Adwords Site Targeting On The Horizon

Google’s making some improvements for it’s advertisers wanting to work with the Adwords content network. Danny Sullivan has the scoop:

New Google AdWords Site Targeting Allows Advertisers To Pick & Choose

Beginning today, some Google advertisers will have access to a new tool allowing them to select particular sites. Over the coming weeks, the scope will be expanded until all advertisers have access to the new feature, Google says.

Most excellent! I would think this will encourage a few things to happen:

* More adwords advertisers will pay to use the content network (I know I will)
* The icky adsense cheese pages are gonna be creamed and will die off (no one will want to pay for their ads to be displayed on crap, at least not top dollar)
* Advertisers can snap their ads off a site if they feel publisher click fraud is happening

There are A LOT of good things to come from this. Advertisers are much more in control of where their dollar is spent.

Good move Google!

Do You Have Your CTR Goal Backward?

Sometimes we can get too caught up in driving and chasing traffic to our websites that we lose track of where our focus needs to be – website conversion rates. I just caught a good read over at Results-Squared:

Increase Adwords CTR (or Not)

An increase in Adword CTR does not mean that you will make more money or sales. In fact, you don’t want a high CTR until after you have validated the conversion rate of the landing pages and the sales pages. With this, you need to know that if X customers see the landing page X will come through and X will convert to sales.

I build a site knowing that it can take some time before the search engines index then rank it (especially Google). It can be 4 – 6 weeks, sometimes even more before I see a smattering of organic search traffic. Until I can achieve high enough traffic, how can I tell if my pages have an effective layout and copy? Relying totally on organic results can leave you with a wait time of *months* before you know how your site will perform.

Here’s how I use ppc, and at the moment I’m only using adwords for my testing so I’ll speak in terms of using adwords here.

Create an adwords ad, put together a hot list of your most targeted keywords and phrases (a few dozen only), and let the ad loose. Run it and watch. If I have a 1% clickthru on adwords, I’m happy. At this stage I just want to see what visitors are doing on my site. I also don’t worry too much about bid prices, I’m happy to be in the middle somewhere and not concerned about being on top.

Are they moving around, visiting a few pages?
Or are they running off after viewing the landing page?
Are they clicking on the products to view?
Or are they showing no interest in the products?

This is what I mainly watch for when first starting a ppc campaign on a brand new site. If visitors aren’t moving around, if they’re loading the first page then running off – that tells me I have a problem. If they’re moving around the site but not clicking on product links, that tells me the products I have aren’t a good fit or have no appeal. I make the necessary changes. Is it my layout? Is it my product choices? Should I change the landing page I use? Is it clear where to click the product links? What is it that’s turning off visitors?

At this point it’s not even about the sales, I just want to watch what’s happening.

When I’ve determined that the majority of my traffic moves around, clicking product links, yet no sales – I know I have a problem. Am I targeting the right traffic? Have I selected poor product choices (too pricey, poor quality, etc.)? Or do the merchants I selected have ‘issues’ – are there toll-free numbers plastered all over, leaks at the checkout, complicated navigation, poor search features, etc.? Hopefully I watched for all that when I first went out to find products to work with, but if no sales are happening, time to take a closer look.

Once I’ve made any necessary changes and determine that everything’s running well, the website is performing at a decent level, sales are tracking (I settle for 1/100 at the start) – that’s when I zoom in on my adwords ad campaign and look at expanding the number of keywords and phrases and clickthru. That’s when I look at driving as much traffic as possible to my website, but not just any traffic. I really only want focused and targeted traffic.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rules. Is it a seasonal website and is it reasonable to expect a good conversion rate at this time? For example: am I launching a Christmas decorations website in April?

Is it a high ticket item? That draws a lot of browsers, price checkers and the curious. There may be a lot of moving around the pages and product link clicks, but not a great sales volume.

Polishing your website til it shines and performs *before* knocking yourself out striving for a higher ppc CTR ensures that you’ll achieve bigger bang for your buck. Another bonus – when organic search engine results catch up and that traffic starts to arrive, you’re ready and waiting with a well performing website.

Update: Umm fixed that nasty typo! 😆

Content Unchecked – Thank You

So how many of these ‘traffic exchanges’ are in the wild do you think? And how many of them know *just the right keywords* to use on their pages to grab those high bids?

