Adsense Archive

What Are the Best Placements for High CTRs?

Posted February 1, 2016 By Callie

Over the years, webmasters have tested literally hundreds of different placements for their AdSense ads to find which ones get the highest click-through rates. Instead of starting your own testing from scratch, it can really help to start with a proven placement and make improvements from there.

Here are four placements that have been proven time and time again with high CTRs.

==> The “Above the Fold Double Sidebar” Placement

Above the fold, put two small placements in your sidebar. This will basically look like two ads right on top of one another.

This creates the impression that the ads themselves are part of your navigation. Because it’s above the fold in places where people are used to looking for navigation bars, your ads get a lot of visibility.

Split test left versus right to see which gets you the highest clicks.

==> The “Look At This Ad First” Placement

According to the Google Heatmap and many webmaster anecdotes, this placement often makes the most money. Unfortunately, it does detract aesthetically from the site.

The ad unit is placed above the content, dead center in the page with no text wrapped around it. In order to read the article, the person has to actually scroll down past the ad.

In other words, they’re forced to look at the ad. This generally results in pretty high CTRs.

==> The “Right Under Top Nav Banner” Placement

If you have a top navigation bar, placing a banner ad right under your navigation bar can get very high click-through rates.

People who glance at your top navigation bar are also very likely to see your ad. In fact, some people may even just accidentally click on your ads.

Experiment with text ads versus image ads in this placement. Also experiment with using text links.

==> The “Inside Content Large Rectangle” Placement

This placement usually doesn’t get as high a CTR as the “Look At This Ad First” placement, but it’s aesthetically more pleasing to the eye and still performs very well.

It’s ideal for sites that want to earn income now, but still want to build a long-term brand. Rather than optimizing just for getting the most clicks possible now, you’re getting as many clicks as you can while still building some customer loyalty to your site.

Basically you place a large rectangle either on the left or right hand side of your page and have the text just wrap around the ad. This gets very high click throughs and looks quite decent.

These are four of the top tried and true placements for getting good CTRs on AdSense. As always, results will vary based on your site and niche, so always split test for yourself.

Increasing your AdSense earnings is often about using tactics rather than increasing traffic. Yes, traffic matters a lot; but building traffic is slow and implementing potentially lucrative tactics can happen overnight.

These three tactics can take a low or mediocre CTR ad and turn it into an absolute cash cow. Of course, they may not work all the time – you need to test them for yourself.

==> Using the “This Can’t Be Related” Image Technique

Images draw the eyes. When people look at a page, the first place their eyes go are the pictures. Then their eyes go to the things near the pictures.

It only makes sense then to put your AdSense ads near pictures. Unfortunately, AdSense is adamant that you can’t put ads next to anything that looks related to what advertisers might be selling.

That’s okay. Just put images that can’t possibly be related next to your ads.

For example, a giant photo of you smiling while looking at the camera. Make it stylish and classy, then put the ads somewhere near the picture.

It can’t possibly be related to the ads, as it’s not about a product or even about the content. But it’ll still draw the eyes and likely increase CTR.

==> The Below Quotes Technique

Quotes also draw the eyes. In fact, people will usually read enlarged quotes before reading most areas of the article.

Put quotes throughout your article in enlarged text. To see good examples of how this works, just look through a few magazines or newspapers to see how professional editors do this.

Then put a small AdSense block right under the quote. That quote will get read, people will see your ad and the CTR might shoot through the roof.

==> The High Contrast Technique

A lot of people say to blend your ads into your layout. But a very effective technique can be to go for high contrast instead.

For example, let’s say your site layout is primarily blue. Instead of making your links blue as well to blend in, why not make them bright red to really draw attention to them?

This will really get people to look at your ads. They still might not click, but at least you’re getting the views now.

Any one of these three techniques can take your CTR and give it a powerful boost. The exact results vary from site to site and niche to niche.

Remember to carefully read the Terms of Service for AdSense to make sure you’re not inadvertently violating any clauses. Whenever you experiment with controversial techniques, you really need to be well versed in what’s allowed and what’s not. Reread the Terms of Service (even if you’ve already read them a while back) before trying these techniques.

Three Cool Tools for AdSense Webmasters

Posted January 30, 2016 By Callie

With AdSense being one of the most popular ways to earn an income online, there have been quite a few tools released to make webmaster’s lives easier.

