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Filter Your Traffic for Fun and Profit.

A path to higher earnings.

   
3:50 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



We see a great many questions about how to increase earnings posted here. One simple, and very effective answer is to filter your traffic.

What Does Filtering Do?

Think about it this way, we all want targeted ads, well advertizers want targeted traffic. Filtering is one way to deliver targeted traffic.

Filtering traffic is nothing unusual, it's what a well designed site navigation system does everyday.

This is nothing more than a closer look at how to benefit from navigation cues. A navigation cue can be as simple as a couple well chosen words used as anchor text for a link.

Filtering your traffic reduces impressions, and in my experience, increases your earnings. That happens because your CTR goes up the more filtered your taffic is.

That happens because you are filtering out the less interested visitors which leaves you with the very interested viewers.

The result of that is that if one of these very interested visitors clicks an ad, the likelyhood of the advertizers converting that visitor to a sale (or whatever the advertizers goal is) increases dramatically.

Advertizers pay more for that kind of traffic, sometimes a lot more.

It almost sounds odd to say, but it more or less works so that less clicks can equal more money.

How to filter traffic.

First determine what subject related to your website you want to focus on. [How to do that is a topic for another thread] Give the topic a page of it's own.

Second, think about all the possible paths folks might follow on your site to get to that page.

HINT: A big bold ... "HOT DEALS ON..." ...type link is NOT the way to make this work.

Links to the target page are critical, but you want their use to be a natural progression for the very interested visitor. Remember, the idea is to end up with only very interested visitors on the target page.

OK, so back to the paths thing.

To make the most of this you need to understand who your visitors are. Even with no other input you can find most of what you need to know about your visitors in your log files. Study your search engine referals carefully to see what WORDS people are using to find your site. [Notice that I said WORDS, not phrases.]

Those WORDS are going to help you design the paths you need to make available to direct, and thus filter, your traffic. They might also help you decide what to focus on.

Once you know what words people use to find your website, stop and think really hard about what words you did not find in your logs, that's very important. These words might be even more important in helping you chose what to focus on if you haven't already decided.

If you really want this to work, you need tp provide more than one path. That's because a good number of people who end up being very interested and thus clicking on an ad, won't even have given a thought to the subject when they landed on your site.

The most interested will take the most direct path, even a very subtle cue will get these folks to click through to your target page. Others will take a less direct path, which gives you a chance to make them aware of their "need" for whatever it is the advertizer is selling.

Some people are going to take the longest path you offer, maybe 4 or more stops along the way, each stop filtering out more of the less interested, but by the time they get to your target page, they are going to be ready or nearly to jump on what your advertizers are offering.

What Happens on the Target Page

Visitors who are "ready" when they get to your target page might well just read the headline, scan the page, and almost immediately click an ad. So make the ads easy to find.

Your target page content is really aimed at the "nearly ready". For these visitors you need to provide at least a modestly compelling reason to click through to an advertizers site. Of course the more compelling your target page is the better the results are likely to be.

How Good is Good?
Well, you probably aren't likely to get a 100% CTR from your target page, or even close to it. But you can end up with very, very pleasant overall results.

In the End

None of this is hard to do, but you do need to think it through carefully to get the maximum benefit from it. You might also want to look carefully around the edges and in the dusty corners of your websites topic for inspiration.

4:12 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



AWESOME POST

one for me to flag

5:25 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Nice post!
5:48 am on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I use a much simpler method to filter traffic.

Its like putting in header area: "Looking for information on widgets?" Link to main area; and a "Looking for other stuff" to a page with links (with details) to my other sites.

Each of my sites has this and i get revolving traffic :)

No big theories, just cool thinking...

2:43 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



>>..much simpler...<<

That's the beauty of the internet, everyone gets to do what they think works best for them.

I don't think it can get much simpler than what I outlined above. It's just a way to maximize the benefit some of what it takes to have a successful website anyhow.

4:47 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I must agree to the initial post.

After I began channeling ads and divided content pages up into themes my average CTR has more than doubled.

5:05 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



So intelipricing charges the publisher for a low CTR% or low conversion to sale?

[edited by: medowl at 5:07 pm (utc) on Aug. 26, 2005]

5:06 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Publishers should note that using an ad server to filter traffic can have significant impact as well.

Geotargeting the ads (even if only to exclude regions that certain networks don't pay for) can really make a difference.

5:49 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Unless I'm missing something, this isn't rocket science. Use categories and subcategories (not too deep though - only 2-3 tiers max). That model fits well with any truly usable website model. Also, the main categories (at the very least) should be visible on all pages.

If a webmaster is simply spewing content all over their site with no rhyme or reason, and hoping people will somehow randomly land on it through SERPs, they have a lot of work in front of them.

Follow the Google code, and make the site thin and usable by humans -- everything else will follow in time, including better targeting and ad revenue.

7:41 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



thanks for this post ken_b!
7:43 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I can see how this helps for Aff but not adsense. AS payout is not based on conversion. G has no idea if the click converted. Higher CTR means nothing. Higher checks is what matters. I have a hard time believing that getting a better CTR with less traffic brings you more money. Unless you send a good portion of the traffic to that advertiser nothing you can do will change their mind about turning off adsense ads in their adwords acct. Or if adwords adds the ability for advertisers to choose what what sites they want to have ads on.
9:03 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Geotargeting the ads (even if only to exclude regions that certain networks don't pay for) can really make a difference.

Higher checks is what matters

so has anybody actually seen higher "Earnings" by blocking certain countries?

