Having Adsense setup in your blog doesn't guarantee great success generating money with it. It needs to be optimized and tweaked accordingly to ensure that you get the best outcomes from it. There are many factors determining Adsense success, or its failure. In this post, you'll learn what all these factors are and what to focus on when optimizing Adsense. All the materials are presented in a very compact form to help you learn the most important points fast, quickly, and easily found if you want to come have a look at it again.
Before reading through them, it's best if you have already understood what Adsense is and what its policies are. Also, be sure that your blog is acceptable by Adsense.
Photo by alexdecarvalho.
Factors for Success
There are 4 major factors to make Adsense more successful to bring money in:
- Traffic Levels - As the number of visitors increases, so does the total number of clicks.
- High Paying Ads - Ads that cost the advertisers $3 per click will add more to your revenue than ads that cost $0.01 per click. Finding the right keywords to be the niche of your blog that targets these high (or at least moderate) paying ads are very crucial before you start a blog. Targeting niche keywords that pay very little is not worth your effort.
- Relevant Ads - Ads that are more closely related to your blog are more likely to interest your visitors to click upon. 'Public Service Announcement' or ads that are not related to your content are less likely to be clicked upon because generally, they don't spark any interest in your visitors.
- Optimal Ads Position and Design - Ads position, colors, sizes, number of units, and borders do affect visitors' behavior in looking or clicking at them. Finding the optimal design and position is crucial to maximize your Adsense income.
How to Increase Traffic
These are some practical tips to increase traffic levels that have worked well for many experienced bloggers.
- Build useful, quality, interesting and original content - Reflect on the blogs that you read often and think again why you read them.
- Good blog design - Do you tend to think that a blog has quality content if the design is terrible?
- Link to others - You'll only have others linking to you if you have shown your generosity in linking to others first. Linking helps in two ways: (1) Bring more visitors. (2) Increase your ranking.
- Comment on other blogs - Interact with others genuinely (not spamming) by giving thoughtful comments in other blogs. People will grow their interest in your blog as you interact more with them.
- Update frequently - a significant part of large traffic comes from frequent readers, who wants to see fresh contents all the time.
- Interact with readers - Interact with your readers actively. Answer comments, questions, create memes, games, etc.
- Optimize for search engines - Visitors that tend to click on the ads the most come from search engines. Doing SEO will increase your revenues and your rank as well.
- Add your blog add in your email signature - This can help increase visitor numbers to your blog too.
- Create RSS feed - Let your readers have the option to subscribe easily to your blog's content. Visit Feedburner.com for more details. This method eases their connectivity to your blog.
- List your URL in directories - This increases the chance for people of relevant interest finding your blog easier through many mediums and portals.
- Submit to search engines - Send your blog URL to search engines too and similar sites such as Technorati. Use the right and relevant keywords to describe your blog as this is the most crucial information that connects your blog to your visitors.
- Create a newsletter - This is another option to update your readers of new postings.
- Get involve in other blog projects - Make yourself visible in the blogosphere by actively participating in other projects or memes. The more visibility you have the better.
- Participate in forums - This are the places to find other with similar interest. You can draw visitors to your blog by making yourself visible through helping others in the forums.
- Promote your posts - Send your great posts to others or submit them in social media if you think they have a chance to get votted up. Be selective of which posts to promote to avoid being too annoying.
- Add an 'Email a Friend' button - Add this button below each of your posts to let your readers have the option to email their friends.
It's pretty obvious that you should target high paying keywords to get a higher money return from Adsense. There are some sites on the internet listing out a limited number of keywords that are high paying ones. The downside of targeting these keywords are that they are highly competitive too: others are doing it as well. It's now becoming more difficult to rank well in search engines on these keywords. But that this does not mean that you shouldn't do it if you're confident to write excellent and quality content on those keywords.
A more common high paying keywords are the ones related to technology products as those are expensive products and businesses are willing to pay more to get advertised. Examples of successful blogs running these types of contents areEngadget, Gizmodo, and PVRblog just to name a few.
Targeting these high paying keywords alone doesn't guarantee success. The rules of getting high traffic still applies - and you have to be able to build high quality content for that. If you're more comfortable writing on moderately paying content and get more traffic on these niches, then this is a better strategy to do.
There are some strategies and tools to use to find and research more on these high paying keywords:
- Do these keywords serve ads? - The first thing you want to check is whether the keywords you want to target serve ads. Simply type those keywords in Google and see if ads are served. If not, then your content related to those keywords are unlikely to serve ads too. By searching this way, you can also see other sites and blogs focusing on those keywords.
- Buy them - There are many professional tools available at a cost that gives you hundreds of thousands of these keywords.
- Use WordTracker - They have the best tool available related to finding and researching on keywords. They also tell you the number of other competing sites/blogs on any specific keywords.
- Use Adwords - If you are ready to invest some cash, try becoming the advertisers yourself and see how much people are bidding for any keywords and get a better feel how to optimize the keywords you use.