Here are three of the coolest tools for setting up, using and managing AdSense ads.

==> The AdSense Sandbox Tool

What kind of ads will show up on your site? What kind of ads are already showing up on your site? What kind of ads are showing up on your competitor’s site?

The AdSense Sandbox tool will give you a whole array of ad listings to look through.

This can help you start your campaign with certain advertisers blocked, or to optimize your page a bit more if you’re finding a lot of irrelevant ads.

The sandbox tool can be found here:

http://tools.digitalpoint.com/adsense-sandbox.php

==> AdSense Notifier

It can be very addictive to watch money coming in. How many times a day do you track your stats? Many webmasters will check their AdSense earnings as much as five times, ten times, even twenty times a day.

How much time does this take? Even if it just takes a minute or two each time, they add up. Also, every time you check your stats you’re interrupting your work flow. It takes energy and time to get back into the flow.

You’re also more likely to go off on other distracting activities (i.e. email, Facebook) after you start checking your stats.

AdSense Notifier is a free Firefox plug-in that will completely handle this for you. Basically, it’ll check your AdSense earnings for you every 15 minutes and display it for you in the lower right corner of your browser.

This way, you’ll always know exactly how much you’ve made today without having to break your workflow.

This tool can be downloaded here:

http://code.mincus.com/3/adsense-notifier/

==> Alternate URL

If you have PSA ads displaying on your sites but you don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up another ad network or finding affiliate products for all of your sites, Alternate URL is the perfect answer.

Alternate URL will find the best alternatives to AdSense for your website and place alternative ads on your site for you anytime a PSA ad would display. The revenue is split 50/50 with you and you’re paid by PayPal every month.

If you run just one main site for the majority of your income, you’ll probably want to find your own affiliate ads or use another ad service for your PSA ads. But if you have hundreds of sites that make up your income, Alternate URL will be a lifesaver.

You can register at:

http://www.alternateurl.com

These are three of the coolest, most unique tools available to AdSense publishers today.

Split testing allows you to try different versions of your website to find the version that gets you the highest click-through rates and highest earnings. How do you set up a split test with Google AdSense? Here’s how.

==> Determine What to Test

The first step is to determine what you want to split test.

You can either test one variable at a time, or you can test them all at once. The less traffic you have coming to your website, the fewer variables you’ll want to test at once.

Start by testing the biggest things first. Try to find the things that’ll give you the biggest difference in CTR and test those first, then test the smaller factors later.

For example, you’ll probably want to test ad positions and ad sizes before you test ad fonts and ad colors.

Once you’ve picked what you’re testing, it’s time to set up your ads.

==> Setting Up Your Ads

Create two or more different versions of your ad. Each different version of the ad needs to have a different ad unit, even if the code doesn’t need to change.

For example, even if you’re just changing where you’re placing the ad (which doesn’t change your AdSense code, just where you put it), create a separate ad for it anyway.

In each ad, tag it with as many relevant channels as you can. For example, tag it with the location you’re putting it in, the image size, the color, etc. Track all the variables that you want to test now and even variables that you might want to test at some point in the future.

==> Install a Rotator

Install a rotator script of some sort on your site that’ll change the AdSense code around on a random basis. These rotator scripts can be just very simple PHP or JavaScript codes that rotate what the visitors see every time they come to your site.

If you want to get a more complex solution, try using Google Website Optimizer. Google Website Optimizer will rotate through completely different versions of websites for you. It’s a little more involved to set up than copying and pasting some PHP code, but offers more customization.

==> Tracking and Interpreting Your Results

Once you’ve got your ads set up to track results and your rotator script to rotate through your ads, the next step is to just wait for traffic and see what happens.

Wait until you have a fair amount of data, then plug your data into a statistical significance calculator. You can find many free ones on Google. These calculator will essentially tell you based on your data how likely one placement is to win over the others in the long run, based on your short-run data.

Wait until you have at least a 90% statistical chance of being right, then call the winner and move on to the next test.

Terms of Service Mistakes to Avoid

Posted January 28, 2016 By Callie

Violating the AdSense Terms of Service (ToS) even by mistake can get your account banned or disabled. Once disabled, there’s very little you can do to get your account reinstated. So how do you avoid getting in trouble?

Here are a few of the most common mistakes to watch out for.

