The Best Spot On Google

A question a lot of affiliates ask me is:

“What is the best position for paid ads to appear on Google?”

Well, my answer might surprise a few people:

Advertise In The Lowest Position Possible

This may not seem to make a lot of sense, after all we want people to see our adverts, don’t we?

Allow me to explain:

The things is, we’re talking about affiliate advertising here and this is a very different ball park to the rest of the websites out there promoting THEMSELVES.

Unlike other non-affiliate sites, affiliate sites have one thing in common:

Competition For The Same Display URL

On a popular keyword like "nintendo dsi" there are likely to be several affiliates trying to outbid each other so their ad can appear for this keyword.

So an affiliate promoting a particluar product or website may find there are two or three affiliates who also want their ad to show for the SAME Display URL.

If you're not sure what a URL is, here's an example:

Now, Google has a very strict ‘double serving policy’ which for affiliates basically means:

Two People Can’t Promote The Same Website On The EXACT Same Keyword.

So which ad will Google show?

Here’s a simplified explanation of a complicated subject:

Google will show the advert of the affiliate with the highest quality score for a particular keyword.

Now quality score is a whole article (or e-book) in itself.  It is quite a complex subject that only Google truly has all the answers to.  Quality score is also related to the dreaded Google Slap making it a very relevant topic to affiliate marketers.

We know what Google allows us to know – they’re a very secretive bunch – but there are basic rules that are pretty clear. This is what I’ll cover here…

Viewed in very simple terms, Google’s ‘double serving policy’ means if Google thinks your keywords are more closely related to the product you're advertising than your competition’s are and if your advert is getting plenty of clicks, then you’re likely to get a higher quality score than someone who’s getting it wrong.

In theory this would mean that your ad would show before theirs.

But although getting a good quality score is important, there is another factor we can’t forget…

If two affiliates have the same quality score, guess whose ads are going to show?

The affiliate who pays the most will usually win in the “bidding war”

Google’s in this to make money, so of course they are going to allow big spenders to keep on spending.

And this brings us back to our original question:

What is the best position for paid ads to appear  on Google?

Well, if the affiliate whose advert IS showing is at position 4 in the paid ads, then it’s a fair bet that this is the position that is making him the most profit.

There is a reasonable chance that they have done some testing and found this to be the most profitable position. So why do the same testing again?

In Google Wealth Magnet I discuss bidding tactics in depth as well as neat ways of spying on your competition and getting them to do the testing for you, so for the purpose of this article I’ll just focus on ad position…

You see, the general rule of affiliate advertising is that your ad can only go in one direction if you want it to keep showing: UP

If you start advertising product X, and you are at position 4 when you start out, the chances are at some point another affiliate is going to come along and also want to promote product X.

They may well outbid you in an attempt to “muscle” you out. You may fight back.

This then leads to an inevitable situation:

The more you bid per click, the more you are likely to pay per click, the higher your ad will show.

This is why it is important to bid as low as possible.

Bidding low has many advantages:

1)    it’s cheaper!
2)    paying less often means making a higher profit
3)    if you end up in a bidding war you have somewhere to go before things get too expensive

When people talk about ideal positions, they are not usually talking about affiliate sites.

Affiliate sites have different rules from other sites and are a specialist area of Google AdWords advertising.

So if you’re wondering what position to put your affiliate ad, go low!

You can always bid higher in the future, and you may have to.

Do your best to keep your money in YOUR pocket, not Google’s!

Follow this affiliate mantra:

Any position that makes a profit is good!

Forget the 'rules', use trial and error - it's the affiliate way!

To discover more about how to be a successful affiliate marketer, check out Google Wealth Magnet.

As well as high level AdWords skills, you will learn the basics of how to use AdWords profitably...

Wishing you success


Comments (5)add comment

Jan said:

Nice post Mike. just wondered though...what is a "low" position on adwords? 6-10, or anywhere below 4 or anything?

Also, isnt there an issue with not getting enough clicks there so your CTR will suffer, and as such, the Quality Score?
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December 09, 2009
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autonmike said:

Hi Jan

Good question!

CTR does affect quality score, but if your ad is well written and relevant, it'll get clicked on more and move up the ad positions anyway.

This isn't a strategy written in stone. It's a starting point.

If you feel you need to bid higher, go for it.

If you're promoting an affiliate site, the chances are you'll have to increase your bids at some point anyway.

My point is: bid low, then if you need to bid higher.

It's easier to move up than down (and still have your ads show).

btw - a low position for me is below 4, just my opinion though :)


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December 09, 2009
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Grace said:

I would like to know how this method has worked out in other search engines such as Yahoo! and MSN?
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December 22, 2009
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autonmike said:

Hi Grace

This bidding strategy is relevant and important for all search machines. The basic principle applies in all of them.

The only slight difference I can think of concerns quality score.

Yahoo and Bing (MSN) will have their own particular ways of calculating quality score, but it is likely to be similar to Google's own system.

Although Google is very secretive about elements of it's quality score, the basic principle of 'who pays more is likely to have their ads show more' applies in the majority of cases in Google as well as Yahoo and Bing.

It is always best to start bidding low as an affiliate as this gives you the most 'room' to make a profit in.

There's nothing stopping you increasing your bids at a later time if you feel you need to.

Hope this helps

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December 22, 2009
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Malcolm said:

I'm starting to understand what Mike means now.
Lets say I have 3 products I'm trying to promote,2 may have low quality scores and 1 may have a good quality score.
The low quality scores seem to cost more and are difficult to 'show' at a reasonable price.
If Google likes what your promoting - good quality score - it really helps a lot.

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February 08, 2010
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