Here are eleven strategies to help you maximize your income from Google AdSense and turn (ad)cents into dollars…
Strategy #1) Do not put AdSense ads on pages that already make you significant money.
The best businesses have many revenue sources. Diversification is stronger and safer, in the long run. Yes, it’s more work, but like anything else worthwhile, you’re paid back many times over.
If you’re selling ebooks on a page… no ads. Keep your ads off selling pages, and keep your selling off the main pathway of the site. Remember… PREsell, then sell.
If you want a visitor to contact you for more information about your services… no ads. Ditto if a page is trying to make the sale for an expensive, high-profit hard good.
“Ads-on-high-profit-pages” is a debatable issue. To drop, or not to drop?
Think about the next 200 visitors. How many will monetize for you today on any given page, and how well?
If you start from there, it becomes pretty clear. If 10/200 will buy goods or services with a high profit margin, don’t risk ads. But if it’s more like 1/200, you’ll be wasting a chance to monetize the other 199.
Many people who add AdSense to high-profit pages do not see conversion rates fall, or click-throughs to their regular affiliate partners or sales negatively affected. But don’t make the assumption that the same will be true for you.
To be on the safe side, don’t place ads on your highest performing (highest CTR) pages as they may distract your visitors from your Most Wanted Response. On the other hand, you can always test. If you lose money, drop the ads for that page.
Strategy #2) Find the “perfect keywords.”
Each page of content should focus on a topic. A topic, of course, is based upon a keyword. So it’s all about keywords, finding the right ones, building a site with the right mix of keywords.
If you find a keyword with high demand, super-high supply and high CPC, it may be too competitive to actually win the SE wars. But you should still create a page for it and put ads on it.
You may not win the search engine wars for this word, but people who find your site for all your other keywords will ultimately visit this page, too… and some will click (more details on this in the next strategy).
Strategy #3) Convert “low-rent” visitors into “high-earning clicks.”
You may not want to use AdSense if all your keywords are low in value (or if Click-Through Rates are low). Often, though, it’s fairly easy to win the “search engine ranking war” for low-value keywords. After all, they’re low in value because they’re not popular words! So you likely don’t have much competition.
On the other hand, you ask… “If they’re low in value, what’s the point?”
Well, once you have 40-50+ pages of low-value words, those dribs and drabs can start to add up. And once you have all that “low-rent traffic” on your site…
And once you start securing some relevant, quality inbound links…
Add some more competitive (expensive) keywords. Write content (high-value information, not “content for content’s sake”) about these more lucrative keywords, within your site’s niche.
You may, or may not, win the rankings competition for these tougher words. You will start to win some, and then more and more as “the tide of your site rises.” But in the meantime, you’ll win anyway. Here’s why…
While the most expensive keywords do have the greatest competition in the SE wars, your “low-rent” traffic will still visit… and they’ll go to other pages (especially the ones that appear in your navigation)… and they’ll click.
Look at all the benefits of this strategy…
- Different kinds of ads, increasing click-throughs.
- Higher value ads.
- Higher monetization of traffic built by lower value keywords.
- Interesting new directions for your site.
- More value for your visitor.
- Value for your advertiser, since the clicks will be relevant ones.
- Value for Google.
Your number one responsibility must be to deliver quality to your visitor. AdSense works because everyone is happy — it’s WIN-WIN-WIN for you, your visitor, and Google.
Fulfill your end of the bargain and Google will fulfill its end.
Strategy #4) Eliminate ads by fierce competitors.
Visit your site frequently the first few days after you put up your AdSense, and at least every week after that. Note if any serious competitors have ads on your pages. You may want to filter those domains out at Google (i.e., prevent their ads from appearing on your site) using the Allow and block ads feature.
To filter out ads, you need the display URL, which appears in the ad.
On the other hand, you may not mind them paying you money!
In general, there’s only one reason for a site that ranks highly to sell that positioning to the competition. That’s when you cannot monetize in some better way!
Before you block them, though, check out their sites. If they’re buying ads from Google, they’re probably making a profit from them. See if they have an affiliate program you can join, or if they’re affiliates of other companies you can join.
“Strategy” #5) Keep it honest.
It’s a shame to count this as a “strategy.” But many people every year try to fool or scam Google.
