How To Boost Your AdSense Revenues?
Google's AdSense [https://www.google.com/adsense/] is a fascinating revenue-sharing opportunity for small, medium and large web sites.
Some webmasters are designing brand new sites specifically for serving AdSense text ads. (It's against the AdSense rules to design a site purely for AdSense, so you'll want to include a few affiliate links or sell your own product, too.)
Here's the background info:
AdSense overview [https://www.google.com/adsense/overview]
AdSense FAQ [https://www.google.com/adsense/faq]
AdSense tech FAQ [https://www.google.com/adsense/faq-tech]
AdSense policies [https://www.google.com/adsense/policies]
AdSense allows you to serve text-based Google AdWords on your web site and receive a share of the pay-per-click payment. AdSense ads are similar to the AdWords ads you see on the right-hand side at Google when you do a search there.
AdSense is having a huge impact on the affiliate marketing industry. Weak affiliate merchants will die faster than ever and big ad networks are going to lose customers fast.
If you're a merchant running a lousy affiliate program, now's the time to improve it FAST.
- AdSense is simple to join.
- It's easy to paste a bit of code into your pages.
- It's free to join.
- You don't have to spend time finding advertisers.
- Google provides well written, highly relevant ads – chosen to closely match the content on your pages.
- You don't have to waste time choosing different ads for different pages.
- You don't have to mess around with different code for various affiliate programs.
- You're free to concentrate on providing good content and Google does the work of finding the best ads for your pages from 100,000 AdWords advertisers.
- It's suitable for beginners or marketing veterans.
- AdSense provides simple, easy-to-understand stats.
- If you have affiliate links on your site, you ARE allowed to add AdSense ads. However, with your affiliate links, you must not mimic the look and feel of the Google ads.
- You can filter up to 200 URLs, so you can block ads for sites that don't meet your standards. You can also block strong competitors.
Inevitably, AdSense is competing strongly for space on web sites with all other revenue sharing opportunities.
If you own a small web site you can now plug a bit of code into your site and almost instantly relevant text ads that are likely to appeal to your visitors will appear on your pages.
If you own several sites, you need apply only once. This makes AdSense much simpler than joining a bunch of affiliate programs.
As you can see, I'm really keen on this revenue sharing service. Unfortunately, there's no referral program – I can't earn money by telling you how good it is!
One problem is inappropriate ads. You don't want spammy junk advertised on your site. Google's standards probably aren't as high as yours. You can filter out 200 URLs, but in some industries that won't be enough.
WARNING: To give you a good look at how AdSense works, I have filtered out only one site whose ads I don't want to appear on this page.
The stats Google supplies are inadequate. They're easy to understand at a glance. However, they don't tell you which ads people are clicking on, or which keywords are involved. That's frustrating.
Also, I'd like to be able to identify and block ads that have very low payout rates, without doing a lot of sleuthing and messing around.
The ad panels say "Ads by Google" – free advertising for Google. You don't earn anything if someone clicks on that link.
The minimum payout is $100, which is regarded as too high by sites which don't receive much traffic. That won't worry experienced webmasters.
Also, sites that want to display AdSense ads may not include "other content-targeted and/or text-based ads on the pages displaying AdWords ads." However, human beings review the sites. Rejected sites have been able to appeal successfully.
Another disadvantage is that Google doesn't want you to share your stats with other webmasters. The AdSense Terms and Conditions say:
"Confidentiality. You agree not to disclose Google Confidential Information without Google's prior written consent. 'Google Confidential Information' includes without limitation: ... (b) click-through rates or other statistics relating to Site performance in the Program provided to you by Google..."
That's really weird. Web site owners need to be able to share such information and discuss successes and failures.
A big disadvantage of the service is that Google doesn't say how much its AdSense partners will receive. You'll just receive an unknown share of the revenue.
Only a company with the goodwill and respect Google has earned could get away with such a cheeky offer.
"How much will I earn through this program? The AdWords ads you are able to display on your content pages are cost-per-click (CPC) ads. This means that advertisers pay only when users click on ads. You'll receive a portion of the amount paid for clicks on AdWords ads on your website. Although we don't disclose the exact revenue share, our goal is to enable publishers to make as much or more than they could with other advertising networks."
So the only way to know how much you'll earn is to try it and see. If you want to bail out, all you have to do is remove the code from your site.
