How to Improve Your Click Through Rate in Google AdWords
By Kalena Jordan
Like many people who run a business via the
Internet, I use affiliate programs to supplement
One of the affiliate products I use myself and
love to promote - Proposal Kit - had been
performing particularly well for me recently and
I decided to help things along by creating a Google
AdWords campaign based around my reviews of the
After one month, the campaign was going ok, I
was getting a few sales here and there and
certainly making a good ROI on the promotion.
However, although my Click Through Rate (CTR)
was pretty good (1.2%), it was starting to slide
backwards and I thought I could do better.
As you probably know, your ad position in Google
relies heavily on your CTR compared to that of
your competitors, so I was keen to turn things
around and keep my high ad positions.
Around this time, I bought Nick Usborne's book Net Words and started to
read it, taking notes as I went. I realized that
according to Nick's philosophy, my AdWords ads
were flat and boring. They were just not
appealing enough to entice people to click on them.
As Nick explains in his book, "Being blah
guarantees you'll never be heard".
So I set about re-writing some of my ad text to
speak more directly to my audience and ask them
a question that required a response. Below is an
example of an ad targeting the search query
business proposal before I changed the text:
Business Proposal Kit
Close the sale with a professional
business proposal template kit.
And here is the text I replaced it with:
Need a business proposal?
Create your own professional
proposal with our template kit.
The aim was to get my average CTR for the entire
campaign up to around 2% from the existing 1.2%
it was sitting at. I logged off for the evening
and went to bed, not expecting too much. The
next morning, I had messages in my email in-box
advising me that I had made 3 sales overnight! I
was quite excited and logged into AdWords to see
how things were going.
Sure enough, my clicks were way up and two of
the three AdGroups I had edited were showing an
average 33% CTR! My overall campaign CTR had
risen from 1.2% to 2.4%. I had never experienced
CTR that high before. The ad I had changed used
to show a 2.5% CTR and after a few days the
replacement ad displayed a 4.3% CTR.
More motivated now, I studied the ads that had
attracted the most clicks and created more ads
around related keywords and phrases, using
similar headlines to the ads that were
performing the best. This time, I incorporated
Nick's advice to use short and punchy copy.
Below is an example of an ad I was using to
target the search query seo contract before I
changed the text:
Sample SEO contract
Proposal Kit provides a perfect SEO
contract template. Read our review.
And here is the text I replaced it with:
Need an SEO contract?
After another week, my average CTR for the whole
campaign jumped from 2.4% to 4% and I had a
couple of ads showing 100% CTR! You can imagine
how excited I was. Of course the high CTR builds
on itself because the higher your CTR, the
higher your ad position and the higher your ad
position, the more clicks it is likely to
attract. So my campaign had jumped from 1.3% in
the first month, to 2.4% in the second month and
after my fine-tuning, it's now showing a 4% CTR
consistently. And the sales? Well I now average
between seven and ten sales per week, up from
two per week over the past six months and my
affiliate commission is at an all time record.
The exercise just goes to show that a few
thoughtful tweaks to your ad copy can make a
HUGE difference to your bottom line. So what are
you waiting for? Go tweak that copy in your own
The above article may be re-published as long
as the content remains unchanged and the
following paragraph is included at the end of
the article, including the link:
As well as running her own SEO business, Kalena
Jordan manages and tutors at Search
Engine College, an online training
institution offering instructor-led short
courses and downloadable self-study courses in
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Welcome to 2006! Have you acted on your New
Year resolutions yet?
For those of you who run your own business, you
should think about sitting down with colleagues,
family and friends to brainstorm your 2006
Over the Christmas break I did just that and
found it totally refreshing to discuss ideas
with people not directly related to my work. A
pair of fresh eyes can do wonders and inject new
life into a tired old business plan. The main
things I took away from the exercise were to
create a better sense of community for SEC and
to have more fun!
The result? A couple of VERY exciting
search-related projects in the pipeline, the
first of which will be revealed in about two
months. Nope, can't tell you too much right now,
except that it will be loads of fun and we will
be looking for some volunteers to help with the
project very soon. More next issue.
And speaking of business improvements, I know
many of you would like to increase the return on
investment you are getting from your pay per
click campaigns this year.
This month's article is about how a few small
changes to my AdWords campaign increased the
all-important Click Through Rate and boosted my
affiliate sales by 350%. In the article, I walk
you through how I did it step-by-step.
Now for a bit of that fun I was talking about.
Do you have a talent for witty writing? Like
creating humorous captions for your funny
photos? Then skip down to the
bottom left of this newsletter to enter our
funny photo caption competition. You could win a
free course at SEC for your trouble.
Thanks for reading and remember to visit the
Search Engine Advice Column to check out
my answers to frequently asked search engine
questions or submit one of your own.
Till next time - wishing you high rankings...
|FAQ1: Why is Google ignoring my site?|
I am writing to you because I have tried to
ignore the fact that Google has been ignoring my
site for over a year now, but I have had enough.
I have tried to optimize my website as best I
could. Ok I do not do this on a full-time basis
but I do try my best; adding relevant content,
trying to building links with relevant websites
which are subject related, etc.
