An Overview of Google AdSense
Google AdSense is an advertising program that allows you to run ads on your website or blog or YouTube videos and get paid when visitors click on them. It is when you place Google Ads on your website, and when a visitor from your website clicks on an ad, Google pays you 68% of what the advertiser pays them. The ads are generated from businesses that use Google’s AdWords program. AdSense is powerful because Google uses people’s search history to save up ads that viewers will want to see. This increases the number of visitors who click on the ads and it boosts the earnings. Google AdSense is one of the fastest ways to generate income however there is a need for traffic to make money. Making a significant amount of money with AdSense requires a plan for maximising the AdSense revenue.
How does Google AdSense Work
How to measure ad performance
Generating money from Google AdSense depends on three important factors:
- CPC (cost per click)
- CTR (click-through-rate)
- RPM (revenue per 1,000 impressions)
It refers to the amount of money you will receive if your visitors click on an ad. As publishers, you do not have control over how much you will receive for each click on an ad. This depends on the competition in your domain’s niche that dictates the pricing which could also change over time. It is the revenue earned each time a visitor clicks on your ad. CPC is determined by the advertisers. In some competitive niches like finance, marketing, online products etc. advertisers may be willing to pay more per click than others.
It refers to the percentage of visitors clicking on your ads while on your site. This is highly dependent on controlled variables or tactics that you can increase your ad performance. It is the number of ad clicks divided by the number of individual ad impressions. Suppose you are showing 3 AdSense ads on every page of your website, the 1-page view is equal to 3 ad impressions.
CTR = Clicks / Ad Impressions X 100
Suppose, you get 5 clicks out of 500 ad impressions, your CTR would be 1% (5/500X100).
RPM refers to the revenue per 1,000 impressions. Impression describes the activity that takes place on the site and server every time an ad is fetched. This is how many times an ad was seen on your website. It is also known as CPM which means “Cost Per 1000 Impressions”.
RPM = (Estimated Earnings/Number of Impressions) quotient *1000
RPM reveals the bigger picture of how much money is earned per visitor which is not shown by the CPC and CTR. The important thing is to optimise your ads for increased performance and higher revenue once you have these numbers.
Types of Ads
Google AdSense offers different ad options that can be shown on the pages:
- Text – Also known as “sponsored links,” the ads will appear as one or two lines of text format which may include the title of the ad and the physical address (for local businesses).
- Display ads – The ads will appear in graphic format. You can choose from different sizes for your display ads, which will depend on where you wish to place it on your page.
- Rich media – The ads will appear in HTML, Flash, and video format.
- Animated image – The ads will appear as dynamic images. To show this on your site, you need to enable image ads.
- Link units – They will show a list of topics related to your content. Once your visitors click on them, they will be directed to a page of Google ads related to the topic. You can only make money from this ad type if visitors click on the ads after clicking on the list of topics.
Among the different ad options to choose from, Google confirmed that the best performing units are the following:
- 336×280 large rectangle
- 300×250 medium rectangle
- 728×90 leaderboard
- 300×600 half page
- 320×100 large mobile banner (on mobile)
Benefits of Google AdSense
The following are some of the benefits of using Google AdSense:
- It is free to join
- Eligibility requirements are easy, which means you can monetize your website or blog even when it’s new.
- There are a variety of ad options and several you can customize to fit the look and feel of your site.
- Publishers receive 68% of the revenue and Google 32%.
- It’s a major source of income for Google. On 2015 earnings from AdSense was $15 billion which represents around 23% of Google’s revenue (Updated December 2016).
- Google pays monthly (if you meet the $100 threshold) by direct deposit.
- You can run ads on several websites from one AdSense account.
- There are options to run ads on mobile devices and RSS feeds.
- You can easily add it to your YouTube and Blogger accounts.
- With the right combination of traffic, content, and users, you can make thousands of dollars every single month.
- It is the most reliable advertising platform on the Internet today and can generate the most revenue for publishers (compared to other similar PPC (pay per click) systems)
Drawbacks to Google AdSense
The following are some of the drawbacks for using Google AdSense:
- Google can terminate your account in an instant, and it’s not very forgiving if you break the rules.
- Like all forms of online income, you need traffic in order to make money.
- When people click on an AdSense ad, you do make some money, but your visitor also leaves your site, which means you lose the opportunity to make money with higher-paying affiliate products or your own products and services.
