Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

CPAM Series – Quality Score Rd 1 – Blogs And Quality

First and foremost you want to seek the advice from Google themselves. With that said the very definition that Google provides (which is very vague) of their Quality Score is here:

The components of Quality Score vary depending on whether it’s calculating minimum bid or ad position:

  • Quality Score for minimum bidis determined by a keyword’s click-thru rate (CTR) on Google, the relevance of the keyword to its ad group, your landing page quality, your account’s historical performance, and other relevance factors.
  • Quality Score for ad positionis determined by a keyword’s click-thru rate (CTR) on Google, the relevance of the keyword and ad to the search term, your account’s historical performance, and other relevance factors.

So now you may start to get a bigger picture about Quality Score. There is not just one you have to deal with but two. There may be more (according to the affiliate chatter) but those are myths so we are going to stick with what we know. Just realize that facing Google slaps can come from many angles. You need to recognize WHY you are getting slapped.

To keep from this and actually trim away the possibilities of being slapped or just getting good Quality Scores across the board, I have already pointed out that you should be building quality sites. Ever read an Adwords Ebook or been to another Affiliate’s blog to hear them talk about how they like to test offers with JUST a landing page instead of building a mini site around it? Well, in a sense that is true but the vital information that is most likely left out is that they already HAVE BUILT a high quality site that these pages are residing on. AHAH!

So what’s my take on building sites around CPA Offers?

I dont build sites around that one odd Zip submit that I know there is hardly any competition for. This is a possible bite in the ass I just have to deal with. (This is my experience and how I market). The reason why I dont start after this offer with building a site is that I dont know if it will work or not. If it does then great I will make money, if it does not then it’s just wasted time. I dont know about you but I dont have much time to waste on that. So what I try to do is look at ALL my sites and see if there is one closely related to the offer. I mean that I get as closely related as possible. Then I will test the offer.


It all starts with having SITES IN THE FIRST PLACE. These days you cannot just put up sites that have lots of content pages. Take that back for a second. Yes, you probably can and will get good quality scores with doing this HOWEVER your still thinking in short terms. With Google ever-changing to increase the positives of user relevance throughout EVERYTHING they do, you need to think outside the box and go ABOVE AND BEYOND what others are telling you. It’s only going to help you out more in the long run. Most of the shit I read these days is the Adwords peeps saying to build mini-sites around offers. This is all fine and dandy but what happens when that does not work anymore? If you dont think that will happen, take a look at the last year of Google Slaps and changes…………………and then think about it again.

Site Structure And What I Like To Do

First off I dont build HTML sites. Why? Umm, probably cuz they suck and they always require re-work after a Google Update. Does not make much sense to keep re-working shit after you already built it right?

How do I counter that?

This is simple and most of the regular readers here already know this. WORDPRESS.

I build EVERYTHING out of WordPress in relation to sites. HOWEVER, this has also changed since January as well. I dont even bother building sites anymore. I just build blogs. Why?

There are many factors why I do this so I will just share the most important ones now. First off, I have noticed over the last year that Google is starting to lean more towards blogs as the most RELEVANT and CURRENT information source for news on the web? I can tell from the blogs I have built personally and even from here at CashTactics. It literally takes me less than two hours to show up in Google after a post. Just look around though at Celebrity Gossip and Tech News. Who owns the results? Celebrity blogs such as TMZ and Perez Hilton along with Gizmodo and TechCrunch.

It’s simple folks and it’s right in front of you.

Build something of quality but also something people will WANT to return to. You can have all the high quality and unique content in the world but if nobody wants to return to it how good of a user experience are you REALLY providing? If you’re tracking your visitors and noticing the time spent on your blogs/sites is less than 1 minute with a 60% bounce then you will kind of get that idea that people dont really like what you got going on. As smart as Google is, how long do you have before they figure this out?

So how do I build my blogs?

