Guest post from DigitalGrit's own Scott Delea...
We have been helping clients implement and manage SEM and Affiliate Marketing for a while. Recently, a client asked us for a quick summary of our thoughts on having affiliates bid on keywords. It is an important topic so I figured we would share our perspective with our blog readers. Feel free to give us your thoughts.
- They occupy search engine real estate which could otherwise be occupied by your competitors
- Having affiliates listed instead of your competitors will usually increase the number of net clicks you receive from any given search because you will obtain clicks from your listing and those of the affiliates. All are selling your product.
- Affiliates would be using different types of copy and landing pages. It may provide us an opportunity to learn something from them. Better to learn from them then from your competitors.
- If you can't afford to bid on additional keywords, the affiliates may be willing to, so you are getting more visibility without having to spend the cash on the media. You only pay the affiliate on the conversion.
- You are allowing affiliates to take advantage of all the equity you have built into your brand keywords. The brand keywords will convert the best. The branding keywords are the first place affiliates will go, if you let them.
- If the affiliates are allowed to out-bid you, they will be driving up bid costs for you and for them.
- You lose control of your messaging and brand when you let affiliates bid on any keywords they want and you don't restrict the copy or landing pages they use.
- We recommend you create a standards guide for your affiliates to follow. The guide would include:
- A list of keywords they may not bid on, under any circumstance.
- Keywords they may bid on under certain circumstances such as time of year, time of day/week, position, engine, etc.
- Copy guidelines
- Landing page guidelines
- Problem resolution procedures if they have any questions or concerns.
- Also include SEO guidelines and standards.
- Incorporate the appropriate "legalese" in your affiliate agreement.
- Companies should put a process in place to monitor compliance and handle inquiries.