==> Watch Your Dynamic Content

If you’re pulling content from RSS feeds or using an automated content scraper of any sort, you need to carefully check over the content that’s going live with ads on it.

Even if your site doesn’t have anything to do with non-ToS compliant material, you’re still liable for anything that appears on your site through your dynamic content.

Make sure no gambling, adult, file sharing, etc. content is appearing on your site.

==> Creating Multiple Accounts

You only need one account. Even if you run twenty different websites in completely different websites, Google wants you to have just one account.

Using URL channels and custom channels, you can easily track and separate the statistics from all your different sites.

==> Remove Ads from Non-Content Pages

Take your ads off any pages that aren’t content pages. That means opt-in pages, popups, popunders, “hover over” pages, category pages, tag pages, etc.

Basically any page that isn’t a content page shouldn’t have an ad on.

That includes the widget section or navigation sections if you’re using WordPress.

==> Implying a Relationship between Image and Ad

A long-standing method of increasing CTR is to put AdSense ads near images. This is a bit of a grey area.

Yes, it’s okay to put AdSense near your image ads and it will indeed increase CTR. However, it’s important that they’re far enough apart from each other that it doesn’t imply a relationship.

For example, you can’t put a picture of a bird cage up, then have an ad right underneath it that might display ads for bird cages.

Put ads near images, but make sure there’s a line of text or enough spacing separating them that they appear to be unrelated items.

==> Disclosing CPM, CTR, Impressions, Clicks

This is data that Google considers competitive and doesn’t want disclosed.

If you want to post earnings screenshots somewhere, just blank out those areas. You can still post screenshots of your URL channels along with their earnings, you just can’t post any data that Google considers competitive.

==> Remember the Basics

Finally, always keep the basics in mind, no matter how long you’ve been doing AdSense:

* Never edit the ad code. Never use any plug-ins that automatically generate code or edit the code for you.

* Never place more than three ad units and one navigation bar on any page.

* Never use any text other than “sponsored links” or “advertisements” above an ad box.

* Never, ever click on your own links.

These are some of the most common mistakes that webmasters make which get their accounts disabled.

While AdSense is a phenomenal way to start earning income from a website, it’s by no means the end game. There are many ways you can make more money once a site’s proven its potential through AdSense.

Though Google doesn’t disclose how much of a cut they take from the ads they place on people’s sites, experts estimate it at between 30% and 50%. If you cut out Google, that profit margin can be yours.

You can as much as double your income just from this one technique. Here’s how to go about it.

==> Going Direct with the Advertiser

Let’s say you have a site that’s been making $500 a month on AdSense so far. That means that Google is making anywhere from $250 to $500 a month off your site.

Instead of using the Google network to sell your ads, why not go directly to the people who are advertising on your site?

Start by compiling a list of your advertisers. View your site from several different browsers, using free online proxies to change your IP.

This will give you a variety of different ads. It’ll also show you ads that might only display in certain geographic locations.

Put all these advertisers in a big list.

==> Determining the Best Way to Approach the Advertiser

There are many different offers you could make the advertiser.

One of the easiest set-ups is to check if they have an affiliate program. If so, just sign up for their program and promote it on your site.

It’s very possible that the ad you see on your site was already being promoted by an affiliate. That means that not only was Google collecting 30% to 50%, but so was the affiliate. That means that when you go direct as an affiliate, you’ll make quite a bit more money.

Another way to monetize is to sell them leads. Just put a name, email and possibly phone number field in place of your ad. Collect user information, then sell the data to different companies.

Note: Yes, this is completely legal and ethical, provided you disclose everything.

Finally, you can simply offer to sell your ads to the advertiser at a cheaper rate than they’re currently paying.

==> Making Contact

If you’re going through an affiliate program, you’ll never actually have to pick up a phone. Just click the sign up button.

If you’re planning on selling leads or ads, you’ll probably want to actually make a phone call to make your pitch.

The pitch is very simple: “You’ve been spending money on my site already, it seems to be working for you, and I’d like to give you a cheaper rate.”

If you both split the savings from not going through Google, you’ll both save/earn between 15% and 25% more.

These are very simple ways of increasing your AdSense income by taking your existing advertisers and going direct rather than using an ad network.