Generally I focus around the niche or industry an offer is in. If I was promoting a zip submit for a Maybelline Eye Liner Offer then I would most likely build a blog towards Maybelline products. HOWEVER, I personally do not go about build these unless I can find multiple offers that are closely related. It just takes too much work to build around an offer unless you know for a fact that it’s a money maker. The more offers you can find that are closely related, the better chance you have of more content (around the offers) and more content PERIOD that you can produce consistently.

Consistency is yet another key part into providing relevance and a good user experience. The more consistent that you produce unique content, the more likely spiders are going to be crawling your site. Does this have a direct correlation with getting a good Quality Score though? In my opinion and experience yes. Since going from sites to blogs I have noticed a considerable difference in tweaking campaigns. I truly believe it is because I keep my sites updated on a consistent and UNIQUE basis. Sure it’s work but when dealing with the Quality Score, you are also dealing with your livelihood on Adwords and you need every edge you can get to beat the QS itself as well as competitors.

Now I wont teach you how to setup WordPress. Just go look for a tutorial. I will however give you my weapons of choice that I use on every blog I build. You will need some plugins, so here they are:

  1. All In One SEO Pack
  2. Deans Permalinks Migration
  3. SEM Google Analytics ( 2nd comment down)
  4. Similar Posts
  5. Sociable
  6. WP-Contact Form
  7. Simple Tags

Please read every description so that you know how to use them. I do not use them any differently than what is stated. The main importance of these plugins is to help optimize your blogs. Good optimization is key for your blog. When you go to setup landing pages and you have built a relevant site to your offers as well as have UNIQUE content that relates to it, then it’s pretty damn simple to add some outgoing links from your landing page into the content on your blog. 

Using WordPress AS Landing Pages

By far the easiest method of getting good Quality Scores. You dont even design ANY landing pages outside of your blog. You simply cater posts or pages AS your landing pages. Now here’s why it was a good idea to get those plugins. For one you can rewrite post titles and setup your meta description and keywords with ease. Often times I will put 10-15 keywords in description and keywords. This is sort of gaming Adwords but believe me…it works. Another thing is that constructing this blog around offers you have a multitude of ways to cash in.

Using plugins such as the Similar posts plugins helps to have more keywords on your landing page. This will also help funnel visitors if they read your landing page and dont like the offer into other areas of content on your blog. If you have all your pages setup correctly with UNIQUE content, bullet points and calls to action (use this slyly) then you have increased your chances of monetizing off the clicks you pay for. Normally marketers like to have landing pages that dont allow any visitors the means to escape. This works but when dealing with the quality score it’s a much different ballgame. That’s not to say you still cannot get away with it, because you can. However, I am trying to help with a long-term solution so discussing these types of antics is futile and a waste of my time. Chances are that once you face a slap using these techniques, you would just keep hunting for another quick fix. This is extremely frustrating folks and can be a real productivity killer, so try to not get in the habit of it.

Adding User Benefits And Reoccurring Visits

This is really the tough part and actually requires work outside of PPC Advertising. However like I have said before, “you’re building a business, treat as so”. A large, uniquely filled content site cant still get the piss knocked out of it with a Quality Score slap. Google is not dumb. They know that affiliates know that they want content good for users. While building large content sites may give you a year of good Quality Scores, you could possibly have the wind knocked out of your sails next year. Personally, I like to see this not happen so establishing some user benefits and ways to retain and get reoccurring visitors is essential. Putting up an article directory or forum is a great way to make this happen. Not only that, but you will probably get free search traffic as well. This all plays a part in the quality score. It’s not some simple, stupid thing you can beat overnight. It’s a reoccurring problem that can arise at anytime in your business. Nobody is safe from it so the best idea is to actually go all out and create something people find useful.

The more useful YOU are, the more likely that Google is going to realize this and reward you. This all plays a part when you go to that Adwords interface, create your ad, add your keywords and set your bids. What you do outside of Adwords is going to reflect when that colorful little bar starts analyzing YOUR SITE…not your page (big tip right there) inside of Adwords. You already know the outcome of your bids because of what you built. If you half-assed it, then you are probably sitting there worried about what your minimum bids will be. If you took the time and built something people like going to then your just sitting there laughing telling the little analyzer bar to “HURRY THE F#CK Up”.

