The (Likely) Reasons Your Search Ads Are Failing to Get Clicks

Hand clicking mouse
Search engine results pages (SERPs) are very similar to speed dating. You go from table to table (ad to ad) looking for someone to catch your attention, until you finally find the right one and things simply “click.” With a big crowd of speed daters, you’ll run into many people who are boring or aren’t what you’re looking for. Usually, it takes someone who stands out from the crowd to pique your interest.

Just like breaking through the noise in speed dating, it can be difficult to set your search ads apart and capture a searcher’s attention.

It’s tricky to advertise the right way online and it can take a long time to see the results you want when you make changes. Even with those changes, your ads could still be rough around the edges.

If you’re wondering why things aren’t “clicking” between your target audience and your search ads, here are some possible reasons why.

You Don’t Have an Effective SEO Strategy

Chances are you’re lacking a quality search engine optimization (SEO) plan. There are more factors that go into crafting and implementing a successful SEO strategy than many realize. In Mozlow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs, there are seven levels of SEO “things” you need to worry about.
  1. Crawl accessibility so search engines can reach and index your content.
  2. Compelling content that answers the searcher’s query.
  3. Keyword optimization to attract searchers and engines.
  4. Great user experience, including a fast load speed, ease of use, and compelling user interface on any device.
  5. Share-worthy content that earns links, citations, and amplification.
  6. Title, URL, and description to draw high click-through rates (CTR) in the rankings.
  7. Snippet/schema markup to stand out in SERPs.

If you go into speed dating with no practice or plan, then you can expect the same results as your planless SEO efforts. You’ll be underprepared and won’t make as good of an impression as you’d like. But if you go into both situations with a sound strategy, you’ll impress your dates and searchers alike.

Your Ads Are Too Low on Results Pages

If you’re a shy person, you might sit at one of the back tables when you go speed dating. After all, your friends made you come here anyway. But if you’re sitting in the back, how can anyone new see how great you are?

The same thing applies to your search result ranking, which is extremely important for obtaining clicks. If your ads aren’t at the top of the first SERP, or even worse, on the second page, then your ads probably don’t even get impressions.

In fact, the first result on a search page gets a whopping 42.3 percent CTR. But when you look at the second search result, the CTR already falls to 11.9 percent. For results on the second page, there isn’t even one CTR higher than 0.7 percent.

The keys to ranking higher on SERPs include creating high-quality content, earning backlinks from other notable websites, and delivering a mobile-friendly experience.

Your Ad Copy Isn’t up to Standards

What happens when your ranking is high but you still don’t get the amount of clicks you were expecting? When it comes to dating, you might be confident enough to sit in the front. But if you smell a little funny or your jokes are outdated, people probably won’t be interested in getting to know you more. With online ads you have to make sure you keep it fresh and relevant.

If you aren’t getting the CTR you expect, usually people are reading your ad but don’t find it compelling or relevant to their search query.

It’s important for your ad to have a quality meta description under the main ad copy so people can see what your page offers. Including keywords in the description can help make sure your website is relevant to the search query.

Another way to improve ad copy is through the use of ad extensions, such as site links, callouts, and review scores. Site links give people more personalized options to choose from, callouts can show a searcher the relevance of your ad, and positive review scores indicate that your business and site are safe and trustworthy.

Competitors' Ads Are Better

The final reason your ads are ignored is because other ads are simply better. The worst thing when it comes to dating is when someone much better looking than you (as if that’s possible) comes in and steals the show. But instead of moping about it, do something to fix it!

It’s helpful to research your competition. Examine how they use keywords in their ads, or how their meta descriptions are written. It’s likely you’ll find key differences that are helping their ads perform better. Figure out those differences, improve your ads, and start outshining the competition.

When you make these changes, it’s critical to track the ads that are working. Pay attention to your return on ad spend for paid search keywords and ads. You’ll also want to monitor multiple other analytics, such as your top-performing keywords and the top-referring domains for your website.

This will allow you to see which changes were positive and vice versa. The last thing you want to do is make changes that actually result in fewer clicks and not recognize it.

You wouldn’t let a little competition stand in your way while speed dating, would you? Of course not! So don’t let it stop you from creating memorable ads that help you stand out from the crowd.