Table of Contents - Jump to a Section
- The Death of Affiliate Marketing?
- Maturing From A Get-Rich-Quick Platform
- Secrets of the Seven-Figure-Income Super Affiliates
- Before You Spend A Dime On Google Adwords
- Understanding A Key Google Metric: Quality Score
- It All Begins With Your Keyword Research
- Group Your Keywords Into Categories
- Build Landing Pages Specific To Each Of These Categories
- Set up Your Adwords Account
- Write Ads for “Groups” Of Keywords
- Optimize Your Adwords Settings
- Tips For Setting Your Daily Budget
- Split Test & Track Your Results
- Further Your Education
Some are calling it “The Death of Affiliate Marketing On Google.”
And while experience tells us that's a pretty bold, over-the-top claim, affiliates interested in purchasing pay-per-click traffic through Google Adwords need to pay close attention to the lesson that follows.
Because sweeping changes have been taking place on Google's ad network over the last six months that are going to forever change the face of affiliate marketing.
Affiliates with a “get-rich-quick” mentality will crash and burn.
While a handful of savvy affiliates committed to long-term business growth and success are going to enjoy increased market share.
You see Google is on a rampage of sorts right now. They're purging their entire ad network of websites that offer visitors limited standalone value, tossing them out on their heads.
“How dare they?!?!,” you ask?
Well, keep in mind that Google is a business, plain and simple, not a philanthropic volunteer manager of all things search. And Google's client is NOT you, the business owner, but rather the end users — the millions of people who visit their search engine to find information every day.
If Joe Public doesn't find value in the websites that appear when they click on Google's ads, then guess what? Joe Public will stop clicking on these ads — and Google won't generate an income.
So no matter whether you're interested in …
- Ranking in Google's organic (a.k.a. free) search results, or
- You want to buy instant traffic from Google via Adwords
You need to step back and examine your overall site and business model from Google's perspective.
Making your fortune with Google Adwords used to be this simple …
- You signed up as an affiliate for a few related products
- Built a small site to promote these products with limited content
- Opened an Adwords account
- Set up your ad campaign
- Plugged in a credit card number
- And voila…
Instant traffic and sales!
It was an easy formula to follow and an easy way to get rich.
Millions of dollars in affiliate commissions exchanged hands as the Adwords network slowly became flooded with mini affiliate sites, jammed with little more than banners, affiliate links, and a few hyped up paragraphs of sales copy.
And by 2005, Google realized they had a problem.
Their ad network was sinking under the weight of garbage websites that were providing searchers with little value.
So the sweeping changes began…
Fast-forward to today and you'll see the golden age is now over and success with Google Adwords is not nearly so easy.
Yes, there are still affiliates making their fortunes with the help of Adwords, spending $10,000+ PER DAY on clicks and generating profits of well over seven figures annually!
We see daily proof of SellHealth affiliates making their fortunes using this 500lb gorilla of PPC networks.
But these are savvy entrepreneurs who:
- Invest considerable time and money creating a unique experience for their website visitors.
- Carefully balance thoughtfully chosen promotions with valuable content.
- Establish an ongoing relationship with their market via email, social networking, forums, etc.
- Leverage the expertise of third-party Adwords gurus to hone their skills.
- Commit to ongoing testing, never settling and never assuming what works today is going to work tomorrow.
If you think this sounds like a lot of work, you're right. It is.
Fresh, relevant content generation has become the name of the game.
And creating ANY sort of content — whether it's articles, blogs, videos, discussion forums, audio interviews, etc — can be time consuming and costly.
That's why now, for the first time since the birth of Adwords, there's a fresh, potentially lucrative opportunity for committed affiliates to push ahead and gain market share as Google strips their ad network of imposters.
You CAN make money with Google Adwords as an affiliate. Plain and simple. But it's also frighteningly easy to lose your shirt if you do it WRONG.
Over the years, we've heard endless horror stories of site owners “turning on” their Adwords campaigns, walking away for a week, and coming back to bills in the $1000s — with NO sales to show for it!
So this lesson aims to offer you education and protection:
- Giving you an introductory overview of the steps you must take to be successful…
- While pointing you to valuable resources that will help further your education and keep you from making costly mistakes!
And the first, most important lesson, is this:
No matter whether you're aiming to rank at the top of Google's organic (a.k.a. “free”) search results, or you're purchasing traffic in their Adwords network…
Google always favors RELEVANT websites with fresh, quality content!
