Business & Finance Advertising & sales & Marketing

Understanding the Google Adwords Bridge Page Issues

My comments in this article address the policy that Google AdWords has had in place against so-called affiliate bridge pages for quite a while. This changed the way in which they evaluate the landing pages within the PPC campaigns and drastically affected the efforts of many marketers.

One of the first methods that a newcomer marketer learns is "Pay-per-Click Advertising" (PPC). It is probably one of the most popular, and if well managed, can become very profitable. Its foundations are relatively easy to understand, but using it is like learning to play the guitar, one can almost immediately begin to rip some sounds, but it is not easy to master. Fortunately, it is not impossible if you work on it.

When working systematically on AdWords PPC, you will begin to discover the details, concepts and processes as well as the operation of less visible parameters involved in the campaigns. I am talking about parameters such as "quality score," concepts such as "relevancy" and processes such as managing positions. Many marketers complain that Google AdWords moves the parameters irrationally, but the truth is that if you go into the details, the operation becomes a predictable process. The implementation of profitable campaigns requires this knowledge. I will comment in other articles how these factors actually play for the marketer, especially the one that is critical and should be considered as a personal adviser, the quality score.

Of course, PPC is useful when you have products to sell so affiliate marketing is an important complement. When most marketers start in this business, they usually do not have money to buy products and resell them, or to create their own products. Affiliate marketing allows us to promote products from others in exchange for a commission on each sale.

This mix has been the basis of many successful businesses. You start by creating ad campaigns linked directly to the website of the vendor or manufacturer. Later, you create intermediate web pages called landing pages. As the number of pages grows, they become a web site. In those pages, you usually put additional information or product reviews to help potential buyers in their purchasing decision.

When done properly, you see improved sales. Then you worked to align AdWords parameters and to achieve a maximum quality score. You optimized your landing pages with a technique called OPSEO (On-Page Search Engine Optimization) which implies building web pages by following a very specific structure, with the right content.

All this is as valid as ever, but unfortunately, Google introduced a policy against the "bridge pages." Thus, campaigns that were working successfully containing keywords with quality scores of 7 to 10, suddenly all the keywords appeared with the lowest quality score (1), effectively disabling the campaign. Any effort to correct the situation was futile.

The response from AdWords support:

"Thank you for your email and sorry for your difficulty. I reviewed your campaigns, and saw that the reason why you are getting poor quality score here is that the landing page quality of the websites advertised here is 'Poor', as you can see in the Ad diagnostic tool. As per our recent analysis, it is a bridge page. To provide the best possible experience for our users and advertisers, Google does not permit ads for bridge pages that are solely intended to direct the user to the parent company's website."
The policy states, basically, that you cannot have a landing page that is there for the sole purpose of taking people from a PPC ad to someone else's product. It is OK for a vendor to have a single-page site for the sole purpose of selling their product, because they own that product. You do not, therefore, you cannot.

This requires us, as affiliates, to build sites more complex. For example, sites with price comparisons, pointing to various vendors and much more information. For this, you will need additional tools and knowledge, and a greater investment of time.

In closing, this article briefly reviewed the effects of the policy of "bridge pages" introduced by AdWords. Maybe the good point is that it opened opportunities for the marketers that are better prepared.

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