Search Traffic Arbitrage

What is search arbitrage?

Search arbitrage is an online marketing strategy and a way of buying traffic from a different source and selling it to a search feed provider. The traffic goes to a monetized page with search results, provided by Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. The traffic can be generated, using, for instance, the following ad networks:

Yahoo Gemini
Google Ads

It should be noted that a given ad network might not be allowed by an advertiser, so make sure the network is whitelisted. Moreover, your ad has to be compliant with the advertiser’s terms. Finally, when it comes to landing, your conversion flow can take two turns:

1-Click Flow: a more direct approach, where the user is redirected straight to the landing page of an advertiser.
2-Click Flow: when after inputting the keywords, the user lands on a pre-landing page, which can be customized and where you can tell the story you want. The user clicks on a Call-to-Action button and lands on the main landing.
Once a user clicks on your creatives, they are redirected to a search feed for a specific word. The better quality of traffic you bring in, the higher payout is. Use Google Keyword Planner to learn the exact set of keywords that are bound to pan out.

Here are a few of the search feed provider networks to serve as an example:

Domain Active

Search and SEO traffic are not the same things, albeit the former tends to favor the native approach as well. Search traffic is a superset of Search Engine Optimization, meaning that besides organic traffic, it includes paid search ads too. One way or another, the ultimate goal of search arbitrage is to make a visitor click on the search results, served via our search feed.

Search traffic arbitrage refers to the practice of purchasing low-cost traffic from one source, such as display ads or social media platforms, and redirecting that traffic to monetized pages featuring search ad results. The goal is to generate revenue by capitalizing on the price difference between the acquired traffic and the earnings generated from the search ads displayed on the monetized pages. This strategy involves optimizing campaigns, leveraging ad networks, and complying with ad rules to maximize profitability and return on investment.

This article explores search arbitrage, covering its key components, compliance rules, campaign flows, and optimization techniques. Discover how affiliates can maximize their success with this strategy.

Search Traffic Arbitrage Explained
         Search Traffic Arbitrage Explained

While the payout for the search feed offers might seem low, ranging in-between $0.01–$1, the conversion rate (CR) makes up for it, sometimes approaching 15%, or even more. Remember, while it is nice to have a high payout, the final revenue is also made of CR. In this regard, search arbitrage can be viewed as an antipode to mass tort lead gen offers.

How to make a compliant ad

The universal rules of ad compatibility include:

  • No clicking on your own ads — that’s blatant cheating
  • No push traffic — due to their disruptive and anti-organic nature
  • No incentivized traffic — driving motivated traffic to your parked domains is a big red flag
  • No misalignment between content and ads — any kind of misleading and false claim is prohibited

Traffic monetization flow is also subject to a certain set of rules. For example, when working with a native ad network, you can go for direct linking, when there is no intermediary between the ad itself and the monetization page (parked domain). On the other hand, when dealing with Google Display, Google Search, or Facebook, the compliance rules require you to make a site with content. This means that before getting to the parked domain, the user needs to see a page with some kind of thematic content.

Direct vs. Tracked Campaign Flow

When running any kind of campaign, you are usually left with a choice whether to use a tracker or not. Search arbitrage is no exception, which is why you need to decided what do you want to achieve with your campaigns. Both approaches have their respective pros and cons.

Direct campaign flow involves no 3rd party tracker, which is why an affiliate is at the mercy of the search feed provider and their tracking capabilities. When no side tracker is used, the user will be redirected straight to the parked domain or tracking link, provided by the search feed provider. This type of campaign is typically built manually, by adding the tracking information to the links, for the purposes of using them as the target URL. Direct flow is marked by the following features:

Pros Cons
✅ Fast and easy set-up 

✅ Does not add a redirect between the ad and promoted domain

✅ Some search feed providers have no redirect at all

❌ Tracking options are limited to the search feed provider capabilities 

❌ Reporting options are limited to the search feed provider capabilities

❌ Little-to-no options to track miscellaneous visitor details, like GEO, device type, OS, or browser

❌ Impossible to rotate two or more keyword groups within a single domain

❌ Impossible to rotate two or more domains within a single campaign

❌ Impossible to rotate domains between different search feed providers


Tracked campaign flow addresses all the cons mentioned above at the cost of adding additional steps between the ad network and search feed provider traffic flow. There is nothing to worry about, however, since redirecting between the domains is made at blitz-like speed.

First redirect is imposed by a tracking platform, which records all the non-personal data available. Then the tracking platform sends the visitor to the designated website, adding all the necessary tracking information to the designated URL.

During the second redirect, a tracker of the search feed provider records all the relevant data, before sending the visitor further. But what are the exact advantages of using 3rd party tracker?

  • Gather more data on the website visitors
  • Establish conditional routing, based on the data on the visitors
  • Split-test two or more keywords, domains, or search feed providers under the same campaign
  • Use a single post-back URL for all the search feed providers
  • Go beyond pixel tracking and enjoy more flexibility with Server-to-Server (S2S) tracking
  • Post conversions on social ad networks with the help of conversion API
  • Swap monetization domains without resubmitting your campaigns for a review

The paramount metrics you should keep track of in your campaigns are:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Revenue per Click (RPC)
  • Return on Investment (ROI)

Some of the most popular trackers out there are:

Considering the relatively low payout levels, you need to start making optimizations early to cut off poorly performing publishers. If you are working with a 3rd party tracker, you will have to upload the conversions manually, before aggregating a substantial data pool. Make sure the same conversion is not uploaded twice!

When you get massive traffic and data, you can switch to auto-optimization with the help of the tool, called TheOptimizer. Go to the IAmAttila blog, if you want to learn more about the automation rules and examples. Alternatively, check out The Search Arbitrage Handbook by TheOptimizer for even more practical examples on how to set up, launch and optimize the search campaigns.


Search arbitrage is a powerful online marketing strategy that involves selling traffic to search feed providers. By leveraging ad networks and optimizing campaign flows, advertisers can drive targeted traffic to monetized pages with search results. Compliance with ad rules and the use of appropriate campaign tracking methods are essential for success in search arbitrage. With careful optimization and monitoring of key metrics, affiliates can maximize their revenue and ROI. Explore the automation tools and resources available to streamline and enhance your search arbitrage campaigns.

4 thoughts on “Search Traffic Arbitrage”

Leave a Comment