I’m not sure why, but one of the things that I have reservations about is too much blending of Google or PPC links in with my sites. I realize it’s the correct way to optimize my sites but I felt like I was tricking the visitors into clicking. I have two goals in mind when developing a site. One, make money. Two, give the user a reason for coming and revisiting my site. I’m not a big fan of minisites only because they offer very little value to the user. They are bland and emotion free sites that were quickly generated in the hopes of somebody from Google stopping by and clicking. I’m not naive, I know that’s how I make money but when I create a site I try and offer some depth they probably won’t get elsewhere. Nice pictures and fresh information go a long way. Of course, once I have them there I want to monetize them. My end goal is to sell them my goods but in the mean time I need them to click on ads of other vendors. Here’s where I have the conflict
I want them to click and the best way to get them to click is to make the site flow so they barely notice that they are clicking on an ad. I am not outright trying to fool them but I don’t want it to scream “AD” either. Every time I visit another site I like to study the flow and the purpose of the site. Most sites are built around adsense rather that adsense built around the site. Others have a perfect combination of articles and ads that even I have trouble noticing the switch from regular links in the site to ad links. This seems to be what Google wants
The matching of link colors and text is the best way to merge the ads and content. Again, I do feel like I’m trying to trick visitors into clicking but even Google promotes the fact in their optimization section that you can blend your ads to your site. The terms of service outline what you can and can’t do with ads and blending is allowed. As long as it you can still see “Ads by Google” then you are pretty much OK. Google even goes as so far as to show you how to hide them in the content or as they say “blend” them. Their exact words
“If you want the biggest revenue impact for the smallest effort, we recommend optimizing your color palettes. Choosing the right palettes can mean the difference between ads your users will notice — and click — and ads they’ll skip right over.”
So naive little me decided to go and change a few of my sites to do a better blend of ads to content. I changed the link color in the ads to match the links within the site. Then I put more links in the content to make sure both content and ads contained links. The result on day one? Double the revenue. It’s almost embarrassing. In some ways I’m hoping it was pure chance that the revenue on the particular sites doubled because I don’t want to think I was such a newbie that I didn’t try this before. So now I’m off to work on all my sites to optimize the blending of ads and content. To the experienced PPC experts I realize this is optimization 101 but to many of us we get so caught up in putting up quick sites we forget to keep optimizing the sites we have. Regardless of whether today is a fluke, I am going to work on all my sites and get them fully optimized before I add any more. I like the idea of doubling my revenue without having to double the number of sites I have.