23 December 2009

Adwords Unacceptable practices

Practices Leading To Adwords Account Life Bans.

Recently I wrote about Google Adwords users getting banned by Google. This is an important signal from Google; it is affirming a business model built around the "user experience".

Google wants users to have a good user experience and that means it will control the quality of the Ads that it displays on it's advertising network.

There is little doubt that Google has suffered from becoming associated with poor quality sites that sometimes put visitors at risk.

It's latest act, driving undesirable Adwords users over the cliff, like a flock of diseased stock, is Google asserting that it is sticking to it's core commitment.

They are not going to state exactly their method but they will disable Adwords User Accounts ( for life) by identifying;

"unacceptable business practices and policy violations for poor-quality landing pages ,,,"

They say that these include but are not limited to :

  • Data collection sites that offer free items, etc., in order to collect private information
  • Arbitrage sites without relevant and original content that are designed for the purpose of showing ads
  • Affiliate sites without relevant and original content that are designed to drive traffic to another site with a different domain
  • "Get-rich quick" sites
  • Malware sites that install software on a visitor's computer
  • Poor comparison shopping or travel sites whose primary purpose is to send users to other shopping/travel comparison sites, rather than to provide useful content or additional search functionality.

Let's take an overview of these unacceptable practices;

Data Collection Sites
Google here is concerned with sites that exist simply to collect information from users - usually solely to support later marketing efforts. You may have seen sites that are basically offer you a free e-book or something to try to get your email or other ID information. They usually offer no other information of any value because that's all they are trying to do. They use this information solely for marketing purposes. Google says - "BAD" and they're out.

Arbitrage sites:
Ever been to a site where the top half of the page is simply Adsense advertising? Yes? Well the chances are that these are arbitrage sites. They use Adwords to buy cheap click traffic and aim to get you to click on their Ads at a higher click price paid to them. They pocket the difference between what they buy a click for on Adwords and what they are paid for a click by Adsense. Google says "NO LIKEY!" and they are banished.

Affiliate Sites without relevant and informative content.

People who use the Internet are looking for things but they are not always looking to be sold to. They want sites that have some interest such as opinion and information. Affiliate sites with no relevant and informative content add nothing but another click and web page between the person and their goal. They add nothing on the way of any value. Affiliates can play a reasonable role in the ecology of the Internet but on Google's patch they must add value of some sort.

Get rich quick sites
Check out on line adverts on sites which cover running an Internet hobby business and you will find Adverts for get rich quick schemes. These schemes almost never get you rich quick. The best will give you an income, even a reasonable one, if you work hard at them. The poorest may cost you money for no result. Thankfully advert servers such as Google are getting better at squeezing out those who make false promises about getting rich quickly.

Malware Sites

There is no defending people who would stoop to intentionally delivering malware or spyware to peoples sites. Google has been actively trying to remove such sites from the search results and it is rightly making sure that such sites can't exposed themselves to visitors by using Adwords. Few will mourn their passing.

Poor Comparison Shopping or travel sites
While some sites offer useful search and comparison features there are some sites which offer little real value for the user. They add nothing to the user experience. Google expects that such sites will add useful content or additional search functionality. Trying to use Adwords to promote "thin" sites will result in the Adwords account being banned.

Remember that Google applies it's rules algorithmically. In basic terms it writes a program that applies rules that test if a site fits one ( or more ) of these types. This type of programmed identification may not always be 100% accurate so if you are an Adwords user, or thinking of becoming one, then make sure you do not advertise any site that might risk being categorised as one of these types.

There are plenty of ways to make money from the Internet which give visitors value - if you do that then you will have earned your Internet income.
Google Adwords: About Disabled Accounts

10 December 2009

Dont be in the slow lane on page load speed

The one sure way to find yourself left behind in the constant race for visibility on the Internet is to fail to react to the signals that Google gives out about the weight it gives to different factors when returning search results. One of the factors that looks likely to be added into Googles weighting on search results in 2010 seems likely to be page load speed.

You may perhaps find it surprising but page load speed is not yet among the many factors that Google reportedly takes into account when determining where a website comes in the search results. I say this is surprising because any webmaster worth their salt thinks about how users behave on websites - and it doesn't take a genius to work out that users will click away from a page that takes too long to load.

If most Websmasters try to make sure that their pages load quickly anyway then what's the big deal?

Although most webmasters do attend to page load time they often then forget all about this as they add more and more widgets and images and javascript and counters to their pages. Before you know it that lovely fresh site that you designed becomes bogged down with bloated code, poorly structured HTML, code that could and should be minified and adverts that load slowly.

Although the increased page load times may seem minor to you, and perhaps at first even to your users, these increased times might make the difference between appearing on the first page of the search results or the second page once Google factors page load speed in. So this is serious because on the Internet your search results position is your one guaranteed free way of getting visitors to your site.

So, given that Google are talking about including page load speed in their search results weightings, probably in 2010, what can you do?

The first thing is to head over to Google and do a search for page speed. Ok - you are all lazy so here is the link to Google Page Speed.