List Building to Increase AdSense Profits

Posted January 26, 2016 By Callie

Most people who come to an AdSense website and click on an ad simply won’t come back after they click. That means that for that visitor, you probably earned just a few cents. What if you could earn a lot more per visitor, over the course of a few weeks or months?

List building allows you to do this. Here’s how.

==> Focus on the List, Not the Clicks

Instead of focusing on getting clicks to your AdSense ads, make your list the most prominent thing.

Use techniques like hover overs and squeeze pages to increase your opt-in rate. Create some sort of prize, gift or free report that they will receive when they sign up.

Track your sign-up rate and split test different set-ups to get your opt-in rate as high as you can. While your opt-in might be low in the beginning, it should be higher than 10% with some split testing.

==> Emailing Teasers, AdSense on Real Content

It’s important to remember that it’s against AdSense’s Terms of Service to paste AdSense code into emails. Yes, it can be done from an HTML and JavaScript perspective, but it could very well get your account disabled.

So how do you take advantage of this list once you’ve built it?

Do it by writing teasers, with the bulk of the content being on your website. The actual content has the AdSense ads in it.

For example, let’s say you run a site about how to decrease your mile time.

You might send out a brief email about why it’s so important to count your steps per breath. Then you say that if they want to find the exact techniques and steps-to-breath ratios, they need to visit the article on your site. You give them the link.

They then land on the site, read the article and have a chance of clicking on your ads.

And so on. Unlike AdSense, where you only get one chance to monetize on your traffic, you can now repeatedly send them interesting emails that they’ll open, click through to and read.

This list you’re building could provide you with AdSense income for months and years to come. Even if search engine traffic dies down, you’ll still be able to make money from your list for a long time while you get other income sources set up.

The key with this technique is to write really good content. That way, your readers will be trained to know that whenever they click on a link from you in an email, it’s going to be good content on the other end.

To summarize, once you have a website that’s getting traffic and making money with AdSense, you should seriously think about building a list. Building a list allows you to monetize the traffic over months and years, rather than just one click.

How to Ensure Public Service Ads Don’t Show Up

Posted January 25, 2016 By Callie

If Google doesn’t have enough information to determine what your site is about, they’ll display Public Service Ads (PSA). These are basically ads that “help the world” but don’t make you any money.

If you’re finding PSA ads on your site for more than 72 hours, then chances are something’s not working properly with your AdSense set-up.

Here’s how to ensure that PSA ads don’t show up.

==> Reduce Your Ad Units

If you’re noticing that some ads are showing actual advertisers while others are PSA ads, that probably means Google is able to tell what your site is about but just doesn’t have enough ads to show.

Reduce the number of ads on your site. Perhaps run just one prominent ad rather than several ads at a time.

==> Add More Content

This will help Google determine more easily what your site is about. In fact, without at least a base amount of content, AdSense may not even be able to tell what your site is about.

Add more content. Make sure you have at least 500 words of content on each page, preferably 1,000 words or more.

Also make sure you fill out your “meta keyword” and “meta description” tags.

==> Add More LSI Keywords

LSI, or “Latent Semantic Indexing” is basically Google’s index of words they think are related to other words.

Use the Google Keyword Tool to find these LSI keywords. Type your main keyword into the Google Keyword Tool, then see what kinds of keywords Google thinks are related to your site. Write down a few of these keywords.

Then go into Google search and type in your keyword. Scroll all the way to the bottom, where it says “Related Searches.”

Write down all of those searches as well.

Basically what you’ve done is take your main keyword and find out what Google thinks is related to that keyword. No guessing necessary.

Now take those keywords and add them to your site in a way that makes sense. Don’t just stuff them into your page, but weave them into your page whenever possible.

==> Add an Alternative Ad

Google allows you to specify an alternative ad instead of using their Public Service Ads.

In other words, you can tell Google to display an ad for an affiliate product or an ad from another ad network if they can’t find any ads for you.

If you’re finding PSA ads appearing often, this is a great way to recover some of that lost income.

To sum up, start by removing some ad units so Google needs to find fewer ads to fill up your ad space. Add more content. Use the Google Keyword Tool and Google Search to find LSI keywords and add that to your content. Finally, specify an alternative ad to recapture lost income.

Should You Enable Image Ads?

