Implementing a winning keyword bid strategy with affiliates

Google’s Keyword Rules

To succeed in the battle of the ‘search-engine marketing ’ stakes, marketers have to ‘bid’ and select the most popular keywords. Google allows everyone to bid and purchase the chosen keywords. This not only maximises its own revenues but also gives everyone a fair chance to succeed irrespective of the size of the company and its brand equity.

The only exception Google makes to this rule, is that marketers cannot use trade-marked keywords in their advertisement copy without the owners’ permission. This ‘free-for-all keyword bidding does however create some headaches for businesses. If you do not plan your keyword bidding strategy, you can often have your own business partners, affiliates and even other internal departments undercutting your own keyword purchase process.

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Unregulated keyword bidding strategy may leave you short of crucial keywords and help competitors. While it does help to support your affiliates’ web based business development efforts through your own brand or even trademarked keywords, it should be well planned and evenly divided amongst partners and own departments.

Your affiliates could be confronting the competition more directly than your own website, and in such cases it pays to offer your own brand keywords to outflank the competition and also build better customer-connections. Therefore a balanced keyword strategy is necessary wherein different keywords, are allocated according to emerging business opportunities and existing relatonships with key affiliates and internal departments. Consistently track the performance of these keywords across your affiliates’ network and your own website to effectively re-distribute bidding priorities when needed.

Win-win keyword distribution

Your affiliates can function as a well oiled ‘extended’ marketing machine provided they function according to the business rules you implement. Additionally you need to build trust amongst all the participating affiliates in your marketing network.

It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your affiliate partners and use your own brand keywords and trademarked keywords to build better marketing results across the entire partner network. It often pays to use incentives to persuade your affiliates to leverage specific keywords more effectively.

Winning with your affiliates and having all your internal departments abiding by the overall marketing and keyword bidding plan is a wise strategy. An aggressive marketing strategy in which you allow your affilates to use your trademarked words allows them to differentiate themselves from your competition effectively. Coordinating this with your brand keywords used in your advertisements gets you even better results.

A well distributed keyword plan to be used in search copy and coordinated ad copy leveraging popular brand keywords enables you to outflank competition and raise conversion levels across the entire partner network.  There are certain keywords that drive traffic but they could also endanger your brand value. Words like ‘cheap’ may devalue your own brand name or product/service. These can be effectively distributed to affiliates as they can then use them for ‘special offers’ i.e. cheap bargains. This would improve their click through rates and conversion rates, while preserving your own brand reputation. This is a sound strategy to boost sales and brand equity as buyers flock to your affiliate sites to purchase and visit your own site for the latest product/service info-updates and corporate knowledge updates.

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