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How do I improve my clickthrough rate?

Clickthroughs dropped 2.5% when I changed layout

     
7:18 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There's a certain section of my website that I recently revamped the design of, but when I did so my click-through rate dropped from 4-5% to 2-3%. I'd like some advice on how to lay out my page and advertising.

I have a Leaderboard the same colour as the page background, which is underneath my page title. Below that I have a three column layout, with a dark blue Skyscraper ad on the left, a dark blue navigation bar on the right, and in the middle my page content which begins with a Large Rectangle ad with the same background colour as the page. I'd like to increase my click-through rate by changing the layout/ad placement.

What advice can you give me to get more people to click on my ads, without breaking any of Google's rules?

9:00 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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What advice can you give me to get more people to click on my ads

Change it back the way it was...
9:48 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Geez, JDigital... you're asking the tough questions! :)

Seriously, everything you're asking is at the heart of SEO. We won't be able to spell out dozens of details here, but if you search these forums and check out Google's Heat-Map, you should find enough information to get your CTR back up.

It sounds like you've got your page-layout in order, but one word of caution: The famed Google Heat-Map is simply a guide. It doesn't work perfectly for all websites, so you may need to move your ads around a number of times before you figure out what's best for your target audience.

10:40 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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wyweb's answer was the one that struck me before I'd even read the thread!

I'd be very inclined to revert to the previous page layout if the new one lost you that much money.

11:17 pm on Feb 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Put a medium or large rectangle in the upper left wherever your main text begins - with the background set to your page's color so it blends. That alwyays get the highest CTR across all my sites.
2:00 am on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Here's where Google says you should put your ads:

[google.com...]

1:57 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks! I have taken this advice on board. I have changed the site design to be more like the old one, with rectangle ads as the first thing on the page as Swebbie suggested.

Is 5% considered a good clickthrough rate, or are there ways of pushing it above that?

2:47 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is 5% considered a good clickthrough rate, or are there ways of pushing it above that?

That depends in the theme.

I have several sites with exactly the same layout, only different themes.

The difference from worst to best site with same layout is 1 : 3.5

3:11 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is 5% considered a good clickthrough rate

For me it would be fantastic.
3:21 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is 5% considered a good clickthrough rate, or are there ways of pushing it above that?

My main core sites average around there although my specialist satellite sites go as high as 30% however, obviously, with nowhere near the page impressions/clicks.

The basis for these satellites were taken from the main core sites and developed as separate niche themes reciprocally linked to each other.

Horses for courses...

7:01 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So are you saying that you have 3 ad blocks on a page?

That may be overkill and they are just backing out of your page instead of going forward to click....not enough real content. Granted I haven't seen the site, but sometimes it helps to give people information and then give them the places to click.
Just try to avoid the "trick click".

Just my 2cents :)

8:50 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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5% CTR is respectable. It can be higher, though, for sure. Keep testing ad positions and color combinations. Remember too that having the maximum number of ad blocks lowers CTR, so 2 publishers making exactly the same amount from Adsense from the same ads being clicked might have completely different CTR.
9:42 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My ctr is around 2.5-3.5%... I have 1 skyscraper on the left & one at the bottom of the page.
I don't want to put one at the top of the page, but would that cause CTR to improve?
11:21 pm on Feb 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I prefer how the page looks with a skyscraper to the left but I have switched back and forth a couple of times to be sure and a large rectangle floating to the right at or near the top of an article does much better.

I don't float it to the left as I do want the visitor to start reading the text first.

12:10 am on Feb 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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When you say "float", do you mean just put it in a table aligned to the right? Or how do you align your ad blocks?