Update November 26, 2018
Improving your online business performance can most easily be achieved through improving your conversion rate – and this can be tuned for success by eliminating distracting advertisements.
Website owners love to come up with creative ways to increase their revenue. Maybe you’ve tried running advertisements for other businesses or including Adsense (or other networks), knowing that one might pay you a few hundred dollars per year and the other might generate a few cents to a few dollars per click. It’s not massive, but you’ve reasoned that you might as well try to squeeze out as much revenue from your existing traffic as is possible.
So the thinking goes, if some advertising makes a little money, more advertising will earn even more. Perhaps you’ve reasoned like this and added multiple ads on more and more pages of your site, put up a banner here, a banner there, a text ad here and an image ad there. After all, it works for some of those big online news sites, right?
People buy from people they know, like and trust. If your audience gets to know you, feels an affinity towards you and trusts you do make good on your promises, your website is outperforming most of the sites online.
In our Smart Designer’s Guide to Web Hosting, we talk about trust signals and how you can use them to improve trust easily. Follow that advice and you’ll be a long way to achieving trust.
An excess number of ads on a website destroys the trust you’ve built. After all, do you trust sites that are plastered with advertising? Will you buy from a webhosting company website, for example, if it has advertising for aluminum siding or Viagra on the homepage?
Put too many ads on your website and the user experience becomes horrible, sending a signal to visitors that you don’t really care about them – just them clicking on your ads.
Your conversion rate depends on your ability to deliver a tailored user experience that easily takes them from knowing they have a need/problem to knowing that you have a good solution for their situation. Too many ads means you have large obstacles preventing you from achieving this objective.
Your goal is to turn visitors into customers and then to retain them forever. Buyer readiness is the step by step process of informing, educating, entertaining, or otherwise moving them from nowhere to the point they understand they have a need, have a sense of urgency to take care of it now, and that you are capable of doing just that – as a good value, being quick and cost effective.
As your website is explaining what you do and your unique selling points, the absolute last thing you want to happen is for them to be distracted, click away from your website, and not return to make a purchase.
Placing the ads of others, including Adsense, is a classic example of sending people away. They no longer are flowing through your site, getting to know, like and trust you – and instead are visiting other sites (because they clicked on their ads on your site). As they visit those other sites, they know, like and trust them and buy from them, forgetting about you. This is the whole reason they pay to put ads on your site – so they can sell more stuff.
There’s a lot of conflicting data out there about the impact of advertising on SEO directly. Search yourself and decide.
However, there’s no arguing the point that advertising slows down site load times and that site load times greatly influence SEO. So, ads influence SEO indirectly, without question.
Before you turn your most valuable commodity, your website visitors, into customers of someone else, think twice about why you have a website. Hint: It’s to sell stuff (products or services).
Improve your website trust, improve your website experience, enhance your rankings and minimize conversion distractions / funnel leakage by keeping your visitors on site and engaging with your content, not distracted by ads.