It's naive to think you can slap up a five-page website jammed with affiliate links, turn on Google Adwords, and then relax while the commissions roll in.
Sure. Google will happily take your money…
But expect to pay exorbitant costs per click that make the mere thought of turning a profit laughable.
If you want to:
- Earn high visibility in the network
- Attract MORE clicks to your ads
- While paying LESS per click
- And enjoying top sales conversions
You will need to commit to developing your website as a quality resource, with standalone value.
In the good ol' days, bidding for traffic was simple.
You told Google the maximum cost-per-click you were willing to pay for any single keyword. And you were able to see what “rank” your ad earned in the paid listings for this price.
Bid more, rank higher… Bid less, rank lower…
Today it's not NEARLY this simple.
You still choose your keywords, your maximum bid for each keyword, and your total daily budget. But Google has ultimate control over your listing position and impression frequency (i.e. how often your ad appears).
And it's all driven by a key metric that Google calls “Quality Score.”
Here's Google's definition of it:
“The AdWords system calculates a ‘Quality Score' for each of your keywords. It looks at a variety of factors to measure how relevant your keyword is to your ad text and to a user's search query. A keyword's Quality Score updates frequently and is closely related to its performance. In general, a high Quality Score means that your keyword will trigger ads in a higher position and at a lower cost-per-click (CPC).”
Simply put, Quality Score is a measure of how closely your ad and landing page match the needs and objectives of searchers for any given keyword.
Each keyword is assigned a “Quality Score” out of 10.
A score of 0-3 out of 10 is considered POOR.
A score of 4-6 out of 10 is considered AVERAGE (room for improvement).
A score of 7+ out of 10 is GOOD/EXCELLENT.
Generally speaking, keywords with LOW quality scores are displayed less frequently and will cost you more per click. And keywords with HIGH quality scores are displayed more frequently, closer to the top of the ad listings, and can eventually cost you LESS per click.
So as you can see, it's in your best interest to create a campaign that optimizes your Quality Score for each keyword!
To get a complete explanation of Quality Score and how it's calculated directly from Google, you can click here now.
So now that you understand the end goal is to run a campaign that earns high “Quality Scores,” we can reverse engineer the process it takes to get there.
And no big surprise, a good PPC campaign both begins and ends with keyword selection — i.e. brainstorming the list of words and phrases that potential clients are using to find your products, services, and information.
It's a process that most affiliates find deceivingly simple…
Yet it's EASY to overlook keywords that receive high volumes of searches… neglect keywords with limited competition… or choose the wrong keywords entirely.
Building a comprehensive keyword list will begin with a simple 20-minute pen-to-paper brainstorming session.
But it should not END there.
Because there are some fantastic research tools available that allow you to tap into metrics collected by search engines on their daily queries to see:
- What keyword combinations your market is searching
- How often they're searching each individual term
- How much competition exists for each keyword
- Popular misspellings, plurals, abbreviations, and phrasings you may not have thought of!
Plus much more!
The two keyword selection tools we recommend you start with are:
Google Adwords Keyword Tool – FREE! https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal
The obvious benefits of using Google's keyword tool are (1) it's free, (2) it's Google-specific, and (3) it will save and import keywords you like into Adwords.
Personally, we're big fans of this tool; it's a great place to start your research. However, the drawbacks are that you aren't offered the same brainstorming and list management tools offered by paid services.
Wordtracker — http://www.wordtracker.com
After experimenting with a variety of paid keyword research tools over the years, Wordtracker remains our standout favorite for non-techies.
It offers comprehensive tools that facilitate brainstorming and help you dig deep into the search results to locate valuable “long tail keywords” that have decent search volume but limited competition.
Plus, their keyword list management tools allow you to save multiple projects and lists for exporting into Adwords.
Wordtracker is not cheap, but they offer multiple levels of subscription and a free trial to get you started. A worthwhile investment.
When you brainstorm that first list of keywords, you'll probably come up with roughly 20 variations of terms and phrases your potential clients might search before you run dry.
That's when you'll turn to the keyword research tools we've referenced above.
From there, your keyword list will explode.
Because chances are good these research tools are going to give you literally HUNDREDS of keyword variations that simply haven't crossed your mind.
And that's when you need to start methodically grouping your related keywords.
You won't run the SAME ad to all of your keywords. For example, if you were promoting GenF20, our best-selling anti-aging nutritional supplement, each of these keywords would require a different ad:
- “anti aging supplement”
- “reduce wrinkles”
- “look younger”
- “improve memory”
- “feel younger more energy”
If you used the SAME ad for all of these keywords, your Quality Score would be terrible, your costs-per-click would skyrocket, and you would see pathetically low click-through rates.