Don't put all your eggs in the AdSense basket. If Google discovers fraudulent clicks on ads appearing on your pages, it can dump your site from the service, and refuse to pay you all revenue owed. Some webmasters who claim total innocence have had this happen to them.
Google has made several changes to its AdSense FAQ, clarifying varying things. For example, you CAN apply for separate accounts for separate web sites. I've done so, and checked with Google that it's OK. Read the rules – they look ambiguous to me. If in doubt, ask first!
Google has added "channels" which improve the tracking. I strongly recommend that you experiment with these.
Sites with "excessive advertising" are being rejected.
PLEASE read the rules and FAQ. When I looked, some advice in the rules contradicted advice in the FAQ. If in any doubt, ask their support staff. They're very helpful.
Experiences with AdSense
The payment you receive per click depends on how much advertisers are paying per click to advertise using Google's AdWords service. Advertisers can pay as little as 5 cents per click and as high as $10 or $12 in profitable niches, perhaps even more sometimes. You earn a share of that.
So your payment rates can vary enormously.
The rules forbid me from revealing my stats. However, in the tests I'm doing on five sites, the results have been startling – far better than I expected. The results are much better than I receive from many affiliate programs.
In the past, I've talked to affiliates who were happy to receive $5 or $6 CPM (per 1,000 page views). My results from AdSense leave such affiliate revenues far behind.
I've increased my use of AdSense. It's a winner!
If my results are typical, it helps enormously if you build very simple, uncluttered pages so that the ads catch the visitor's eye more than anything else.
Will those ds appear?
Publishers can choose to have their ads displayed only on Google or also on a large network of sites.
Will AdSense ads you see on Google appear your pages? To get an idea, find web pages that have material similar to the content you're planning to create and look at their AdSense ads.
You can also use AdSense's preview tool to see which ads are being displayed to people in different countries.
Beware: If you choose certain topics, Google will not allow you to place AdSense ads on your site and you'll miss out on a very lucrative opportunity.
Such topics include gambling, firearms, ammunition, balisongs, butterfly knives, and brass knuckles; beer or alcohol; tobacco or tobacco-related products; and prescription drugs.
For a full list of topics you may wish to avoid see: https://www.google.com/adsense/policies?hl=en_US
How much can you earn?
Let's say you have a goal of earning $100,000 a year from AdSense. Is that possible?
Let's see ... $100,000 divided by 365 = $274 a day. So your goal is to produce either:
274 pages which earn $1 a day
548 pages which earn 50 cents a day
1096 pages which earn 25 cents a day
The following are hypothetical cases. To earn $1 a day per page, you need, per page...
400 visitors, 5% click-through rate (CTR) and average 5c payout.
Or 200 visitors, 10% CTR and an average 5c payout.
Or 100 visitors, 10% CTR, and an average 10c payout.
Or 100 visitors, 5% CTR, and an average 20c payout.
Or 50 visitors, 10% CTR and 20c average payout.
Or 25 visitors, 20% CTR and 20c average payout.
Or 20 visitors, 10% CTR and 50c average payout.
Or 10 visitors, 20% CTR and 50c average payout.
Or 5 visitors, 20% CTR and $1 average payout.
Let's assume you choose a goal somewhere around the middle, say aiming for 50 visitors per page and want 274 pages earning $1 a day. You'd need 274 x 50 = 13,700 pageviews a day.
Does that sound too tough? If so, you'd better look for more profitable keywords and ways to improve your click-through rates.
Let's try a different scenario. You choose more profitable keywords and make your $1 on average per page from, say, 10 visitors. 274 x 10 = 2740 pageviews a day.
That's looking easier to achieve. If your average visitor sees 3 pages, you now need 913 unique visitors a day.
Is that too tough to achieve in your niche? If so, create two sites, each attracting half that number, 456 unique visitors, a day.
Can't achieve those click-through rates and payouts? Then you'll either need more pages on your sites on more niche sites.
Some affiliates have a goal of writing one article a day and building one site a month.
Need a little more help reaching that $100,000 goal? Add affiliate commissions into the equation. Add a newsletter for repeat sales.
Choose the goal which best matches your site or sites.
Then start building keyword-rich pages containing well researched, profitable keywords, and get lots of high quality links to your site.
