Google Adwords is a constantly evolving beast. Back in 2006, when internet marketers started using Adwords, affiliates had a relatively easy ride. Bid prices were reasonable, competition was adequate and there were still opportunities for the smart affiliate to profit with very little leg work or huge competitive advantages.
Going into 2010, things are different. Adwords is jungle, with several predators to worry about. Firstly, Google themselves are making life hard for affiliates everywhere. Knowing Google’s exact thoughts on anything is difficult – their policies are wrapped in layers of unknown algorithms, vague blog posts and sudden and brutal action.
Since DJK entered the Adwords game in 2006, there have been over half a dozen “Google slaps” ‐ sudden action (bans / disapprovals) against advertisers who Google arbitrarily deems as “low quality”. The most recent one, in September 2009, seemed to be targeted at affiliate review pages, but many others got caught in the cross‐fire, including direct linkers, eBook vendors and even advertisers outside the “info product” space.
It seems that there is an editorial team somewhere subjectively determining what low quality is – and aggressively enforcing anything they don’t like. With no official word on Google as to what prompted the most recent slap, it’s been left to the advertisers themselves to work out the reasoning behind the wrath.
At this point, it’s all speculation but there seems to be some commonalities in the slaps. For a start, Google is quite clearly taking aim at “thin affiliate” sites – one page websites that have little to them other than a hyped up marketing message. Unfortunately, these are the exact sites that make the most money.
Secondly, they don’t like sites with aggressive and hyped up marketing (“lose 85 lbs in 3 days” etc), especially info product sites. Beyond this, it’s all guesswork and smoke and mirrors. What is certain is that the smart affiliate needs to break away from the pack and focus on underexploited areas – small pockets of cash that few know about.
This not only means lower competition, costs and higher profit – it also means you are focusing on a less mainstream part of the game – one Google cares less about, and does not police as aggressively. It’s finding, mining, exploiting these micro‐opportunities that this Affiliate X e‐book is about.