Don’t click on your own links. Don’t ask others to.
First, honesty is always the best policy.
Second, in the long run, AdSense only succeeds if Google’s advertisers succeed. So their success ensures your ongoing success.
Third, Google will ban you from AdSense.
Doubt that? Google has hundreds of engineers whose only job is this. Suppose you invite friends to click on your links. What do you think happens when a lot of people do that?
1) They visit a page with an ad on it. Google knows.
2) They click. Google knows.
3) They come back to your site. Google knows.
Google creates a profile of normal behavior and compares this to your high Click-Through Rate and quick-offsite-onsite-back-and-forth pattern.
You’re banned. Thousands of webmasters around the world already have been.
That’s just one simple algorithm. Google uses far more sophisticated techniques and tracking. And many webmasters have been banned with no explanation and no chance to correct any problem.
Strategy #6) Diversify.
Don’t neglect your other good income-generators, even if the AdSense program outperforms them somewhat.
Never, never, never put all your eggs into one basket.
What if something happens that has a negative impact on AdSense income? Your business and your income will take a big hit. For example, what if a “better mousetrap” comes along? Or the cost per click drops to just pennies per click? Or what if… what if…
The old adage remains true…
Diversify to thrive… and stay alive!
Strategy #7) Use AdSense for Search intelligently.
AdSense is composed of several sections, such as…
AdSense for Search is useful for…
- providing site search results, or providing Web search results (or providing both in different locations on your site)
- monetizing via the Google ads that are targeted to the user’s query.
Place AdSense for Search on every page of your site. Best is to have the search box directly below the page headline, or at the top of the right column.
Consider adding an AdSense for Search box to your 404 page (after all, they didn’t find what they were looking for).
AdSense for Search provides useful information for your visitors and a new revenue stream for you. And now that Google provides results from every one of your indexed pages, it’s a site search tool.
Strategy #8) Consider AdSense Link Units.
Link Units are another form of text-based advertising. They work much the same way as “regular” Google AdSense. Place the Link Unit code on your pages….
- Select a Link Unit Ad size from the menu. They either come in a horizontal format (for placing at the top or bottom of the content column) or vertical (small “boxes” which sit well in the sidebar).
- Choose your backup ads option (i.e., what to display if Google has no ads to serve), add custom channels and select or create an ad style.
- Click on Save and get code. Copy-and-paste the AdSense code into a widget, or into the applicable ad box if your theme or framework offers that option.
Using the same targeting algorithms, Google populates your Link Units with contextually relevant topic titles. Let’s say you have a page about writing novels and that you choose to show 3 links in a 180×90 vertical layout. Your Link Unit placement will look like this…
When visitors click any of the novel writing “link unit” links, Google takes them to a page of related ads.
The result? Visitors find ads in which they’re interested. You increase your click-through rates and earnings.
Google limits Link Units to three units per page, in addition to any other types of AdSense ads/search you may have on the page.
Your reports won’t track clicks made on the actual Link Unit topics, only on the Google ads linked on the ad page from those topics. Impressions are reported for each instance of the Link Unit as well as for each page view of the resulting page that displays ads.
You’re not paid for clicks on the topic in your Link Units, only for clicks on the ads that appear in the following page of ads. Users report mixed opinions. Some have very good results while others have poor results.
Try them. Use channels to see if they increase your income.
Strategy #9) Placement-Targeted Ads… Find out how their CPM Payments feature affects you.
Placement-targeted ads allow an advertiser to select the specific sites they feel are most appropriate to their campaign (for example, yours). They may run their ads only on those sites. This allows access to web pages that may not be keyword-relevant, but that nevertheless attract a highly relevant audience for their message (ex., running an ad for off-road vehicles on a site about hiking).
Placement-targeted ads are CPM advertising (AKA “pay-per-impression ads”). Each time an ad is served, the advertiser pays their preselected amount, and Google shares this payment with you. So, unlike the pay-per-click ads, you’re paid for simply displaying these ads on your pages.
In CPM advertising, advertisers set the maximum amount they’re willing to pay for each 1000 impressions (“max CPM”) that their ad receives. The price paid is the same whether users click on the ad or not. This is different from cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns, where advertisers pay only when their ad receives a click.
