As of April 1, 2008, Google has tightened their rules on Display URLs.
There’s been a lot of confusion about what the changes will mean, because as my colleague Bryan Todd points out, the new rules look an awful lot like the old rules. So what we may be facing here is a serious attempt at enforcement.
Basically, here’s the deal:
Your display URL must use the same domain as your actual landing page.
So if you’re testing 3 different domains, how on earth can you do that? Each ad only gets one landing page. Sounds impossible, right?
Fortunately, there’s a way to pile multiple domain names onto the same website. For example, let’s say I want to test the following URLs:
And I want to send the traffic to http://askhowie.com/givemelotsofmoney
I don’t need to set up three different websites. I just create the page at askhowie.com, and do a neat trick called aliasing. Basically, it’s telling the internet to assign different names to the same IP address.
Once I’ve set up the aliases, the following pages will all contain the exact same content:
And that will be true for every page I set up at askhowie.com after that. No need to do any extra work.
I was going to spend a couple of hours creating a really clear tutorial on how to do the aliasing, but thankfully, Bryan Todd beat me to it. Check out his comprehensive guide to Aliasing, the Universe and Everything (well, that’s a big of an exaggeration, but I’m a little giddy at the thought of all the work he’s saved me.