“The Blend” on Your PPC Ads

Jul 05 2010

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.”

Google_advises_blend

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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.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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5 comments

  1. Tom / Domaining365

    This was a timely article for me Shane. I just took all the advertising off my new blog because I was conflicted about the poor quality of what was being advertised. For the time-being I’m going to focus on content and other domaining / development projects going on. I’d rather take the time and do the research then use the site to promote targeted and legitimate domainer tools through an affiliate marketing approach then have my site promote whatever the advertiser of the day is on Google, Yahoo, etc.

  2. RH

    Excellent post, I had never paid attention to this and it was a helpful article. I see sometimes Shane adsense where it just show the little “i” and when you click that it says ads by Google. Is that what you meant by hiding the ads by Google ?


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      You never really hide them you just blend the fonts, color and layout so they mesh with the content. This way the ads don’t stand out but come across more like a “learn more here” link

  3. James Barclay

    Blending definitely is a game changer with Adsense. It will increase your CTR ten times ++ better than without the blending It is also one of the main reasons a lot of people lose their Adsense account.

    Reason being that many people get confused between blending and concealing. Yes, Google gives a few specifics on what will get you banned.

    Not being able to see “ads by google” is one that u mentioned Shane. Another is putting misleading titles above the ads such as ” Win a prize” or ” Get rich”.

    So a lot of people mistakenly believe that if they stay away from the examples mentioned they wont get banned.

    However, I know of plenty people who still got banned despite not doing any of the examples Google specifically prohibits.

    There are many other ways to conceal ads than those hi-lited. And your CTR will go through the roof, you will start earning amazing money and two weeks before payday you get that dreaded email – YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN BANNED.

    Domainers need to realise that using blackhat tactics to get people to click will inevitably get them banned. They may get away with it once twice even three times. But in the end – Google is the judge and jury in deciding what constitutes blending and what constitutes concealing – and you will be biting the hand that feeds you if you try and cross the line.

    Of course I will not disclose what such tactics are, but they exist.

    Moral of the story. Dont be greedy. And know the difference between blending and concealing.

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