How to Setup URL Redirects for PPC Marketing

Written by Zac Johnson
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Go Daddy $1.99 Domains 125x125 In my last post, “Super Affiliate’s Guide to PPC Marketing on Microsoft AdCenter“, I talked about how I prefer to setup my ad campaigns using URL redirects, than setting up landing pages. This works in your advantage for many reasons. Not only is the process super cheap and fast, it also saves you time when trying to find what campaigns works and not spend a great deal of your time on making sites and landing pages. Once you find a campaign that works, you should focus on creating a dedicated site for the offer. After you’ve created a quality content heavy site, you can promote the offer through Google Adwords and if you pull a good quality score, you can get some low priced keywords.

For now let’s still focus on how to setup a URL redirect. Since I register all of my domains through GoDaddy, I will use them for the walk through.

1.) Signup or Register a Domain through GoDaddy.

Find a domain name now!


2.) Login to your account and click DOMAINS, then select the domain you would like to redirect.

3.) Once the domain is selected, you should be at that domain’s detail page and it should look something like below. You should then click on the “Domain is not forwarded” link.

4.) Since the domain is not currently forwarding, you will need to select and add the necessary fields, as shown below.

– Select the ENABLED radio button
– Forward to: Your Affiliate / Offer URL
– Redirect Type: 301 Moved Permanently

Depending on when your domain was registered and setup, there may be a delay of a few hours before the url is redirecting to your affiliate link. Make sure that you test your redirect address before going live with your campaign, otherwise you may be paying to send traffic to a domain that isn’t redirecting yet!

Here are a few GoDaddy coupons to make your ppc testing a bit cheaper and more successful! These were all working last time I checked.

OYH3 – $3 off / $6.95 any .COM
OYH1 – 10% off whatever
BTPS7 – 20% any order of $50 or more
BTPS4 – 10% off anything
OYH2 – $5 off a $30 purchase

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36 Replies to “How to Setup URL Redirects for PPC Marketing”

  1. First, godaddy is terrible hosting. If you want a hosting provider that doesn't suck and has a good affiliate program for you to spam, try hostgator.

    Second, never 301 redirect your affiliate links as you'll lose link juice.

    Third, instead of using that system, just set up a folder or subdomain and use a simple php script to do your redirecting. This allows you to also record visitor information if you wish. The php code for redirection is:

    Seriously just put that in it's own file and you're good to go without all that hassle man. But don't tell people to use godaddy when they're a seriously terrible service, with terrible support, and they make you pay extra for stuff that pretty much every other host gives you for free (like simple ability to view your traffic logs, lol)

    1. I used GoDaddy for domain registration… not hosting. Nor am I recommending GoDaddy for hosting. As mentioned in previous posts as well, redirects and "link juice" are not an issue. Read over the comments in the the previous post on PPC on MSN AdCenter.

      1. Ok, so you're just suggesting this for the first part where you do direct to offer, prior to making your landing page. Would it not make more sense to start out with a LP so you can get the benefits of a decent QS right away?

        1. Google Quality Score does not matter on Yahoo, MSN or Google Content Network.

          As for starting out with a landing page… it's up to you, but if you are going to test 10 offers, then a redirect will save you a ton of hours of work. A quick redirect setup will give you fast results, then you can monetize to landing pages.

          1. I think Cakes is right. Atleast throw in your tracking script. When we are talking about testing offers, proper tracking is more than important. It wont take tons of time to upload your ready made tracking script to each new domain, does it?

      2. Indeed, while GoDaddy is the leading domain name registration company, hosting your website with the same company you've used to register your domain name is something I never recommend.

        Alan Johnson

  2. How will this effect your quality score? For instance I am an affiliate for the website http://www.advertiser.com. My domain name is http://www.publisher.com. If i send PPC traffic firstly which URL am i using in the text ad? publisher or advertiser. Secondly if i am using publisher domain wont the site get a pretty bad quality score considering theres no content on publisher.com? Thanks

  3. MSN's quality score is a different beast than Adwords. As long as the keyword is on the landing you shouldn't face any issues. However when using broad match be careful because it can be a total pain in the ass.

    If you do happen to get a profitable campaign and decide on a landing it's really quite simple with MSN. Stuff keywords. I already blogged a conversation I had with a rep about this. I was told to put the keywords as the same color as my background.

    Wow.

    Anyway it don't make sense to setup landings if you don't know if the offer converts or not. We can debate it all day but the fact remains that their will be some affiliates setting up landings to test an offer and keywords and their will be affiliates who do *work arounds* to find converting offers first before they proceed. It's all about how much your time is worth.

    1. I would use a redirect for Google Content Network, then you don't have to worry about quality score. However, I use redirects on regular Google Search as well.

  4. Hosting Recommendations?

    Ok guys,

    If I registered with godaddy for domains, where do you recommend to host these babies? So far, godaddy hosting and support has been good to me…

    1. I have my own dell server rack which is managed by another company and housed in a data center. I will do a run down of different hosting options soon.