Imagine a blog that wants to target 'making money online' as keywords but have the word 'blog' or 'blogging' too many times throughout the content, even the title and URL. The keyword 'money' or its related keywords are not frequently used. As a result, the ads served are more related to 'creating blogs' and not entirely relevant to the whole content of making money online. This is one example scenario of irrelevant ads.
There are a few things that you can do to get more relevant ads served on your blog:
- Are there ads available? - Make sure the keywords you're targeting have ads available to be served on your blog. If not, look for other keywords or different keywords with similar meaning that serve more ads.
- Increase keyword density - Words that are used more frequently bound to be recognized as the main keywords of your blog. Try to increase the number of keywords in your content, title, header, URL, sidebars, footer, menus, outward links, bold text, etc. But don't repeat too much to the point that it becomes to obvious and annoying to the readers. Keyword Density at SEOChat.com is a good tool to use for this purpose.
- Reduce irrelevant keywords - Check for words that are not your keywords but have quite a high density in your URL, header, menus, content, sidebars, footer, etc. They may be recognized as important keywords by Adsense bots. Make sure that the ads served are not related to them. Otherwise, you have to change them a bit to reduce their density.
- One topic per page - Do not focus on too many keywords per page. This confuses Adsense bots to decide which keywords are the most relevant. If this happen to you, it's better to split the text into a few series in different pages.
- Block irrelevant ads - Adsense gives you the option to block ads unrelated to your blog content that may appear without you wanting it to be there.
Adsense allows a number of different ads design and position to choose from. Depending on your blog design and content, some of these ads position and design work better than the others. Which ones the best for you?
One thing for sure, it work differently for different people and different blog. The best way is to test them all. But there are some pointers to follow to cut your work short:
- Blend content and ads - Most Adsense users found success when ads and content are blended together as if the ad blocks are not advertisements at all. A few tricks to do this is making the ads background and borders the same color as the content background, ads titles and links to be just like the content links. Many guides mention that blue is the best color for ads titles because they are the most common link color.
- Place ads in content - Ads will blend better with content if they are placed together with the content. For example, see this page where you have the ads wrapped with the content just below the Post Title. But too much ads wrapped with the contents can annoy your reader. So try to do this moderately. You can look for examples in well-established blogs and see how the pros do it and adapt those strategies into your own blog.
- Above the fold - Above the fold means that you put the ads where readers can see it without needing to scroll down the page. A substantial amount of visitors just check out sites for a few seconds only. Any ads that need scrolling would have missed their eyes.
- Follow the heat map - The heat map below has been produced by Google based on the statistics of visits to Adsense ads. Clearly, based on this map, the best place to put ads is just at the beginning of the post, blended with the content itself. The other good section is on the left and above/below the post.
- Not too much ads - The main purpose of a blog or site is to serve information to its readers. Crowding it with too much ads defeat the purpose, and people are not blind to see what you're trying to do. Avoid over-crowding yours with ads. Find a balance. There are other types of sites that are more commercial in nature - serving quick infos with lots of outward links. This maybe a place for you to place more ads to provide your visitors the option of finding the best products (i.e. ads) to go to.
- Keep changing ads position and design - Regular visitors and frequent readers to your blog are more 'blind' to your ads, meaning that they've seen it too often that they know where NOT to look at. Avoid this 'Ad-blindness' by frequently moving around the ads position and changing their designs. Many bloggers found that this technique improved their click-through-rates after the changes, until the next ads-blindness kicks in again.
The key to Adsense success is to work on all these 4 different areas. Working on only 3 and leaving 1 factor behind will mean that your return is as good as the weakest one that you leave behind.
There are other small things that you'll want to consider in addition to the core tips above:
- Not too much outgoing links - The less outgoing links you have, the less 'exit doors' your visitors have to leave. But not having any links at all would mean that you're not focusing on building quality informative site which is suppose to provide options for additional details. So, provide your readers with these outbound links but don't have them too excessively.
- Using frames - if you're using frames, place your ads and contents within the same frame. Otherwise, Adsense bots will not recognize the connection between the two.
- Don’t click your own ads - This is obvious. Google knows well. They'll even know if somebody else is doing this dirty 'deeds' for you. It's all in the IPs and correlating the click patterns. Don't even encourage your readers to do it by giving some incentives as this violates the rule and will get you banned from the program. Basic rule - don't do it.
- Monitor your statistics - One good tool to use is Adsense Tracker. This isn't a freeware. But, it does provide many options for you track your Adsense performance. It logs the performance of individual ad units, every pages, and basically answers the where, when and what ads are clicked. With this information, you'll be able to develop strategies to optimize your blog content and ads design and position.
- Use alternative ads - There may comes a time when Public Service Announcement (PSA) ads, that doesn't add to your revenue, are served on your blog. Get something more profitable to appear instead. In Adsense page, you can select alternative ads to be served, such as Amazon or other affiliate ads program.