Boost CTR CEO David Greenbaum recently had the following article appear over at Search Engine Journal. We’ll reprint the article in its entirety here, but please note the changes in display URL appearance.
Last month we talked about what to test with Ad Text, and mentioned one element you can test in your ads: the display URL.
In that post we outlined a few different possible display URL approaches you could take (in this example we’re bidding on the term personalized gifts):
Different Display URL – The display URL can sometimes have a non-trivial impact on click-through rate and ultimately conversions. We could try some different things such as:
In this post we’ll dig a bit deeper into five possible elements or ideas of the display URL that you could test.
Five Test Ideas for Your Display URLs
The reality of ad text testing is that small changes can lead to big improvements, and while it’s often best to start with bigger ideas and test ad text components like headlines, you can get some really big wins from tweaking small elements on things like display URLs (and often a small tweak and a solid win on a high-volume campaign is more valuable than a major change and step function improvement on a smaller-volume ad). Here are five things you can test in your paid search ad campaigns:
- DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion)
- Keywords as a Subdomain
- Capitalization (NOTE this is no longer an option)
- A “Clean” Keyword Free Display URL
- Think About the Search Query!
Let’s take a look at each testing option and how you might use them in your display URL.
1. DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion) in the Display URL
You can leverage dynamic keyword insertion in your display URL to have the keyword shown in your ad. This is often worth a test, and really the approach to using dynamic keyword insertion should be the same as if you’re using it in your headline (in other words: proceed with caution). Here is how you might format your ad:
2. Keywords as a Subdomain
Another trick for increasing CTR with the ad text display URL is using the keywords as the subdomain. You can insert whatever you like as a subdomain as long as you use your actual domain that you’re using in your destination URL. This allows you to front load the display URL with a keyword the searcher is looking for, so some variations on this concept are often well worth testing:
And you could also play with a different keyword focus as the subdomain.
3. Capitalization (NOTE: this tip is depreciated – see this post for more information)
Another good element to test here is what capitalization you’re implementing. In the case of our example here, the company has non-standard capitalization as part of its brand. We could test this by trying some different variations of the root domain like RushImprint.com or rushimprint.com or Rushimprint.com to see how they impacted searcher behavior. We can also take a similar approach with the keywords in our display URL.
4. A “Clean” Keyword Free Display URL
We might test a display URL with no keywords at all and just display: www.RushImprint.com – this can be particularly effective if you have a strong brand that is likely to resonate with the people searching for your keywords.
5. Think About the Search Query!
More important than focusing too much on any one tactic is that you should always be thinking about the search query and the intent of the searcher as you tweak your display ad. You might be able to get creative with the “keyword” your including and, despite the fact that your keyword is about personalized gifts, use something a bit more out of the box that will help persuade the searcher to click on your ad. Whatever you do be sure to continually test out your hypothesis and constantly iterate on your ads so that you can drive improved CTRs, higher Quality Scores, and increased traffic, leads and sales from your paid search campaigns.