There you can download and install an addon to Google that works with Firebug ( you'll need to have that addon with Firefox as well)

Once you have it installed you just load up the site and page that you want to test , run Firebug and then run PageSpeed. It will analyse the page and tell you specifically where there are things that can be done to improve your page load time.

There are a long list of things that you may have to do and I can't deal with them all in this post. I will make further posts in the coming weeks and cover some of the strategies you can use to improve the loading time of your website pages.

05 December 2009

Banned from Adsense and Adwords - Don't be!

Banning of Adsense and Adwords accounts happens all the time and it's worth taking the time to carefully read the terms of service and policies for both programs. If you are at all serious about delivering good content, advertising it and monetising that content then your Adsense and Adwords accounts will be valuable to you. There are other companies you can go with. Indeed it is sensible not to put all your eggs in one basket. But for most serious webmasters AdSense and Adwords are core programs.

There has been a recent spate of Adwords users getting banned who have had previous warnings or who have in some way infringed the program policies. The bans are lifetime bans so you should take this seriously.

It's not clear what has triggered this particular wave of bans - there may be some users who have in the past engaged in arbitrage practices with AdSense. Most of the banned people simply got a letter saying they had broken the program policies and that they were banned for life.

So here's a tip - if you haven't recently checked that your site, it's content and your ads all comply with the AdSense and AdWords program policies then do it now. Don't wait until you get a goodbye e-mail from Google.

18 November 2009

Reliable webhosting

Getting reliable and good value webhosting is very important if you are developing an affiliate or other online business. I have used a few and I still have accounts with four different web hosting companies.

One of the companies I use is heart Internet who are a UK based website hostnig company. they offer a wide range of hosting packages which include cheap starter options all the way through to full dedicated server packages.

I have had very good service with this company and have been running one of my larger websites with them for some years now as well as a few smaller sites on their cheap web hosting packages. Like all good companies they support all the facilities you would expect in terms of PHP , installable scripts and so on.

Starter Pro
Typically around £2.75 per month
Perfect for beginners just starting out and looking for a bargain, the Heart Internet Starter Pro web hosting account is still packed full of features. More about the starter webhosting package

Home Pro
Home Pro Hosting Only £8.99 per month

Thanks to its generous web space and bandwidth allowance combined with a massive one click install script library (including WordPress), the Home Pro hosting account has been designed for those looking to take their site to the next level. More info on Home Pro

Business Pro

Possibly the most advanced shared hosting account on the market right now, Heart Internet's Business Pro account offers no limits hosting at an unbelievable price. More Info

Reseller Hosting

The UKs number 1 reseller hosting package. 100% white label with no limits on how many websites you can resell. A full API is available to all resellers.More Info

31 October 2009

Facebook Spammers Massive Fine

If you are an Internet marketer and you have been tempted to use Spam big time to try to improve your income from your online marketing activities then the message from a recent court case in the US is - don't. Not unless you have very very deep pockets and a really fat wallet.

A US District Court Judge in San Jose recently awarded the social-networking giant Facebook $711 million in damages in an anti-spam case filed against online marketer Sanford Wallace - known as the "Spam King." In addition to financial damages Sanford Wallace may face jail time. This is not the first time that Wallace has had judgment against him for spamming as he already owes $234 million to MySpace.

Many commenters however say that the federal court's decision this week probably won't act as much of a deterrent to future spamming of social networks.

Wallace was found guilty of violating the CAN-SPAM act and the social networking site is hoping a separate criminal action will eventually send him to jail for gaining access to users' accounts without permission and sending unsolicited mass junk e-mail.

The ruling will send a severe warning to the major spammers out there that they could face severe consequences when they are caught spamming. Like others though I have my doubts if this will make a major dent into the problem of Spam. The spammers always like to think they are one step ahead of us and the sites and spam filters that we now all use. This action may cause them to pause and regroup and come up with other ways of spamming us but its unlikely to stop the problem. I guess that for as long as there is "online Viagra" there will be spammers.

08 February 2009

Maximising Adsense CTR and best paying Ads

To get the best income from Ads when using Adsense ( or any other Ad serving programs) you must regularly monitor which ad units are getting the best CTR ( Click Through Rate) and also monitor which ads are earning you the most per click. With these two pieces of information you can make sure that you are getting the best from your Ads.

People sometimes think that Adsense automatically matches the best paying Ads to the Ad unit on your page which has the best CTR. You may be surprised to hear that this isn't the case. lets see why this might be important by looking at an example.

Consider a web page which has two ad blocks. A and B. Ad block A comes first in the HTML of this web page - so Adsense delivers the best paying ads to this Ad unit and lower paying ads to Ad unit B. Lets imagine that Ad Unit A is a banner ad unit at the top of the page and Ad unit B is an ad unit at the bottom of a post. So far so good then eh?

Hmm. What if Ad unit B actually has a better CTR than Ad unit A? If you think about it this is a real problem. What you want is that the best paying ads are shown in the ad unit that gets the best CTR - but this is not what happens!

Because Ad unit A comes first in the page HTML code Adsense will serve the best paying Ads to that ad unit - so you could be losing out on significant ad revenue!

So that's the problem - what is the solution?

