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CTR Theme - My experience

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by TheEditor, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    The only reason I'm putting this review here instead of under "White Hat", or "Blogging", or "Adsense" is because I did a search and found more threads here concerning Eppie Volt's CTR Theme for Wordpress.

    On I go:

    In June I moved an EMD site from Socrates over to a version of CTRT I snatched either here or on another like-minded forum. Forget where. Here were the traffic numbers for this site *before* CTRT install:

    Jan 2011 14,154
    Feb 2011 15,763
    Mar 2011 18,162
    Apr 2011 22,154
    May 2011 24,732

    The site is entertainment related with just 4 posts on it. As you can see, pretty good traffic. Thru June and July, the traffic numbers were as follows:

    Jun 2011 6,902
    Jul 2011 6,527

    Yikes! The traffic declined about 6-7 days after CTRT was installed. But the money made on Adsense went *up*. Why? Well, CTRT's main claim to fame is better conversions, right? I should say so. My CTR went up by 456%. And that made up for the traffic decline in a big way.

    So in late June (23rd, maybe 24th) I moved another EMD site of mine, also in entertainment, over to CTRT. This site has been around a bit longer. Its EM phrase has about double the traffic according to the G keyword tool. Its got more posts, though not a lot: about a dozen.

    BTW, all the posts on both are pure white hat. Lots of snark, penned mostly by myself and a bit by my surprisingly acerbic wife.

    So here were the recent traffic #s for site #2:

    Jan 2011 25K
    Feb 2011 20K
    Mar 2011 21K
    Apr 2011 25K
    May 2011 24K
    Jun 2011 21K

    I don't see how you can get much steadier, can you? CTRT improved the CTR over Socrates on this site as well. #2 converted better than #1 so the improvement isn't quite as huge: 246%. But the bad comes with the good. Like #1, about a week after converting to CTRT I saw a traffic drop:

    Jul 2011 11K

    And it would have been worse. I've really done little promo work for either site - a bit more for #1. But almost nothing since February. Well, the drop in #2's traffic spooked me, and I did a ramshackle Scritty/Cash202-styled promo cycle in late July that bumped up traffic quickly. The traffic bump from that promo cycle began to peter out just a bit late last week.

    It worries me: why the traffic decline? But the $$ has gone up on a pair of sites that converted terribly so overall I'm happy for now.

    Bad news comes from another CTRT user today on the IJ forum. I won't mention more; you should check it out.

    I've got more to say on this, but I'll open it up now for questions.
     
  2. angelas111

    angelas111 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    i would have someone re-name the theme and all its files. google may be hip to it.
     
  3. omida86

    omida86 Power Member

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    just add in robots.txt to not crawl the folder...

    But it can't be that, it's probably just that the CTR theme doesn't provide a good user experience, so people don't want to come back...
     
  4. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    The nature of the site doesn't really lend itself to big repeat visits. However the pages/visit number has actually gone up a little. Not a big amount mind you, but just enough to suggest statistical significance.

     
  5. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    I've renamed the theme folder, and gone into style.css and changed the identification stuff at the top. This is where WP itself grabs much of the info you see on your Themes page.

    And if you do this, I'd recommend getting rid of the old folder (default name: "ctr-theme") completely.

    But I did this a bit ago and have not seen a traffic bump other than the one immediately after the promo cycle on #2.

     
  6. blackmamber

    blackmamber Junior Member

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    Yup, seems the drop in traffic is common, heard it from a few peeps. If you think like the visitor, you will draw the answer to why sites with CTR theme drop traffic, the user experience is battered basically after all the first things visitors see is ads, and in the mind of the viewer the ads may seem deceptive.

    My tip on this is to have one 160x120 ad on top left, 2x 336 ads on the bottom. Since employing this layout, traffic has gone up along with CTR.

    So, when you set ad$ence options, only select this layout and traffic should be restored and CTR high:) my advice, dont let it rotate ads!, wil drive visitors away like no tomorrow.

