The Best AdSense Tip Of Them All

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A few days ago I published an article entitled, "AdSense Publishes Implementation Tips", which basically said that the tips AdSense keeps publishing on their blog are just the same old tips that publishers already know about.

So what is the best tip for improving the revenue on AdSense?

Well, it's getting an audience that is desperate to find what they want.

If people are wanting something that is difficult to find, and you can develop a website that is dedicated to showing them where it is, then you'll have an audience ready to click on a link to get it.

I think the reason why so many publishers complain about poor AdSense performance is because they started out backwards. That is, they started with a subject that they personally enjoy, built a website for it, and then decided to monetize it with AdSense. That is, they are trying to adapt AdSense to their existing audience.

You have to start the other way around, find an audience that is ready and willing to click on some ads, build a site designed to attract that audience, and then put AdSense on it.

Finding such an audience starts with a lot of research. You have to study the marketplace to find niches where advertisers spends tons of money and compete fiercely with each other. Then figure out what it is in that niche that consumers are desperate for.

For example, if the niche is about real estate, and homeowners are desperate to sell homes that have been on the market for a year or more, then you have to focus on the subject of "How to Sell Your Home Quickly", and build a website that focuses only on that question.

Don't branch out and start covering other topics relating to real estate. All you'll do is drive away your key audience, and create a more watered down audience.

The more narrow the topic, the more refined your audience, but the more likely they will click on your ads.

AdSense Publishes Implementation Tips

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The folks at AdSense posted an article on the Official AdSense Blog entitled, "Improve Your AdSense Implementation for the Holidays"...

http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/12/improve-your-adsense-implementation-for.html

Of course I hate to be the complainer when it comes to AdSense publishing tips to improve performance, because I'm always eager to get more tips. But why is it that when AdSense publishes tips, they're always the same old tips everyone already knows about?

First, we want to remind you that you're allowed to put three standard AdSense for content ad units, three link units, and two AdSense for search boxes on each page of your site.

Choose the right ad units for your pages.

As a general rule of thumb, wider ad units perform better because they:

  • Are easier for users to read and interact with

  • Allow more ads to be displayed within a unit

  • Are preferred by advertisers designing image or video ads

Also, remember to opt in to display text and image ads, as this increases the pool of advertisers competing to appear on your site.

Improve your AdSense implementation by increasing ad coverage on your site.

  • Put ads on pages that don’t currently have any, as this increases the chances of monetizing your site’s traffic. This is especially true for the high traffic areas of your site.

  • Our data shows that placing ads within the page content or article text, or near the navigational areas of your site, can strongly increase ad performance, since it gives your users relevant ads alongside the great content that they’re used to.

  • Use link units to monetize the smaller areas on your site.

  • Above all: the most effective change you can make is to put at least one ad unit above the fold -- the section of the page users see without scrolling down.

By this time, I don't think there are any BIG tips that aren't already well-known by everyone.

Which reinforces my philosophy in that these tips don't really have much effect. What has effect is identifying strong topics/keywords that attract the right audiences. That is, some demographics just don't click on ads. You need to find a subject to write about that draws in people who are desperate, or at least willing, click on ads to find what they want.

That's the biggest AdSense tip.

Blocking Advertisers on AdSense

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This month I've experimented with blocking advertisers on my AdSense account in an attempt to increase overall revenue.

The bottom line? It doesn't seem to work.

Instead it has had the opposite effect, of decreasing revenue.

I blocked a total of 421 advertisers, primarily by viewing pages on my websites, and identifying advertisers that were totally irrelevant to my content.

It's worth noting that on AdSense you cannot block advertisers for a specific website of yours. When you block an advertiser, that advertiser is blocked for all of your websites. I publish websites on a wide variety of niches. So while real estate advertisers are not relevant to my genealogy website, it's totally relevant on my real estate blog. Hence, I can't block those advertisers.

Here are some observations of mine with advertising blocking...

  • I blocked a total of 421 advertisers starting on October 9th, 2010 through October 18th, 2010.

  • My CTR increased by as much as 50% on October 13th, but by October 18th, it has settled back down to its original levels, before I started blocking.

  • My average CPC decreased anywhere between 15% to 30%, and still remains below the pre-blocking levels.

  • My ad impressions have decreased between 20% to 30%, as AdSense is unable to serve up any ads at all on some of my pages.

  • My overall revenue has decreased by about 10%, and remains below pre-blocking levels.

So my take on advertiser blocking is that it'll results in more relevant ads, but it won't result in higher revenue. The fact is that my audience still clicks on irrelevant ads. Obviously, ads are also relevant to each individual, not just to each webpage.

At this point, I'm unblocking all the advertisers I blocked.

The trick to getting more relevant ads is to put more of your desired keywords on page. At least, this is according to the AdSense optimization analyst I mentioned talking to last month.

AdSense seems to know what our visitors want to click on, combined with what ads tend to earn the most revenue. At least in my case, it seems better to just let AdSense figure it all out.

