How To Use Google Site Exclusion Tool to Increase ROI

All Google AdWords content campaigns have dead wood. Google Content Network sites that display your ads but deliver few clicks or conversions rob you of profits. Here’s how to use the Google Site Exclusion to increase ROI (define).

Last week I described the report for Google content advertisers, the Placement Performance report (PPR). Now I’ll show you how to use it with the AdWords Site Exclusion tool to weed out poorly-performing sites that may be eating a huge chunk of your ad budget.

The PPR lists the sites where your content ads have appeared. Knowing that list of sites is valuable. The report also provides performance data for each site: nuggets like number of impressions, number of clicks, CTR (define), average CPC (define), average CPM (define), and — most importantly — number of conversions, conversion rate, and average cost per conversion.

You can use this data to your benefit in many ways, but for today I’ll focus on one: weeding out poorly-performing sites.

Most obvious are sites that garner a significant number of clicks without delivering conversions. Less obvious are sites that deliver few or no clicks and no conversions — but many impressions. These may be harming your ad group’s Quality Score (define), which may be adversely affecting your ad rank and/or your average CPC.

Note: Google Quality Score for content advertising campaigns differs from search campaign Quality Score, in subtle but important ways, which I’ll describe in a future column installment.

To start, launch the Site Exclusion Tool from the Tools tab in AdWords.

Choose one of your content campaigns. For some reason the tool allows you to choose non-content campaigns as well; as far as I can tell, trying to exclude sites from search campaigns does nothing.

After choosing a content campaign, enter domains in the box and click on “Exclude Sites.” Click on “Save All Exclusions” to finalize the action.

Some notes and tips:

Voracious sites: Several sites carrying Google ads attract huge volumes of traffic that, in aggregate, perform well only for companies/products that have mass consumer appeal. Many advertisers will want to avoid these sites from the outset. Two are MySpace and YouTube.

Watch future installments of this column for advice on tapping into site sub-pages that may be more relevant for your ads — and are therefore more apt to deliver high-quality clicks.

Microsurgery: You can generate PPRs that show specific subdirectories and even pages where your ads have appeared. You can then use the Site Exclusion Tool to exclude only subdirectories and pages. This may be overkill, though, unless you’re dealing with sites with huge volumes of traffic.

Vote early, vote often: The persistent PPC (define) advertiser will want to run PPRs frequently. New publisher sites will join the Google Adsense program every day (this week, the roster of new publisher sites include media monster magazines Glamour, TeenVogue, Allure, Self, and even the venerable New Yorker).

Some will run your ads and you’ll benefit. Others will burn your budget. Run PPRs regularly to find out.

For power AdWords advertisers: If you’re truly a hip AdWords advertiser, you’re using AdWords Editor. AWE, as it’s affectionately known, lets you add or edit excluded sites more quickly and easily than through the AdWords Web interface. Choose the content campaign, click on the Negatives tab, then the Make Multiple Changes tab, and then click on the Add Multiple Campaign Negative Sites option.

Next week we’ll look at what is, for many advertisers, the most powerful variant of Google content advertising: the Placement Targeted campaign.

Until then, send me your content campaign success stories!

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