    Give it a whirl

    Final thoughts:
    With CTR in its native state, it looks like a MFA site and you can bet G will get pissed in the end and start closing accounts
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  7. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    I *do* show content on the first screen, depending on the layout. Being entertainment sites, there are lots of pictures. I make sure its the first thing in the post. I do NOT use pushdown images, so the surfer definitely gets a bit of what he came for immediately. But this site isn't really built for repeat traffic anyway. 99%+ of the traffic comes straight from Big G. The reduced traffic is G's doing.

    Your post does bring up a gripe of mine. There are no CTRT tutorials on how to set up the AdSense channel tracking.

     
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  8. Roundhouse

    Roundhouse Regular Member

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    I would just of kept the previous wordpress theme you had and add in the adsense code manually in the php.
    I used heatmap pro before and noticed that my rankings dropped after doing so. I switched to the twenty eleven theme and placed in google ads myself. Since, I noticed my rankings improve slowly.

    Just look at the CTRT, and see where they place the google ads, then manually ad them into your current theme
     
  9. wannabie

    wannabie Elite Member

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    I have just brought this theme so ill give feedback to see how it goes
     
  10. God of War

    God of War BANNED BANNED

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    You need to optimize the code to make it more SEO desirable; I played with the code to modify it to coding similar to other SEO themes and I went back up. You can always do that.
     
  11. BFHoodn!nja

    BFHoodn!nja Regular Member

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    For anybody wondering what was meant with

    I think people should know this without having the google. Source
     
  12. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    Wasn't sure if it was kosher to directly cite that, but thank you.

     
  13. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    And *that* was one of the things I left out of the original post. I had to change the way CTRT handled both the TITLE and META tags. But not everyone would do that. Plugins that override default theme SEO are pretty common and that is why I didn't mention it. The changes I made restored the behavior I had under Socrates on both sites.

     
  14. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    1) Eppie did not sell CTRT. He said he was not comfortable with the winning bidders of that auction so he called it off.

    2) I did see a drop in rankings. Now I *did* expect to see some drop in the rankings of site #1. If you refer back to the original post you'll see its traffic had increased somewhat in the preceding 60 days or so. This was due to the inclusion of some time-sensitive content relating to the Princess Kate wedding that was necessarily going to fade. Plus the other main source of traffic for that site involved a famous celebrity that has an awful lot of online coverage and the competition is pretty fierce.

    But the magnitude of the decline was unexpected. And it was repeated on #2, most of whose content is fairly old.

    The bulk of the site #2 traffic drop was on the inner pages while the homepage dropped much less.

     
  15. nougattrout

    nougattrout Junior Member

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    I've seen similar things with a bunch of sites still using the Heatmap theme lately. Looks like it's time to revisit them and see what a change in theme will do
     
  16. antsaoo

    antsaoo Supreme Member

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    Are you sure that the visitor drop is not from different format on blog. I mean , maybe the old theme had just some of the article but ctrtheme shows whole article so they don't need click to another site ?

    I have ctr theme myself installed maybe 3-4 months ago but haven't done much to sites afterwards. so can't tell any diff :/
     
  17. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    Most of the "articles" are actually quite short. Some are only a couple of sentences. I have to work harder to write stuff for web20 and AMR blasts.

     
  18. nabyar

    nabyar Junior Member

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    Thanks for the study. I've been bouncing back and forth with the idea to buy this theme, but honestly, like others said, I think it's best to utilize a current theme thats clean but place adsense where CTR does, too.

    It's also crucial to walk to the fine line between number of adds and how well the ads blend with the site.
     
  19. TheEditor

    TheEditor Regular Member

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    This morning I amped up the "theme blindness" concept: I made a replacement for the screenshot.png file that WP uses to identify the theme on the Themes page.

    In all likelihood that is a ridiculous step to take.

    I noticed the 1.4.1 update is out. Anyone know what specifically is in this? Eppie hasn't updated the changelog page since v1.3.5. I submitted a support request to find out, but maybe someone here could share.

     
  20. BFHoodn!nja

    BFHoodn!nja Regular Member

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    My SERP rankings worsened when I switched from Heatmap to CTRT. But CTRT made me rank much better on google images which is my prime source of my visitors.
    What I don't understand is why conversions are still this bad for me. Yesterday I was at 1075 Uniques and 2 Clicks (0,19% CTR) with a 55% bounce rate and 40s average time spend on the site (1.80 pageviews).