MyLinksMyAds Marries Twitter & AdSense

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A new service launched this month that allows Twitter users to tweet while making money with AdSense, AdBrite, and in the future, other advertising networks.

MyLinksMyAds will convert your tweet links into a different link, which redirects to a framed page displaying your AdSense creative in the frame.

That is, anytime you tweet something that contains a URL, MyLinksMyAds changes the URL such that when someone else clicks on it, they're taken to a page with a top-frame containing the AdSense creative...

MyLinksMyAds
The top frame illustrates MyLinksMyAds

As of this writing, 100% of the impressions displayed in the frame are from your AdSense, or other advertising network account. But soon that will change to where MyLinksMyAds will split the impressions 75/25 with you taking 75%.

I learned of MyLinksMyAds from a tweet from Brian Schneider, who appears to be its creator. Looking through his list of tweets, it appears he's running an automated tweet service that's spamming thousands of Twitter users, including myself. I managed to scroll through his twitter feed and found a tweet where he claims to be a Google employee, though obviously MyLinksMyAds is not a Google project.

From my perspective, it seems MyLinksMyAds violates AdSense's Program Policies. Specifically in two places...

Under "Ad Placement"...

Google ads, search boxes or search results may not be:

* Integrated into a software application of any kind, including toolbars.

And under "Copyrighted Material"...

AdSense publishers may not display Google ads on webpages with content protected by copyright law unless they have the necessary legal rights to display that content.

It appears that MyLinksMyAds fits the description of "software application of any kind", and I'll even go on to say that the top frame satisfies the spirit of a browser toolbar.

Moreover, it also violates AdSense's Copyrighted Material policy, displaying your ads on other people's content.

But even besides that, I only have 307 twitter followers as of this writing, and anytime I tweet a link to one of my websites, hardly anyone clicks on it. MyLinksMyAds is perhaps worthwhile for someone with 10,000+ followers.

So, should you sign up for MyLinksMyAds and participate? Is it a violation of AdSense's Program Policies? Well, it's your AdSense account, I'll let you decide.

AdSense for Domains Loves Brands

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AdSense for Domains allows you to associate up to four keywords with your domain name...

AdSense for Domains keywords
So, I recently "parked" another domain on AdSense for Domains. I can't tell you which one it is because AdSense's Terms of Service prohibits me from promoting or driving traffic to these domains. But I can tell you that it is related to dogs, with dog owners as the intended audience.

Also keep in mind, that the 99% (or in my case 100%) of the revenue earned with AdSense for Domains comes from the impressions, not the clicks. Read my previous article, "Making Money with AdSense for Domains" for more detail.

Back to this doggie domain name. There are still a lot of inbound links from other websites, and they're driving about 500 referrals a day.

  • At first, I didn't associate any keywords with the domain, allowing AdSense for Domains to use its best guess on which ads to display. As a result, after 1,500 impressions, I earned nothing.


  • Then I changed the keywords to "dog food", "pet supplies", and "dog toys". These are all types of products, which suggest ads of an e-commerce nature. But yet after another 1,500 impressions, not a single penny was earned.


  • I then changed the keywords to "animal rights", "animal welfare", and "pet adoptions", which bring in a more passionate audience, and hopefully ads that would trigger their emotions. But alas, another 1,500 impressions later and no earnings.


  • Next I changed the keywords to "puppies", and "puppies for sale". But again, no earnings after 1,500 impressions.


  • Finally, I changed the keywords to "petsmart", "petland", and "petco", which are brand names. These are all major pet supply stores. And voila!! After 1,500 impressions, I'm now seeing earnings.

It seems that brand names attract CPM-based revenue, while any other generic keywords attract CPC-based revenue. And because the nature of AdSense for Domains is that visitors never seem to click on ads, you need CPM-based revenue to earn anything.

What will really help is to have a domain with a brand name in it.

And I have one of those, and I'm running it on AdSense for Domains. It's in the subject of genealogy, where one of the largest brands is in the domain name. And sure enough, it's earning a very high CPM rate, and interestingly enough, it's doing that without any associated keywords.

So, it seems that brand names is what drives all the CPM revenue for AdSense for Domains. Either you have to have them in the keywords, or you have them in the domain name.

AdSense Expands Category Blocking

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AdSense announced today it has rolled out additional categories in its Category Blocking, to a limited number of publishers on a test basis.

Category blocking allows publishers to block ads from an entire category (sex, politics, weight loss, etc.).

Additional categories they've added include, Arts & Entertainment, Beauty & Personal, Computers & Electronics, Finance, Health, Hobbies & Leisure, Home & Garden, Internet, Job Listings, Real Estate, Travel & Tourism, and Vehicles...

Sample screenshot courtesy of AdSense

It appears that the categories currently in place for everyone have been consolidated into the above.

Has Category Blocking helped increase your earnings?

For me, it doesn't appear to have much effect. I still earn good money on such ads as Ringtones, and Get Rich Quick.

