We recently came across someone on Twitter who asked if parked domains that show up in Google Adwords search results can bring down your PPC click-through rate.

First things first, let’s define what a parked domain is and how it’s relevant to PPC.  A parked domain is defined as a site that is undeveloped and belongs to a domain name registrar or a domain name holder.  Google’s Adsense program places targeted AdWords ads on parked domains that are part of the Google Network.  So, whether you’re running the content network or just search, you’re ads could appear on a parked domain site.

Apparently parked domains used to be considered a blank page that if a user ended up on they would have to retry their search. However, now parked domains that run Adsense could offer ads that can be relevant to a user’s search query.

To answer our initial question, yes, parked domains can drag down your click-through rate if you’re running ads in Adwords. However, there is good news. You can view the performance of your parked domain ads by going to the tools section in Adwords, and clicking on ‘site and category exclusion’.

parked domains and ppc

Once you click on a particular campaign, click on ‘page types’. Now you can view exactly how many impressions, clicks, click-through rate, cost, average cost-per-click, conversions, conversion rate and cost per conversion data over a period of time. Now if you see that your parked domains sites are dragging down your click-through rate, you can then select the box next to the name, ‘parked domains’ to exclude it and save your changes. At that point your campaign will no longer show ads on parked domain sites.

parked domain

The site and category exclusion also allows you to view performance stats on error pages and other categories your ads may appear on. This is a great tool/feature to check periodically in your account to make sure you’re not throwing your money down the drain on parked domains, error pages and other categories.