Running Google AdSense on your article website is a quick and easy way to generate revenue for your writing efforts. We’ve been using Google AdSense on many sites running our article manager, ArticleLive, both for testing and for real life revenue generation. We found after some testing and research that there were various techniques we could implement to optimize our AdSense ad’s and increase revenue. Today I’m going to share some of my favorite strategies.
Direct from the horses mouth (move this to the beginning)
My first suggestion is to read Googles list of tips and tricks for optimizing Google AdSense:
If you’re running a forum, here’s a quick list of tips direct from Google:
First and foremost, where you place your ad’s makes a huge direct difference in visibility of the ad, and therefore increases your chance of getting clicks. While some people stress that your ad’s should be highly visible upon first visit, i.e. top of the page, in some cases having your ad’s placed at the END of your article can actually increase click thru’s. Let’s say our article is a review of a specific digital camera, the Cannon IXUS 800 IS. (Incidentally, I love this camera and lost mine overseas).
When a user visits my site to read my review he or she is most likely going to read the article before clicking on any ad’s. It’s the reason they came to my site in the first place. By positioning my ad’s directly after my article on the same page I know my visitor has finished reading my article and may be ready to take action. An ad that offers a cheap price for the same camera I’m reviewing is now highly likely to get clicked on, especially if my review has been a positive one.
Try various ad placements. Tweak and test until you find something that works for you.
Look and Feel
Your AdSense ad’s should blend into the look and feel of your web site. Make suer you use the same font type, size and color so advertisements don’t look like ad’s. On the other hand, sometimes visitors become ad blind so you need them to stand out. Again, test, test, test.
As I mentioned above, if you place your ad’s at the end of the article there’s a good chance your visitor will click on them. Keeping their style consistent with the rest of your page will make them appear as normal links, and therefore your visitors wont get scared off and think that the only reason you wrote the article is so they click on the ad.
Google uses what we call robots to scan your web page to locate the best ad’s to serve. If Google does a poor job of recognizing your articles topic then the ad’s it displays will not be highly relevant. Improving the relevance of the ad’s displays means improving the probability that your readers will find interest in an advertisement and click on it.
There are a few things you should do to increase relevance. Firstly, use descriptive headings and try to be specific. For example, if you’re writing a review about a Canon IXS 800 Digital Camera, then your title should look something like: “Canon IXS 800 Digital Camera Review”. As obvious as it seems, some people tend to forget this and use less relevant headings such as IXS 800 Review.
Be sure to include the topic of the article in the page title as well as adding a detailed meta description and meta keywords. Keep them as focused as possible, using similar keywords found throughout your web page. Adding alt tags to your images can also help. For example, an image of the camera could have an alt tag of: “Canon IXS 800 Digital Camera Picture” and you could even add a descriptive caption to the image.
Cater to Niche Topics
Targeting niche topics instead of general ones will result in two distinct benefits. First, your natural search engine competition is reduced dramatically. You get more targeted visitors interested in your niche topic, who will be shown more relevant ad’s, resulting in higher click rates.
Let’s take our digital camera website as an example. If I was to write a generic article about digital cameras I’d be competing with thousands if not millions of competitors. My Google Ad’s would be generic and the chance that my visitors will click on these ad’s is significantly reduced. On the other hand, however, by catering to a specific, targeted topic, I decrease my natural search competition, I increase my relevance both with visitors and ad’s and increase the likelihood of an ad click.
Use Correct File Names
The file name used for your web page is extremely important to Google AdSense and the ad’s that it shows. Using a simple test on my desktop PC, I created 2 blank HTML files with different names and added the Google AdSense code, nothing else. The first one, playstation-games.html showed these ad’s:
digital-cameras.html showed these ad’s:
There was absolutely no other content in those files and the files were located on my desktop, so Google could not scan my web page for content.
Filtering Non Relevant Ad’s
With all the technical prowess of the Google robots, they can get it wrong. If your site is displaying totally irrelevant ad’s in relation to your websites content then there’s something wrong with your site. It could be that the robots are having a hard time crawling the site, or maybe the way your web page has been coded makes it hard for the robots to tell what topic the page is about. If the majority of the time, however, the ad’s are relevant but some irrelevant ones are still showing, then its time to start filtering.
By monitoring the ad’s on your site you can take a list of the domains of URL’s that don’t match the topic you are targeting, then, inside your Google AdSense account you can add this list of domains to your “Competition Filter”. By doing so, Google will stop showing ad’s from those domains.
Sometimes regular visitors to websites become accustomed to ad’s and their brain filters them out. We call this ad blindness. If you know your site gets a lot of repeat visitors you could test automatically rotating color schemes for your ad’s.
Color rotation is supported by Google and lets AdSense automatically rotate through 4 different color variations of ad’s so your ad’s have a higher chance of being noticed by repeat visitors.
Add More Content
The more content you have on your website, the more ad’s you can display. Having more content also means more pages listed in search engines and more pages for your visitors to browse through, meanin
g more website traffic. The more ad’s you can display, the higher the chance of a click thru.
You should constantly test and tweak your website for better ad revenue and click thrus. By comparing different ad types for different periods or on different pages you can determine which ad’s work better for your site. In saying this however, it’s best to test for a short period of time, optimize and move on. Spend your time creating rich, valuable content rather than optimizing for better click thrus. In the long term, great content always wins in generating more traffic to your site, which in turn generates more click thrus to the ad’s and puts more money in your pocket.
There are plenty of other ways to optimize your ad’s and I’ll be writing about them in future tutorials. For now though, use what I’ve taught you in this article to better position your ad’s, testing placement, colors and ad sizes. You never know which little tweak might result in an increase of clicks.