Following The Rules, Or Taking Advantage Of Them?

 Sign In A Rest Stop

What about the rules, how closely should we follow them? The slaps, algorithm changes, TOS updates and constant policy changes we’re supposed to comply with as affiliates can be a bit overwhelming at times. And we know that the mother of all rules changes is the almighty (they just think they are) Google. If you don’t comply with Google, you essentially don’t get to play the game…that is unless you look at the rules a different way.

My financial advisor told me some time back that our politician friends running the show (if you want to call it that) in DC just go about their business continuing to complicate the tax code and then people like him read it and figure out ways to get around it. It’s just a game that’s been played ever since the wicked lawmakers have inhabited the halls of Congress and state capitals. My financial advisor’s job is to look at the complicated mess and figure out a way to save us money. People pay ridiculous amounts of money to Uncle Sam when they don’t have to.

I’m beginning to learn that rather than freak out about what Google throws my way, it’s a whole lot better to just absorb it and figure out how to use it best to my advantage or what to do to get around it. One thing I’ve learned to get around lately is the big freakout about lading page quality. The only thing Google wants there is your landing page to reflect what’s in your ad and they only look at your destination url. As long as your top level destination url matches your top level display url (even when it goes through a tracking link) and there aren’t any quality problems, you are good to go. You can then set your individual keyword url to whatever you want.

You can use this to your advantage if you direct link to offers and are having a hard time getting a good quality score, don’t put in your affiliate link as the destination url, use the top level url of your offer and then use your affiliate link with a tracking code as your keyword url. This works on both Google’s search and content network. Now put on your thinking caps and brainstorm on ways you can really take advantage of this little trick and you’ll never have to worry about quality score again.

Just as a warning here though, I’m not in any way condoning purposely breaking the rules or the law. If you violate Google’s terms, you will get nailed and if you break the tax laws, you may go to jail. There is a big difference in taking advantage of what’s in the rules vs walking over them and crossing the line. If you do Adsense, there are ways to optimize your ad placements so you earn the most possible, then there are idiots who ask their friends to click on their ads and can’t figure out why they get banned.

Don’t worry about the rules, adapt and take advantage of them. Oh, I was looking for my wife when we stopped at a rest stop, so I climbed up on the planter wall.

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Making Money With $1.25 Leads Using Pay Per Click

If you belong to any of the CPA networks you’ve probably seen the offers where all someone has to do is enter their email address or zip code and you get paid anywhere from $1.10 to $1.75 per lead. These offers always revolve around getting a free Wii game console, getting a free trip to Las Vegas, or getting any number of things for free. Most of these offers are promoted via large email lists, but you may have also noticed that you can promote some of these offers by using pay-per-click search marketing. Fantastic, you’re probably thinking right now, how can you spend 20 or 30 or 40 cents a click and possibly make money with an average lead only earning you in the neighborhood of $1.25?

Believe me, you can do it, because I’ve been doing it for the last 4 days and have earned more than $250 in the process. Only you aren’t paying any more than about 6 or 7 cents a click, but more like 4 or 5 cents. Here’s my stats for the last 4 days below:

Zip Sumit Earnings

There are 2 secrets. The first is using the Google, Yahoo or MSN content network and doing non-traditional targeting. For instance, lets say a CPA network has an offer where a user can get a chance to win a set of Callaway golf clubs just for entering their email address (and with completion of program terms) and you get a $1.25 payout. Most people, including me in the past, would target golf club type keywords and other high profile golf keywords such as manufacturers, golf balls, etc. The only trouble is, these keywords are way too competitive to attempt to make a go here even with the low cost of the content network.

So instead of targeting competitive, high cost keywords, you could maybe target a list the most popular golf courses in the United States, or the names of the top tournaments throughout the US during the year, even better would be to make up a list of the top golfers in history, the more modern the better. Obviously people interested in top golfers, golf courses and tournaments would also be interested in winning a set of Callaway golf clubs.

The second secret is a little more secret in that I can’t really divulge much here because of TOS violations with PPC Coach, but I can at least explain the concept. You have to think out of the box for this one. What you normally do when promoting any offer is pick the one you think will do best and then target it with various keywords to get traffic. Stop right there! Switch your thinking 180 degrees and brainstorm about traffic first. Regardless of what the offer is, how would you get traffic? Think about what the sources and issues surrounding high traffic are. How can you maximize the most traffic using the content network on Google, Yahoo or MSN and pay the least for it?

