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Archive for Pay Per Click’ Category



Landing Pages Now Affect AdWords Quality Score!

Previously to this announcement from Google:-

It was a common misconception that your landing page affected Quality Score.

It didn’t. What it did do was affect your minimum first page bid estimates. This discouraged people from having rubbish landing pages, but if you could create fantastic ads, bid high to start with and get a great CTR, then this was a minor inconvenience.

Not any more apparently…

When searching on Google, users appreciate results that are relevant and deliver a great experience after they click. In August, we announced trials in Brazil, Spanish-speaking Latin America, Spain, and Portugal1 that increased the weight given to relevance and landing page quality in determining Quality Score and how ads are ranked on Google. The goal was to improve the user experience with search ads. Based on the results we’ve been seeing, we’re now rolling these changes out globally over the coming weeks.

This is one more nail in the coffin for affiliate marketers who want to use AdWords to sell other peoples products and services (Google clearly wants to be the only affiliate allowed to use Google).

They also explicitly state landing pages should :-

Feature original content that can’t be found on another site. This guideline is particularly applicable to resellers whose site is identical or highly similar to another reseller’s or the parent company’s site, and to affiliates that use the following types of pages:

Bridge pages: Pages that act as an intermediary, whose sole purpose is to link or redirect traffic to the parent company
Mirror pages: Pages that replicate the look and feel of a parent site; your site should not mirror (be similar or nearly identical in appearance to) your parent company’s or any other advertiser’s site

Provide substantial information. If your ad links to a page consisting mostly of ads or general search results (such as a directory or catalog page), it must also provide additional, unique content.

So they are clamping down on people who have more than one (similar) web site, and more than one AdWords ad on the SERPs at any given time. Again – Google want to be the only firm allowed to ‘double dip’ in AdWords.

They also now state that user reviews are important i.e. you must :-

Honor the deals and offers that you promote in your ad.
Deliver products and services as promised.
Only charge users for the products and services that they order and successfully receive.

So, for anyone who has one web site, that sells their own stuff, and has good reviews from customers – will this have any major effect? I don’t think so.

Everyone else – I would start getting worried!

For anyone wanting basic information on Quality Score this is quite a good little video:-

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Should I Forget About PPC And Concentrate on Search Engine Optimisation?

Firstly, don’t listen to Search Engine Optimisation guys/girls who tell you that the number of clicks you will get from Google AdWords / PPC are insignificant compared to the free clicks you will get if you rank well in the organic search results.

A study from Optify concluded that, for more valuable keywords, the organic click-through rate for page 1 placement on Google was 37.3%!

This means that PPC ads can get around 60% of available traffic!

There are many people who would have you believe that you would be lucky to get a Click Through Rate fo 1% for PPC ads. Here are some real world examples from campaigns that I am managing (and the average position on these ads is relatively low):-

Ad1 – approx 44,000 impressions – avg. pos. = 2 – CTR = 14.18%
Ad2 – approx 1 million impressions – avg. pos. = 3.8 – CTR = 6.79%
Ad3 – approx 120,000 impressions – avg. pos. = 6.9 – CTR = 4.52%

Secondly, don’t listen to people (mostly Search Engine Optimisation guys/girls) who tell you that you are paying money for clicks on PPC ads when people would have clicked on your organic result anyway if your ad was not there.

A recent study from Google (OK it is bound to be slightly biased but you can be sure it is not fabricated) showed that “a full 89% of the traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused“.


Update – March 2012 A study from Google found the following:

  • 81% of ad impressions and 66% of ad clicks occur in the absence of an associated organic result on the first page of search results. All ad clicks in these situations are incremental.
  • On average, for advertisers who appear in the top rank organic slot, 50% of ad clicks are incremental. This means that half of all ad clicks are not replaced by organic clicks when search ads are paused.
  • For advertisers whose organic search results are in the 2nd to 4th position, 81% of ad clicks are incremental. For advertisers appearing in organic position of 5 or lower, 96% of ad clicks are incremental.
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Increase Sales With AdWords Seller Ratings (Customer Review Stars) On Your Ads.

