Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The 5-Step Plan to Success with Google Adsense

Once you’re accepted, you want to maximize the opportunity. In this section, we look at some of the most effective strategies for generating optimum revenue from the Google AdSense program.

Step 1 - Formatting Ad Blocks

You can let Google decide for you the type of ads that will be displayed on your webpage, but as the website publisher, you may be in a better position to decide what ads suit the content of your website and how you would like them displayed. To the extent possible, whether chosen by Google or you, make the ads seem like part of the site itself.

Most internet marketing experts believe that the ads on your website have a high probability of getting clicked if they blend in with the rest of the content of your web page. Factors such as color scheme, font size and type, and the appearance of your ad should match your web page. Borders are optional and we think often you should opt out – why put a box around the ad that says “Hi! I’m an ad!”? Also, regardless of other design choices, text links should be blue. Why are text links blue? For the same reason Henry Ford said of the Model-T “They can have any color they want so long as it’s black.” They just are. Though we think text ads are generally better than graphic ads, also known as image ads, Google does offer them with the program.

Actually, you don’t need to struggle much with whether graphic ads or text will be better on your pages, as Google’s technology will suggest whether an image ad or a text ad will be more suitable and which will earn you maximum revenues (since you earn part of they earn, they have motives to get this mix right). However, it remains totally up to you whether you wish to run image ads or text-based ads. You can select only image ads, or text ads or a combination of both these formats on your entire AdSense account or on one page at a time based on your discretion.

Step 2 - Ad Placement

“Location, location, location.” It is true in real estate and true in advertising, including web advertising. Since the “location” of the user is your site already, the “location” of the ad in this context means on which pages, where on the pages, and so on. As noted, the less an ad looks like an ad, the more effective it is likely to be. Then there are general design and usability factors to consider. If your webpage is cluttered and you can’t dispense with any content, you may want to break it down further into sections or more pages to provide easier reading. This also gives you the potential benefit of placing additional ads. As noted, we generally recommend text-based ads. However, text-dense sites may actually do better with image ads. If your site has very few graphics, you may want to balance it out by putting image-based ads. In the monotony of a lot of dense written information, image-based ads and graphics provide what’s called visual relief. This can also prompt clicks.

Where should you put the ads?
The chances of your ad getting noticed by the visitors to your site increases greatly if you place ads as close to the top of your webpage as possible. If you choose to place so-called ‘skyscraper’ ads – in magazines these would be called columns – on the sidebars of your webpage, it would be wise to place them on the right side of your principal content areas. The reason for this is the visitor to your page (in most languages) will read from left to right, he or she will chance upon the ad ultimately, if not consciously then at least out of habit. Their eyes will go there. From the left, they can visually “skip” the ad when they start reading next to it. Your ads should be placed in such a way that it matches the links to other websites on your site. If you already have a links section on your site, put the AdSense links in that section or list. This is not dishonest – if it were Google would not allow it.

Obviously if you have a “most popular” area on your website, such as a page that is updated daily with some kind of material that people bookmark to revisit often, place your ad(s) there instead of somewhere else that may get less traffic. For many websites the home page is not actually the most accessed area. If you don’t know what the traffic pattern is on your sites, it’s easy to find out – ask your hosting provider about usage logs.

One more thing: While some affiliate marketing programs encourage host sites to encourage clicks directly, it is not appropriate to expressly ask your readers to click on the ads served by the Google programs. Not only is it unprofessional and arguably unethical, it also annoys people and moreover Google AdSense actually prohibits any such activity. You can neither directly solicit clicks nor can you do anything considered deceptive to encourage clicks.

In conclusion, the emphasis is always on quality of content on your web pages. Good and interesting content makes your site better, more acceptable to Google, more likely to win with AdSense, and therefore more profitable for you!

Step 3 - Researching Keywords
After you are done choosing the right format and location for your AdSense ads, don’t sit back and wait for the money to roll in just yet. The next important step is to choose the right keywords for your web pages. These will influence both who visits your site, and how AdSense assigns ads to you.

The number one mistake most website publishers make is to constantly choose high-paying (i.e. expensive!) keywords assuming that it will yield them more income. While it is tempting to choose such keywords to get higher rankings on search engines, be prudent when it comes to selecting the right keywords that go with the AdSense ads that are to be displayed.. Remember the goal here is clicks, not SEO rankings. This is a case where you often do not get what you pay for.

Consider this scenario. Your webpage talks about wine tasting courses. You review search phrases and keywords with “wine” in it and you find “wine rack” is in the top three and available, so you buy it. The corresponding ads also focus on buying wine racks online, wine storage and building your own wine racks. After a week when you check on the statistics of your webpage and AdSense account, you see that you are losing visitors and your income is dipping! The keyword selection is faulty in this case even though it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Why? The visitors to your webpage were actually looking for wine racks and have landed on your webpage talking about wine tasting courses instead. The wine course types want to sign up for the courses, maybe buy a book on wine, or a wine of the month club. They don’t want to build a wine rack. Think strategically, not tactically.

