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Latest Google Rules Hit Affiliates

Apr 8, 2008
Google has changed its rules affecting Adwords advertising, as it does every so often. This time it is getting tough on the use of the display URLs for adverts. The display URL must match the actual destination URL exactly.

Where's the problem? Well, the easiest way to advertise as an affiliate is to link your advert directly to the merchant's page. You used to be able to do that so long as your URL was different from the merchant's URL, which you could do with a tinyurl redirect URL or a redirect page.

Generally, the merchant advertises using his own ULR, so you can't use it. If he does not advertise, then you have a chance of using it. But to do so you will need to compete with a lot of other hot marketers. Why? Because Google only allows any URL to appear once in the adverts for any keyword.

Affiliates now need their own websites

This means that affiliates will be obliged to have their own websites, and to do well, each website will need to have the keyword in it somewhere. This will make it very difficult for people who market hundreds of products, purely through direct-link advertising.

There is really no choice but to have a web page of some sort for each product. Again, to do well, that page will need to be rated highly by Google, otherwise you will pay a lot for your adverts. The solution is to market several products in one niche, and use a domain name that matches the niche.

In other words, your landing page, which is where you send the prospects from the advert, will need to have plenty of text about the thing you are selling. If you selling a dog training guide, the page will need to be about dog training.

Will redirect pages work?

One sneaky way around it is to use a redirect page, which has some JavaScript code in the head which redirects people to the merchant's page. To pass the test of relevance, that page will also need to have at least 300 words of keyword-rich text about the product you are selling, or that market.

Search engines do not read JavaScript when ranking web pages, but there is nothing to stop Google setting up robots for Adwords that do read JavaScript, or at least flag a problem, and rate the page badly so you end up paying more. This is a possibility. Some people suggest that you will get banned. I'm a bit doubtful myself because Google makes nearly all its money from Adwords adverts, and wants to keep it that way. But it is probably not worth risking.

is this big business v the small guy?

Some folk think that this is the big corporations ganging up to push the small man out. Well, it might be, and it will not help the small operator, because it is much easier for a multi-million dollar company to set up plenty of landing pages for products than it is for a small guy.

It looks to me as if Adwords advertisers are getting the same bullet that Adsense publishers got a couple of years ago, and guess what? The solution is the same. Make sure that you do send the prospect to a landing page that is relevant to your advert, and provide a way for him or her to sign up for your list at the same time.

That way, you will be turning a problem into an opportunity, and that is the secret of success in business.
About the Author
For FREE reports and the latest reviews of affiliate marketing products and services go to www.reallyusefulmarketing.com - which is run by John Hartley.
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