Step 5: Examine the Cost-Per-Click for Each Keyword: Keyword Accelerator Playbook

If you’re monetizing a website with display ads or affiliate products, then it’s crucial that you examine the cost-per-click (CPC) value for each keyword you’re thinking of targeting on your website.

As mentioned in the Keyword Accelerator Formula Overview section, there’s often a strong correlation between high CPC values and the amount of money you can earn with an article that’s focused on a particular keyword with display ads and affiliate product sales.

Here’s a case in point from my own SEO Chatter blog which is monetized with display ads:

I have an article targeting the keyword phrase “internal vs external links”. And it brings my website several hundred visits per month from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. However, I barely earn any money at all from display ads on that page because the CPC value is less than $0.10.

While the traffic boost is a nice vanity metric to help inflate my monthly Google Analytics tracking data, the truth is the target keyword is not generating much revenue for my business. The article does help with brand awareness but it’s not improving the bottom line for SEO Chatter in regards to display ad monetization.

From a pure revenue standpoint, I would have been better off ditching the term “internal vs external links” with a CPC value of $0.10 and writing a blog post that focused on a keyword with a higher CPC value like $20, $50, or more. Doing that would have given me a higher return on investment for the time it took to write a new blog post.

Instead of making a measly $1-2 per month from a post targeting “internal vs external links” with display ads, I could have targeted a higher CPC keyword that could be generating possibly $20 or more from a single page.

Because this step is so important to the future of any monetized website, I want us to look at another example of how examining the CPC values for each keyword can help you refine your content publishing strategy.

As you’ll see below, the keyword phrase “how often does a dog pee” is an easy keyword to target because it has a low keyword difficulty (KD) score of 18. It also has a good search volume of 850 searches per month.

With a proper on-page SEO and writing content that meets the user search intent, you could likely win a top position for that keyword on Google, Yahoo, or Bing without building any backlinks.

But is really worth the time and trouble to get a top-ranking position? Let’s see.

Keyword: How often does a dog pee
KD Score: 18
Search Volume: 850
CPC: $0

If you consider the CPC value of the keyword phrase, then it doesn’t matter how low the KD score is or how high the search volume is to make the right decision on if you should target this term or not. If you’re monetizing your website through display ads or affiliate products, the answer is more often than not going to be no. 

The CPC value of $0 indicates that advertisers are not willing to spend any money on acquiring customers who are searching for the phrase “how often does a dog pee” on Google, which typically correlates to an equally low cost-per-mile (CPM) for every 1,000 impressions a web page gets and the number of people who will purchase an affiliate product after landing on a web page that answers the question about the frequency of dogs peeing.

Now compare that first keyword phrase to the second one below.

The second term has an equally low KD score of 18 but a lower monthly search volume of 570. However, this keyword shows a CPC value of $3.85, which is a positive sign that advertisers are willing to pay money to get their brand in front of visitors who are searching on Google for this phrase. It also signifies that you may actually be able to earn some money from an article written on this topic through display ads and affiliate products. Therefore, it would be a much better keyword to target on your website and should be added to your final keyword list.

Keyword: How to get dog pee smell out of wood
KD Score: 18
Search Volume: 570
CPC $3.85

As a publisher, your goal should be to maximize the earnings from every visitor who lands on your website. And the CPC value can help you do that.

By only choosing keywords that can generate revenue for your business, you’re not only speeding up the revenue growth of your website, but it also helps you avoid writing articles that have a high probability of being a waste of time in terms of earning money.

Now, one final word of wisdom here before we move on to step 6.

Every niche, topic, and keyword will have a varying degree of CPC values. So you’ll need to pick a certain threshold as your cut-off point for which keywords you’re willing to target based on the CPC value.

For example, in the pet niche, you may find informational keywords that start with “what”, “why”, or “can” that have an average CPC value between $1-3. Therefore, you need to set your expectations appropriately. You cannot set a minimum threshold of CPC $15 at the standard value for which keywords you’re going to target or not. Instead, it should be a more realistic goal like the keyword needs to have a CPC value of $2 or higher to be willing to write an article on it.

The same idea is true for higher CPC value keywords.

For example, if you’re in the technology niche and you’re finding a wide range of transactional keywords that start with “buy”, “top”, or “review”, and they have an average CPC value between $20-70, then you should aim for the higher-paying keywords. The amount of time and effort it takes to write an article based on a keyword with a low KD score is the same regardless if that term has a CPC $20 or $70.

So it makes the most financial sense to set an initial threshold of CPC $60 or higher for the next batch of articles you write for your website. Then, after all of that content is published, you could work your way down to the lower CPC value keywords for additional articles.

With all that being said, just do what feels comfortable to you. There is no right or wrong answer here and you’ll need to investigate the average CPC values for the keywords in your niche to find an appropriate threshold.

Once you find a good set of keywords that meet this criteria, the next step is to add them to a keyword tracking template so you can store them all in one place. This is what you’ll learn how to do in step 6.

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