      1. You the man Zach…

        I'm going to sign my name on the dotted line in cursive writing with Blue Ads under you (Zach) as a sponser once I finish my html/css and PPC class…

  5. Hey Zac,

    I would be interested in your server setup should you decide to post it. I use 2 Dedicateds with Hostgator and another server with Lquid Web but would like to hear about your setup.

    1. I used to run dedicated servers with EV1Servers, but then was paying over $10k a month for hosting… so I then when on to purchase 16 Dell Servers, which run my network of sites. Along with a management company to make sure they are all upgraded and to keep up and running all the time.

      I will post on this in more detail in the coming weeks.

  6. I've heard good things about Hostgator for hosting. I'm thinking about changing hosts for some of my sites because of a super sucky host that will remain nameless right now. You probably couldn't Dream who that might be.

    1. Personally, I'd recommend looking into LunarPages as well. My blog is hosted on a LP dedicated server and I couldn't be more pleased with their service and customer support. I've hit the Digg frontpage on the very day of the blog launch and the server has handled everything perfectly.

      Alan Johnson

  7. I have been with Godaddy for several years and Never did I once have a problem with them, there hosting is great . they might not have a 800 telephone number but there costumer services is GREAT.

  8. WTF do you need 16 servers for? One decent server running a properly optimized LAMP setup can process a million visitors a day.

    1. Knowing Zac, he probably gets more than that.

      Plus add in programs running in the background and everything else, and it may be justified. Or he just likes to say he has a network of 16 Servers.

      If I could afford it, I would get 3 or 4.

  9. Zac,

    This is a great post. I think most people do not how to do redirects. How much information do you recommend having on the site that is redirected through so that the quality score is good?

    Ruck commented that people will set up these redirects and not know if the offer converts. Your affiliate manager will be happy to give you the conversion rates, epc, and ecpm for any offer.

  10. @ Debbie — The only way to know that is by trying it Debbie. Most likely a zip submit type offer probably won't have enough content on it and will get hammered out of the gate. As you keep trying new offers you will start to develop a sense of what types of sites/landings will get ok-good quality scores. Obviously the Cost per sale type programs in your network are more likely to have more content on them than zip or email submits.

    Your Affiliate Manager can give all that information to you but trust me, use the information as a guide. There are all kinds of things to consider when looking at offer as opposed to running it. To actually test it, I'm with Zac. Direct link or redirect just to get an idea if I even want to put forth any more time.

  11. I use godaddy for all my 350+ domains- that it!!

    If you redirect, how can you add meta tags and keywords for googke to search?

    I don't like the masking section at godaddy .

    I rather create my own landing page and can check the traffic too.

    Anyway, one has to try it to maximize the profit.

    IMHO, it all depends how strong your domain names.

    I have 100+ wine domain names(www.WineInCalifornia,com) and real estate too…$$$

  12. Thanks Zac! I NEVER see anyone talking about this registrar redirect method. I thought it was a good idea, but now you have confirmed my own hesitant analysis.

    Any reason you use the 301 instead of 302 temporary redirect? Could a temp redirect be better if you later create a LP and site… SEs will not be so surprised that the redirect has changed?

    1. Hey Freddy,

      I haven't looked into the differences for the 301/302, I just set it up at 301 since I purchase the domains purely for redirects.

  13. Couldn't you also just do this:

    <code> </code>

    That's what I do, just put that in index.php. Is your way better or just different?

  14. Redirects still working, even with Google Adwords. An online buddy told me not long ago that he is using at the moment redirects promoting stuff through Adwords. He makes a few hundred dollars a day this way. That surprised me a bit, because my experience with Adwords is that redirects will not work for long because of the quality score etc. But redirects are great when you promote through MSN Adcenter and YSM. Though I think that when certain campaigns work and convert well you should start making your own landing pages for that particular campaign.

  15. Maybe I'm missing something here – perhaps you can clarify.

    Using a URL redirect as you suggest means that I need one domain for each offer I test – correct? If so, would it not be more efficient just to use a php redirect for each offer being tested? That way I could use one general domain to test various offers?

    1. You could do it this way, but using a domain name that is targeted to your offer name/niche, will greatly increase your clicks. Do you want to buy shoes from testoffersnames.com or reallygoodshoes.com? Which would you click first?

  16. Zac, I just stumbled upon this in about.com your doing the right thing using a 301 redirect, here's why:

    When you redirect your pages, you should always use a 301 http server redirect. This tells the search engines that the redirect is permanent and that they should change their index to use the new URL. Spammers use other types of redirects (HTTP 302 redirects and meta refresh), so they are not a good idea to use.

  17. Good post Zac,

    I have been searching for these kind of posts from a long time, but I found it here and the best of all posts.

    After reading the post and all the comments, I would like to ask you few questions

    1) What is landing page?

    2) instead of buying a .info domain which costs 1 dollar why are you buying .com domain for redirects

    3) If i buy a hosting plan for one year just for affiliate marketing

    a) What type of hosting should I buy , i mean dedicated or .. or .. ?

    b) Can I use the same hosting for all domains?

    4) I am a newbie, Frankly I am asking you , how much money should I spend for one month, since I heard that affiliate marketing is trial and error?

    I will be much glad if you answer these questions for me, I have lot more, but these are the most important questions from me.

    Thank you Zac Johnson.

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