What this tool does is search all the different official Google resources. I would find myself sometimes wanting to cite something that Google had said, but couldn’t always remember where I had read it. I did not envision making money off this page, it was for me or like minded people going…
“Was that thing I read on the Google blog, or was it in the Google help center, no, maybe it was on the Google webmaster help blog…”
You get the ideal. So when citing Google became a long task of sorting through all the “official Google sources” (there are around thirty now), I decided to make that tool to help me find more quickly the info I was seeking. It works great and I found out some interesting things by randomly searching things in the Google documentation.
Something strange was happening…
I noticed that not many people were using the “Ask Google” feature of my site for SEO type queries, but there were a surprising amount of non Google type queries being made from traffic of a source I had not expected. Hmmm I thought and checked my stats out.
What I discovered made me adjust the page based on how it was getting traffic. This change resulted in about 200 dollars a month of ad revenue.
I want to give you some specifics of the changes I made on that page. These changes resulted in real ad revenue. It may not seem like alot of revenue, but to me it is a lovely amount because the amount of money I was making off of that page before was zero.
Realization of unexpected traffic, even though it was a small amount of traffic, led to me making changes to my Ask Google tool.
I found out that the visitors to the Ask Google page were coming from Yahoo and MSN more than Google. The people visiting this page were searching for “ask google” in these search engines. It is hard to believe, but many people actually do this (3000-4000 a month). So people were searching for “ask google” instead of going to the Google home page. They would find my site, and use it to ask Google something. Things like “where can I get a new poodle” or “what is the biggest ball of string in the world”.
Hmmm, I figured if people were so un-savvy as to search for “ask google” IN GOOGLE then these are the sorts that will click ads.
I decided that there was an opportunity to make money from this.
The Ask Google page before…
So when I made this page originally, I chose not to display ads because I really saw no reason why I should. My thinking was pretty much that ads seemed to get in the way and my users are typically not going to click on them.
So for the first few months the Ask Google page looked like this…
The explanation of the page was above the search field, which made sense for the pages original intent. But it was getting in the way of the traffic coming from the search term “ask Google”. Those visitors are seeking info from Google, and would get confused by reading that text.
I decided that my normal users would not be hurt if I moved that description to the bottom of the page since the headline “Ask Google – Find out what Google has said about something” pretty much described the reason for this tool.
So I rearranged the page in a manner that would look more like what my “ask google” searchers were looking for, without hurting my normal users…
The description is at the bottom now and stills describes what the tool does, but my new visitors would never get that far, they just use the search field that is the center of attention of the page now and the most obvious place to go on the page.
In summary, I saw an opportunity through the way traffic was coming to my page. I turned ads on and rearranged the page to be more friendly to the new type of traffic coming to that page.
The best part is that it does not really affect the users that I originally made the page for. Speaking of which, please check out and use the Ask Google tool if you ever quote Google on your blog or in forums it is a very useful tool.
It still only searches official Google sources. But now, if someone searches for “hawaii” it will show ads that people will click, but still only show results from Google official sources. It stays useful for my “real” users and at the same time provides targeted ads to my “unexpected users” that give them what they want too.
I now make money off of a page that used to make nothing. I like that.
Also of note:
I made the Ask Google thing using Google Co-op which is what you or anyone else can use to make a custom search engine or add a site search to your website. I explain in detail how to use and customize Google Co-op as a site search solution and incorporate it into your web design in my SEOmoz article.