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How to Make Money from Internal Search Traffic with Chitika

When people can’t find what they are looking for on your blog one of the things that they’ll often do is head for your search tool and see if they can find what they are looking for on your blog that way.

On my blogs hundreds of people use my search tools every day. I know this because until recently I’ve been using the search tool provided by AdSense for my search tools and it gives some basic statistics on how many searches there are and what people are searching for. It also gives you a way to monetize your search results by running AdSense ads in your results (you can see an example of it running in ProBlogger’s side bar at the moment).

The AdSense tool is OK – it does a reasonable job of giving good search results – however it does take a few days for newer posts to become searchable and I’ve found that the money that it brings in is almost non existent (around the $1 per day mark across multiple blogs).

I’ve long been dissatisfied with the return on AdSense search but thought that the dollar a day was better than nothing ($365 a year isn’t something that will go astray).

So this week when I found an alternative to AdSense for search to monetize the internal searching on my blogs I was interested to see what would happen.

Monetizing Internal Searching with Chitika

Earlier in the week I was wandering through Chitika’s support area and came across a tip that had previously escaped my attention.

In short – it will allow you to show Chitika eMiniMall ads in the search results page of your WP blog (if you use the default WP search template) with products in the ads that relate to the search.

The process is pretty simple to do (outlined below) and I’m happy to report that the results have brought me an improvement on the money earned from internal search. While I’m still not earning a lot from it, the last few days have seen a 500% improvement (remember I didn’t start with much) on some of my blogs. Don’t expect big dollars but do let me know how it goes for you.

I’ve not used it here at ProBlogger because this blog isn’t a product related blog (and as a result Chitika doesn’t work well with it) but on some of my other product related blogs it works well.

Here’s the process outlined by Chitika:

1. Sign in to your Chitika account, click the eMiniMalls tab, and generate your eMiniMalls code.

2. Go to your WordPress dashboard (e.g. http://your-domain.com/blog/wp-admin/). At the top of the page, click on the part of the bar that says “Presentation:”

3. Click on “Theme Editor:”

4. On the right side of the screen, click on “Search Template:”

(*NOTE:These instructions are for the “WordPress Default” Theme*)

5. Change the permissions of the search template (so that you are able to edit it) by running the following command:

CHMOD 777 wp-content/themes/default/search.php

(*NOTE: If you do not have access to the shell, have your administrator do this for you*)

6. Find the following line in the template code:

<h2 class=”pagetitle”>Search Results</h2>

7. Paste your eMiniMalls code underneath this line.

8. Change the following line:

var ch_queries = new Array( );

To this:

var ch_queries = new Array(“<?php echo wp_specialchars($s); ?>”);

9. Click “Update File”

Your search results will now have an eMiniMall (targeted to the search query) at the top of the page.

A variation on this process is to add the ad with a different default channel at the bottom of your search results also so that there is an ad both at the top and the bottom of the search results. Also consider adding one to the ‘no results’ page.

Make sure that each time you ad an ad unit that you add a different channel code so you can track the results of these ads on your internal search pages.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Marek says:

    Well, it sounds interesting. Any idea how to implement something similar for a non WordPress blog?

  2. kunal says:

    darren,

    but won’t it make contextual advertising and against the TOS of adsense? im not sure bout this.

  3. Miha says:

    I don’t think it’s against the Adsense TOS. It’s the same as you use keywords for Chitika but now you get them through search terms. The contextual of Chitika is still off.

  4. kunal says:

    yea…maybe ur right miha…but still have heard google’s weird stories of banning ppl…though i dont earn as much as darren but i am skeptical bout trying this. maybe an official word from google???

  5. Cary says:

    Excellent find, Darren : )

    When I first started using AdSense For Search early in 2005 it seemed like I earned a decent amount every day, but for most of this year my income from search has been sinking lower & lower.

    I just set this up on my main blog, and it was fairly easy to do. I would definitely expect it to do better than AdSense for search.

    I”l let ya’ know how it goes…

  6. I’ve just been using a normal CGI search in my site, any links to this kind of implementation?

  7. fajar says:

    sounds good. but I can’t use it.
    my blog is still powered by blogger.

  8. Bryan says:

    Is anyone else having a hard time getting this to work. If i change the code as this article suggests, my eminimall doesn’t appear on the page.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Sounds like a good alternative to using adsense search. http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/10/18/how-to-make-money-from-internal-search-traffic-with-chitika/ Related Posts:  Make Money Using MySpace / 40+ Ways to Make Money on the Internet / Alternatives to Adsense. / Increasing web traffic and attracting links. / Search Engine Ranking Factors /  [...]

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