What you need to do is to ensure that the Ad Unit with the best CTR is the first one that appears in the actual source code of your page. If your ads are placed inside

elements then you can make sure that this ad block appears first in your ad code but then use CSS positioning for example to make sure that when the ad displays it appears in the position that you want.

This is a really important tip to get the best of your AdSense so if you want to maximise your income from AdSense using this tip then you must understand CSS positioning.

21 January 2009

Affiliate Marketing if it aint fun dont do it

There are things in life that start out as great fun and after a while start to seem more like a chore. Affiliate marketing and making income from ads on a blog or website can be like that - if you are not careful.

Some people start a blog or a website solely to make money. If you are one of these people then good luck to you. I hope that your money making motivation carries you through the days when your interest in your website or your blog is dropping. Because it will drop, and you will need to remind yourself that it was all about making money and maybe that will keep you going.

Creating good quality content for a blog or website can be hard work. Don't get me wrong here - it's not slave labour or anything - but it does take effort. It's much easier to keep putting in this effort if your motivation is about more than just making money. It's much easier if you actually enjoy writing and you are genuinely interested in your subject.

This is why the fundamental advice to anyone just starting out is to develop a blog or website that reflects the things you are interested in or a subject you feel strongly about.

If you are running a blog you will need to produce content regularly and you are much more likely to be able to do this on a subject that you know and care something about.

When you write about something that interests you you will write with passion and you will make strong clear points that people will enjoy reading.

If the fun and interest goes from maintaining a particular blog or website then don't beat yourself up over this. It has happened to all of us. Leave that site for a while and ask yourself if you are truly writing about what interests you - then do it.

If you approach things this way then you are much more likely to build a solid blog or website. Do this and the money will flow and you will be still enjoying what you are doing in the future when your site is really earning money.

12 January 2009

Internet Income from Advertising tips for 2009

Despite the doom and gloom in world economies there is no reason for gloom about Internet Marketing and Advertising for 2009. There is every likelihood that 2009 will see further major growth in online income from advertising and affiliate marketing. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned marketer this is the time to roll up your sleeves and get on with it and not a time to roll over and play dead.

Let's look at some trends that may influence the state of play for affiliate, pay per click and related Internet income programs in 2009.

The first thing to note is that many major companies are just beginning to see the benefits for them of online marketing in all it's forms so we should expect that companies who have not so far used Internet marketing much will continue to expand in this area. This will provide further opportunities for Internet marketers to make income from advertising.

Internet marketing is generally much cheaper, better targeted and often more effective at converting to sales that other forms of advertising such as print, radio or television. In a tightening market company marketing execs will want to get the biggest bang for their bucks and it will be hard for them to reach any other conclusion but that Internet marketing delivers this in spades.

Many companies will also decide that the way to ride out the hard times is not to pull their horns in on marketing but to push harder and if possible increase their market share.

These trends seem likely to largely balance any tendency for companies to reduce advertising budgets. Overall budgets may fall but with big companies increasing their spend there will continue to be opportunities for smart Internet entrepreneurs. Given these trends the hope then must be that Internet marketing activity will hold up fairly well.

Consumers may be less likely to make speculative purchases and seem more likely to base purchases on a deeper level of pre-purchase research. They will do much of this online so marketers offering information with value should as always fair well.

Historically marketers have often put much energy into building email lists and marketing by email. This will continue to be important but the trend towards increased use of Feeds such as RSS and Atom means that these are becoming extremely important marketing routes.

Sites which "add value" will be the winners in 2009. Consumers will be browsing and shopping smarter than they have ever done. Sites which can offer an interesting and compelling experience while they do their marketing will also be winners. In times of recession in the past the entertainment industry has often gone for glamour and glitz and a "feel good" approach. Consumers don't always want more doom and gloom when times are hard !

For site owners it remains important to monitor in detail how your keywords are performing. Search results are not static and neither is the competition for your keywords. You will need to continue to work hard to dominate search results on your chosen keywords and you should be prepared to research and identify new related keywords so that you are broadening and firming your search base.

While there are techniques that can help your keyword performance nothing gives results like top quality well written content. Content as always will remain king both for your site visitors and for the search engines. Creating good content around your chosen keywords remains the most effective technique to build a robust site that delivers targeted visitors.

Quality blogs in particular are loved by Google and are one of the best ways to secure good rankings where they have regular fresh targeted content. Site owners will continue to find that site promotion through article marketing to bloggers and news sites and through reviews will continue to be highly effective.

Social Media will continue to dominate and some of the larger companies may finally begin to master how to use social media. Blunt advertising on social media outlets has tended not to be the most successful and companies will continue to look for ways to tap into the millions of social media Internet users. Video sharing sites such as YouTube seem to be going from strength to strength. Indeed there are now TV shows which highlight the "best of" such homemade videos. Marketers who can find ways of using this media in an entertaining and informative way will do well.

So as always with the Internet things never stand still and they wont in 2009. There's no reason though to despair about making income from ads or affiliate marketing. Just remember that the competition wont be going away - it will be leaner and meaner so you will need to work hard and smart to deliver good income from ads.