9:15 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



AS payout is not based on conversion.

Actually it is, with Smart Pricing. Google places a cookie on the users browser and once they reach a certain page which is selected by the advertiser it counts it as a conversion thus the advertiser pays more for conversions.
9:25 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



True.
When a user with the AdWords cookie on finishes on the results page (buying confirmation, thanks message...), a conversion is tracked.
10:18 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



When you go to place the conversion tracking code on your site Google mentions that it's not perfect and that some conversions are missed.

And I thought smart pricing was something we could only guess at.

10:25 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>so has anybody actually seen higher "Earnings" by blocking certain countries?<

I have noticed that Google is blocking certain countries, i.e. countries not targeted by AdSense. During my vacation I wanted to check my website via GPRS from a foreign country - and the ads did not turn up.

I have also noticed that AdSense hits are a bit lower the last month or so but the amounts per hit are up a tad. I'm not quite sure yet which ads are bringing in more than others.

10:35 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



During my vacation I wanted to check my website via GPRS from a foreign country - and the ads did not turn up.

Do browsers using GPRS support javascript and iframes?

10:41 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>Do browsers using GPRS support javascript and iframes?<

Yes. Browsers are browsers nomatter what technology you use for sending the data packages.

On travels I connect my notebook to the internet via GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). This can be done using a cell phone or PDA.

10:46 pm on Aug 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yes. Browsers are browsers nomatter what technology you use for sending the data packages.

Well said. Didn't think in that line, must be wine.

12:24 am on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



It starts with WHY people are on your site, and if your site delivers everything they are there for. It makes no sense to chase a high traffic niche if all people are going to do is chat, research how to take care of their dog, or download some recipes then bounce away. If your site delivers everything they want, then they're not going to click an ad. So it helps to target people who are at least on one segment of the buying cycle (as most of the ads are from merchants selling something). It's pretty obvious, I guess.
1:46 am on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



The obvious often isn't :)
2:08 am on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It works the other way to -- you can filter out low quality traffic.

The more traffic your site has the more critical traffic filtering becomes.

Its the same deal in the adult industry. If you are trying to promote Niche X on a site with 90% Niche Y traffic then you are going to be blowing away money.

In this industry the people who understand the value of traffic are the ones that get ahead. This is why reseller traffic is borderline worthless (but the webmaster traffic visiting the reseller sites is worth big $.)

7:42 am on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Yes that is assumeing that people use that. I seriously doubt most people in adwords use that conversion thing. They just buy ads and send them to front page. Then the high end and/or smart people use their own conversion tracking. I'm curious the % of advertisers that even use that.

I would like an anawer. Who has lowered their traffic and made no other changes and made more money. No matter what kind of study you have done there is almost no way to prove your point becasue nobody knows how Google does things exactly. There are just too many varriables to really know for sure. Just because everytime you go to a picnic ants show up does not mean picnics bring ants.

4:20 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whoisgregg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I would like an anawer. Who has lowered their traffic and made no other changes and made more money

I have. And I made that change after a chat about conversion tracking and smart pricing with a certain company's engineer at the New Orleans WW conference. :)

4:33 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I would like an anawer. Who has lowered their traffic and made no other changes and made more money

I have

interesting...

would you say that the increase was statistically significant? and sustaiable.

6:49 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whoisgregg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



> statistically significant?

Yes. Don't have the numbers in front of me and wouldn't share them if I did, but the change in my traffic was dramatic without dramatically affecting my earnings. (And I've been using this new approach since a few days after the New Orleans WW. It seems more stable than before.)

> sustaiable

Sustainable as in "If I get down to 1 visitor will I be making an infinite amount of money?" No, probably not. :)

The real lesson was a sufficient number of poor quality clicks means a statistically lower chance of conversion and a discount of all clicks. So, I stopped chasing raw quantity of visitors and am far more picky. Plus, I handle ad placement more conservatively by only putting them where a click would be likely to convert.

As in all things, YMMV. :)

7:43 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Although I agree with the original poster in that filtering your traffic should lead to better adsense results on the filtered pages, I also think that highly filtered pages could (should) be earning more through direct sales or affiliate links than through adsense. If you're able to target a page to someone that has a high probability of buying, then why not cut out the middle man and sell your widget direct?
8:21 pm on Aug 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If you're able to target a page to someone that has a high probability of buying, then why not cut out the middle man and sell your widget direct?

I can think of a number of reasons why not, one of them being that it might not be worth the extra work. I've also found that I can do well having BOTH affiliate links and AdSense ads on some of my pages.

12:32 am on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I've also found that I can do well having BOTH affiliate links and AdSense ads on some of my pages.

Couldn't agree with that more.
1:36 am on Aug 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



If you're able to target a page to someone that has a high probability of buying, then why not cut out the middle man and sell your widget direct?

  • You don't have enough traffic yet to interest the person who owns the widget.
  • You spend your time targeting 137 different types of widgets, and you've found it more profitable to just use AdSense than to try to cut/maintain deals with 137 different widget vendors.
  • You're actually competing with the guy who makes the widgets, and he hasn't yet figured out that you're making money and gathering market data by selling his widgets via the AdSense middle man.
  • You used to sell the widgets direct, but the widget maker stiffed you one too many times on payments, so you would now rather take less money from AdSense than deal with the widget maker.
  • Transactions with the widget maker are taxed differently than AdSense, due to the vagaries of type of business and city/county/state tax laws, ending up in making the lower payments of AdSense more profitable.
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