Once you have that figured out, then you set up an offer to capitalize on the traffic. Also, make sure you read Google’s Contextual Targeting vs Search Targeting guidelines and don’t put more than 50 words in an ad group.

If you want to learn more, you’ll have to join PPC Coach for the details.

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Joined PPC Coach

PPC CoachI’ve confessed in the past my weakness in the area of search marketing. Pay-per-click has consistently been an area that I have not done well in, and I think a lot of affiliate marketers are in the same boat. Here and there I have made some money, but for the 3 years I’ve been an affiliate, I’ve probably been lucky if I’ve broken even in PPC.

There are lots of good blogs throughout the net that do a pretty good job of helping you figure out PPC, but I wanted something that I could study, where I could ask questions, I wanted tools and I wanted to see exactly how people were making money in PPC. That’s why I joined PPC Coach about 5 days ago. PPC Coach isn’t cheap at $50 per month, but if you are tired of spending money with Google Adwords and not seeing results, then you seriously ought to take a look at it. In the 5 days I’ve been a member I’ve already learned enough to run some campaigns and earn my first month’s cost back, so right there I know this stuff works.

For $50 a month PPC Coach gives you a series of videos, tools, a tracking system, an offer database where you can check out and compare the best paying offers between networks and more goodies, but the real power of PPC Coach is the month-by-month suggested campaigns and techniques to utilize, and the forums where people making more than $1,000 a day offer advice and sometimes literally walk you through difficulties you may be having trying to get a campaign profitable.

The thing that excites me the most is the monthly techniques and campaigns to run. And the nice thing about the way PPC Coach works is that you can only see the number of techniques according to the number of months you’ve been a member. “Coach” as we call him, specifically designed the system this way so newbies like myself don’t jump right in and try to start learning and doing everything under the sun. So when you first join PPC Coach, in the Merchants section, you can only see posts related to technique number 1 for the entire month. The philosophy is, “Here, run this, we’ll tell you exactly how to do it, and don’t do anything else.”

I can’t tell you much more than the month one technique involves making money from zip and email submits, because I’d probably get in trouble, but as you can see from the screen shots below, you can. Only a couple of months ago I didn’t think it was possible to make money by producing leads via search that pay just $1 to $1.75, but a friend explained them to me a little better and PPC Coach sort of refined the process. I’ll write a post about it in a few days explaining the concept, but again, I can’t be specific because of TOS violations. 

PPC Coach Earnings

PPC Coach is great if you are frustrated with trying to figure out PPC and want to jump right in, have some money to spend and are ready to get started. If you are hesitant, are short on cash or PPC isn’t the direction you want to go, then do not spend the money on PPC Coach, it isn’t for you. I only decided to join because I spend way more than the $50 membership fee every month on my own pay-per-click marketing and don’t have that much to show for it.

You can check out PPC Coach here only if you are ready to learn the paid search game or are looking to make even more from what you are already doing in paid search.

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Harsh Reality 2 – You Will Lose Money Starting In PPC

Budget your cash for PPCIf you want to figure out all the intricacies of paid search and make money in PPC, you will have to lose money first. While there may be a small percentage of marketers that manage to make money the first time or very early on in their paid search campaigns, for the vast majority, you might as well just put aside a chunk of money in your piggy bank that you’re ready to spend when you can afford to lose it.

I’ve just started to make a little money with a few campaigns from Market Leverage and Pepperjam by either direct linking or building a niche web site, but it has taken me years to get to this point and I’m still not that good at it. I did see some return when I produced retail and recruiting leads for my own mlm business several years ago, but the actual ROI was hard to measure and I have not had that much luck up until a couple of months ago in my affiliate marketing PPC trials.

Fortunately with the last few months revenue being very good in the rest of my affiliate ventures, I can afford to jump into paid search full force again without having to worry about losing a few thousand dollars. Not that I want to lose the money, but it’s there to be able to take risks and experiment with. And if you do want paid search to work, that’s the kind of mentality you have to develop. You can’t be afraid to lose it, because you almost certainly will.

A few readers have left comments indicating they were hesitant to get into PPC because of the risks of losing money and the uncertainty of how it really works. The harsh reality is that if you are afraid to lose money, you shouldn’t even be giving paid search a try. Really. I’d even go so far as to say, Google counts on making a lot of money from people that have no idea about how to make money with Adwords. Until you have a budget laid out and a good chunk of change to just try your hand at a few different strategies, earn your internet income from other sources.

