How To Successfuly Use Direct Linking In PPC Campaigns

If you are interested in Pay Per Click marketing using Google AdWords, MSN Adcenter, or Yahoo’s Overture you have most-likely heard people asking about how effective it is to do direct linking to an affiliate offer from your PPC ad. The idea in general is to cut out the middle man (your own landing page / website) and to redirect the customer instantly to the merchants landing page. Many merchants prohibits you from doing this, others do not. If you found one that does allow direct linking you still face the problem that is called Google Quality Score. Since you do not have control over the target website, you cannot modify the landing page and therefore a lot of steps to improve your quality score cannot be done.

Assuming you are still interested in that topic, I can tell you that it is possible to achieve very high quality scores and click prices of $0.02 with direct linking. But this requires some good research and does not work with every affiliate program. The most important thing to look at is to see if the landing page of the merchant is mainly made out of images or if there is actual text. Don’t even bother to work on the image-based landing pages with a direct linking campaign. You’ll see $5.00 and $10.00 minimum bid prices before you can say “Goodnight, Gracie”. ;) This disqualifies many affiliate programs from being used for direct linking, but still leaves some out there that you can use. I leave it up to you to find the ones that work.

Once you have identified the right merchant and found products providing enough affiliate commission worth doing PPC, it’s all yours. Scan the web page for keywords and key phrases and match those to product related searches. You’ll achieve the best results on 100% matches. Pick small pieces of the entire product name as an example. Often the online retailer will show the entire product name which can go up into more than 10 words. Nobody will search for the long name, but you can cut it into pieces and use those to build keyword lists. If you use so-called “buy” words, make sure they are located on the landing page and are in close proximity of your other keyword. The word “coupon” at the bottom of a page will not work well with the name of a specific contact lens in the upper part of the same page. Your quality score would suffer. Instead it might be worth looking at the actual page title and use parts of that for your keyword lists. Here comes an important piece of information. Pick your main keyword once you have build the Google AdWords campaign and dump it into the keywords tool. I had several cases now where Google actually suggested some really well converting and relevant keywords to me and upon adding them I was able to get minimum bid pricing as low as $0.02 per click.

Be warned – direct linking is difficult and requires a lot of work and volume. Volume in regards to ad groups and campaigns. Since you cannot modify the landing page there are only x number of words available. You can make up for that by promoting more products. Your ROI will be muss less compared to using your own landing page, but it can be a good indicator when testing stuff. If you break even by direct linking, try doing your own domain/landing page for the same product. If done right you can double or triple your profits and then expand the campaign. You probably now think about using Amazon for direct linking. Again, be warned. This can work, but there is huge competition and you will fight for the spots since only one display URL will make it onto a page showing search results. If you build up volume you could even promote book titles and then benefit from the tiered commission rate Amazon has. Build 500 campaigns for 500 different books and sell 25 books a day. Amazon is flooded by affiliates promoting Amazon products via direct linking. Most of them do not earn much money from it. Amazon’s reporting is 24 hours delayed and you do not always see when you’re outbid by someone else. It requires a lot of attention. But – there are many other affiliate program out there where you can use direct linking and easily earn a 20% or 30% ROI (again, think volume).