- It doesn’t necessarily pay more than other similar programs such as Media.net or InfoLinks
Google AdSense Payments
AdSense is a great monetisation option, but it’s not a get-rich-quick or make-money-doing-nothing program. Further, Google has a lot of rules that aren’t always noticed upfront. As a result, many website owners have found out the hard way that they’d violated a Google policy, and have lost their account forever. Google pays monthly through direct deposit or cheque, but will not issue an AdSense payment until your earnings reach or exceed $100. If you don’t earn $100 in one month, your earnings roll over and are added to the next month. Each time you reach the $100 threshold, Google will issue a payment on the next payment period. Through your AdSense account, you can see your current earnings, what ads are generating the most clicks, and more.
How to make money using Google AdSense
There are multiple ways of making money with Google AdSense, however, there is need to identify the optimal places and tactics where you can set up your ads to appear on your site and generate more clicks to drive more revenue. The following are some of the action plans to be implemented to start generating revenue from Google AdSense.
Content Rich Website
Content can be of any kind (text, images, videos), and provided that it does not violate the AdSense content policies. Having a rich-content blog with content that helps people learn something or accomplish a specific task, is one of the best ways to make money with AdSense since it is more suitable for websites that publish articles, case studies and researches. You need at least 40000 page views per day to get $100 daily and for you to have this you need to produce at least 200 – 250 articles on your websites per year. These pages must attract at least 80 or more page views daily. The articles can be as little as 300 words and in each article, a YouTube video on every article page created is always included. More content is everything, and the fresher the better because it attracts new people to your website every day. Getting visitors to contribute their story ideas e.g. setting up a forum on a site also generates traffic to your website. Write more, the more you write about your subject, the more keywords you have for Google to search and feed ads to. The following are the current statistics for the most searched keywords on Google by area which can be included in the articles to make them appear at the first page of Google with relevant information:
Top Searched Business Keywords
|1||Better Business Bureau||2,740,000|
|2||International Business Machines||823,000|
|4||Master in Business Administration||450,000|
|5||Business Process Outsourcing||60,500|
|7||Businesses for Sale||201,000|
|8||Business Software Alliance||135,000|
|9||Business Plan Templates||110,000|
Top Searched Marketing Keywords
|1||Integrated Marketing Communications||1,220,000|
|2||Chief Marketing Officer||201,000|
|5||Multi Level Marketing||135,000|
|7||Direct Marketing Association||110,000|
|9||Social Media Marketing||90,500|
Top Searched SEO Keywords
|5||What is SEO?||33,100|
|7||Small SEO Tools||22,200|
Most Searched Words on Google
The Best Human Resource Keywords
|Rank||HR Keywords||Global Monthly Search||Global CPC||Find Related Keywords for Free|
|1||human resources||673,000||$3.18||“human resources” related keywords|
|2||human resources management||135,000||$4.5||“human resources management” related keywords|
|3||my human resources||135,000||$1.22||“my human resources” related keywords|
|4||human resources online||90,500||$5.52||“human resources online” related keywords|
|5||society of human resource management||90,500||$1.4||“society of human resource management” related keywords|
|6||google human resources||74,000||$1.28||“google human resources” related keywords|
|7||express human resources||60,500||$3||“express human resources” related keywords|
|8||human resources job||60,500||$1.13||“human resources job” related keywords|
|9||ikea human resources||49,500||$0.02||“ikea human resources” related keywords|
|10||best buy human resources||40,500||$4.34||“best buy human resources” related keywords|
|11||human resource manager||33,100||$1.52||“human resource manager” related keywords|
|12||human resource interview questions||33,100||$0.27||“human resource interview questions” related keywords|
|13||human resources interview questions||33,100||$0.18||“human resources interview questions” related keywords|
|14||army human resources command||27,100||$6.35||“army human resources command” related keywords|
|15||human resource dept||27,100||$3.41||“human resource dept” related keywords|
|16||human resource department||27,100||$2.6||“human resource department” related keywords|
|17||human resource consulting||22,200||$6.67||“human resource consulting” related keywords|
|18||human resource definition||22,200||$3.08||“human resource definition” related keywords|
|19||human resource machine||22,200||$2.01||“human resource machine” related keywords|
|20||human resources definition||22,200||$1.76||“human resources definition” related keywords|
Include these most searched keywords on Google in the content you create to appear at the top of searches on Google. You can download more data for free here to get more keywords to include in the content you create. There is a need to determine your target market for the quality content being created for the websites. The following factors are important depending on your target market which are:
- employment status
- employment level
- education level
- age of the company
- number of employees
- income level
The target market is crucial because it is the group of consumers or clients at which the products or services provided by your website.
