You Now Need Adwords Speed

I mentioned last month that the speed of your landing page would become a factor of your quality score. Well, Google have now announced that this change is now live – so if your server is slow or you’re doing redirects to a merchants site, you might want to keep an eye on your quality score and more importantly your PPC bids.

The Need For (adwords) Speed

In case it’s escaped your attention, adwords is now telling you if you have issues with speed of your landing page. Furthermore, come mid-June the response speed of your landing page is to be factored in to the quality score.

It’s simple enough to see how adwords is currently rating your landing page speed …just hover over the magnifying glass next to a keyword within an ad group and then select the details and recommendations link for the quality score info.

If you’re doing some direct to merchant PPC then there isn’t much you can personally do to improve the landing page speed of course. But with your own pages you may want to tidy up your code, use CSS, compress large images and the like. If you’re using wordpress then much of this taken care for you already assuming your chosen theme is half decent. Your choice of web host is possibly the weakest link in the chain – you tend to get what you pay for.

Can anyone recommend a good host for wordpress (allowing custom permalinks) by the way? Dreamhost offer a great deal but they’ve had some server issues lately.

Its The Little Successes That Keep You Motivated

The temptation when working from your home office to do something other than work is always there. Browsing the BBC for the footy (Liverpool fan here) and news, reading way too many blogs and checking too many domain name ideas …well hands-up, I’m guilty m’lord on all counts. Looks like I’m not alone though – working from home does require self discipline from all members of the household.

But then I’ve just spent just five minutes on a task that I always find hard going too – asking for (free) links – and bingo, I’ve just acquired an on-topic link for one of my newer sites.

And then the other day I tried promoting another product sold by amazon and whilst it’s not going to be a runaway success it’s showing enough promise that I’ll be spending more time promoting similar products. Manage to wring out an additional £5 profit each day and that equates to a handy £150/month, £1800/year – it could go towards an ever increasing gas bill !

These little and other insignificant successes in themselves don’t amount to much at all, but the cumulative effect is that they help you to stay in the zone.

What little things do you do to keep you motivated?

Finance Affiliate Buys sport.co.uk For £135K

Media Corp announce today the purchase of premium, generic domain name, sport.co.uk for ?135,000

What’s interesting is that Media Corp run, amongst other topics, affiliate sites promoting credit cards and HD TVs (using the premium Revolution Tech theme I see).

They obviously have develop and resell plans for their new purchase. Justin Drummond, Chief Executive of Media Corporation plc, commented:

The value of a top-tier domain name combined with a profitable advertising-driven business model was recently illustrated by the Group?s successful sale of Casino.co.uk for up to ?3.625 million. We are aiming to replicate this success with Sport.co.uk as we continue to increase the scale and diversity of the Group?s Web Publishing business.

Along similar lines, another company I spotted before Christmas is AIM listed Hecta Media. This company intends to identify and purchase sites and domains and

..consolidate a number of such websites across a few content genres, with the purpose of creating advantages of scale in each vertical market.

I’m waiting for news on what they purchase – I’ll let you know.

Credit Crunch Hitting Affiliates?

Last September I blogged over on our personal finances site about Barclaycard rejecting over half of all new credit card applications.

Well, an article in yesterdays Telegraph covering Provident Finance included an interesting little snippet. Provident offer the Vanquis card and the report indicated that approx 75% of card applications are rejected.

With numerous reports of increases in rejections for mortgages and personal loans it’s obvious that the credit crunch must be having an adverse knock-on effect within our industry too. Pundits predict that there’s more nasty medicine to come.

December Sales Rocket at Play.com

Not talking about ours here as we tend to work closely with amazon and we’ve only had a low number of sales with play.com.

One of my tips for anyone involved in search marketing is to read a newspaper, especially one that reports upon business news because you’ll often get really useful stats about businesses. Wouldn’t you like to know how major retailers that you are working with are performing?

