How to Direct Link and Still Receive a Great Quality Score!

This post is a trick I’ve picked up and I’m going to be completely honest, I did NOT discover this trick or tip, and I can’t remember who I heard it from in order to give them credit, but what I can say is that I’ve personally tried this technique out and it has yielded excellent results thus far.

So what exactly am I talking about?  I’m talking about a technique that allows you to direct link to an affiliate offer yet receive the quality score that a major authority site in the niche you’re competing in would get!

It’s so easy you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it, as I know I did when someone told me about this technique.  Anyways, without further adieu…

Most people recognize this screen inside Adwords.  It’s the screen where you enter in your ad details.  You enter in your Headline, Description 1 & 2, Display URL, and Destination URL.  You’ve probably used this very screen a million times by now!

So what is so special about it this time?  We’ll let me explain to you how this technique works now.  Your destination URL is the URL in which Google uses to give you a quality score.  Depending on how well the site is and how relevant it is to the niche the greater the quality score you’ll receive which allows you to receive lower bids yet also get your ads into the top spots for those lower bids.

In this technique what we are doing is simply changing the destination URL and display URL to that of a major company inside the niche.  For example, sticking with our auto insurance example that you see in the picture above, we would change our links to point to Allstate, StateFarm, Geico, etc.  Any of those sites will work.

So of course, the question is now…why would I want to send free traffic to any of these sites?  We’ll the answer is, you don’t!  After you setup your ads, you should have two of them per adgroup for split testing, you’ll then go your keywords that are inside that adgroup.  You’ll see an edit button to the right of the keyword, click it! (see in picture below, the link is purple)

After you click on the edit link for a keyword you’ll come to a screen that looks something like this…

If you notice, for the keyword you can change the Destination URL for just that particular keyword.  So what this means is that even if your ads point to Geico, Allstate, or whoever…if someone does a search and this keyword is triggered, it will override the Ad’s Destination URL and inside use the Destination URL that is listed for that individual keyword.

What this means is that you can link to a site like Geico, Allstate, etc and get the quality score that that site would get and then simply have all your keywords destination URLs point to your real landing page or direct link to the offer!

Of course this would mean a heck of a lot of work going though each keyword clicking the edit link and changing the URL…

Thank God for Adwords Editor!


  1. Wow! Talk about one hell of a trick!

    Thanks for such a great tip, I wonder how many others know about this…

  2. ah, hopefully it’s not going to be patched 😀

  3. I don’t really see it becoming patched too soon, but I’d use it while you can 😛

  4. Bah! I sure hope Google doesn’t read this. I’ve been using this for a little over a year now. Now the cat’s out of the bag…

  5. When you working with content network I think the destination url will be a one that defined in Ad Variation. In this case you will send a traffic to the wrong site.

  6. Isn’t this against their TOS because of the Display URL must match Destination URL rule?

    If not, I’ll certainly be giving it a try ^^

  7. Even if it is against the TOS, Google usually just slaps your hand by disabling you ad.

  8. The ad display url and destination url must match yes…but as of right now not the keyword destination url and ad display url…at least I’m getting away with it!

  9. Wow,
    Reading through the post, I am amazed that no one I know has found this out. This is really a smart hack. Thanks for sharing this one with us.
    I can’t see Google patching it any time soon as it is a major change in their infrastructure 🙂

  10. Did you share this because you specifically want it to be closed up?

  11. Hi, not sure if this is allowed since in their adwords TOS is this sentence:

    Keyword URLs
    Keyword URLs are considered your destination URL (the URL of your landing page); your ad’s display URL must match its destination URL.

    Does that mean it isn’t allowed to do it your way?

    Thanks for elucidation 🙂

  12. absolutely brilliant…! thanks for the tip…

  13. Super Affiliate Success says:

    Ya, I don’t think this is brilliant. I figured this trick out back in the days when I was a newbie affiliate marketer. There are a couple of problems with this technique:

    1. It will stop working once your campaign gets manually reviewed because you will get Google Slapped silly.

    2. It is against their terms of service…although who said this should ever stop someone from trying? 😉

  14. I’m going to try this one. I just hope that no one fron Google will read this post.

  15. Michael Chris says:

    If I understand what you all are talking about it seems there is one big weakness to what you are doing. Your “keyword” URL could be, for example, a ClickBank hoplink, but the ad “display” and “destination” URL would be the same as the products main promo URL. That means Google will not display your add and the product owners ad at the same time because they share the same URL. And the product owner has of course choosen all the choice keywords for the product. So, your ad will only show for those weak keywords the product owner did not use for its own Google adwords campaign. So then, is there really any advantage to doing this?

  16. Michael Chris says:

    Just an added update. I tryed doing exactly what you suggested and Google increased my minimum bid to $10.00. So I guess they have updated their system to detect when the keyword link is an affiliate link or something. Has anyone else had this experience?

  17. Hi Derek,

    I’m from London, UK and must say your blog is superb…I’m learning much.

    Can I just ask about your post last year regarding direct linking….is this still a valid technique?

    Also, does this mean that direct linking to Amazon for example would be fine to do – either directly to a product page or to your own aStore… both URL’s would contain

    What do you think?

    Many thanks,

  18. kingston Pereira says:

    There is no harm in trying… at least until your adwords account is banned forever 😛

    just don’t try it on your main adwords account lol

  19. But if you edit all the keywords to your squeeze page then won’t google just grade that as your quality score and not the original ?

  20. San Jose Collision Repair says:

    This trick used to work great, I made a lot of money last year doing this. However with the new system change it no longer works, your ads will immediately stop saying inaccurate URL. 🙁 Sad day.

  21. Yea, I had a good time using the ‘trick’ but it was only a matter of time before it would stop working. Oh well, hopefully there’s a new one that’s even better soon.

Speak Your Mind