We monetize a lot of our sites with Google Adsense, particularly in the early stages of a site’s life. This article is going to step you through 11 key tips to make money with Google Adsense. Let’s go!
1. Ad Placement:
The best position for your ad blocks is right where your content is. You want your ad blocks to be displayed directly where the reader’s eyeballs will be looking, which is usually the main content area. Sidebar ad blocks get a far lower click through rate.
There is a separate issue with sidebar ads that are high up the page. Depending on your theme, the sidebar ad can sometimes be seen as the top add on the page in your code. Because of this, the highest bidding Adwords advert fills this sidebar position, meaning the ads that are in your content area are filled with ads that have a lower bid.
Given that sidebar ads get fewer clicks, you are essentially discounting the price of the ads in your content area that will get most of the clicks!
2. Number of ad blocks:
Repetition rules when it comes to Adsense… The Adsense terms of service allows you to have up to three ad blocks on each page and a simple way to maximize the number of clicks you get is to use all three!
There is an argument to suggest that having two ad blocks will increase the cost per click, but our testing to compare 2 vs 3 ad blocks always shows that 3 ad blocks delivers higher earnings overall, largely due to more clicks.
We place ad blocks at the top, middle and end of the post. To avoid the top of the page being too image and ad heavy, we usually set the top ad to display immediately after the second paragraph and this will typically mean the top part of the ad block displays above the fold.
We aim for ad placement that looks a little like the layout on the right of the image below:
Image Source: http://moz.com/blog/guide-to-ads
You can go more aggressive than that with your placement, but we don’t like tempting Google’s algorithm for top heavy ad placement on sites!
3. Ad block size:
Size matters and we have found that the bigger the better. We use the 336 x 280 ad blocks almost exclusively. The four below are said to be high performers, but there is no substitute for testing yourself!
Image Source: Distilled.net
4. Text Ads vs Image Ads:
We tend to setup our ads to allow text and image ads until it gets to a point where it is worth investing time into split testing. Google automatically serves up the highest bidding ads on your site so, so halving the pool of potential adverts by opting for image ads of text ads exclusively doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Certain types of sites can perform better with different types of ads though. We haven’t done exhaustive testing on this, but have noticed that text ads work very well for high CPC (very high competition) niches. But doing your own testing once your site is making a few hundred per month will be worth the investment.
5. Link Units:
We don’t use these. They have a terrible click through rate and cost per click and they detract from the look of your site. The financial return is just not enough to justify using them.
6. Check out what ads will display in advance!
Use this tool to see what ads will potentially show up on your site. All you do is type in a keyword and then you will be presented with a bunch of ads that will display on a site targeting that keyword. If you see a bunch of ads that are un-targeted to the keyword you search, it’s a sign that the CPC you are seeing in the keyword planner will be inaccurate.
7. Why you never earn as much as the Keyword Planner says you will…
It’s important to understand that the Google Keyword Planner is a tool that is meant for use by Google Adwords advertisers. The CPC that is shown is a guide to what advertisers should expect to pay for ads showing in the search results.
The cost per click for the Display Network (ads show on websites, such as yours) attract a far lower CPC. Also, Google takes a 32% of the ad revenue. In the end, what you usually receive per click is probably 2o%-33% lower than what the Keyword Planner shows as the CPC.
8. Advertiser Competition is a key metric
A major thing to check before getting excited with a keyword you are looking to monetize with Adsense is the Competition level. Low advertiser competition renders whatever Suggested Bid figure is being displayed as useless.
This is because the Suggest bid is based on advertisers that bid on the keyword you enter into the Keyword Planner… If there are no advertisers, there are no bids at that level! Ads will still display on your site, but they are likely to earn far lower per click. See below for an example of a keyword that on the surface looks fine, but has low competition.
9. Match your ad text color with your theme colors
A tactic that is often debated is whether or not to make your Adsense ad blocks blend in with your theme colors. You can make an argument for blending ads or for making them pop. One benefit to making you ads blend with the theme is that ads blocks that stand out can often detract from the look of your site. Blending is a little easier on the eye.
10. Link your Adsense & Google Analytics accounts
As SEOs, we like to bash Google at any chance, but they do a great job of providing data at the level required for SEO sites with Google Analytics and Google Adsense reporting. Find out how to do this here. Linking your accounts together will enable you to track which pages on your site are generating the most revenue, and also which pages can be further optimized. It’s worth the few minutes it takes to link them.
11. Play by the rules:
Adsense terms of service are not overly onerous, and they are easy to comply with. Basic rules like not tricking people into clicking ads and not asking or telling people to click on ads are common sense. Break the rules and you will get your Adsense account banned. Have a skim through the terms of service here.
Do you have any additional tips to share?
Please let us know in the comments below and we’ll choose the best tips and add them to the list with a link back to your site!