Google AdWords Clobbers Affiliate Sellers


First, we must understand their point of view. Unlike some other search engines, Google is committed to providing the best quality search results possible. That is an admirable effort, and they are certainly not setting out to do harm to their loyal advertisers who bring them millions in ad revenue each month.

However, a new AdWords regulation will put a crimp on those marketers who run ads using an affiliate URL as a landing page.

Google's reasoning is this.

For any keyword search, a good sized portion of AdWord results has, at least until now, consisted of affiliate ads promoting identical seller sites.

Here is an example.

Before the Holidays, this writer searched Google for the term "chocolate." Of the ten AdWords listings returned on the first page, three were affiliate ads promoting Dans.com, a chocolate maker in Vermont USA. Another ad on the same page belonged to Dan himself.

From Google's viewpoint, and mine as well, that was not a quality search result.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, that won't be happening again. The new AdWords policy states that, for any keyword search, when two or more ads are found that feed to the same affiliate URL, only the ad with the highest popularity and ranking will be displayed.

At the same time, the new AdWord policy cuts a bit of slack, in that affiliate advertisers are no longer required to identify their affiliate status in their ad text. But overall, it has dealt a severe blow to thousands of affiliates, their market exposure, and their potential for income.

So What's The Solution?

There are three things that can be done to regain that exposure.

1. - Optimize the existing ad according to AdWords standards and hope you'll land the top ranking. That will be tough if you're competing against ten or twenty other affiliates who are all doing the same thing.

2. - Create a redirect page on your website that will feed to the seller's page, and use that unique URL as a landing page for the ad. The unique URL alone will successfully circumvent the new AdWords affiliate policy. Still, this may be regarded as somewhat sneaky or unethical.

3. - The best answer can be spelled out in just two words - Content Pages.

To clarify, a content page is just a simple webpage, hosted on your own website, that presents a short (500 words or less) report relating to the product itself or to the related niche.

And of course, your affiliate link will be embedded into that content, rather than being used as a direct link in your AdWords ad. Once again, the unique URL for your content page will effectively and legally get around the new affiliate policy.

Now, I'm a firm believer in content pages. They not only make your site more important to your visitors and to the search engines, they can (when well written and keyword relevant) help to pre-sell the product. An informative content page can often make the difference between a sale and a loss when there happens to be a weak salesletter on the seller's website.

Another advantage ... you can embed multiple [related] affiliate links into a single content page, giving your potential customers several buying options to shop from.

Where Can You Get Content Pages?

It isn't as tough as it might sound. Here are two ways to go about it.

1 - Write the content yourself. Stick to the topic and use relevant keywords/keyphrases to tweak the reader's interest, and that of the search engines as well. A personalized review of the product usually works best, offering your own experience in using it, and your resulting benefits. Then format the content as HTML, optimize the page for search engines, upload it to your site, and use that unique URL in your Google AdWordsTM campaign.

2 - Search for topic related pre-written articles at sites like EzineArticles.com and place your affiliate link(s) in a short blurb before and after the article itself.

Be aware that the terms of use on most public articles do not allow you to edit the body of the article itself, or to omit the author's resource box. Check to make sure you can effectively use the article and still abide by all terms of use.

Dan B. Cauthron is a 30 year direct marketing veteran and has been successful on the Net since 2000.

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