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Content Niches and Keywords to Avoid for Higher CPCs

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Content Niches and Keywords to Avoid for Higher CPCs
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Growing Revenues in a Changing World
Unless you’re a complete newbie to the world of PPC advertising, you probably already know that CPCs are not constants. They don’t depend only on the advertiser’s’ bids on keywords. That would be too easy.

Among the factors influencing the CPC there’s the competition for the attention of specific user (retargeting), ad quality according to Google, different pricing for ads on different devices, the season, user location, traffic source and more. That’s A LOT of variables.

Some of these variables you can influence. For example, you can block retargeting ads, attract traffic from better paying regions and countries, cater to the need or mobile advertisers and more. But you can’t change the maximum bids advertisers place on keywords when targeting publishers’ online properties on the display network. What you can do, is try to avoid the keywords, phrases and topics that might attract low-paying CPCs.

What do we do to a low CPC topics? We…

Is it the niche?
Yes and no. Different types of content attract different types of audiences. For example, a website with wanted ads will attract unemployed people who are less likely to make a purchase from an advertiser. A website with content aimed at children is also not likely to get high CPCs due to accidental clicks and again – the audience can’t buy. So the advertisers won’t pay for it.

So how do these websites monetize with display ads, you wonder? Good question. For the most part, they go for quantity rather than quality and settle for lots of clicks with low CPCs. Besides, there are always advertisers for every niche. True, some niches are more competitive than others and have higher CPCs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a nice buck running a blog in a supposedly “cheap” niche.

Having said that, if you do suspect that your blog niche of choice is the source of your overall diminishing revenues, you might want to think about re-defining it.

Another thing to remember is that some niches are seasonal or event-oriented. For example, political blogs are likely to get higher CPCs on an election year when politicians have the budget to invest in ads. Websites about swimsuit fashion will see higher CPCs (and more traffic and overall revenues) in the spring and summer.

Thinking like an advertiser
Advertisers run different types of campaigns with different goals. The campaigns you usually want to avoid are brand awareness campaigns. These are usually priced dirt-cheap as the clicks don’t matter much. With these campaigns, the advertiser is mostly just looking to get eyeballs on their logo. The real money is with ads that lead to a sale, and those are advertisers we want. But let’s think a moment about what THEY want and what they try to avoid (to make sure we’re not in the category of things they wish to avoid).

We’ve already discussed how it’s not niches as much as audiences that affect CPCs on AdSense. So obviously advertisers trying to sell a product (and are willing to pay for good leads) will want to stay away from online properties where the majority of the clicks they get don’t turn into leads. Simple math, really.

So what do smart advertisers do? They analyze their AdWords reports to see which websites bring in the conversions for the lowest cost. Those they keep. And then they search for the ones that cost them without bringing in conversions, usually by keyword, and block those sites. There are even lists of such keywords to search when optimizing AdWords Display Network campaigns.

Now, this doesn’t mean that including the words “free” or “sports” in your posts will automatically bring low CPCs. Very few advertisers are stupid enough to block these keywords at the campaign level. However, if you have a “Free Daily Game Download” blog, it’s likely that advertisers of expensive products (like loans, lawyers and luxury items) won’t see that many conversions from you no matter how hard you try. And they will block you. So you’ll need to find a way to work around that.

But of course!
Getting Down to Business
Unfortunately, there’s no way to check which keywords trigger specific ads to appear on your website, or how much they contribute to the bottom line. But if you have some time to invest (and it’s really worth it so make some), you should go exploring your website’s keyword reports so you can cut those cheap ads out.

So load up your Google Webmaster tools search console and Google Analytics and let’s take a close look at your leading keywords. This is a good time to prepare a spreadsheet, much like the one you may have created when we told you all about high-CPC keyword targeting.

Analyzing Low-Revenue Pages With Google Analytics
Let’s start with Google Analytics. Assuming you’ve connected your AdSense and Analytics accounts, you should be able to see your revenues per-page in the publisher reports under behavior in Analytics.

Grab a chunk of time like 3 or 6 months back (depending on your publishing rate) and sort the pages by publisher revenue. Look for the pages with low publisher revenue per 1,000 sessions. If you have a lot of pages, you can export this report and play around with it in your favorite spreadsheet app.

Depending on the variety of topics in your blog, you’ll now need to pick your worst performing pages to analyze. Yeah, I know how hard it is to look at your babies and say: “You’re just not good enough.” But let’s do it anyway.

Once you have a list of URLs, check the leading keywords on that page using SEO Book’s wonderfully useful keyword density analyzer. Obviously, the most prominent keywords will be the ones Google uses for contextual ads. Copy the relevant keywords and phrases into the spreadsheet you’ve created.

Now that you have a list of keywords from badly performing pages, you can check their value in CPC. You can use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner or tools like Keyword Spy or SEMRush.

Before we sort these and see what we do about them, we need to add and price another list of phrases: the ones we rank for on Google.

Analyzing High-Traffic Keywords with Google Webmaster Tools
Even if the majority of your traffic originates on social networks or direct links, it’s worth checking your keywords through the eyes of Google. We can see which keywords bring us traffic from Google’s search engine using the Search Console in the Webmaster Tools. These are keywords Google sees as relevant, so it’s very likely it’ll use them to generate the ads for the target pages.

Grab the most popular search terms that bring you traffic, and add them to the spreadsheet after you’ve checked their CPC values.

Testing through the sadness
This is the saddest spreadsheet you’ll ever work with. It’s okay to cry or get a stiff drink before you proceed.

Sort the keywords so that the lowest paying ones are on the top. What you don’t want to see here are duplicates – keywords that appear as popular in the Search Console (bring some traffic) AND bring in low CPCs (bring too little revenue). Draw a line at the lowest CPC you’re okay with having. This depends on your niche, locale and other variables. Don’t be too greedy.

Now that you have this list and your theoretical bottom price, it’s time to start testing. For example, if many of these keywords are related to gaming topics, you can run an experiment and block that ad category to see how it affects your overall RPMs. Get creative, but keep your eye on the reports as you go.

Obviously, you’ll need to reduce the appearance of those low-CPC terms, topics and keywords in your content. But that’s not always easy. What you can do, is use keyword tools to find better paying long-tail keywords that include cheap phrases you currently rank well for in search engines or mention a lot.

Testing with a smile
After some experimentation, you should see your revenues rise. But remember – this is a process and CPCs are not constants. Keep updating that spreadsheet, and working toward less of the cheap terms, and more of the profitable ones. And all this, while creating the awesome and engaging content you already do. You’ve got your work cut out for you.

So far, according to my research, the worst keywords are the ones that advertisers block. The smart advertisers know to separate between search targeting and display targeting and not block words that might appear on websites where they want to advertise. But those who do block, often use keyword lists they find online.

Another important factor is CPC variation between locales. It’s really hard to pinpoint “bad” keywords if your traffic comes from a variety locales (CPC for Australia and for the US is different, and it even varies between US states).

Summary? Become a Google Analytics guru and analyze like mad to see which keywords on your pages attract low CPC ads thus lowering your RPMs for those pages.

Sauce: – < this is fishy. Could not get list.

All your points are very valid and this is the right direction if necessary you can try a google search for cheap CPC or cheap PPC to find the keywords that get the least per click. It’s pretty straight forward.

If you need to fill this up then explain why need to know the worst keywords cause sometimes knowing what not to do is even more important than knowing what to do

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