Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Affiliate Links, Google Adsense, or Both?

I frequent a few different affiliate forums, and the question seems to come up pretty often. Should I use affiliate links only, Google Adsense, or both?

The consensus that I've been seeing is that most people make the most money with a combination of affiliate links and Google Adsense, although there are people who say that having affiliate links on the same page as Google Adsense ads is a sure way to lose money on one side of the coin or both. There are really three options here.

You could run affiliate-only ads. This would probably work well if you were targeting a very specific product keyword for an affiliate program with a high commission. For example, if I had a site that ranked #3 in Google for the phrase "Golden Palace casino", I would guarantee you I'd make more money with an affiliate link only than with Adsense or with a combination of Adsense and an affiliate link.

You could run Google Adsense only. For some phrases, like Mesothelioma, you might be better off running Google Adsense without any affiliate links. Off the top of my head, I can't really think of any affiliate programs that would be a terrific fit for this phrase. There might be some lawyer referral programs out there, but knowing how much law firms pay per click for ads through Google Adwords, I'd say there's a ton of money to be made from pay per click here.

Or you could run both. To me, this is an ideal way of doing it, and the general consensus I see on most webmaster boards is that you'll make more money running both Google Adsense and affiliate links.

But the most important thing you can do is try it each of the 3 ways in order to test your profitability, then make decisions based on your testing. All websites and all topics are different, and different kinds of ad campaigns are going to perform differently.


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