Please note, because of the AdSense rules, these are all hypothetical cases. I'm not allowed to give real cases. Real CTR rates and payouts vary hugely.
Google usually approves web sites in less than a day.
After your site is approved, within a few hours a special Google spider will spider your site. Then it's time to paste the code into your site and the text ads will appear.
You can choose between either horizontal or skyscraper AdSense ads.
How AdSense matches ads to web pages
Google is doing a good job of finding ads that are highly relevant to the web pages.
"We go beyond simple keyword matching to understand the context and content of web pages. Based on an algorithm that includes such factors as keyword analysis, word frequency, font size, and the overall link structure of the web, we know what a page is about, and can precisely match Google ads to each page."
Occasionally Google gets it wrong. It places great importance on the file name. So be sure to use important keywords in the file name of each page, such as "contextual-advertising.html" for an article on contextual advertising.
Also, watch out for your anchor text – the words in the links on your page. We've found that sometimes if irrelevant ads are being served, you can fix the problem by rewriting anchor text.
You can check the relevance of the ads by looking at the text ads near the top-right of this page.
Sites using AdSense
Sites using AdSense include large information sites, affiliate-driven sites, forums and blogs.
"Chat" sites are considered not suitable. Some blogs are being rejected, but information-rich blogs are being accepted.
GoogleGuy explains AdSense
GoogleGuy, an anonymous Google employee who contributes to discussions on the WebMasterWorld.com forums, explains how AdSense will help information sites:
"...sites that provide solid content, especially niche sites that don't want to hunt down their own advertisers, should really benefit ... there's a whole universe of people who ... mostly produce informational sites, and the chance to recoup their costs without much effort is nice. I hope AdSense does encourage more diversity and voices on the web, because now smaller sites can work on what they're interested in – the content of their sites – without worrying very much about the costs of self-publishing information."
How to choose sites to block
You'll probably want to block some of the AdSense ads from appearing on your site. As well as blocking rubbishy sites, you may want to block tough competitors.
The ability to block sites is especially important for sites that are not purely affiliate-income driven. For example, if you're selling a service or a product you won't want competitors' ads on your site.
You can find such competitors by doing some searches on Google for key phrases that are important on your site and looking at the AdWords ads that appear.
Affiliate programs versus AdSense earnings
Affiliate programs are often compared by looking at the EPC – earnings per click.
However, if you want to compare affiliate programs commissions with AdSense earnings, a more precise way is to calculate the payout you receive per 1,000 page views (CPM).
Here's how to calculate your CPM:
Let's say you earn $180 in affiliate commissions from 30 thousand (30,000) page views. $180 divided by 30 = $6. You have a CPM of $6. Not very inspiring, but not uncommon.
The AdSense stats display the effective CPM you earn.
Remember, AdSense doesn't have to replace your affiliate commissions. You can earn affiliate commissions AND AdSense commissions from the same page.
If you have a very efficient site with a high conversion rate, AdSense may not be right for you – or perhaps it would be suitable for SOME pages, but not others. Remember, the more choices you give people, the more likely you are to confuse them.
However, if you're creating a large information site, or if you have a site that does not have a brilliant conversion rate, AdSense could prove to be a very profitable addition to your site.
(Strictly speaking, CPM means COST per 1,000 impressions, but the calculation works OK whether you're spending money or earning it.)
How to boost your AdSense revenue
If you hear about people achieving high payments per click with AdSense, remember that's only part of the story. for high total earnings, you also need lots of page views and a high click-through rate.
Here are some ideas on how to achieve those three things:
If you're starting afresh designing a site specifically for AdSense revenue, you'll want a simple design that makes it easy to paste Google's code into a horizontal or vertical space on the site. For experienced webmasters, that's easy.
To increase your click-throughs, design a simple, uncluttered page with the AdSense ads displayed prominently.
Use white space, so that the AdSense panel catches the eye.
Where possible, use ads high on the page. They catch visitors' attention.
Experiment with borderless ads high on the page. (You can create borderless ads by setting the border color to the same as the background color. Look in your AdSense control panel under "Ad settings".)
Try placing AdSense high in the left-hand column. That works well for super affiliate James Martell.
On very simple, one-column pages, making your article wrap around AdSense ads near the top-right of the page works remarkably well for me on a non-Internet marketing site.
