Google AdWords

Google AdWords Announcement: Affiliate Policy Change

On Friday, January 7, Google finally confirmed months of rumors of a major affiliate policy change affecting Google AdWords.

The main policy changes are:

  1. Google will only display the top ranking ad, per search query, for affiliates and merchants sharing the same top level domain. Lower ranked ad positions will be replaced by ads for other domains.
  2. The display URL in the ad must match the landing page URL. Unique tracking URLs, often used by affiliates and advertisers, can continued to be used, so long as the display URL matches the landing page URL.
  3. You may not frame the landing page in another website.
  4. Affiliates will also no longer be required to identify themselves as an affiliate in an ad. However, current ads will continue to display the affiliate status until it is changed by the advertiser.

There's no word from Google when the new policy will come into effect. The rumor is that it will be 'sometime in January.'

Recommended actions to combat the policy change:

  1. Bid as much as you can afford, and/or optimize your ads, in order to gain the top ad position.
  2. If the top ad position is too expensive, you can:
    1. show your ads on the Google content network, if they're not already enabled.
    2. get free traffic from Google's main search results. Do this by creating and optimizing a content page on your website specifically targeted for each search term.
  3. Don't remove the 'affiliate' or 'aff' notice from your ads just yet, as this will reset its ad rank. Instead, create a new identical ad, without the affiliate notice. Over time, the ad rank of the new ad should roughly match that of the old ad. When that happens, remove the old ad.

Google AdWords is Google's own pay per click advertising program. Google AdWords listings are displayed in Google search results and its network of search partners including AOL, Netscape, CompuServe, Ask Jeeves, Excite, WebCrawler, EarthLink and Dogpile.

Google AdWords is fast catching up on Overture in terms of the number of click throughs it generates for its advertiser. Personally I have found Google AdWords generates as many click throughs as Overture. Costs are comparable.

Google have made great improvements to their user-interface. I personally think it's much more user-friendly than Overture's.

Google AdWords' Unique Features:

Here are some unique features that differentiate Google AdWords from other pay per click search engines:

  • AdWords Discounter monitors competing bids and adjust your bid to just one cent above than your closest competitor, based on the maximum bid you set.
  • Lets you create more than one ad, within an ad group, which are rotated. Your ads are shown equally at first, and as your campaign progresses, ads that receive more clicks will appear more often.
  • Rank is determined by a combination of your bid price and click through ratio. Ads that don't attract clicks will move down the rank. Ads that do attract clicks will rise to the top. This way, no one can lock you out of the top position purely by outbidding you.
  • Ads go live the within minutes of creation. No need to wait 3-5 days for editorial review.
  • You may target your ads by country (250) and/or languages (14), including English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
  • $5.00 total startup cost with no monthly minimum spends. Your credit card is charged after 30 days or when you surpass your credit limit.
  • The option to opt out of having your ads shown on its partner sites.

Google AdWords Information

Website Targeting (Countries) 250
Language Targeting 14 languages
Supplies Results For AOL, Netscape, CompuServe, Ask Jeeves, Excite, WebCrawler, EarthLink, Dogpile, BizRate, InfoSpace, AT&T, Sympatico-Lycos, Searchalot, and MetaCrawler.
Minimum Account Opening Budget $5
Account Auto-Recharge Feature? Credit card charged after 30 days or credit limit surpassed.
Minimum Monthly Spend $0
Minimum Bid Per Click $0.05, but varies according to a keyword's popularity.
Time For Listings to Become Active Goes live almost immediately upon submission
Maximum Keyword Phrases Per Submission 2,000
Maximum Keyword Phrases Allowed Unlimited
Search Phrase Pluralization? Yes
Maximum Title Length 25 Chars
Maximum Description Length 2 Lines X 35 Characters Per Line
Maximum Keyword Length Unlimited
Optimizes Bids? ($0.01 More Than Next Ranked Listing) Yes - automatic.
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