page contents

SEO Google Adwords

Benefits of Google Adwords

Google Adwords in conjunction with a Squeeze Page or (Landing Page) can drive an insane amount of traffic to a single page!! That’s right just 1 page with a simple sign up box to collect email subscribers and then!! BOOM!!  you now have a solid list of new potential customers that you can market your product(s) to.

What Are Google Search Partners?

When it comes to buying clicks from Google AdWords, the Search Partner network remains one of the least transparent and hardest to optimize areas to work with. The official Google help page for Search Partners is pretty vague about exactly what you get from Search Partner traffic:

“On our search partners, your ads can appear on search results pages, on site directory pages, or on other pages related to the person’s search.”

In layman’s terms, depending on how liberal Google want to be with “other pages related to the person’s search,” you really can’t control anywhere near as much of your search partner traffic as you would like. I had always been under the mistaken assumption that Search Partners referred to search results pages for AOL or Ask.com and the like — search engines that decided to use Google’s algorithm and in turn get a share of the advertising profits.

An example of a Search Partner results page.

However, the scope of the Search Partner network is actually much broader than this. Both internal search results and product pages on sites like eBay, Amazon, Walmart or Target can be part of the network. Let’s take a look at whether Search Partners are right for your AdWords account and then dive into how we might start to identify the sources of your traffic.

Search Partners Data

Should You Be Using Search Partners?

From analysis across the accounts we manage, there really is nothing inherently wrong with Search Partner traffic. It tends to run at a similar (sometimes slightly higher) cost per conversion to the Google Search Network, and CPCs can be cheaper, too. As a rule, I tend to leave Search Partners turned on when starting a new campaign.

AdWords Search Partner Options

If my account is severely budget restricted from the get-go, I might consider turning them off — but otherwise the additional 20-60% of clicks that Search Partners bring is worth it (at least until you have data to suggest otherwise). If you have a more mature account and you’ve been running with Search Partners long enough to generate statistically significant data, you’ll want to judge the results for yourself. For a quick analysis, you can try using the segment button in your “all campaigns” menu and segmenting by “Network (with search partners).”

How Search Partners look when segmented

To manipulate this data, click segment by “Networks (with Search Partners)” when downloading a campaign report and then use a pivot table that has Campaigns for rows, network for columns, and a custom formula for either CPA or ROAS in your values. Here’s an example I pulled from one of my accounts earlier:

How Can I Optimize My Search Partner Settings With This Information?

Short answer: with a great deal of effort and patience that might not even be worth it. If you have the time, you could categorically go through your search term report and start spinning queries with lots of impressions out into their own Search Partner ad groups. Take a look at an example I’ve created below:

Search Partner Ad Groups

Through some tireless checking of pages, you can separate out these strange terms by the site they appear on and start to learn more about CPAs by Search Partner. However, I don’t really like the structure of an account organized in this way and the volume of traffic will probably still be too low for the cost of the time you would have to sink into this.

Another hack attempt that I’ve seen before is duplicate campaigns, one with both Google & Search Partners, and one with just Google. By having the Google one set to slightly higher bids, the Google-only campaign tends to win the auction, which leaves just Search Partner traffic for the campaign with both. I don’t really like this method either, as it kind of defeats the point of wanting to optimize search partners on a keyword basis and any CPC changes have to be meticulously recreated for both campaigns. (Accidentally bidding up the Search Partner-only one would break everything.)

For now, we’re left with two real options:

  • Use negative keywords to remove poor performing search partner pages.
  • Turn search partners off entirely if the CPA/ROAS is bad.

Of course in an ideal world, Google would be up front with us about Search Partners. It remains a fevered dream that we will be able to set up Search Partner-only campaigns, segment by specific search partners, and bid adjust for search partners. (It is worth noting that Bing already offers all these things with their partner network, so perhaps we’ll see Google catch up to them eventually.)

As always, if you have questions or want to speak about your own experience with search partner data, let us know Contact