Stick to only one topic per page – that makes it easier for Google to serve up highly relevant ads on your pages.
Plain, bland pages with few competing hyperlinks result in higher click-through rates on the AdSense ads.
If you want to target certain high-priced keywords, use them in the file name, in the heading on the page, and in the first paragraph – in other words, use search engine optimization techniques.
If you change those keywords, Google will change the ads that appear on your page.
If you have trouble getting AdSense to serve relevant pages, check your anchor text – the words used in links on your page. Try changing some of those words.
Watch out for cases where Google has guessed wrong, and is displaying ads that won't interest your visitors. Figure out which words are involved, and rewrite those words. Help Google by sticking closely to the topic.
Don't worry about losing traffic via those clicks. If you can earn maybe 30 or 50 cents or more per click, you WANT to lose visitors!
You'll also want keyword-rich pages, optimized to rank highly in search engines, so you can serve lots of pages.
Try using ads at the top of the page and again at the bottom. At first, this wasn't allowed but AdSense changed the rules and it's now OK.
One of the beautiful things about AdSense is that you can now generate revenue from informational sites even if there are no obvious related affiliate programs. With more than 100,000 advertisers, there's a good chance that Google will find ads that match your pages, better than the big ad networks can.
Don't be tempted into trying to create thousands of spammy computer-generated articles. Human beings review sites for AdSense. Build useful, interesting sites. Google likes them.
One way to create articles quickly is use Gary Antosh's approach. He pays people to write articles for him - by the truckload. So far he has bought hundreds of them and paid only $5 per article. See How to buy articles for $5 - the details [http://www.associateprograms.com/search/newsletter234.shtml]
Another way is to use works that are copyright-free. Here's a book that describes how to find such articles: The Public Domain: How to Find and Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More [http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0873374339/associateprogram]
However, that technique isn't likely to be useful for long. At the very least, it would be wise to add your own introduction and conclusions to make your pages different from everyone else's.
For long-term success, write your own original articles on a topic you're passionate about. That way, you're writing for humans AND search engines.
Serious tracking to maximize profits
How do you find out which AdSense ads get the highest number of click-throughs? How do you find out which ads are best at generating clicks that pay?
AdSense provides what it calls "channels", and you can experiment to find out which pages on your site are generating the most revenue, which colors work best, what ad placement works best, whether you should use borderless ads, etc.
However, if you have a large site, you'll find AdSense tracking via channels is seriously lacking.
AdSense Tracker [http://www.associateprograms.com/adstracker] is a powerful php script that keeps detailed logs of all impressions and clicks on AdSense ads on all your websites without altering the ad code itself. The data can then be used to analyze the effectiveness of your sites, track different ad sizes and styles, or even individual pages.
You can track every click-through so you'll know what your visitors are looking for. This makes it easy for you to build more perfectly targeted, profitable pages.
It can track unlimited domains and pages. It's resource intensive and should be hosted separately.
If you just have a small site you probably don't need it. AdSense Tracker [http://www.associateprograms.com/adstracker] is a tool for professionals.
You want profitable keywords: high demand, low supply
Keep in mind that some topics attract much higher payouts per click than others.
For example, if your site is about topics such as debt consolidation, web hosting or asbestos-related cancer, you'll earn much more per click than if it's about free things.
On the other hand, if you concentrate only on top-paying keywords, you'll face an awful lot of tough competition.
What you want are keywords that are high in demand and low in supply.
So do some careful keyword research before you build your pages.
Why are the wrong ads being displayed?
Sometimes, Google seems to get it wrong. You create a page and ads you've seen elsewhere and were expecting to see on your page just don't turn up. Instead, you see vaguely relevant or totally irrelevant ads.
Here are four possibilities:
1. Your page isn't perfectly optimized for the keywords. It's very important to get the key phrase in the file name, for example "product-xyz.html", in the title, in the heading, in the first paragraph, in the body, at the end, and put it in the meta tag description, too.
2. Advertisers can choose to advertise just on Google's search engine. They can opt out of advertising on the AdSense content network. Perhaps the advertisers you're interested in have opted out. To check, type a few phrases into Google and try to find some sites that are displaying Google ads and see which ads appear.
3. Advertisers can choose which countries will see their ads. If you're in Canada, for example, you may not see an ad that people in the U.S. will see. To find out where ads are being displayed, download the free Adsense Preview Tool [https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/topic.py?topic=160].