Posted January 24, 2016 By Callie

There are three settings you can choose in AdSense for what kind of ads to display: Text Ads Only, Text and Image Ads or Image and Rich Media ads. Which one should you choose? Will one result in higher click throughs and conversions? Here are the pros and cons, as well as the approach you can take.

==> The Pros and Cons of Text Ads

There are a few big things text ads have going for them.

First of all, there’s a ton of inventory. That means it’s unlikely that Google will have to show a Public Service Ad (PSA) because they don’t have enough ad inventory.

People are also less likely to have “banner blindness” towards text. If your ads are well positioned and have good fonts / colors, you have a very good chance of getting read and getting clicked.

They can also blend into your overall site layout a lot more, resulting in a better-looking site. You can make it look like an integrated part of the design, rather than a glaring advertisement.

The downside of text ads? They don’t stand out. There’s nothing that grabs attention about them. Once someone is used to the AdSense ads on your site, it can become very easy to just skip over them.

==> The Pros and Cons of Image Ads

Image and Rich Media ads have the main benefit of being able to draw a lot more attention. They can use animation, giant headlines, etc. to get your user to click on the ad.

However, it’s important to remember that only one ad will be displayed. In other words, that one advertiser has to perform well enough to make up for showing one ad instead of 3-4 text ads.

For some users, image ads means reduced banner blindness because they’re used to text ads. For other users, it means more banner blindness because they’re just so used to graphic ads.

==> Remember …

Keep in mind that it’s in Google’s best interest to help you make more money. The more you earn, the more they get as commissions.

Google works on an eCPM auction model. In other words, the ads that make you the most money per thousand impressions will over time be shown more often, while losing ads will be phased out.

That said, the auction process could take a long time. So to answer the question …

==> Should You Run Image Ads?

The answer is yes. But split test them against text ads. You can do this either using a split testing script like Google Website Optimizer, or just running each for a week or two and switching them out.

Figure out which one works better for your site. Then run with the winner going forward. This is definitely a test that should be done, because the difference can be quite dramatic.

Buying AdSense Websites for Passive Income

Posted January 23, 2016 By Callie

If you’re building AdSense websites, it can take a long time before you actually reach the point where you’re earning significant income. If you have the available capital, it’s often much faster to simply buy these AdSense websites.

How does buying AdSense websites for passive income work? Let’s take a look.

==> The Market Places

There are a few different places you can look for AdSense sites.

The most active market place on the web is Flippa.com. Flippa creates eBay-style auctions online for websites. Site owners list all their stats such as traffic, earnings, referrers, backlinks and such. Then others bid on the websites based on how much they’d pay for them.

The other high-volume, under $10,000 apiece market place is Digital Point’s “Buy, Sell or Trade” forums. There are many other smaller market places on webmaster-oriented forums.

For over $10,000 apiece transactions, look through sites like BizBuySell and sort by “online” or “internet business.”

==> How AdSense Sites Are Valued

AdSense websites will generally sell for anywhere between 6 months’ worth of its income and 30 months of its income.

That’s a pretty big range. What determines where a site falls on the valuable continuum?

First of all is longevity of the income. If a site’s only been making $5 a week for two weeks and the owner puts it up for sale, chances are it’ll only fetch 6 months’ worth of income or so.

On the other hand, if a site has been earning $150 a month for two years, that site may very well get a twenty times or higher valuation.

The source of traffic and the source of the income can also play a factor. On Flippa, SEO traffic tends to be valued a lot higher than other traffic sources. AdSense also gets higher valuation than other revenue sources.

==> How to Find Profitable, Low-Risk AdSense Sites

First of all, try to always only bid on verified Google Analytics auctions. That’ll ensure that when you bid on a site, you’re actually getting what the site owner says you’re getting.

Look for longevity. Avoid topics that might go out of fashion in a few months, such as sites about the latest iPhone. Avoid traffic sources that could dry up overnight. Avoid new sites. Avoid sites that depend too much on one referring site for all its traffic.

Try to find low maintenance sites. Some sites will flourish only when they’re regularly updated. That’s okay if the work can be outsourced, but if the content was written by the last owner and it’s very highly specialized, it might be impossible for someone else to maintain.

In short, look for websites that you believe you can maintain and where the traffic and income will last. Finally, buy only one site at a time until you get used to the process. There are more balls to juggle than most people realize (domain transfers, database transfers, files, etc.) and it takes a few times before you get used to the process.