Category: CPA Marketing
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14 Responses

April 8, 2008

Another great post Ruck!

I have been eagerly following this series and you finally addressed the question I was waiting for; how you build landing pages and “mini-sites”. A lot of people say “go build a landing page”, but actually finding out how to do that in a productive and efficient manner is the problem.

I am a HUGE fan of WordPress. I have no interest is building things in straight HTML. It should be noted that with the proper plug-ins, WordPress can take on more of a CMS role than just a blog platform. For anyone who is not familiar with WordPress at this point, you are missing out on the opportunity to leverage the work of the community that contributes to WordPress. I played with MANY different CMS applications, WP is the best, hands down!

Keep doing what your doing Ruck. I am a huge fan.

April 8, 2008

Great post! What type of WordPress templates make a good landing page? Any recommendations…

April 8, 2008

Hey rolli,

That’s really up to you but using them as landing pages I like a 2 Column Template. The content on the left and the sidebar on the right. It’s just a thin line to create a good blog AND drive traffic via PPC with the blog posts as landing pages. It works though. Eric Mitz has also done well with this :)

April 9, 2008

Very good post Ruck. It’s good to see that you’re touching base with the various different elements of a quality website. It seems to be helping to connect the dots.

“Above and beyond”, a phrase that should definitely be taken seriously. When google decides to deliver the right hand slap, it’ll make life easier for your still-standing site, while those who aren’t so lucky try to regain composure or leave altogether.

Keep it up.

April 9, 2008

Hi Ruck,

First post here, I’m new…

I’m wondering what you use, if anything, to split test your WP posts, especially if you’re using them as a landing page?

April 9, 2008

@ Ryan – No not really. The thing I do is basically make another post targetting different keywords. I dont really drive a lot of traffic to wordpress posts with low payout offers. Most of the industries/niches are in the higher payout categories which tend to need a little bit more information (preselling) than the lower ones.

April 9, 2008

GREAT info ruck. I just created a miniwebsite with unique content but still slappped by google. I will give WP a try. I used it before but never thought about it to use it as a lp.

Thanks again.

April 9, 2008

Interesting to hear Ruck’s take on SEO. I was subscribed to Themezoom which is a rather expensive tool $70 per month for the lite version and $300 p/month for the commercial version.

I’ve been mostly jumping from one thing to another and being too lazy to test for myself and wasting money on all manner of tools and theories sold by people doing a lot of videos in a rather convincing way.

And also to note themezoom had a rather defunct forum for the high tech market evaluation tool that it claimed to be and how Latent semantic indexing was the thing. So your site had to be on the cutting edge of siloing in order to succeed. Well, the inactive forum should have tipped me off.

Well anyway, I digress. At least I Know that I know how to install wordpress, (It’s the one useful thing that I took from stompernet simple) Certainly a relief to know that all I need is wordpress for site stuff anyway

April 10, 2008

Hi Ruck,
First Post here, Just wanted to say thanks for all the great tips. They have helped me a lot.

Quick Question:
Just want to make sure I understand correctly. Are you saying instead of creating a mini site with 5+ static pages create a blog site instead, based on a niche and have multiple posts with landing page offers?


April 10, 2008

Nice post! I love using WordPress just because it’s so frickin’ easy and I hate php.

The link for that Google Analytics plugin seems to be broken, by the way, unless it’s just me.

April 10, 2008

Hi Ruck,

thanks for the great quality content. I can testify for Ruck post about Google indexing your wordpress blog real quick.

I have a PR of 2 and whenever i blog, my blog got indexed within a hour. And i use this nice plugin call the sitemap buidler. This will allow you to ping google bots and they’ll come crawling on your page really fast and get you index within an hour.

An Affiliate Blog

July 28, 2008

Nice tutorial thanks ;)