When you do feel you have the money to spend, I’d start with a budget of $250 to $500 to be able to put into clicks and start reading some of the guys that are making a killing in the mad world of PPC. The techniques I now use have been learned from people who reportedly make $20,000, $50,000 or even $100,000 per month or more dabbling in paid search. Some of the blogs I read on a regular basis to get tips and strategies for paid search are listed below:

JonathanVolk.com who learned from:

ClickConsultants.com– Read everything on Derek Salyers blog. He has mentored some of the top players in PPC and makes $200,000 per month, much of it with PPC, what more do you need to know?

Super Affiliate Mindset– Run by Amit Mehta who makes $2.5 million per year or more just using PPC.

Cash Tactics – Lots of good info on PPC. I should probably read this blog more often than I do.

UberAffiliate.com – Another affiliate marketer making a ridiculous $250K per month.

Before you spend, or rather lose, a dime on PPC you should read some or all these blogs because they will certainly help you minimize your losses and eventually help you gain the upper hand and hopefully start making some serious cash. The best thing about reading the info on all these blogs is that it is free, no expensive ebooks to waste you money on getting just a tidbit of info. I just wish these guys had been around when I started throwing money away on PPC 4 years ago.

If you are one of the fortunate ones who actually make money the first time you try your hand at PPC, power to you (you should probably start a blog and let us know what you’re doing). But if you are of the majority, you will lose money in PPC. Just chalk each loss up to experience and learn. Eventually you should learn enough about what not to do that there will be only positive, money earning lessons left.

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Google Support Offer Zero Insight On Keyword Tool Stats

Honestly, dealing with any kind of tech support or help desk is sometimes frustrating, but dealing with Google Adwords support is probably one of the most frustrating experiences in life. I wonder if they planned it that way? Waiting 3 days for an answer to a question, and then have that answer come straight from the online help files, is a complete waste of office space, a computer, a desk, a chair and the human being using it. Oh yea, and me even asking the question.

In my previous post I wondered if the Google Keyword Tool search volume feature was giving accurate results because of large discrepancies between what it was showing for volume and what other very popular tools reported. I inquired to Google Adwords support giving them an opportunity to respond and possibly clear up the matter, but as usual they’ve managed to dodge the issue completely with a canned response. Here’s my email below followed by their robotic reply:


I see that the Google Keyword Tool now reports on approximate search volume of keywords, but they seem to be much higher that what other keyword research tools around the net are reporting.

For example, Google is reporting the term ‘apartment rentals’ has a June search volume of 673,000 searches, but the tool at http://www.keyworddiscovery.com/search.html is reporting 4,786 for the same time period. I was wondering if you have any insight on this apparently large discrepancy?

Thanks for your assistance,

Alan LeStourgeon

Pretty straight forward I would think. Hello mama Google, can you help me clear this up?

Here’s their response. Is this an RTFM answer or not?

Hello Alan,

Thank you for writing in. I understand that you would like to know why there are discrepancies in the keyword traffic as shown by your AdWords Keyword tool and the external keyword tools.

Please note that the AdWords keyword tool displays traffic based on Google’s performance statistics for your keyword results. Data includes keyword search volume, search volume trends, and predicted cost and ad position on the Google Network. This is the reason there are bound to be discrepancies between the data as shown in the AdWords Keyword tool and the other external keyword traffic estimating tool.

To know more about the Keyword tool features, please visit

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

(name removed to protect identity of Google help entity living near Earth’s core)

What? What the flip kind of a response is that? No explanation like maybe it’s cumulative searches with those terms in all inquiries, or we’re still in beta trying to sort out data, or yea dude, you may have a point there, we’ll check into that.

Instead, it’s the typical response of a help desk that feels they’re bothered by questions rather than being there to actually lend a hand and help the peons figure out something. What does “search volume trends, and predicted cost and ad position on the Google Network” have to do with my freaking question? I didn’t ask anything about predicted cost or ad position and that data doesn’t even show up when you are inquiring into search volume. Someone just copied and pasted text from the link above to give me an answer.

So there you have it, nothing made any clearer in trying to figure out why Google reports 140 times more traffic for a keyword than someone else does. Once again, another frustrating episode in dealing with all things Google.

Google’s new motto: “We are Google, Please Don’t Bother Us.”

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