Friday, April 11th, 2008

CPAM Series – Quality Score Rd 3 – Avoiding Google Slaps

This post is probably going to sound similar to the Quality Score Rd 1. I feel I need to stretch this out even more from the number of emails I got about “quick fixes” with the Quality Score. First off, I have already covered that there is more than one quality score. At what point would it make any sense to start rattling off about ways to game the QS when in a month another update by Google would be made? I could sit here for months and go on about ways to counter each update but I am not going to. If taking the initiative to avoid Google Slaps in the first place is not your cup of tea, then I would be wasting my time trying to tell you after each update on how to fix everything. I would have to say that 99% of the marketers I speak to want to actually “play by the rules” so to speak. Everyone wants a quick fix or work-around. You are not going to get that here. As I have said before, if I did give you one, chances are there would be a ton of more problems go on in the future and it’s just not worth it….to either of us.

With that said, let’s talk about building and avoiding Google Slaps to begin with.

First off when you’re an Adwords advertiser this does not get you or your site into the good graces of Google’s natural search results. It does not matter how much money you spend, you cannot buy your way up the ladder. The only thing you might get from this is by having Google’s bot checking your ad and visiting your site and when it gets there, it finds content that it was not aware of. Big whoopie doo. If you build like me, then it’s a matter of pinging to let G know you got new content.

On the other side of the fence though from ranking well organically, I have noticed that the quality score increases positively EVERY time. I’m not saying this is written in stone or anything but from all the sites I have advertised, the more rankings I have the better the quality scores. Google has never come out and said this, so take this information with a grain of salt, I am merely letting you know of my experiences and how I approach the Adwords Search side of things.

It’s no secret that Google is smacking the piss out of affiliates. They just dont want that thin affiliate shit in their Paid Search Results. Hell, do you blame them? Seriously, I can honestly stand up and tell you right now that I have built some of the gnarliest and hideous affiliate sites and landing pages on the planet. I’ve gamed Google for about two years now trying every underhanded trick in the book and out of the book. You want to know something though? I have never felt better since I started building real blogs with real content and trying to add things such as forums and article directories to them to increase the possibilities that people would WANT to return to the sites/blogs.

Avoiding Slaps

I’ve said it once and I will say it again. It is only a matter of time people. I personally have already noticed it with some of my older sites. If you think building mini sites with Privacy, Contact, About, Disclaimer and 15-25 pages of content is enough to keep your PPC dreams alive then your sadly mistaken. Sure you might be fine for awhile but it’s coming peeps. If you dont think Google knows Affiliates are doing this and they are already in the process of determining another “update” then you need to start paying closer attention to what happens after each Google update and what it takes for you to fix the things that are wrong.

When you go to first setup your site, you should absolutely make sure to optimize properly for onpage SEO right from the beginning. I’ve explained what I like to use the QS first post. It is extremely simple in how I do it. With regular HTML sites, building pages and SEO’ing them could potentially take you a long time. Especially when you need to update your sites regularly with unique content. I use WordPress because I can literally write the content and SEO everything from within my post page. Easy as that.

You need unique content. There’s no value in your site if you’re just ripping articles. While it’s hard for me to choke that down, it’s just the way of the land. If this was a year ago, I would be telling you to go rip articles because that worked like a charm back then. Dont do it. Take the initiative and write your own stuff or have someone write it for. Also, as if writing your own content was not enough, you need to update and update regularly. Not once a month, I am talking about at least twice a weak. Remember when I was talking about Google moving towards more a social media route? Think about this for a second…Where are you going to stand when everyone else is updating 3-4 times a week? Now in some niches this wont be required but if your in the high powered competitive niches, then it’s in your best interest to go above and beyond what everyone else is doing. Just like conversions rates you should always be adding MORE content to improve EVERY aspect of yor site.

I personally like a resources page on my blog as well. This is very simple to make with WordPress and even easier to update once a month. Basically, I go to try and find 15-20 highly resourceful sites within my niche. This includes Wiki, maybe some Technorati stuff, and I always try to find a .gov or .edu site or two to link to. Linking out is a good thing, so dont be afraid of it. More than likely not very many people are going to visit that page anyway. It’s more for Search Engines than anything.