A niche website with high-quality articles works well with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another company’s product. This can also assist in driving traffic to your website by offering them what they need. You can join already available affiliate programs such as Amazon, BlueHost etc. to get the products to be marketed on the website to drive more traffic. The more the traffic on your website the more the chances are of increasing your ad revenue.
Use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search engine optimisation is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of the website to users of a web search engine. SEO is key to boosting traffic to your site which of course increases the chances of increasing your ad revenue. The custom search engine will generally see very high RPMs though traffic is relatively light. The crucial things when doing SEO for the sites are:
- Target low competition keywords – these are words that an easy to rank for by doing proper keyword research to determine what you can feasibly rank for.
- Beware of Google’s algorithm – Google always updates its algorithm to serve users with the most relevant pages for their search terms.
- Always create great content – this is one thing that has withstood Google’s constant algorithm updates. Google rewards sites that publish actionable, long-form content that resonates with its audience by placing them at a high position in search results.
- Be creative with link building – backlinks are the very heart of off-page optimisation. Look for white-hate strategies for link building to maintain a steady amount of organic traffic.
Comply with AdSense Policies
AdSense represents a quarter of Google’s revenue so they take the whole program very seriously. Ensure that you read through their policy and make sure you do not break any rules. Read and adhere to Google’s rules to avoid your account from being suspended. The following are some of the practices to avoid in order to keep your AdSense account and earn money from their ads:
- Click on your ads – Clicking on your ads and people in your home or network clicking on your ads is also a violation.
- Hold ad-click contents – This method is a form of begging for clicks, which is against Google policy. Desperately asking for people to click on your ads compromises not only the advertisers but also your site.
- Manually alter the code – If you want to make changes to your Google AdSense code do it from the AdSense platform and do not tweak the appearance of the ads by editing the code yourself. Google wants to observe ad performance based on the changes made from Adsense. Alterations made outside of Adsense prevents Google from effectively tracking their progress, thus making it a violation.
- Enlist robots to click ads – Using robots or any automated tool to gamify the system for the purpose of inflating your earnings is illegal. You are also prohibited from using human-generated clicks or trading clicks with other publishers.
- Create a site specifically for ads – Part of Google’s mission is to promote sites that provide valuable content on their site. If your site is thin on content and is merely used to showcase ads, then you are risking yourself from getting banned.
Read emails from Google especially if it’s sending a warning about something it doesn’t like on your site. Failure to deal with Google’s complaints will lead to termination of the program. More policy violations can be viewed by clicking here.
Website Optimisation for Mobile (responsive)
Make sure your website is optimised for mobile (responsive). This is because the number of people who use mobile devices is high. Make use of responsive ads so Google can add appropriate ad sizes to mobile devices viewing your website.
Review and Optimise Ads
You should not get too comfortable with your ad layout. Different companies use different types of ad styles when creating their ads through the advertiser end of things – Google AdWords. When deciding which type of ad and where to place it be sure to keep user experience in mind. Testing different layout for ad types and placement to find the options that lead to the most income is very crucial. Start with standard sizes (300×250, 728×90, and 160×600) as there will be more ad options for Google to run. Max out your ad placement and ensure you have at most three (3) ads placed per page. Use them all for maximum benefit. Have ads above the fold – the part of your page first seen without scrolling, a leader board ad below your header/logo instead of at the very top of the page where it’s more likely to be noticed and include in-content ads for visibility. Run experiments which you can A/B test your ads through AdSense and monitor your results to find the options that lead to the most income. Experiment with ink and box colours, enable placement targeting – this allows advertisers to choose where their ads appear and set up custom channels so you can get a better sense of what’s working and not working. Use Google Analytics to test the number, placement and style of ads on your site to see what works best with your site and visitors.
Deploy AdSense Custom Search Ads
Once you build lots of content for your site or introduce a forum, you can also utilise Google AdSense custom search on your website. Not only would it provide your users with a great experience allowing them to find specific content on your site, but it would also help you maximise your Google AdSense profits by showing ads alongside your sites search result. To set up an account for AdSense custom search you need to apply to start generating revenue through your on-site search users. More information on the AdSense custom search is available here.
