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Making Money With Google Navigational Queries

Today I want to briefly talk about how Google works out what navigational queries are, what a navigational query is, and how we can make money from it. It’s a pretty easy concept to get to grips with, but I like it because it’s a fast way to make some party money.

What is a “navigational query”?
When you perform a search on Google, it has to have some kind of stab at what the motivation behind your search is. Lets say you setup a company called “Beds and Mattresses” and you build yourself a cute little homepage. Now when a user performs a search for “beds and mattresses” Google has to work out whether you are generically searching for some beds and mattresses, or if you are specifically searching for that company.

If Google thinks you are searching specifically for that company/brand/website, then your search will be treated as a “navigational query”, which means that website will be given greater preference in the SERPs, and will rank well (normally #1) regardless of the site’s link popularity and authority.

A little bit of proof
If you haven’t noticed this before, the evidence is all around you! For instance, lets do a search for “property in france” – a query with over 30,000 monthly searches.

You can see that the propertyinfrance.co.uk website ranks #1 with a lower PR and way, way fewer links. As a note, propertyinfrance.co.uk also is not the oldest domain, with some the domains in that screenshot out-aging it by 5 years – so it’s not down to that.

To me, that’s kind of surprising, it’s a real estate search term with a decent amount of monthly traffic and there’s a lot of money in real estate traffic. Google doesn’t like doing corrections “by hand”, so I find it odd that these high volume & value terms are not algorithmically bias towards general search, rather than navigational queries. Cheers, Google.

Making money from navigation queries
Okay, so how can we make money from this? First, lets talk about revenue streams. It’s always important to think hard about the intent of your visitors when you’re trying to monetise your site. For instance, I would never run AdSense on this blog – my visitors come here for information and most of them are techy/SEO types. To me this says that Adsense would add no value to my visitors, most of them are aware of Adsense and so I’d get a pretty low CTR (á la Digg users). I don’t particularly like seeing Adsense on SEO blogs because it makes me suspicious of the motives of the author, it almost makes me feel like they are only writing to make a quick buck. I do however give (normally labelled) affiliate links to products or services that I’m currently using and think are decent, when they are relevant.

The point here is, it’s actually going to be easier using a specific CPA offer, rather than a shotgun Adsense approach and hoping somebody will click on one of the contextual ads. The Google Referrals programme, inside Adsense, allows you to browse through these ads and select a specific one for your page.

Google’s “Referrals 2.0″ is basically the CPA part of their Adsense programme – i.e. you get paid when the user performs an action rather than a click. Using Google Referrals 2.0, I set a site up in an hour and within 7 days was making $15 a day from it, with no SEO or extra promotion whatsoever. Here’s how I did it:

1) First off, I scanned through Google Referrals in my Adsense account, looking for a CPA offer. Ideally you want something where you get paid to get someone to perform a free action, as this is dead easy to do.

2) I used the standard keyword research tools to identify how competitive what I thought the “main” search term for this product/service was. I found one with a mere 300 searches per month.

3) Next I registered a domain with the URL exactly the same as this keyphrase.

4) I created a single landing page and made the title, the h1 the key phrase, as well as dotting it around the copy (which must be unique of course). Matching the URL, title, h1 is normally enough to trick Google into thinking the search is a navigational query.

5) I wrote the copy of the page, explaining the product, had a screenshot and put the ad in a nice fat outlined box in the middle of the page – it’s the only external route out of the page.

6) Google can be a bit stubborn when it comes to indexing a single page, so keep at it and build links as you usually would.

The Google Referral TOS is slightly different, allowing you to draw more attention to the advert, since the pay out is CPA, not CPC – read through it carefully and use this to your advantage. I’m achieving a 30% CTR with a pretty poor looking page, and I am converting 50% of these people to the free sign up offer and getting paid $15 a time.

There it is. It’s so simple, it’s so quick and it works. I love these 1 shot quick methods at getting a little extra cash. So 2 hours work should benefit me around $5,000 a year.

If you don’t have an Adsense account yet, here’s a massive affiliate link for you :)

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21 responses to “Making Money With Google Navigational Queries”

  • Joe says:

    Another great post!

    Comment by Joe
    October 16th, 2007 @ 2:08 am

  • Web Proxy says:

    Um, you seem to contradict yourself a bit:

    Using Google Referrals 2.0, I set a site up in an hour and within 7 days was making $15 a day from it, with no SEO or extra promotion whatsoever.
    6) Google can be a bit stubborn when it comes to indexing a single page, so keep at it and build links as you usually would.

    I just want to point this out so people don’t go out there thinking all they need to do is slap a page up and they’ll start making money, which is obviously not the case.