One more reason to *uncheck* content on your adwords – thank you. What I’ve done too is really *lower* my cost per click so that I’m either too low to be of interest to these guys (and let my competition pay the bill), or they’ll have to click like mad to get more than $5 from me. But I hardly ever do content.

See this thread at Digital Point Forums Check this TOS violation out…

Blurb from the Googleplex site:

If You Currently Have Pay Per Click Advertising On Your Website You Have Come To The Right Place. By Using Googlepex. com Your Advertising Will Really Pay Off! Add Your Website To Our Program For Free And Watch Your Adsense Or Other Advertising Programs Potential Increase Overnite!

Plus this post with another ‘traffic exchange’ Google knows “Click Fraud”

Here’s Swap Click’s frisky service:

Our members visit other members’ websites and see what they have to offer and then check out their competitor’s ads that are listed on their site to check out the member’s competition.

Gooooood Grief!

Remember that these types of sites multiply faster than rabbits. Google’s a smart bunch of people, but they’re being outclicked and outsmarted. On your dollar.

ETA: July 24th – The spam drivebys for this site have succeeded in closing the comments section down for this blog entry. It’s too bad – a good convo is always better than nonsense.

Top Paying Adsense Keywords

BOING!

Take a look at what I found:

List of Top Paying Google Adsense Keywords “The Secrets of Google Adsense”

Google Adsense is a popular affiliate program to make revenue from a website. Here is a list of the known high paying keywords on the Adsense network to maximize revenue from your websites.

Please note that regional differences exist. The values may for Google Adsense payout rates differ regionally. Its always recommended to do the research yourself. This information is is here to help you improve you Google Adsense targeting.

And a few samples I’ve capped:

Top Paying Adsense

😯

Thanks to Eric Baillargeon for the heads up!

Report on the Google Adsense Bay Area Forum

I just found this thread over at AssociatePrograms.com discussing this article:

Adsense Users Forum, March 16, 2005

The article is a nice read with a few comments to note:

“If you make more money, we make more money”. The initial speaker, a Google employee, really impressed me with the clarity of their vision and intent. Their plan is to create a virtuous circle, where they serve the needs of the web-reading public (the “users”), the needs of the advertisers, and the needs of the publishers. Every step they make must fit the needs of all three, because together those three form the Web’s ecosystem.

Discussing Dr. Cheng Wu’s contribution:

He had tried several placement and coloration strategies. None of them made a difference, until this one simple change.

What was the change? To make sure the colors did not have “frames” in the ad units, and to as much as possible blend the ad units with the content.

Discussing Chris Prillo from Lockergnome:

He is completely enthusiastic about Adsense, and threw out this question: How do you monetize free content? He sees his time as money, and while he loves to talk and give advice he also wants to be paid for his time in doing so.

He claims that Affiliate Marketing is “dead”, and especially the way it devalues the web site it is installed on.

He also tries to make the adsense ad units invisible, blending it in with the content. He uses a large rectangle inline with the content, coloring it to blend with the background, and no borders or frames.

Both the thread and the article have some nice information and I found them to be a worthwhile read.

Adsense Sabotage Concerns

You’ve built your online empire around the adsense craze. Link networks set up, content pages cranked out, SERPs treating you well and you’re getting traffic (and lotsa moolah from adsense clicks).

What happens when a competitor decides to wipe you out and bot bombs your displayed adsense ads?

😯

Something to think about and prepare for isn’t it? And it is something that’s been playing on my mind lately, and one reason why I haven’t dove head first into the adsense earning craze. How does one *protect* himself/herself from psycho competitors?

From what I understand, Google has a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy. If they think you’re generating fraudulent clicks – you’re toast. Forever. And if you’ve been online long enough, you’ve come across those that will knock you out for a nickel or knock you out just-because-they-can.

Here are a few good reads:

Fear Of Click Fraud From Competitor

What To Do When You’re Kicked Out Of Adsense

Adsense Canceled

What Makes Your Account Valuable To Adsense?

Some rules of thumb are:

1. Inform Google right away if you notice a click problem
2. Save your log files to present to Google when a problem arises
3. Watch your adsense stats like a hawk and track your clicks
4. Remove adsense from your pages as soon as you notice fraudulent clicking behavior and report to Google