The Forgotten Factor for Click-Through Rate

October 1st, 2014 / Jessica

When Advertisers create Ads, their main focus is creating original headlines and descriptions. This makes sense, as both the headline and description have a high influence whether a visitor clicks through or not.

A factor that is often forgotten is the significance the URL can have on Adwords Click-Through rate. Advertisers often use their domain name like, or as the URL.

url the forgotten factor

Predikkta allows you to test different variations of URL in one survey. Results so far have shown that variations of URLs impact on CTRs.


Let’s first take a step back and look at how the URL in Adwords works.

If you create an Ad in Adwords, it gives you the option to fill in the destination and display URL. The destination URLis the URL of the page where you want your visitors to land. The size of the destination URL can be up to 1,024 characters. On the other hand, the display URL is the URL that is shown in the actual Ad and can only contain 35 characters.

The destination and display URL should be seen separately, but the domain name of the display URL should always be the same as the domain name of the destination URL.

Depending on the length of your domain name, you can play with the characters of your display URL. For instance, is the domain name of your website, then you have 21 characters left to display. If you use these 21 characters cleverly, it can make a significant difference on the CTR.


Adwords best practice is to try and insert the main keyword you target in the display URL. This is because Google often emboldens the keyword if it matches the search query.

Let’s say that is a florist based in New York; possible variations could be:


Adding the keyword in your display URL may be seen as much more attractive than only showing the domain name, as it can give more information about the page behind the URL.

Which one do you prefer?



Advertisers on occasions separate two keywords with a hyphen. This is because a hyphen between keywords is commonly used in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), as it is considered best practice. Advertisers can blunder in using this as a guideline in their Adwords campaigns.

There are also other possibilities to separate keywords. For example, the use of an underscore is often beneficial, as per our initial results. The experiments show that URL variations with an underscore have slightly higher Click-Through Rate than variations using hyphens.


A possible explanation for this could be that keywords separated with an underscore are seen as more distinct and are easier to read as two words. Therefore, the keyword will quickly resonate with the search query.


Another URL variation you can play with is to show the “www” prefix or not in the display URL.

According to the experiments conducted to date, which consist of over 60,000 search results, using the www prefix or not displays some curious results. Search results with the following URL variation: will have a higher Click-Through Rate than

But there are also some outliers. The notable exception observed is it more beneficial to insert your keyword in the display URL, even if this means you have to skip the www prefix.

chart www vs none

This can be the case if, for instance, you have a long domain name and need every character to insert your keyword phrase in the URL.

Someone searching for “Wedding Photographers” is more likely to click on:


We can only speculate why there is a significant difference in CTR between displaying the www prefix or not. Our intuition is that showing the www prefix looks trustworthy to visitors; hence visitors are more likely to click on your Ad.


We are only starting to get significant data and we need more results to confirm these trends; however we didn’t want to hold upon sharing this with you.

Try the Adwords Optimizer yourself. At this stage it is still a Free Tool. Find out which URL, Headline and Description makes your customers click.


Read why the Display URL in your Adwords Campaigns can have a high influence on the Click-Through Rate.

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*Predikkta has sourced several external independent global tools to analyze websites.These tools do not reflect on occasion the internal website analytics, but are recognised global tools and provide accurate comparative results for measurement against competitors.

**The views in this article are those of the author