On Google and Record Traffic

traffic spike

The traffic spike in consideration

How does one attract traffic to one’s blog?  While writing my recent Joomla! 2.5 tutorial, I noticed that my traffic was dramatically climbing.  It started on the weekend, and Sunday through Tuesday were all record-breaking days (new busiest day each day)!  Not only that, but a Google search for ‘joomla 2.5 on mamp’ listed a link to this blog 2nd and 3rd down from the top!  So, what would bring readers to this (sort of) small blog?

There are all kinds of businesses out there offering ‘SEO’ (Search Engine Optimization) services, where you pay to get better traffic ‘naturally’, but I achieved natural high rankings without even trying!  And I did this by subconsciously following almost all of the SEO tips on the web – high keyword count and correct tagging.

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AdSense – Yet Another Google Tool

I think I’ll skip the end-of-year look back and jump right into things here.  Today’s topic: Google AdSense.

Most of you have probably heard of AdSense, the polar opposite of Google AdWords.  In brief, AdSense allows you to put textual ads or image ads on your website by simply adding a few lines of code.  Google then feeds your website ads from advertisers who compete in AdWords fashion for publication.  People click their ads, and you get paid.  All you’ve got to do is put the code where you want it – and wait for Google’s approval of your site.  That’s the catch.

A simple web search will turn up all kinds of people complaining that Google took forever to approve their accounts.  Google says:

Once you’ve submitted your AdSense application and verified your email address, it typically takes 2-3 days for our specialists to complete the review. However, depending on the volume of applications we receive, it may take a week or longer. 

It’s been three weeks since I signed up SoPoweredProductions.com, and they still haven’t approved me.  I’m not sure what the delay is, and I’ll have to look into it, but it seems strange that Google’s taking so long to work with me.  What I’m wondering now, if any of you or someone you know have used AdSense, is what your/their experience has been with AdSense’s approval system.  If you’ve got something you can share, please do!  Comments, as usual, are welcome.  My experience with Google AdSense is far from over, and I’ll be back on the subject when more develops.

Google AdWords: Text vs. Image

Say you’re looking to start an AdWords campaign. AdWords gives you the option to create both text-based ads and image-based ads. Which ones work best? While results may vary per situation, here’s what I found through experience: (based off of my Wed-Sat Technically Heroic Promotion Week results)

Images place higher than text

When it comes to Cost-Per-Click (CPC) advertising, your ads will compete with others in their category, and the resulting placement rating varies, with 1 being the highest.  Ad placement ratings are in part decided by competition, budget, and keywords.  Overall, during the campaign, the two graphical ads placed higher (1) than the three textual ads (2.7-3.8).

Text gets more impressions

An impression is when your ad is actually displayed on a website, and the frequency is often determined by the keywords you choose and the keyword content of the ad itself.  In my opinion, the fact that you can include keywords in text ads is what gives text-based ads the advantage.  My results show that my top two textual ads got over 44,600 impressions, while my two image ads combined got over 29,300 impressions.

Images get more clicks

Here’s my theory: People see a text ad, and think ‘Dull, black and white’ and maybe ‘sounds interesting.’  Then people see a good-looking image ad and think ‘Wow, that looks cool!  I’ll check it out (click).’  My proof?  My best image ad got twice as many clicks as my best text ad.  The theory doesn’t seem so far-fetched, does it?

Conclusion

Text ads vs. Image ads, which wins? Image ads. While they may not get quite as many impressions as text ads, they still get plenty and on relevant sites, leading to a higher click-through rate, implying that those who click an image ad are more likely to purchase what you’re selling.  But don’t just take my word for it!  Try it yourself and see what results you get, then let me know what you think!

Some Results from ‘Technically Heroic’ Promotion Week

No, I did not spend a week promoting this blog!  I’m talking about my book, ‘Technically Heroic.’  Last week I launched my first Google Adwords campaign, launching 3 textual ads and 2 graphic banners, all promoting my book and linking back to sopoweredproductions.com.  I’ll tell you now that watching your site hit over 50 hits in one day for the first time is a fantastic experience.

On the right, you’ll see a screenshot from my Google Analytics results map.  The average dot represents one visit to sopoweredproductions.com in general.  As you can see, while most of my visits came from the area of Washington State,  I received visits from all over the U.S. and some from Canada.  This part was especially fascinating to watch develop.  Thanks to my Adwords campaign, people from all over the U.S. visited my site.

From my Adwords campaign, I learned that the two graphic banner ads I was running had better click-through rates than the three textual ads.  Now whether or not that was because the graphic ads were running for only half the week, due to the approval process, I’m not sure, but the discovery has prompted me to create more graphic ads, and in different sizes and shapes (these I will soon use in a second focused ad campaign).

In conclusion, the Google Adwords campaign accomplished its goal, in that it drew people’s eyes to my site.  I ran an experiment and obtained results to play with.

Oh yes, and did I mention I didn’t pay a thing for the campaign?  $100 free credit, courtesy of Google.  Not bad, not bad at all.