    Comment by Web Proxy
    October 16th, 2007 @ 3:09 am

  • ses5909 says:

    Wow, thanks for the info. I didn’t know about this.

    Comment by ses5909
    October 16th, 2007 @ 7:42 am

  • Mark says:

    @Web Proxy

    No contradiction, it can just take a few days to get the page indexed. I got my page indexed with about 20 links – that’s no tough feet. It took me about an hour to get those links – so yea, put a page up and you’ll earn money.

    Comment by Mark
    October 17th, 2007 @ 11:35 am

  • VoIP General says:

    Hi! Really a wonderful way of making money With Google Navigational Queries. I have got here a clear explanation of how it works and how will be paid for such type of navigational concepts. Thank you for this kind of informatic post. This will certainly help someone who like to do home business.

    Comment by VoIP General
    October 18th, 2007 @ 7:51 am

  • Web Design Ireland says:

    Interesting article mate! Tell me, do you think registering the ccTLD with the exact key phrase would work best due to Googles geotargeting results and hosting in the country you’re targeting? Cheers and keep up the good work!

    Comment by Web Design Ireland
    October 23rd, 2007 @ 2:07 am

  • Tudor says:

    nice tip, I will try it. 10x

    Comment by Tudor
    October 23rd, 2007 @ 10:10 pm

  • Peter says:

    Guys, many advertisers have expired accounts running in GA referrals, so make sure you try the ‘Try Adsense Unit” in the admin (doesn’t have to be your site). I messed about creating 3 sites for 3 services in the education sector only to discover they no longer work. In that instance you’ll just get generic referral ads or even other advertisers not related to the advertiser you choose.

    Comment by Peter
    November 2nd, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

  • Paul Escobedo says:

    I will refer back to make sure that I am setting this up right. I appreciate the tip on making money the easy way.

    Comment by Paul Escobedo
    November 3rd, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  • SeoTipofTheDay says:

    Excellent post Mark. When people say google ranks highly for domain keywords, this is a much better explanation.

    Comment by SeoTipofTheDay
    November 22nd, 2007 @ 2:53 am

  • Digerati Marketing » Will it make money? Top 3 Considerations says:

    [...] drop projects that you can set up and leave running at no more time expenditure.. Quick wins, like Google navigation queries [...]

    Comment by Digerati Marketing » Will it make money? Top 3 Considerations
    December 5th, 2007 @ 2:28 am

  • Francesco says:

    Great post. I am going to try with WordPress.

    This tip should be pretty easy to set-up!


    Comment by Francesco
    December 5th, 2007 @ 8:52 am

  • Digerati Marketing » Will My Website Make Money? Top 3 Considerations says:

    [...] drop projects that you can set up and leave running at no more time expenditure.. Quick wins, like Google navigation queries [...]

    Comment by Digerati Marketing » Will My Website Make Money? Top 3 Considerations
    December 5th, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  • Jason says:

    Do you know if this would work using subdomains? Having several “companies” in a certain niche with the domain name being related to that niche.
    I’m guessing Google wouldn’t see it in the same light.
    Will do some searches.

    Comment by Jason
    December 19th, 2007 @ 1:22 am

  • Brian says:

    Could you elaborate on what techniques you’d use to build links for this technique? I’m guessing for these quick jobs you wouldn’t say, pay to submit to directories or run a PPC campaign? Maybe you could do a post about the easiest ways to build links in an hour. The flickr technique would have been good if not for them clamping down on it.

    Comment by Brian
    March 24th, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  • Colin says:

    Great article. Will look into the referral ads. Peace

    Comment by Colin
    May 18th, 2008 @ 4:03 am

  • Gary says:

    Wow, simply wow! Everytime you think you are getting better with SEO you find something like this on the web and you are humbled once again!

    Comment by Gary
    June 21st, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

  • $30,000 Cash in 30 Days says:

    Thanks for the info. Its been a while since Ive been back to this blog

    Comment by $30,000 Cash in 30 Days
    June 22nd, 2008 @ 4:26 am

  • Max says:

    Apparently Googles is stopping the Referral program :(

    Comment by Max
    August 18th, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  • Digerati Marketing » Exact Match Domains SEO = DEAD says:

    [...] probably have seen what I have: Cheeky monkey SEOs taking advantage of Google’s love of navigational queries (full explanation there if you’re behind the [...]

    Comment by Digerati Marketing » Exact Match Domains SEO = DEAD
    May 6th, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  • Barhloew says:

    This blog unlike the other blogs is good and has valuable information on it like those crappy spam looking blogs.

    Comment by Barhloew
    August 27th, 2009 @ 10:40 am