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Why Are My Visitors Not Converting?

Are your AdWords campaigns driving plenty of traffic to your site but these visitors are not converting?

This is a frustration that many advertisers lament on the Community Forum with regretful regularity.

Part of the problem is that too often we fail to understand exactly what it is that we are trying to do with our Adwords advertising, and one way to overcome that is to go back to basics and think about how advertising is supposed to work at its simplest.

Often with AdWords clients seem to feel that the ad has to do everything - attract the searcher's attention, get them to click to the website, and get them to complete the purchase (or whatever conversion we are looking to achieve).

In truth, only the first two are part of the Adwords remit - to get their attention and get them to visit the site.

Now - there are some further comments to be made about this - the AdWords campaigns - through the use of carefully chosen keyword and ad copy - should be pre-qualifying the visitors. By this I mean that only visitors who have a genuine interest in the product or service should be clicking through to the site.

To achieve this we use optimization techniques to improve this qualification process. Testing of keywords and their bids, testing of different ad copy, etc will improve this qualification process over time.

So back to traditional advertising.... you have a product. Let's think about red high heeled shoes. And you develop an ad - you employ a talented photographer and a beautiful model and get just the image you were looking for. You then have a design agency add an engaging headline and some persuasive body copy. You're ready!

The next step is to select the right ad space. If you're selling women's fashion shoes, you don't run your ad in Popular Mechanics - instead you choose Cosmopolitan and Vogue (if you can afford their prices!)

Once you've run your ad you then wait to see if customers come through your door. If someone comes into your store clutching the magazine saying - I've seen these shoes in your ad and would like to try them on - well, that's a pretty hot lead I would say and even a poor salesman should be able to sell the customer a pair.... What you wouldn't do is show them some other shoes, or a dress, or simply leave them standing at the door of the store without speaking to them. Not only would that be rude, but it seems quite obviously a stupid approach to business.

Back to Adwords… the "advertising space" where the ad is placed is determined by the optimization as I explained above. Through our choice of keywords - just like with our choice of magazines - we have chosen to present our ads to a person with a specific set of interests as expressed by their search terms. In the same way as we wouldn't place our ads in Popular Mechanics, so we would not want to run our ads to people searching for "Used VW Beetle"

The client coming in to the store with the magazine is a person then clicking on the ad to "come into" the page/store.

If you don't bring them to the correct landing page - it's like showing them something other than the shoes they were interested in - it's like saying "Our shoes are over there - go take a look"...

Or worse, taking them to the women's evening gown section.

Or, even worse, dropping them on the home page and leaving them to work out where the shoes section is on the site.

Think about what has happened... someone was thinking about buying some red, high heeled shoes.... they went online and ran a search for "red high heeled shoes" - this is one of your keywords and their search triggered an ad with a headline of Red High Heeled Shoes.... and they clicked on your ad and landed on your site.

How much more do you want AdWords to do? In fact - How much more CAN it do?

Once you put this into perspective and appreciate that - if correctly configured - AdWords is bringing well qualified prospects to your website, then the focus shifts from "Why is Adwords not working?" to "Why is my site not converting these visitors?"

At this point you can start to work on landing pages and conversion funnels.

The website is your salesman.

If people were coming into your store with a magazine in their hands asking about the red shoes - and he wasn't selling any would you change the ad - or would you change the salesman?

Seems pretty obvious now, doesn't it?

about Steve Cameron

I have worked in Sales & Marketing since before the internet... and am a Certified Google Partner. I bring solid business acumen and a data driven approach to online marketing, understanding that every penny needs to pull its weight. I am available for both Consulting and Management and can be reached at info@advent.es

Rakesh Kumar Top Contributor
September 2013

Hi Stickleback,


Nice article and i like the way you have presented the case to understand the prcessSmiley Happy


Yes adwords is not all about the optimizing the Keywords and adcopy. Landing page is one of the key factors that we need to optimization on regural interval.





stickleback Top Contributor
September 2013

Thanks - I agree. Landing pages are fundamental to the success of AdWords campaigns. The issue is often that it is hard to get clients to see the "holistic" nature of their online activity - everything depends upon everything else!

Salman Aslam
September 2013

Hi Steve,


Have you notcied in difference in Quality Score/CPC after changing your destination from website to landing page?


Does Google interntionally favor it?

stickleback Top Contributor
September 2013

The whole point about landing pages is that you get to present a much more focussed version of your website than can be achieved on the home page. Take the example we were looking at earlier - you have someone searching for Red High Heeled Shoes - and you show an ad that has that same (or very similar) term as a headline - in fact once you get things tightend up you might want to try using Dynamic Keyword Insertion - and then the visitor lands on the page that is all about Red high Heeled Shoes.


What happens?  A few things - firstly, you are likely to get a better CTR. Then you are also likely to get a better conversion rate. These things - particularly the former impact on QS over time - so your QS improves, and your CPC drops as a result.


Often I have seen this QS improvement immiediately upon segmenting out a foew tightly grouped keywords into their own camapign or ad group and directing them to their own Landing Page. since the keywords are tightly grouped the ad copy is also very much in tune with the keyword - Google does tend to reward this and I have seen the same keyword moved in this way jump 2 or 3 QS points.


Remember - Google loves relevance (if you get a chance, read "In the Plex" by Steven Levy) it underlies everything they do.... and everything we should do.

Joe R
September 2013

Great job on the article. It is sometimes frusterating to get a new client with a new (untested) website. We could be getting them the most relevant traffic in the world, but if it goes to a page with hidden calls to action or just a poor experience, it is hard to show the value we provide.


Ideally, the client already has metrics that we can improve on, instead of trying to set a baseline and then improving off of that. It makes PPC a lot less risky for the client and agency if there are established metrics.

stickleback Top Contributor
September 2013

Good point - but the data you can gather such as what keywords and ads people were clicking on and how poorly they then perform on the sit eis a great way to get the client thinking about developing the landing pages and improving their site.


Too many people set up their site, and then get an AdWords campaign running - because they feel they ought to - not because they are truly commited.


If you can show a client that you had 100 visitors at a cost of $300 - all of whom, through their search query and the fact that they chose to click on your ad and NONE of them converted is a great conversation starter!


I have had clients really get on board once they have seen the data. Suddenly they can see the potential and realize that their site just isn't cutting it.

Yasir Z
July 2014

Nice informative article check this out for more information: website traffic not converting | top 6 reasons