Landing pages from your domain are crucial as well. Generally you do not want to build a landing page promoting products OUTSIDE of your sites theme. Now you can either build landing pages independently on the domain or just use WordPress as well. It’s really up to you what you want to do. It’s so easy to use a blog for all this because then all you really need to do is link from a couple of posts into your landing page and link out from your page to some of your resources that you have already put together. Every aspect of your landing page can be utilized from your site. That’s the way it should be anyway.

The quality scores of Google are only going to get worse in the eyes of affiliates. Taking the initiative now is going to ensure that you are going to be probably 90% of the affiliates in your niche. Looking for quick fixes is basically futile at this point when in a month or two you are just going to have to go back and make changes. Do things the right way starting out and the only problem you really are going to face is expansion.

Category: CPA Marketing
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11 Responses

April 11, 2008

I honestly do not know what to think when it comes to Adwords, sometimes you can easily achieve a high quality score with a crappy site and sometimes you optimize and you get $5 bids, its weird, I think I will stick with Yahoo and MSN, no problems with them.

April 11, 2008

It’s a beast that’s for sure.

April 11, 2008

Thanks for the post. There are great insights in here on how the future of search marketing is gonna be. I already made the mistake of making thin affiliate sites. It was just a couple of months ago this year and Google already slapped it. They’re very determined to weed out many affiliate marketers on their engine.

April 11, 2008

thats all well and good to build “valuable” websites…but where exactly do you get the content???

i’m going to automatically assume you dont have enough time in your day to write up all this useful content…so where do you get it?

April 11, 2008

Actually I do write a lot of it. The easiest way is to just hire writers though. I’ve hired my sister before and many, many college students for pretty damn good prices.

The thing about CPA Marketing is that there are hundreds if not thousands of offers. You’re only going to find a handful make money. The ones I hunt have to make a substantial amount or I simply drop them. The broader the industry is related to the offer, the more I put into the developments of the domains and blogs.

April 11, 2008

Would you suggest the more useful your site it the better the quality score will be? For example, The site contains a wordpress blog, article directory, and video mash up site. All the sites would have a similar design and would have a menu bar that was virtually seamless so the site and was easily navigable. Obviously this would take quite a bit of work but I can imagine that it would be worth it.

April 12, 2008

Hey Ruck,
Not sure if you covered this earlier, but is there a cutoff point where you decide a product is not converting?

As a test I’m trying one of those green tea offers that all the networks have. Free product, $4.95 S&H.

So far I’ve only had about 10 clicks in this campaign. But what’s frustrating is that they are all for the exact product name or “free green tea”. I’m giving them exactly what they are looking for, yet they still won’t order. What more can I do? Should I mention the S&H in the ad?

Or is this just to few clicks to even think about bailing on the campaign yet?


April 12, 2008

Test it for at least a hundred clicks man. Someone else promoted that offer I think and had a sale within their first hour but nothing after that. Never promoted Green Tea so I cant give any hints. What I can tell you that advertising “free green tea” when a shipping charge comes into play is borderline “playing” the consumer. Nothing wrong with it in my opinion but the problem lies when people see the shipping charge, they get pissed off about it and dont order.

If you changed over to “Free Green Tea” “Only pay shipping” you will probably get less clicks, but I betcha those clicks are more targeted.

April 13, 2008

Thanks Ruck, I sort of thought it was something like that. Great advice.


April 21, 2008

Cool….. U developed a blog , put in ur unique content. Cool…. But do u really think that all guys can promote affiliates on that landing page very well.

Haan………. i do not think so. what i rather think is that u create a blog, write unique content. alright. Then do a Domain Forwarding to ur affiliate……Or CPA offer whatever……..

Now u can make this domain forwarding with .htaccess. This way your QS will be very well coz of ur blog. And real visitor is redirected to Affiliate or CPS site. Which is more targeted.
Well this is waht i think.Correct me.


April 21, 2008

No need to correct you. I’ve done it both ways and I still continue to do it both ways. One of the largest misconceptions about landing pages is that people have to develop them just for PPC. Some of my better performing offers come from pages with zero marketing done with paid advertising on them. No secret here, I just take in the fact that every page I want to write is going to be targeted towards someone clicking from that to somewhere else for me to monetize upon.

And yea they can do well. Take a look at Problogger’s Darren Rowse Digital Camera Blog and see how he structures his posts towards affiliate products. Same applies across the boards for whatever we are doing.