Example :-

The easiest way to get these little yellow stars if you have an e-commerce site is to allow the use of Google Checkout as a payment option – once you get 30 reviews, your seller ratings will start showing on your AdWords ads. (Also – having Google Checkout badges on your ads can also increase your CTR by 10%.)

Have a look on the internet and you’ll probably be able to find a lot of articles about how important good customer reviews are. But there do not seem to be any articles on what sort of increase in sales you might expect if you were to get those little yellow stars (seller rating extensions) attached to the majority of your AdWords adverts. So,  to leave no-one in any doubt that customer reviews are important here are some real world figures:-

The following increase in conversion rates for one client were observed after 5 star ratings started appearing on their AdWords ads :-

27.5% ! ??



  • This was not a split test.
  • Many other factors can affect conversion rate.
  • This figure may go down when more data comes in (though there is a pretty big sample of data already).
  • *** Update – 31st May 2011 – This is the most important note – having taken the figures for a longer period before and after the ratings starting appearing on the AdWords ads, the original figure of 27.5% looks very much like a fluke. I’ll come back and update this figure when I have a bit more data in. Hopefully there will still be an increase – though it is definitely looking like a *lot* less than 27.5%.  (This is an important lesson to everyone with regards to believing everything you read.. :-) ***

But even while taking this figure with a (very large)  pinch of salt – I have never seen such a big improvement in conversion rate for AdWords traffic before.  Put it this way – if I had my own online shop, then getting glowing customer reviews would currently be my number one priority!

(Even if the increase in conversion rate is not amazing, I would still put getting good customer reviews near the top of my list of priorities… :-)

If anyone else has had any similar experiences, please let me know!

PS – Here is the link for more detailed information on how to get Seller Ratings appearing on your Google Adwords ads:-

PPS – If you have really bad customer service you can ignore this article.

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New Option To Show Your AdWords Ads That Convert Better More Often…

There used to be 2 options in Google AdWords for how different ads in the same ad group were shown.

‘Optimize for clicks’, and ‘Rotate’.

There is a now new option ‘Optimize for conversions’.

It is not entirely clear yet exactly how well this will work, and it is not possible to set up an AdWords experiment to determine how well it works, as the setting is at the campaign level.

It is important to note however that if one ad converts better than another ad – this setting does not guarantee that the ‘better’ ad will always be shown just that ‘Ads expected to provide more conversions are delivered more often into the ad auction than other ads in the ad group’. So if your better converting ad has a very poor CTR compared to an ad that doesn’t convert so well, then I think it is unlikely that the better converting ad will win the auction and get displayed (Why would Google take this opportunity to get significantly less clicks and make significantly less money for themselves?).

Also, (although this depends a lot on your niche and what you are selling / giving away I guess), but I have to say that I have not seen a big difference in conversion rates for differently worded adverts anyway, so long as you look at the results over a long enough period of time. If anyone else has seen drastically different results in conversion rates after thousands of conversions, then please let me know!


For further info…

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Save Thousands A Year On Your AdWords Bill

If you ever login to your AdWords account and see a message beside any of your campaigns that says “Limited By Budget” then keep reading….

Do NOT Control Your AdWords Budget With Your ‘Budget’ Settings!

This was touched on in a previous post – but it is so important that I want to mention it again…

You can see in the illustration above that you can save a LOT of money or get a lot more clicks for the same price by decreasing your bids while leaving your budget alone.

If you spend more than a few pounds a day on AdWords – this can amount to either a huge saving or a lot of extra business for no extra cost.

PS – if you are using CPA bidding, and are making a profit on every sale, then make sure your daily budget is *big* so you don’t miss out on any profitable sales.

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Speed Up Your Web Site

The speed of your web site is increasingly important in keeping the search engines and your customers happy. With this in mind, Google have released a new ‘mod_pagespeed’ module for Apache web servers which can speed up your web site by up to 2 times! :-

Speak to your techie guys/girls today about this.  The software is free, and it is not difficult to install.

NB – not all web sites do use the Apache web server – so it cannot be used by everyone…

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