For example, The Telegraph reports that play.com saw sales rise by 24% in the 4th quarter of 2007. It’s peak trading period was on 3rd December when play.com processed an average of 700 orders a minute, up from 422 orders a minute in 2006. The best selling DVD over Christmas was Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and Leona Lewis was the best selling CD. Russell Brand’s My Booky Wooky was the top selling book – this grates with me a little because it was one of my few poor performers last month.

Did you know that Play.com has a 5% share of the UK music market and a 7% share of the UK DVD market? Stuart Rowe, CEO, has indicated that play will start to offer digital downloads in the coming months too (which reminds me that I should either sell or do something with my parked DRMfree.co.uk).

So, congratulations to play.com and here’s wishing them and everyone else a successful 2008!

Video Games: A Big Fat Affiliate Niche

The BBC technology news feed reports that UK consumers have spent a record-breaking £1.52bn on titles in 2007, up 25% on last year and with two weeks of sales yet to be counted – that’s a lot of sales revenue. A whopping £30.4m a week in fact on average with the Christmas run up seeing much higher figures. I don’t know what the split is between high street and online sales – that’d be an interesting statistic.

With more than 78m titles sold that’s an average unit selling price of about £19.50 (about £16.60 without the VAT). Now, say you partner with amazon and you’re on the 7% tier that gives average commission of £1.16 per title. Use direct links successfully and you’ll earn up-to 10% giving £1.66.

Having shifted more than a few copies of specific game titles myself in the last month or so I’m fairly convinced it’s a profitable niche for affiliates. I know the consoles sell like hot cakes (and that stacks of merchants choose not to pay much, if any, commission on them) but the games market is way bigger than I’d imagined.

Now this might not be news to you but as someone who doesn’t play video games at all I’ve previously not been too interested in promoting them aggressively. With the likes of the Nintendo DS Lite being cleverly targeted at the mass market with the likes of this:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUgemPGvUuo[/youtube]

there should be a few niches within the big video game niche to target. Publish a smart wordpress blog, find your USP and give it a go.

Any tips for a virgin video game affiliate will be gratefully received and worthy of a mention!

Is Google’s Knol A Wiki Basher?

Google has announced that they are trialling a new free tool, currently called knol with the aim to

encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it.

It’s only open by invitation at the moment by the way.

To me, this smacks of an attempt to produce their own (adsensed of course) version of the all ranking wikipedia. Actually, there’ll be optional revenue sharing…

At the discretion of the author, a knol may include ads. If an author chooses to include ads, Google will provide the author with substantial revenue share from the proceeds of those ads.

So whilst I wait for it to open to the public at large I’m going to draft a few insightful articles on offset mortgages, unsecured personal loans and fully comp car insurance!

As articles can include links to additional information I wonder if nofollow will be used? You’ll recall of course that wikipedia introduced nofollow on their outbound links earlier this year, denying webmasters of some decent strength link juice.

I bet this vacuum reseller in The Netherlands has seen a surge in traffic over the last 24 hours!

Adwords Is Fixed For Me

I noticed yesterday that Adwords was finally behaving itself for me . I’d mentioned here about the keyword status window presenting incorrect info, but it’s all back to normal now – which is good because I find that pop-up window rather useful.

Adwords Exact Match: [buy]

I’ve just been doing a bit of keyword research, went to google search and just searched on buy

Try it and you’ll see that several of the big online merchants are targeting buy as either a phrase or an exact match. Okay there is some strong intent indicated there by the searcher – they want to buy something. But buy what? DVD’s, a wii console (you’ll be lucky), an orthopedic mattress? It’s such an unqualified search that I’d imagine that the conversion rates are really low.

Or am I wrong on this one… anyone gone down this route and had success?

And as a slight aside as I’ve mentioned mattresses. My amazon tracking IDs (a must use BTW) show me that a user did indeed buy the book I was targeting and then they also spent nearly £300 on a new mattress. Talk about impulse shopping!