This post topic has the ability to quickly get me steamrolled and a lot of hate, but I think advertisement clickthrough rate is something well worth considering before creating any website that is monetized via pay per click ads. I have recently launched a number of AdSense monetized sites and these are some of my early thoughts on factors affecting monetization and CTR.
Are there Any Ads? Are the Ads Relevant? Is There Any Search Volume?
If you search for Google and nobody is advertising for your targeted industry or phrase sets the opportunities to make money are going to be rather limited. The same holds true if the traffic volume is low or the bid prices are dirt. The Google Traffic Estimator Tool makes it pretty easy to get an estimate of the bid prices and AdWords click volume while the Google Keyword Tool lets you check the depth of competition quickly. You can also use Shawn's Google AdSense Sandbox to see how compelling and relevant ad offers are for a specific topic.
Signs of Desperation, Ignorance, or Stupidity
I am sure this category might get me a bit of heat, but I own one website that was getting about 400 pageviews a day about a specific topic. Adding a single page catering to some ignorant people in that vertical (one could assume a certain level of ignorance by their search queries - sorry but I can't give that term away) added 50 pageviews a day and doubled the ad clicks and earnings for the site.
Dumb or naive people are less likely to realize they are clicking paid ads when they land on your page.
What are some common signs of intelligence or lack of intelligence? Or signs of naiveness?
- topics for kids - they clearly are going to be operating on limited business experience and limited financial and business understanding, and thus may click click click without thinking anything of it. I have a site that caters to a broad field, but the page most focused on kid friendly searches has a 50% ad clickthrough rate, whereas the next best page is coming in at 18%, and the site averages around 10%.
- searching for things that do not exist - these are going to be easier to rank for than their official alternatives. These searches may be an indication of intelligence or lack of intelligence depending on vertical and query. From my limited experience, more frequently they will likely indicate a lack of intelligence, but it really depends on the reason WHY the market has yet to fill the demand.
- misspellings and misuse of language - I am a bad speller so I offer no hate here, but on average most misspelled queries come from people who are below average on the intelligence scale
- poor credit or lack of financial planning - sure we all go through ruts, but the average person looking for a payday loan is going to be less intelligent than the average person looking for a mortgage loan
- general topic - the average person searching for scientific information is going to be smarter than the average person searching for a personality on Fox News or American Idol.
- demographics - old and young people may not be clued into how the web works. Some other demographics may be more or less clued in. Many search queries may do a great deal to identify the gender, age group, or ethnicity of the searcher.
- traffic source - On average the average Google user is going to be smarter than the average MSN Search user, who is going to be smarter than the average free spyware download search accelerator searcher.
- query length and syntax - advanced search queries and specific long tail searches are most likely going to be from smarter searchers or searchers closer to purchasing.
Searches That Signify the Desire for Advertisements
Targeted buying searches and comparison searches may be searchers that are looking for just a bit more info before converting, perhaps through one of your ads.
The more ads look like content the more they get clicked on. Default blue is a beautiful link color. Some people do well by placing images near their AdSense ads.
Quality and Quantity of Ad Alternatives
Content that is of amazing quality that solves the visitor's problems may make the ads look less appealing, although if it allows you to become the industry standard resource that additional distribution can more than pay for the added cost of creating real quality content.
If a page is a resource link list or has many alternative paths to leave the site outside of an ad click many people will take those paths.
Are the top SERPs dominated by real resources?
If the top results are quality informational PR7 .edu pages best of luck on the rankings front. You are going to need it ;)
If the top sites are cloaked pages or other sites that do not look like real resources it is easier to get your listing clicked on by crafting a quality page title and meta description.
Does Your Site Have Enough Authority?
As recently posted by Quadzilla, if you have authority it seems you can extend it out cross topic. If you lack link authority and age related trust it is an uphill battle to compete in Google.
How Much Commitment is Required to Buy?
Buying a home is a much more extensive and expensive process than buying a treadmill.
How Web Friendly is Your Product Offering?
Ads for physical books, heavy commodities or things like diamonds (which perhaps require some amount of trust to purchase) are going to go for far less than they are worth when compared to ads for items that fit the web nearly perfectly (take software or ebooks as examples).
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