AdSense Arbitrage: Keyword Selection

In part I AdSense Arbitrage: Tips, Tricks & Secrets we went over the basics of how AdSense arbitrage works. In this part we’re going to roll up our sleeves and look at some actual keywords and see if we can find some areas where we might like to try some arbitrage.

While high paying keyword lists may be somewhat useful it’s important to understand how those lists are generated and some of their limitations (see Contextual Advertising with AdSense | High-Paying Keywords, Part 2 (series) for a more in depth discussion). I like to start with the Overture bid tool, and if things look OK then go into Google Adwords tool. It’s been my experience that with the AdWords keyword tool there is quite often a substantial difference between what they estimate I will pay and what I actually end up paying for a keyword. Now this could have something to do with the “quality score” variable Google doesn’t share with you, or any number of other factors, but I don’t put too much faith in the Google estimated prices I use them more as a reality check for what I see from Overture. Let’s look at the keyword [mortgage]

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Now depending on how close the time you are viewing this page to the time it was written there may be some variation in prices. At the time of writing the top 10 bids were ($4.58, $4.53, $4.10, $4.05, $4.05, $4.05, $4.04, $4.02, $4.01, $4.00) so there’s not a big bid gap there at all. Using Google we see the prices are estimated at $3.67 per click (I think you’d actually end up paying closer to the Overture price when all is said and done)

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To get your pricing down to $2.00 or less you are going be bidder #31. According to the Overture keyword tool there are over 1 million searches for the term [mortgage] per month. So you may actually get some click throughs at spot #31 but I don’t think you are going to get too many, so you may make money just very little very slowly. What we really need is a way to get higher priced keywords. Lets look at prices for [new york mortgage]:

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OK these prices are much better ($7.95, $7.91, $6.25 etc), however there still isn’t a bid gap. What we really need is a way to get the [new york mortgage] ads to appear and pay the [mortgage] prices and still be contextually relevant enough that the advertisements will get clicked on. Can you think of a way? Remember in part I that I said knowing how the system works can be to your advantage? Here’s one solution, select the word mortgage in your advertising, but only target customers from New York. Write your ad so it’s more appealing for people in New York, then on your landing page write about mortgages for New York. It doesn’t always work but you can use section targeting to help ( see Section Targeting for AdSense allows you to ignore on-page content – JenSense.com for more information).

While I’m sure some of you feel I “tricked” the system I disagree, I just used the way the system worked to my advantage. I also don’t feel the advertiser buying [new york mortgage] got the wrong customer, so nobody got “cheated”. This is just one way to use the system to make a profit, there are many more if you’re willing to spend some time and be a little creative. What you want to do take advantage of inefficiencies that exist, they could be gaps that exist in the market or just using poor searching habits to your advantage. The takeaway here is try to find a way to better pre-qualify the customer for the advertiser, that way you’ve added value somewhere along the way.

Now you can see how this process can be fairly time consuming, in part III AdSense Arbitrage: Automation and Button Pushing we’ll look at ways to search and identify keywords programatically.

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