Monday, June 11, 2007

So Google Made Another Change...

Though I'm not an affiliate, I've been told and have been reading that it's happened again. Google made another algo change that is crippling affiliates. There's an interesting thread regarding the new change at Webmaster World. From what I can gather, some affiliates have had keywords they've been bidding on for a long period of time go from a great rating to a poor rating overnight. The big problem with this is that their minimum CPC has gone up as much as 20X! (No. I don't believe that any keyword CPC would increase by 20X!)

I really don't understand a whole lot about these Google algo updates that seem to happen more and more frequently. But... it seems as though after each update, we get about 5 days worth of blog and forum posts ranting about the update, and declaring this to be the end of affiliate marketing.

A friend explained the update to me. And if his explanation is true, I'll go on record and thank Google. According to my friend, this update has to do with landing pages. If you simply provide a page with links and a bit of info prior to sending the visitor on to another website, Google will eventually find you and declare your link "poor".

As the Affiliate Manager for Blair.com, I say fine by me. I don't mind Blair.com affiliates using adwords to send traffic to Blair.com. Heck -- I try to post our Top-25 Search Terms on occasion to aid affiliates. What I would expect in return, though, is a bit more than a landing page with a link or two. How's about adding a description of Blair.com and YOUR thoughts on the company? Maybe some testimonials from your site visitors? What I'm looking for is anything that will help someone who hasn't heard of Blair feel more comfortable about their shopping and purchase.

Those are just my thoughts, and I'm sure I've oversimplified the whole update. But... I found someone who appears to know a whole lot, and who has provided an excellent post about how to survive the latest Google update. The post is by Kieron Donoghue, who's in the UK. Here's what Kieron has to say:

There has been a bit of chat on various forums over the last couple of days about Google AdWords tweaking its landing page algorithm, see here and here.

So with that in mind I thought I would publish a guide on how to create a landing page that will comply with Google’s guidelines. I’ve been marketing online using landing pages and Google AdWords for around 6 years now. Over that time I’ve seen many developments and changes and have been in constant touch with various members of the AdWords team directly. Below are the results of my experiences. They may work for you and they may not, but if you follow them, you should be able to market effectively using landing pages.

First things first though, experience tells me that landing pages are no longer an effective way of marketing on AdWords. So why am I writing this then? I hear you ask. Well, traditional landing pages that contain a few links, a paragraph or 2 of pre-sell text/product reviews are dead and buried.

To read the rest of Kieron's post, click here.

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