The CPM may seem quite low (ex., $4 CPM), but it adds up. And in any event, it has been calculated so that you are not supposed to receive less than you would otherwise receive through CPC. Here’s why…
Google compares the CPM that placement-targeted advertisers bid and compares it with the RPM (Revenue Per Thousand) for the Cost-Per-Click for keyword-targeted ads (i.e., it converts CPC (cost-per-click) into RPM to compare). So advertisers need to bid a higher CPM than the RPM that the existing CPC ads would generate in order to show.
Essentially, CPM ads compete against the CPC ads in the auction. If one wins, it will run in place of the CPC ads that would have otherwise appeared. As an AdSense publisher, you get paid for each impression on that ad, rather than for each click. And you make a bit more than you would have through CPC (or the CPC ad would have won!). If a placement-targeted ad (text or image) appears on your site, it means that that ad is paying you more than any CPC ad that would appear in that ad unit.
Google also sets minimum CPM levels. So you’ll still be earning a good income.
Popular sites will cost more. As a niche site, you’ll make more money than less popular sites. And the ads will still be relevant, since no advertiser spends money on irrelevant sites.
Placement-targeted ads expand to fill an entire unit. So now, if/when you see a text ad that has expanded to take up more of an ad unit or the entire ad unit, you may be seeing either…
- Placement-targeted text ads that appear when advertisers select specific sites on which to run their ads, on a pay-per-impression basis. Their ads are then expanded to fill an entire ad unit, making site-targeted ads even more appealing for advertisers, theoretically resulting in higher bids, according to Google.
- “Keyword-targeted text ads that are expanded when Google determines that a larger ad will perform better for a particular page.” (Quoted from Google)
The keyword-targeted expanded ad is unlikely to happen often. So if you’re finding too many “single-ad” units and if it’s usually the same advertiser, and if you don’t feel that you’re likely to make money, or if you simply don’t like the ad or the advertiser on your site, use the competitive filter to eliminate that advertiser.
As an AdSense publisher, you can attract placement-targeted ads to your site by making you custom channels available to advertisers. Whenever you build a new custom channel, you can check a box to allow this.
If, for example, you create a channel for all your 300×250 ads above the fold, or all ads in a certain section of the site, advertisers can bid on these specific locations.
Advertisers select the sites/locations where they’d like their ad to appear, and set a max CPM that applies for all those sites. CPM ads are then ranked for display according to their max CPM, competing with other CPM ads and with keyword-targeted cost-per-click (CPC) ads. A CPM ad occupies the entire ad space, with either an image ad or an expanded text ad.
Strategy #10) Improve relevance of ads through Section Targeting.
You can tell Google to “focus” on a particular part of your page to improve the relevance of the ads on that page.
If a page is receiving ads of low relevance, it could be that the AdSense crawler is struggling to understand what your page is about. Let’s say your page is about power drills and you want to display ads for power drills. Trouble is, you are actually receiving ads for garden sheds.
Section targeting allows you to emphasize those parts of a page that are relevant and de-emphasize less relevant content. How?
Simply by adding these HTML comment tags to relevant parts of a page (you’ll have to switch to the Text tab for your page or post before adding the code — otherwise, the code itself will display as text in the content)…
<!– google_ad_section_start –>
<!– google_ad_section_end –>
For those parts of a page you want to de-emphasize (ex., the part where you talk about your garden shed), use these comments tags…
<!– google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) –>
<!– google_ad_section_end –>
Strategy #11) Consider Interest-based Ads.
Google offers another interesting way to (possibly) increase your income. If you choose to offer Interest-based Ads, Google places a cookie on your visitor’s browser, and then looks for that cookie every time they visit your site.
If that cookie shows that your visitor is very interested in American football (based on preferences he sets in the Ads Preferences Manager, plus the number of football-related sites with AdSense ads that he has visits, plus the number of football YouTube videos he watches), for example, even though he’s visiting your site about green energy, he may see some ads about football. This increases the likelihood that your visitor will click on an ad.
Note, however, that if ads based on your keywords have much better cost-per-click rates, you may want to deactivate this feature. Fewer clicks, each worth more, may be more valuable to you than a lot of low paying clicks based on a visitor’s interests.
For more on privacy policies…
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