Effectively Using Google Adwords

This is another part of the ongoing series on Google Adwords written by Nora O’Neill of Rainy Day Paperback Exchange
Part 1 in the series can be found here.


It seems every time I log into Google there’s a new toy available. The latest is the Site and Category Exclusion tool. This lets you tell Google to be more specific about NOT showing your ads in certain places in its content network. It doesn’t effect search, just things appearing next to actual content.

Using this may cut your traffic some. However, it will also cut your costs and improve your click through rate (lowering your per click cost). It’s a trade off. Some spots may be generating clicks… but they aren’t actually generating sales. You want to exclude them.

To find the tool, login to you account. Click on Tools. Scroll down and click on Site and Category Exclusion.

There’s three options, By Site, By Topic, and By Page Types.

Site Exclusion will probably be the one you use least unless you have an absolutely huge volume of clicks coming from one place. There’s also a cap on how many sites you can exclude, but most places will never hit the 5,000 site cap.

The most likely reason to use this is if you have more than one site and use both AdWords and AdSense. Even if you have unrelated pages, you probably already linked them with a static link that won’t cost you money every time someone clicks. There’s no sense advertising yourself to people already on your pages! Use this to exclude your ads from showing up on your own website, blog, etc.

By Topic and By Page Type will both allow you to see how much traffic those types of sites have generated for you in the past before you make a decision to exclude them. Scroll down and you’ll see a drop down menu on the far right of the screen that offer you a choice to view it by week, month, all time, etc, or to view a more precise range.

Topic is broken into two main categories Conflict & Tragedy and Edgy Content. Conflict is then broken down into “crime, policy, & emergency”, “death & tragedy”, and “military & international conflict”. Edgy content is broken down into “juvenile, gross & bizarre content”, “profanity & rough language”, and “sexually suggestive content”.

Google prohibits ads from running on sites that sell pornography, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, drugs, term papers, knock off designer goods, gambling, or contains pornography, hate speech, or promotes illegal activities. The topic exclusion is to prevent your ads from showing next to things that don’t quite fit in this category, but may have this sort of content. For example, news organizations may carry an article about hate crimes and run ads next to it. The site does not promote intolerance, it reports on it. That doesn’t mean you want your ad for history books running next to the article on neo-Nazi activity!

Page Types is broken down into two main categories Network Types and User Generated Content. Network Types is further broken down into “error pages” and “parked domains” while User Generated content is broken down into “Forums”, “Image-sharing sites”, “social networking”, and “Video-sharing pages”.

Error pages are basically when someone was searching for something and ended up on an error page. Parked domains are basically where someone has bought the address but not built anything yet. These may generate a lot of traffic for you as it skirts around search. They were looking for X and you were suggested as a substitute when X was unavailable.

User generated content covers things like MySpace, Youtube, Facebook, and all their various clones and spin offs.

The major reason to exclude either of these two types is if you’re getting lots of views, but no clicks. This generally means its being viewed by people searching for something that means something other than what you think it does.

For example, I optimized the ads for a coffee roaster at one point. We finally had to disable the keyword “hot coffee”. That sounds like it should have been great search term, but the majority of people looking for “hot coffee” weren’t looking for COFFEE. They were looking for a cheat code to unlock a pornographic sequence in a game! No wonder no one clicked his ad for actual coffee!

That sort of mismatch can result in lots of views on your ad with no clicks. That will lower your click through rate and make your ads more expensive. That’s really the only reason you would want to disable these.

4 thoughts on “Effectively Using Google Adwords”

  1. Yes, if you are using the content network you have to be very selective about what sites you have your ad running on. Personally, I take my site off of the content network because I find that my conversion rate is extremely low when running ads there. If you are going to run ads there, I would definitely recommend setting up a seperate campaign for it so it’s easier to track, and lowering your bid prices substantially so that you can test without getting some ridiculous Ad spend with little or no results to show for it.

  2. Google Adwords is an incredible tool. I have seen people use it to make thousands of dollars immediately. No matter what type of site or business you are running, you can take advantage of Adwords. Lets say you’re selling books and you created your website today. You could be making thousands in sales tomorrow without even being listen in the normal Google search index. Of course, you’ll need money to get started with the Adwords fees. The thing is, if you use the tips from this article and other sources, you’ll know where and how to place your ads. If you do things correctly, your sales and profits will be greater than your Adwords expenses.

  3. I think that the best way is to generate a traffic report (through the ‘Reports’ tab) and see which pages are actually sending you traffic. You’ll probably find a lot of thin AdSense pages that are getting clicks but never bring in any conversions. So when you start a new campaign just run a report every couple of days and exclude, exclude, exclude…

    There’s a lot of money to be made from content network. But you have to know what you’re doing. You have to get into the mind of your customers and find out where you can find them. What kind of websites do they visit, what are they doing there, what should your ad say to make them click on it…

    Also, sometimes you should make a different landing page for your content ads. You see, the people who are actively searching for what you have to offer don’t need as much convincing than people that just happened to run into your offer. You need to change your approach, sure, but you can still make a sale.

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