Just a quick heads up for my readers here…
Adwords new display URL rules went into effect yesterday. Pretty simple stuff – the domain name you show in your ad’s display URL must match the domain name where the visitor actually lands after they click the ad. Pretty simple for most advertisers, but for affiliate marketers who want to avoid looking like affiliates, a little troublesome… and even for honest affiliate marketers trying to play by the rules, it creates a challenge.
Affiliate marketing via PPC advertising is tough, and one of the ways you try to get ahead in the game is by split testing domain names, and using keyword-specific domain names to raise the click through rate as much as possible.
Bryan Todd, over at Perry Marshall’s shop, wrote an article on how to get around these rules in order to split test domain names in ads. I appreciate Bryan offering a solution, but I wish he’d been a little more careful with his research. While the process Bryan outlines apparently worked with *his* hosting setup, it won’t work for everyone, and there are SEO implications that weren’t considered.
Bryan’s plan (pointing another domain at the I.P. address of the existing web site) works if the web server is configured to serve up the same site as the default. Many servers will instead deliver something else, like a default page, if you do what Bryan recommends.
If your server configuration happens to work with Bryan’s method, you’ll still have more than one domain name serving up the same web site. That’s duplicate content. If you must split test domains (affiliate marketers are advised to do so), and you care about SEO, you’ll want to copy the site and use robots.txt to make sure that only the Adwords quality bot reads the extra domains.