Where I have a problem are ads that match the keywords on my site, but are out of context. For example, on my cemetery records site, in which the primary audience are genealogists, I still get a lot of funeral planning ads. The ads are still related to "cemetery", but are out of context with genealogy.

Read the full announcement on the AdSense blog.

How AdSense Smart Pricing Works

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AdSense released another new video explaining how their "Smart Pricing" system works.

In short, it allows advertisers to set different rates for each AdSense publisher. So, if one publisher has an audience that is ready and willing to make purchases or sign up for accounts, an advertiser can set a higher a bid for that website alone, while setting lower rates to other websites.

Watch the video...



This is very similar to how the eBay Partner Network works. You earn higher reimbursement rates based on the quality of your traffic.

Which means it behooves us publishers to write content that attracts passionate visitors, ready and willing to make purchases. What are the ways to do this? Moderate blog comments, brand yourself as an expert in your field, write intelligently, and write frequently.

Read more about this on AdSense's blog: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/09/insight-into-your-earnings-part-ii-how.html

AdSense Releases Optimization Videos

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AdSense released a series of videos today that provide tips on how to optimize your AdSense creatives to maximize earnings...

  1. Upgrade to high-performing units

  2. Monetize more content

  3. Optimize search box placement

  4. Opt-in to text and image ads

  5. Use link units

  6. Opt-in to placement targeting

Source: AdSense Blog

AdSense Explains Ad Selection

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AdSense today released a video explaining how its system goes about determining which ads to display on your creatives...


You can also read their accompanying blog post here...
Insight into your earnings Part I: Explaining the ad auction - Inside AdSense

This video explains how AdWords' "Quality Score" plays a significant role in determining which ads gets displayed on your website. In the video, they also explain that the number of clicks a particular ads gets on your website is factored into the Quality Score.

This basically confirms what I reported in two earlier blog posts, "How Quality Score Affects AdSense", and "Quality Score Rankings for AdSense".

AdSense Phone Call Consultation

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Over the past couple of weeks, folks at AdSense have been calling select publishers for one-on-one consultation. Yesterday, they called me.

I had the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns, while they had the opportunity to provide some personalized help. Before calling me, they evaluated my flagship website, Interment.net, and formulated some ideas on enhancing performance.

Below is a screenshot of just one of the pages on Interment.net...


I've highlighted the 160x600 ad unit on the side, and the 728x90 unit at the bottom.

  1. The main concern I had was too many irrelevant ads displaying on the side. I don't know if you can see, but two of the AdSense text ads are irrelevant, "Lower Cost Cremation" and "Want a Great Career?"

    Actually, over the years, AdSense seems to be doing a better job of displaying relevant ads on my website than it used to. AdSense confirmed for me that AdSense learns what ads to display based on click history. But AdSense suggested that I need to add more of my desired keywords into the content.

    My primary audience are genealogists. AdSense suggested using more keywords such as "genealogy" on my pages.


  2. I also learned that which ads AdSense chooses is not totally based on contextual relevancy. Advertisers can force their way into your creatives based on how much money they spend, or what your personal viewing habits are. I think Groupon, for example, is spending so much money on AdSense channels that their ads are going to display on your creatives no matter what you do to optimize your ads.

    And in the case of your personal viewing habits, AdSense explained to me that Google watches what keywords you type into Google Search, and figures out what you're most interested in, and displays those ads on any AdSense creative you see.

    There are also location-based ads that can force their way into a creative.


  3. AdSense also suggested I change the Title color of the text ads. Currently, the title color is similar to the anchor text color of my website. My anchor text color is a dull navy blue (#333399), while the AdSense Title color is a bright blue (#0000FF). I explained that I used the bright blue for the Title color because that's a little bit more of a contrast against my anchor text color, and theoretically more visible.

    However, they insisted that if I change it to my anchor text color, it will perform better. I could, of course, go the other way around and change my anchor text color to fit the AdSense color.


  4. They also insisted that displaying both image and text ads will yield greater revenue. I explained that I had done this before, but that many of the image ads conflicted greatly with the subject of my website. It actually looked spammy with all the coupon ads and singles ads. I'll try it out again, but will watch the eCPM closely to see how much more of a benefit I'm getting.


  5. At the bottom of my pages are image ads from ValueClick. ValueClick is an advertising network focusing on CPM campaigns. I use this because a lot of my visitors do not click on ads, and hence I can still monetize them this way.

    AdSense was sharp enough to notice that all of the ads on my pages are managed through their Doubleclick for Publishers (the old Google AdManager) system. DFP is integrated with AdSense, in that I can specify AdSense as a default campaign, so that it displays whenever I have any unsold inventory.

    AdSense explained that it can go further than that, and make my campaigns compete against AdSense. So take these ValueClick ads for example. I can tell DFP what my ValueClick eCPM is, and DFP will display AdSense if AdSense can beat that eCPM.

I followed through on all of their suggestions. I'll be keeping a watch on how these things affect my overall CTR/CPC/CPM, and will follow up later.
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