pretty new...Launched end of April this year.

Chrishirst -

what to may have to do is to capture the requested URI on your 404 URL with PHP, then use an include() statement to pull in and send the correct content to the user agent.

The fact that the 404 document is scripted means it WILL return a 200 response AFTER the 404 has triggered the 404 URL to be requested and served out and you will have to make allowances for that if your PHP does not trigger an include.


I am not a developer so I don't totally get what you mean here but I will have the development team look into this. Its sounds like it could work.

Again, thanks for the help everyone. DJKay

#5 DJKay

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 02:14 PM

Its been really busy..sorry..so an update..of course, Google Adwords came back and said it was nothing wrong with the set up or had to do with them.

So, I will email the development group and see what we can do with what chrishirst suggested.

chrishirst - what are the implications [if any] that your solution suggests? Will it decrease the load time on the site? Anything I should be aware of in this solution?

Thanks, DJKay

#6 chrishirst

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 01:52 PM

Not unless your server hardware is grossly overloaded or waaaay underpowered, I run an entire website on the same principle and it handles everything that search engines can throw at it on a fast crawl

#7 DJKay

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 12:59 PM

Site is hosted on media temple...the developer implemented your fix. I am waiting a bit before I check GWMT again. Thanks DJKay




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