My website ranks well for keywords like "plus
size fashion", "plus size bridal wear" and "plus
size casual" on search engines like Yahoo, MSN
Search and AllTheWeb but Google would not have
anything to do with me. I can see that Google
has indexed my website, it has indexed around
250 pages, so I shouldn't be blacklisted. My
site also has a PR 4. Modest, I know but not low
enough to throw away.
I am clueless as to what I might be doing wrong!
Can you shed some light please? Kudos for the
great blog - I look forward to your posts!
I'm assuming that your site is the same as your
email domain? If so, you've got some serious
coding problems. I can't even get the site to
load in either FireFox or Internet Explorer. I
get an error in FF I've never seen before:
"Redirection limit for this URL exceeded.
Unable to load the requested page. This may be
caused by cookies that are blocked".
I don't get an error with IE, but it just times
out without loading the page. Based on the error
message, I'm assuming that your site code uses a
number of redirects or META refreshes. Although
Google has indexed 379 pages from your site, I
can't seem to get any to load and I've clicked
on about six.
I have no doubt that your code problems are
causing major issues for Googlebot when it comes
to index your site. Not to mention the fact that
many of your potential visitors probably can't
view your site!
Sarah, I would get your code sorted out quick
smart and rid yourself of any unneccessary
redirects. I used the HTML
validator from W3 and a 302 error showed up,
redirect issues. Better get it sorted!
|FAQ2: Is there any benefit to having multiple domains containing search keywords?|
I'm a web designer and I have many clients who
register domain names that match their business
name. This is great, but in many cases these
domain names don't include their primary
keyword. Is there benefit in having multiple
domain names pointing to the same site and using
the keyword included domain name for search
engine registration? Is there any risk of
duplicate content as you discussed in your
September 05 newsetter?
Thank you - I find your newsletters very helpful
and hope to complete one of you courses soon.
Keyword-stuffed domains? No, nada, absolutely
not. Sure, it used to be all the rage to
register multiple domains containing as many
keywords as possible all separated by hyphens.
But this only ever gave sites a teeny tiny boost
in the relevancy stakes, if any at all. And
those days are long gone. Keyword-stuffed
domains are now considered retro spam.
Nearly all current search engine algorithms
filter out keywords within domain names and word
has it that over-use of hyphens within a domain
name can actually earn your site a penalty.
Besides that, the
experts agree that
keyword-stuffed domains look silly.
But thanks for providing our Retro Spam Tactic
of the Month!
|FAQ 3: Which are preferable from a SEO perspective - absolute or relative links?|
Can you please tell me which are preferable from
a SEO perspective - absolute or relative links?
Let me start by defining absolute vs relative
links for readers who aren't familiar with these
An absolute link defines the precise location of
a web page or file including the full domain.
Below is an example of an absolute link:
A relative link assumes that the search engine
spiders and browsers already know on which
domain and sub-directory the current document is
located, so a full URL is not specified. Below
is an example of a relative link:
[a href="page.html"] [/a]
Note that the http://www is not included in a
relative link. Also I've used square brackets to
replace <> so I don't break my newsletter code.
There is no preferred option for SEO. In terms
of search engine compatibility, it doesn't
matter if you use absolute or relative links on
your site, because most search engines
automatically convert relative links into
absolute links anyway.
Some programmers like to use relative links
because the shorter code can decrease a page's
download time. I prefer to code in absolute
links so there is less room for error when
designing the site or referring to image files etc.
Also, when you code in absolute links, you can
publish part of the site to another domain (a
new page for your client's site on your own test
site for example), without the need to upload
all the image files, CSS etc to make it load
correctly. This is because all the files
referenced refer to the actual domain where they
sit, rather than the temporary domain location
that they are being viewed on. This is
convenient from a designer's perspective.
However you decide to link to files on your
site, make sure you are consistent.
|FAQ 4: Why doesn't my site show a Google PageRank?|
I have added my website to Google. Now the
search results come but the page ranking does
not appear in my Google toolbar.
What can I do? Please help me..
Your Google Toolbar PageRank shows at zero in my
browser (all white). The toolbar PageRank is
only an estimate of your actual Google
PageRank. Even so, the fact that the
estimate is at zero is cause for concern, unless
your site was only recently launched. It's
common for new sites to show a non-existent or
very low PageRank until their backward links
If your site is not new to the Internet, it is
almost certainly a lack of link popularity
and/or low relevance causing your poor PageRank.
Google is not showing any backward links to your
site so you should focus on building up high
quality links. Try seeking out niche directories
and similarly themed portals about translation
or language services and submit your site to
them, requesting a link back.
Also consider your site from Google's
perspective. Have you made it as relevant as
possible for your target search queries? Does
the site follow Google's Webmaster
Guidelines? Have you implemented any tactics
that Google frowns upon? Have you included lots
of relevant, unique and useful content relating
to your products and services? Make your site
more usable and relevant for your visitors and
your Google PageRank will normally improve.
The fact that I can't find your site using your
target keyword phrase suggests it may be Sandboxed.
You may just need to be patient and ride it
out. Best of luck!