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Clicks But No Conversions – Where You’re Going Wrong

Emma North

by Emma North on 13th August 2013

Paying Online With Credit CardGoogle AdWords is a tried and tested method of getting qualified leads to a website. So when you invest heavily into the advertising platform and fail to achieve conversions, it can be incredibly disappointing and frustrating.

It’s easy to blame the set-up or structure of your ad campaigns, and sometimes rightly so. However in actuality the issues could be a lot closer to home, with your website and landing pages. If you’re getting clicks but no conversions, or not enough sales to break even, it’s time for campaign and site analysis.

Rubbish Campaign or Rubbish Website?

If you’re getting clicks into your site but no conversions, there are two main possible issues; a poorly managed ad campaign or a poor website. And you might be surprised at how often it’s the latter.

Now when I say “a poor website”, I don’t necessarily mean that your website looks or works badly; only that it doesn’t do everything possible to encourage conversions and install trust in your brand.

The following two-step guide is designed to help you identify the cause of a poor conversion rate and provide ways to increase conversions.

1 – Checking The Relevancy Of The Traffic

The first place to check for reasons why your PPC visitors aren’t converting is the campaign itself. An experienced AdWords expert could review any number of factors within a campaign to identify issues, but for a simple way to establish whether or not the clicks through to your site are relevant qualified leads you can simply check your Search Query Report in AdWords.

If your campaigns haven’t been running long or you haven’t had enough exposure, you may find a lot of your search queries are grouped in the “Other Search Terms” section at the bottom of the Search Query Report. If this is the case, try the Matched Search Query report in Analytics (see below). This gives you the search terms of each click through to your site from your paid campaign:

Google Analytics Matched Search Query Report

Although this will not show you details on searches triggering impressions, it does list all the searches which were actually clicked. This allows you to see exactly how relevant the searches were.

For example, if you sell red leather shoes and see search queries for “red leather shoes” and “buy leather shoes in red”, you know that the leads going to your site are very relevant and qualified. However if you were to see things like “shoes” or “red horseshoes”, you need to look closer at the campaign and establish how unspecific and irrelevant search terms are resulting in your ad being shown. This would involve adding negative keywords and refining campaigns to ensure this cannot continue to happen.

If you are satisfied that at least a proportion of the traffic coming to your site from your ad campaign is relevant, it’s time to look at your site in a bit more depth to understand why visitors aren’t turning into customers.

2 – Critically Analysing Your Site To Find The Problem

Trusted Brand StampWhen users arrive at your landing page from a paid ad, they can be very quick to judge your business, product offering and website as a whole. This judgement can affect how long they stay, which pages they check out and ultimately their likeliness to buy.

It is critical that your site installs trust in the user; trust in your brand, trust in your products and trust in your site. No-one buys from a site that doesn’t look and feel professional and trustworthy.

To critically analyse your site you need to get in the mind-set of the customer who may know nothing about your business. Just because you think your site is great, that really doesn’t mean it is. Try getting friends and family to look around and find out if they would trust your brand and product offering enough to buy online. Also check out competitors’ sites and see how yours compares. What do they do or have that you don’t?

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the process of optimising your site to try and improve a key action, such as increasing sales. There is huge number of tried and tested methods to increase conversions and some things work better for some sites or industries than others. As a guide, the following are the sorts of questions you should ask yourself and things to consider when reviewing your site:


Do you have a clear navigation for users to browse your site and quickly find what they are looking for? Ensure that key pages (contact page, about us page, products/services pages, etc.) are easily accessible with a clear and logical navigation structure.


Does your site look professional? Is your site design in keeping with other sites in your industry? Does the site feel fresh, modern and sleek or clumsy and out-of-date? Style and design plays a huge part in user perception of your business so it is critical you get this right.

Targeted Landing Pages

The landing pages you use for your ads should be as relevant as possible and take the user as close to the point of purchase as possible. For example, for a search for “red leather shoes”, you should direct the visitor to a page all about red leather shoes, not leather shoes or red shoes.

Calls To Action (CTA)

CTAs are essential for getting visitors to engage with your site and purchase. Make your “buy now” or “contact us today” buttons obvious, bright and easy to find.

Contact Details

Can your customers easily get in touch with you via phone and email? Many customers expect to be able to call a business and not having a contact telephone number can make you appear untrustworthy.

Can you easily see where the business is located? A physical address is an important factor for user trust.

Product Images

Are you using high quality images for your products that clearly identify all variations of your product? For example; if a dress is available in black or red, can they easily see both versions before they buy? Customers do not expect to have to visualise their product when making their decision.


This might seem like an obvious one but it is often forgotten. Is your price right? If visitors are comparing prices and you are not competitive it goes without saying that you are unlikely to get the sale. Carry out fresh competitor research, looking at other sites whose ads appear for your target keywords and see what they charge.

Small Tweaks Can Make A Massive Difference

Don’t be afraid to try new things to improve CRO because small things such as moving a “buy now” button higher up the page or adding a contact number to your header can make a massive difference.

These points are just some of the things you should be considering, but conversion rate optimisation is a massive area and there are a great many things you should consider or try to improve your conversion rate. For more information, check out our free Conversion Rate Optimisation whitepaper.

Feedback Time!

Feedback BoxIf you have any comments or feedback I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions or thoughts on turning clicks into conversions.

If you would like more information on conversion rate optimisation or our AdWords management services please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Image Sources
Paying Online With Credit Card Image
 from Bigstock
Trusted Brand Stamp Image from Bigstock
Red feedback box from Bigstock

Emma North

Emma North

Emma has more than 5 years’ digital marketing experience and has worked on dozens of websites in a wide range of industries. She has a passion for both SEO and PPC and is driven by the need to develop her digital skills and knowledge. She is always exploring innovative solutions for new problems encountered in the ever-changing digital world.

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  • Hazel Jarrett 13th August 2013

    Hi Emma, another great post… thank you.
    I’m surprised how many sites don’t have a clear CTA with obvious contact details and then wonder why visitors don’t convert!

    Reply to this comment

    • Emma North

      Emma North 13th August 2013

      Thanks Hazel, glad you think so. And I completely agree; it’s surprisingly common for people to invest in smart, snazzy sites and completely forget the basics like CTA’s!

      Reply to this comment

  • SEO Omaha 22nd August 2013

    Thank you! I was wondering why I wasn’t converting as much as I’d like. I have a massive amount of hits but nothing to show for it. I’ll apply this and get back to you. Let you know how it works for me.

    Reply to this comment

  • Carmen Mardiros 28th August 2013

    I agree that you need to take a dual view of the problem – traffic relevancy and the site itself. I certainly agree that often it is the “rubbish website” issue but more often than not it’s a case of “rubbish website for this visitor context”.

    I’ve seen huge differences in traffic conversion by keyword intent. When one such keyword “bucket” dominates the data set, the conversion metrics follow suit and you lose sight of the smaller keyword “buckets” which perform well. This dual-view matters. Without it you have no context for determining why your website might be “rubbish”.

    Great read, Emma. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply to this comment

    • Emma North

      Emma North 29th August 2013

      Thanks Carmen, completely agree. Careful and regular analysis of the search query report and matched searched queries in GA is essential for understanding user intent and ensuring that clicks are as relevant and targeted as they can be, blocking off anything that’s too vague or irrelevant through negative keywords.

      For a new campaign this is obviously crucial as it’s where you find your feet and refine around the high performing keywords, etc. It’s also where you find out if the site isn’t performing as it should; when you find a wealth of qualified, targeted clicks and get no conversions.

      Thanks again for your feedback.

      Reply to this comment

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