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Google Search Box Ads

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of March 2005 Adsense 0 Comments

One of my wonderful readers, Danger, just emailed this question – ‘I was just looking through my adsense reports and it occurred to me that I’m not using the google search box on my site to serve ads. I’m debating whether to employ it and I kinda wonder if a lot of us beginners aren’t asking the same question. Any chance you could do a post about the performance difference between your regular ads and search box ads?’

I will be a little careful in answering this – as I’m not completely sure what Google allows me to say about it in their changed rules. But I can make some general statements without going into specifics of CTR, impressions and earnings.

Before I start – if you don’t know what I’m talking about here – put simply Google’s Adsense program allows you to place a search box on your blog that lets your readers either search your site or the web. When readers use it they will be served with normal Google Results which come with the normal ads you see when you search Google. However if you readers click one of those ads you get a cut (similar to how you get a cut of any ads they click on when on your site). You can learn more about the program here and see a working example of a Google Search Box in my side bar.

Does it work?

I do not use The Google Search Box on all of my blogs at this point. Its not because I’ve found it to be a worthless endeavor but simply because it can be a little labor intensive to set it up if you want it to look integrated into your site and to be honest the performance I’ve had so far is not amazing.

My overall impression of the Google Search Ads program is that its a nice side earner – but in reality for me on all of the blogs where I use it, it is yet to earn me significant income.

This may in part be my poor positioning of it – but I do not find many people utilizing the system or clicking on ads.

As I gaze over the last 7 days of earnings from using it I notice the following:

• Impressions (numbers of people actually using the search feature and being exposed to the ads) are quite low in comparison to the numbers of people I know who are viewing the blogs the ads are on.

• Click Through Rates are quite good. A much higher percentage of people click on the ads when they see them than the percentage of people that click on ads on my blogs (however this is not many due to poor use of it).

• Click Value seems lower than the value of clicks that I get on the corresponding blogs for normal ads. I’m not sure why this is.

Is it Worth It?

As per usual I’ll leave it for you to decide. I suspect it will perform on some sites a lot better than on others depending upon factors like topic, positioning and way you draw your readers attention to it. If I could get a larger proportion of my readership to utilize it I think it could be a very lucrative option due to the higher click through rate – however with the lower payout (am I the only one who has noticed this?) it might not be a high earner unless you’re generating a lot of traffic.

I’d be interested in others opinions and experiences of the Google Search Ad program. Do you use it? Is your experience similar to mine? How do you improve its performance?

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Awesome timing for this question/answer. I was thinking about the search box earlier this morning and when I came home today…poof there it was! Thanks again Darren!

  • In my experience, it works very verry little. For the future, I am thinking about doing my own search box and maybe using the results page to present targeted ads, at least for in-site searches.

  • I don’t like it. For one thing, if you really want folks to find info on your site, the built in search mechanism is much more effective and indexes pages as you create them.


  • Frank Johnson

    Personally, I don’t use search boxes at blogs all that often, for a couple of reasons.

    1) My blog-reading habits generally make sitewide searches less important. If I’m reading a blog every day (as I do with ProBlogger!), why search the site. The only time I will search is if I suspect there might be something on the site that was posted prior to my first finding the site.

    2) I find absolutely no use for searching the whole web from a blog. Why not just go to Google – it’s much more ingrained in my thinking to type in the address bar than to look on a blog to see if they have a search box which will allow me to search the web as a whole.

    If, as I suspect is true, most users have similar approaches to mine, then the google search box won’t earn much revenue for most people because most people won’t use it.

  • search boxes are quite convenient for lazy people like me