Ever heard of Google? The world’s most valuable company? Well, 25% of Google’s revenue comes from AdSense. In 2015, they paid out around $10 billion to publishers (like you!). Not only is there money to be made with Google AdSense, but it’s incredibly simple to use and monetize from.
First, the facts. Google AdSense is a free and reliable tool; stemmed from Google AdWords; that places advertisements on publishers’ websites. By publisher, here, we mean anyone who has a website with original, self-made content – Blogger’s and Youtuber’s welcome. Simply apply for AdSense and await approval; typically, a one-week turnaround. Remember, just because it is simple doesn’t mean there aren’t rules; follow them to the T to ensure eligibility and ultimate approval.
Once you are approved as a publisher, choose what space on your site to allocate and what formats or ad types you want to host. Then, advertisers will bid for the spots to market their products/ services. Once you insert the code into your site, the selected ads will arrive. The ads will be relevant to your website’s content or audience, so to maximize number of clicks. Each time someone clicks on the ad, the advertisers pay up and the publisher earns. Cost-per-click (CPC) for the advertisers can range from $0.02 – $1.00, and pay-per-click (PPC) is about 70% of CPC to publishers and 30% to Google.
So how can you make money with AdSense?
- Run a high quality, high engagement website
Rich content is key for the success of any website. Make sure that your website is focused, organized, and has a specific purpose – not just profiting with AdSense. Text-based sites profit most using AdSense; focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) across all content and links on your pages.
High user engagement is also likely to yield higher click rate. Understand your audience and target ways to increase their time spent and engagement on your site. Think value-adding features such as blogs, forums or videos.
Ensure that your website is simple to navigate, as well as fast to load and respond.
- Drive traffic to your website
Remember, with AdSense you are getting paid-per-click so high-volume traffic is critical.
A great [free] way to drive traffic is through social. Use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn to share updates, articles, and photos. Build a lifestyle around your company’s message. Maintain a Pinterest page to share your inspiration, and give credit to the brands or companies that you love. The more you share, the wider your reach ultimately becomes and the more you will have people talking about you.
Email marketing can be a quite effective way to drive traffic as well, but your message must be clear, concise, and unique. Don’t become another Spam email in someone’s Junk folder.
- Operate in the right markets
Cost-per-click (CPC) varies per a country’s purchasing power, so clicks will change in value based on where they come from. Top-paying countries include Australia, Switzerland, Denmark, The Netherlands, the US, and the UK.
- Control which ads you allow on your site
AdSense automatically places relevant ads on your site; but publishers do have the right to set a number of preferences, allowances and blocks.
To maximize your earnings, place the highest number of ads and link units allowed per page.
Enable text and images. Ads that include photos or videos are proven to perform well (the wider, the better), but allowing for text expands your reach and potential with bidding advertisers.
You can also enable placement targeting, which allows your advertisers to better target viewers in a category-based campaign that can be implemented across all of your pages and sites.
You can block low-performing categories, and even block low-paying advertisers. Be mindful when setting blocks; tight boundaries will lower your potential earnings as you are limiting your network and bidding environment for advertisers. There is also a limit of 500 URL blocks allowed, and this is applied by publisher, not by publisher’s sites.
- Choose effective ad placement
Proper placement of ads on your site is critical to their effectiveness.
Consider your website layout, and make sure that the ads do not hinder the effective flow of your content.
In general, ads above the fold, visible right when visitors enter your site, are the most effective. Consider ad placement at the top center; below your header and above your content. The top left and top right are also high-performing ad spaces. Ensure that your own website content is the focal point of your site and your ads do not take more space than your content does.
The bottom center, above your comments section and footer, also performs well as it grabs readers as they approach the end of your page before clicking through to the next or navigating back up.
- Allow ads and content to interact
When ads interact and blend well (but not too well) with your own content, they tend to better perform. Use colors that are complimentary to your site, yet are still easy to read. Place ads in between site posts.
When blending, however, beware not to disregard AdSense rules. If your ads are too blended or masked as site content, you can find yourself banned. Ads must be clearly labeled as “Advertisements” or “Sponsored Links”, and there must be sufficient space separating your content from your ads. You must not prompt or trick viewers to clicking the ads; and your content can not mimic your ads.
If your engagement is high with repeat visitors, you may want to consider shifting ad placement or type from time to time to keep your layout and effectiveness fresh.
It’s important to continue to test new colors and formats for effectiveness. If you need further help, consider one of Google’s several partner companies that specialize in implementation, optimization, and other tools to ensure success with AdSense. The more clicks you achieve, the more everyone makes! To learn more about Google Adsense, its policies & business model, read here.