Why? Because people searching these terms all have different needs.
So instead, you want to group similar keywords into categories with the plan to:
- Write individual ads for each keyword group
- Create individual landing pages on your site for each keyword group
This will not only help to ensure you enjoy a high Quality Score, it improves your chances of enjoying high sales conversions as well!
Once you've brainstormed and categorized your list of keywords, it's time to create individual landing pages for each keyword group.
For example, let's say you've brainstormed three keyword groups for GenF20:
Keyword Category #1 – Anti-Aging Supplement
anti aging supplement
anti aging supplements
anti aging natural supplement
best anti aging supplement
anti aging dietary supplement
anti aging vitamin supplement
Keyword Category #2 – Look Younger
look younger instantly
look 20 years younger
make yourself look younger
look five years younger
look much younger
Keyword Category #3 – Reduce Wrinkles
how to reduce wrinkles
reduce face wrinkles
reduce facial wrinkles
products to reduce wrinkles
products that reduce wrinkles
You could point all of your ads to the SAME destination URL – like your homepage at www.yoursite.com.
But if your site reviews a wide range of health supplements, it's unrealistic to expect the visitor who has arrived through your “Reduce Wrinkles” ad to spend 2-5 minutes exploring your website to find info relevant to their needs.
- If they don't see what they're looking for within the first 10 seconds of entering your website, they'll leave…
- You'll have wasted good money on clicks…
- And Google will punish your naivety with a low Quality Score. (Less visibility, less traffic, higher costs-per-click!)
Instead of driving traffic from your Adwords campaigns into your homepage, you should be creating custom landing pages for each keyword category.
For example, in this case you'd create:
- An “anti-aging supplements” landing page at www.yoursite.com/antiagingsupplements
- A “look younger” landing page at www.yoursite.com/lookyounger
- A “reduce wrinkles” landing page at www.yoursite.com/reducewrinkles
Each landing page would feature product recommendations, reviews, and content geared toward someone with the very specific focus of:
“anti aging supplements”
And each landing page would make liberal use of the keywords that appear in that specific keyword group (without overdoing it at the risk of being penalized by Google).
This will not only improve your Quality Score… it's a proven strategy for improving your sales conversions, too!
Once you've brainstormed your keywords, categorized them, and built keyword specific landing pages, you'll be ready to set up your Google Adwords account.
Google makes this process easy.
Go to http://adwords.google.com and click the “Get Started” button. You'll be prompted through their sign up process, and in less than 5 minutes you'll have a Google Adwords account.
Once inside, though, resist the urge to set up a campaign to run in the first 15 minutes. Google DOES make setting up your first campaign VERY easy because they want you to experience the addictive rush of “turning on” the flood of traffic to your website.
But be warned…
Newbies typically overlook settings and features that REDUCE your costs and IMPROVE your overall results!!!
An extra hour or two spent reading the educational resources recommended at the end of this article will help you navigate the Adwords interface like a professional and choose the best settings to maximize your overall profits.
The basics of writing an Adwords ad are simple. You have:
- 25 characters available for the headline
- 35 characters for a first line of ad text
- 35 characters for a second line of ad text
- 35 characters for a display URL
This includes spaces and punctuation!
Fortunately, Google Adwords makes an ad text editor available, which makes writing and brainstorming ads in this format a snap.
The general philosophy for writing effective ads is to:
- Feature your keywords in the headline of your ad — this is an extremely effective, proven strategy, so start by doing this!
- In the second and third lines, feature a specific, relevant benefit your website has to offer visitors — something directly related to the reason they're performing a search for that specific keyword!
- Feature the same relevant keywords in your display URLs whenever possible.
And this point can't be overemphasized: Write ads in the same language your customer is searching and connect with your prospects on their terms, reflecting back the benefits they're actively seeking.
Here is NOT the place to introduce new concepts, features, or brand names searchers are unfamiliar with. Save that for your sales process.
Once you've written keyword-specific ads that point to keyword-specific landing pages, you're nearly ready to turn on the campaign!
Before you do, though, here are some quick tips for settings to check:
- Turn OFF traffic from the Content Network. Under Campaign settings >> Select Networks & Devices >> Select “Let Me Choose” — and UNCHECK the boxes next to both the “Content Network” and “Search Partners.” This will ensure you ads only appear when people do direct searches on Google — a better, safer place to start when you're new to Adwords.