Go Full-Throttle on YouTube
Google AdSense isn’t only for those who create text-based content or free online tools. Videos can also be used with AdSense and you can start publishing unique videos on YouTube via your own YouTube channel. Once you’ve established your channel, you can go to your YouTube channel’s features and turn on monetisation. This will guide you through the process of linking your YouTube channel to your AdSense account so you can monetise your videos. After you’ve connected your YouTube channel to your AdSense account, you can choose which videos to monetize and what types of ads are shown to your video viewers. Just go to your Video Manager, check the video you want to monetise and choose that video’s ad settings. You can then browse through your Video Manager at any time to see which videos have been monetized (based on the green dollar sign next to it) and manage their settings.
One of the biggest issues you face when you start running ads on your website is the competition. Ads in direct competition with what you are selling or offering can be served. Google anticipated this very issu and allows you to block up to 200 URLs from appearing on your site be it competitor sites or ads which may offend your market. The challenge of this is two-fold:
- You don’t know what ads are running on your site until you see them there
- Since you cannot click on your own links you need to be careful about obtaining the URL to block. The best way to get the link so you can block it in AdSense is to right-click the link, select “Copy Link Address” and paste it into a document or text editor e.g. Notepad. The Google URL is very long but you are looking for the section that identifies the advertiser. Copy that link and paste it into your AdSense blocked ads account.
AdSense is a great monetisation option, but it’s not a get-rich-quick or make-money-doing-nothing program. Once the above action plans are taken into account and implemented, you should be able to monitor the results and track the changes occurring to the revenue using the CPC, CTR and RPM/CPM. Other factors such as your ability to drive traffic and rank for your target keywords, among others, are essential skills to make the most out of your ad-infused site. The following are case studies of successful Google AdSense performers who have learned how to make money with Google Adsense.
Harsh Agrawal – $174/Month
The ShoutMeLoud owner explained how he was able to generate at least $160 a month from Google Adsense by creating a micro-niche site. Below are key takeaways from Harsh’s blueprint that you can also apply on your site to increase ad performance:
- Find a niche you are comfortable with – While you cannot dictate the CPC for ads for your niche, you can choose a niche with a high CPC. Also, choose a niche that you are passionate about. Earning money from your site through high-paying ads is great, but you may lose motivation if you are developing a site with a topic you have zero interest in.
- Find keywords for your content – to drive organic traffic to your site; you need to find keywords related to your niche. Ideally, you should optimize for keywords with high search volume and little competition, something that LongTailPro will provide you help with. For writing your content, you can hire from sites like TextBroker to do the writing for you.
- Build links to your pages – In Harsh’s example above, he did not create backlinks even though he drove lots of organic traffic to his micro-niche site. However, as part of SEO’s best practices, you need to find ways on how to earn links from high-quality sites so you can increase your search ranking for your keywords.
Matthew Paulson – Over $100,000/Year
Matt built a profitable network of financial sites. A lot of his success in making money online lies in his ability to attract tons of traffic through unit means. He consistently drives 2.5 million unique visitors a month to his sites. Matt has been able to reap the benefits of not just Google Adsense, but various other monetization methods as well. Below are takeaways from the podcast:
- Don’t rely solely on Google for traffic – While ranking for your keywords of Google search will benefit your site, it’s not the only way for you to get traffic. In Matthew’s case, only 20% of his total traffic comes from organic search. He gets most of his site traffic from places like Twitter and news outlets. In other words, Google is not the only source that can help you drive more visitors.
- Find other ways to earn other than ads – Google Adsense has a low barrier to entry for publishers to generate a sufficient amount of revenue for their sites. However, to truly unlock the key to earning more, you need to think outside of ad networks (like selling your own products, etc).
- Build an email list – What Matt noticed with his visitors is their interest for more in-depth analysis about the stock market. Instead of offering the analysis for free, he only sent them to his subscribers. Matt then set up an opt-in form on his site to collect email addresses of people interested in the content. Building a list allowed him to monetize the analysis exclusive to his subscribers.
Spencer Haws – $10,000/Month
His success with Google Adsense started in 2009 when he began creating niche sites with low competition. Taking this route helped him generate lots of traffic from Google, Bing, and Yahoo! at a time. He built websites using this strategy, which helped him earn a five-figure monthly income. His highs with earning from Google Adsense is not without its lows. After making over six figures a year from Google Adsense back in 2011, his account was unexpectedly shut down in 2012. Luckily, a few months later, he was able to open a new account and he has been earning from Google Adsense ever since. However, this also made him realize that Google holds a lot of power, so it can be important to not rely solely on one source of income. Now he shares some of his more current strategies for building niche sites, and often monetising them with the Amazon Associates program. You can get more information about his account being banned in 2012 here.