4. This is very rare, but weird stuff can happen for no apparent reason. If all else fails, contact AdSense support. I've always found them prompt and helpful.
9 ways to do keyword research for AdSense pages
1. If you have a Google AdWords account, pretend you are planning to advertise using different keywords, and see how much you'd have to pay. That will give you a good indication of the popularity of the keywords.
Here's how. Follow these steps [https://adwords.google.com/select/steps.html]. In step 2, "Create Ad Group", click on "Calculate Estimates" and "Recalculate Estimates". These show you the maximum you would have to pay per click to advertise for particular keywords or key phrases.
For finding new key phrases, you can also use the AdWords Keywords Tool [https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordSandbox]. It may be useful. Sometimes it's not.
2. Keywords Analyzer [http://www.associateprograms.com/keywords-special] is a superb new tool which can generate thousands of key phrases that people are typing into search engines. If you have a Wordtracker account, you can also import data from Wordtracker and analyze it. It shows you, for example, how many advertisers have ad campaigns at AdWords for each phrase. If you're using AdSense, the more advertisers the better!
3. Have a look at the top 100 keywords on 7search [http://7search.com/scripts/searchterms/top_paying.asp?n=100]. This will give you a quick idea of keywords that people are willing to pay big money for. You can also type phrases into the 7Search Keyword Suggestion Tool [http://conversion.7search.com/scripts/advertisertools/keywordsuggestion.aspx]. This is just step one of your keyword research. You'll want to dig deeper.
4. At FindWhat [http://www.findwhat.com/] pay-per-click search engine you can do a search for any phrase and quickly see how much advertisers are paying per click.
5. You can also experiment typing words into Overture's View Bids Tool [http://www.content.overture.com/d/USm/adcenter/tools/index.jhtml]. Let's say you type in "asbestos cancer". The top three advertisers often pay about $12 per click. So that would be an good choice for a topic – provided you're a specialist on mesothelioma.
For "debt consolidation", the top two advertisers often pay more than $9 per click.
6. The free Web Marketing Keyword Bid Research Tool [http://www.musthavemarketing.com/overture/] speeds up your research at Overture. Type in a keyword and learn how much advertisers are paying per click at Overture and also find out how many searches were done on that keyword last month.
For "debt consolidation", the top two advertisers often pay more than $9 per click.
7. KeywordSleuth [http://www.associateprograms.com/search/keywords-demo.shtml] is a wonderful tool for very fast keyword research. You can find hundreds or even thousands of keywords – or key phrases – with just one click. It's fabulous to use if all you want is to find an enormous number of related key phrases with one click – much better than messing around with Overture. It has a free trial.
8. You can use Wordtracker [http://www.associateprograms.com/wordtracker] to look for the 1,000 most popular keywords. You can also use it to compile a useful list of keywords relating to one topic. If you buy it for a day or a week, you can do a lot of research in that time. It's the tool the professionals use.
Wordtracker has a free trial, but it's fairly limited. You can subscribe for as little as one day and do an awful lot of keyword research in that time.
9. The brainstorming and research tools in Site Build It! [http://www.associateprograms.com/buildit] are my favorite way to do brainstorming for keywords that are in high demand and low supply.. SBI is a superb tool – actually, a suite of tools. It's an all-in-one web hosting, site-building and web marketing tool. Type in a keyword and SBI Manager will present you with dozens of profitable keywords – ones with high demand and low supply. It can present them in order of profitability. Drill down, and you'll get dozens more profitable keywords.
I recommend you double check the results using Wordtracker.
SBI also has an "Analyze It" tool that helps you build keyword-rich pages that rank highly in search engines. It's simply superb. I use it and love it.
Site Build It! [http://www.associateprograms.com/buildit] is an excellent choice for quickly building large, simple sites designed to rank highly in search engines – which makes it perfect for generating lots of AdSense revenue. Check it out.
QUICK SUMMARY: Build useful, simple sites – one topic per page – using valuable key phrases that are high in demand and low in supply. For researching, building and promoting easy-to-build sites that rank high in search engines, there's one suite of tools that's head and shoulders above all the rest – Site Build It! [http://www.associateprograms.com/buildit]
Site Build It! builds sites that work for ANY small business. See the proof... [http://www.associateprograms.com/results]