- Choose “exact match” over “broad match” and “phrase match” for each of your keywords to start. This limits your risk by ensuring that only people who type in the EXACT keyword you've specified will see your ad. Once you've determined what exact match keywords work, you can begin testing broad and phrase match.
- Include a list of “negative keywords” for each ad; words and phrases you don't want the ad to appear for. (Simply add the keywords to your list with a minus sign “-” in front of them.) This is a strategy used by ALL of the most successful Adwords account managers. For example, if you sold food for pet rabbits, you might want to add “Easter Bunny” and “Easter Eggs” as negative keywords, so you don't waste money on completely unqualified traffic.
- Choose a keyword bid price LOWER than Google's suggested bid price. It's better to start LOW with your bids and daily budget, monitor the results, and increase slowly based on positive results.
- Aim to have your ads appear within the first five listings — it's the top eight to eleven ads that are rotated through the first five ad positions that appear on page one of Google in the search results. Your maximum bid, quality score, and click-through rate will all impact how often your ad appears.
Setting your daily budget in Adwords can be tricky.
If your website is new, you'll need to experiment and should expect to lose money in the early days of your campaign as you figure out what you can afford to pay per click while remaining profitable.
On the other hand, if your website is established, it's relatively easy to figure out the value of a single visitor to your website.
You calculate total profits for, say, 30 days. Divide this by the total number of visitors your website generated over this same timeframe. And you've got the total value of a SINGLE visitor to your website.
(Calculating this number using MORE data makes it MORE accurate.)
For example, let's say your total commissions for the month of January were $1,500.00 — and your site generated 500 visitors during this time.
The total value of a single visitor = $1,500 divided by 500 = $3.00 per visitor.
This means you could afford to bid a maximum of $3.00 per visitor to break even.
We've really simplified this here; if you've got a big, complex site where you promote a wide variety of products, you should break this down by page, product, and keyword group.
And it's worth noting, too, that organic traffic tends to convert sales at a higher rate than PPC traffic (people are less trusting of sites they click to via ads).
But at least this gives you a starting point!
To remain profitable, you can't spend MORE per click than the value of a single visitor to your business!
Of course, that said, when Google asks you to set your daily budget, you need to try not to be too conservative or Google will give your ads low priority.
Tools To Help You Estimate Costs Per Click On Keywords:
Google's Traffic Estimator Tool is supposed to help you estimate cost-per-click for any given keyword, but the results it returns are not always accurate.
One of the most beautiful aspects of Adwords is that they've made it dead simple to test multiple ads to the SAME group of keywords.
Add as many text ads as you please, and Google will display them alternately, showing you the impressions, clicks, and clickthrough rates generated by each one. You can also control whether Google displays the ads equally, or favors the better performing ads.
To start, select “Rotate: show ads more evenly” to make sure you get accurate data for each ad.
Drive the traffic for each ad to a separate landing page. Then see which one performs better over time using Google's Conversion Tracker, which gives you simple code to copy and paste into the thank-you page displayed after visitors take action (i.e. buy, subscribe).
3 More FREE Tools We Highly Recommend For Tracking Key Metrics:
Google's Website Optimizer Tool – for testing multiple variations of landing pages.
Google Analytics – for comprehensive tracking of all your website traffic.
Google Adwords Editor – for managing large-scale campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads.
We know from experience (and from writing some whopping-huge monthly commission checks)… Google Adwords can be an extremely valuable source of traffic for any affiliate business.
However, your success with it will be ultimately determined by your willingness to heed the advice of those who've walked before you.
It's true that many affiliate go on to earn six- and seven-figure incomes using Adwords as their sole source of traffic. But Adwords marketing is NOT for the faint of heart and overzealous trail blazers can quickly find themselves holding a jaw-dropping credit card bill with no sales to show for it.
As we mentioned earlier, this lesson is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to affiliate marketing in Google Adwords.
It's merely an introduction highlighting some of the more advanced strategies we see generating daily successes for our top affiliates.
So before you dive headlong into your first major Adwords campaign, you'd be well-advised to further your education with these industry leading resources:
The Definitive Guide to Google Adwords, by Perry Marshall & Bryan Todd
ROIRevolution.com – Google Adwords Certified Trainers & Resources
Google Adwords Learning Center – Google's own training center for Adwords
Wordtracker.com – Excellent source of advanced keyword research tutorials
Here's to YOUR success with Adwords!