Just because a keyword is high paying and is seemingly related, does not mean it is totally relevant and you need something relevant. Relevance is more important than value! In the above case, you could have – and should have – chosen wine tasting tour, wine tasting party, wine tasting event, wine tasting class, wine tasting school, course tasting wine and so on. You are interested in relevance more than popularity. Tasting is a match. Racks are not. Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can research your keywords for
AdSense ads:
• You can check out the popularity of various keywords if you already have an account with Google AdWords. This way you will get an idea of the popularity of various keywords as well as the cost and returns that entail.
• Google AdWords also has a tool known as the AdWords Keywords Tool which can sometimes help you search for alternate keywords and variations.
• Another tool known as Keyword Analyzer can generate numerous key phrases that are typed by Internet users in different search engines.
• Consider getting a WordTracker account. They have an excellent tool that suggests top 1,000 most popular keywords. This tool can also help you create a list of relevant keywords for your webpage. You can learn a lot from a small investment here.
• Another great idea is to search for top 100 keywords on 7search which will give you an idea of high-paying keywords.

Your clickthrough rate will be boosted tremendously by including the right keywords in your web copy, of course. Keywords occurring in your ads are usually highlighted on the search engine results page. This also helps in drawing additional attention to your ad. The URL of your webpage is also an integral part of achieving success on Google AdSense program, as it is on the Web generally. Current wisdom holds that the keywords in the URL are equally if not more important than the ones featured in the actual webpage content or in metatags. If you change your ordinary URL to a keyword rich URL relevant to your market, it is possible to raise your CTR as much as 200% or more without doing anything else.

Obvious domain names with the keywords that you want might be expensive to purchase from a broker, but you can also buy used domain names that are no longer active, often for just a few dollars per year.

Step 4 - Developing Content
Let’s assume you have good ads, good placement, and good traffic. This step is all about how to tweak your pre-existing content to support the most effective profitability from your new AdSense program. One major mistake many web publishers make now is to lard up their pages with a bazillion keywords for so-called “search engine optimization.” Do not fall into that trap and clutter your webpage with high-profile buzzwords that do not contribute to the value of your webpage or the experience of your intended audience. Remember, we’re focused here on clicks, which means bringing relevant readers to your site and giving them a good experience that puts them in an inquisitive or buying frame of mind.

As a general rule, all content shifts should make some kind of sense. You may well be able to make connections between articles on sports, to articles on sports medicine, to articles on herbal supplements which feature ads for those products. On the other, a web page on bicycles should not have ads for other kinds of pumps, if you know what we mean.

Before you decide to add that magic Google AdSense code on any page of your website, you should have dealt with the following two important steps:
• High quality textual content
Ensure that your web pages have enough textual content so that the AdSense program can set up ads that are relevant to the content on your pages. If you have very little content, it will be difficult for Google to determine the focus of your page and end up displaying only public service ads that do not earn any revenue.

• Use different page titles for different pages
Have unique page titles based on the specific content of each page. Avoid generic or vague page titles such as ‘Untitled Document’ or ‘Page 1’. Be crisp and precise and avoid using long phrases and difficult words in the page titles. If your page has a very long title, it might get banned from some search engines, so be pithy.

Step 5 - Tracking and Reports
Tracking the results of your marketing efforts can help you focus your efforts and make adjustments to win.Google offers a great free tracking feature known as ‘Channels’. You can use these channels to track ads on specific URLs or to categorize ads based on their formats, keywords, location on web page and so on.

You can choose from two channel types offered by Google.
URL Channels
This will help you track the performance of your web pages without altering your ad code. All you need to do to track your performance is to enter a full or partial URL in the channel and you’re done. A full page URL will track the performance of the specific page having that address. If you want to track all the pages on a specific domain, you need to enter a top-level domain name.

Custom Channels
Custom channels are used to track the performance of your webpage based on
the criteria that you specify . You can choose what specific factor you would like to track and customize the channel according to your requirements. As the name suggests, custom channels are very flexible, and if you have ever used any kind of data reporting tool you will find setting them up easy and logical. You can have up to 50 custom channels! You can compare the performance of different ad formats and the relevancy of ads. You can also compare how ads on one page are performing when compared with ads on other pages. You can do so by assigning each group of pages to a specific channel and eventually comparing results in your customized channel reports. You can also see where your clicks are coming from by assigning a channel to each of your separate pages. Also, it is a good idea to name your channel in such a way that it is easy to identify different channels in reports, especially if you are using a dozen or more.

Server Logs
In addition to the ‘channel’ program offered by Google to track your AdSense ads on your web pages, you can also use any of the various high quality external AdSense tracking software packages to track your performance in greater detail (except actual revenues – you need to get that from Google). One major advantage of such software is that it runs locally, which enables you to access specific information that Google doesn’t track. Be aware that none of these third-party software solutions are “endorsed” by Google currently but most of them guarantee to operate within AdSense guidelines. Just make sure they do, because you don’t want to lose your account status over a technical violation by a third party.

Some of the information you can obtain by using tracking software:
• Referring website of all your visitors
• The type of web browser they are using
• Where the actual ad-clickers are coming from
• Search keywords typed in by the visitors to your website that eventuallybrought them to you

You should use a combination of Google channels and a reliable AdSense tracking program so as to get comprehensive information about your AdSense account.

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