This section is going to be a little bit beyond the basics, but these details can dramatically improve earnings from AdSense. Just to clarify, as I did this, I was already making some money with AdSense and had a pretty well established blog, but I had no idea how much difference a few tweaks could make. In my case I increased earnings more than $1500 in a short amount of time. The thing you have to understand about AdSense is that no two sites are alike. Every blog has a different audience and different articles and most likely a different layout. All these things affect AdSense earnings. Knowing that, testing and trying new things is critical to find the winners!
2. Put ads where people’s eyeballs go
For me there’s an eternal struggle between usability and profitability with ads. While I want/need to make money to pay my bills, I still want to make my blogs as user-friendly as possible. So, I made some sacrifices with some of them in order to maintain certain levels of usability, but one of the most important keys to making money with AdSense is ad placement. As I mentioned before, you need to experiment with it. But for the first year or more I just kind of threw the ads wherever I had extra room. Once I changed the location of my ads, my earnings tripled overnight. It really freaked me out. I had no idea that just moving an ad a couple of inches would have such a dramatic effect.
3. Section targeting
This was another tweak I made that showed a noticeable difference in earnings. Basically, “section targeting” is telling Google what text on your site to look at when deciding what ads to show.
Google is pretty good at figuring this out if you don’t do this, but if you have a lot of stuff going on in your sidebars and footer sections, it’s probably worth experimenting with. It’s very easy to implement. You only need to use this tag
to tell Google to start, and this tag
to tell it to stop. I just added a text widget at the top of my post for the start tag and after the content for the end tag.
4. Quick AdSense plugin
This is a great WordPress plugin that allows you to put AdSense units within the body of your article. There are lots of criteria that you can select to really customize your ad placements. Quick Tip: Here’s a piece of advice worth thousands of dollars to some of you. I’ve blogged for more than six years and have had AdSense on more than 10 blogs, and I can tell you that almost without fail the most profitable spot to put an AdSense ad is directly below the article title on your blog post. This plugin makes that very easy. So if you’ve never tried that location, go ahead and try it –you can thank me later.
5. Change the colors
When AdSense first came out, people said to make the colors as loud and ugly as possible to draw attention to them. Next, I heard that the best thing to do was to blend them into the site. Of the two methods I think that blending works a little better and definitely looks a lot better!
I have a slight variation that works even better for me. Currently, I have most of my links set to a light blue color, not the usual blue. I used to have many of my AdSense ads match that, but I saw a nice increase when I changed the ad titles to the old standard Link Blue (aka #0000FF). I feel that visually it’s a complement rather than a match. It stands out a little bit more but doesn’t look bad either.
6. Write articles people are searching for
This might seem unrelated, but it’s very important. If you’re like most bloggers, you have a regular readership and you have readers from the search engines. For some reason a lot of bloggers just don’t give much respect to search engine readers and don’t really try to reach out to them other than trying to “convert” them to a regular reader. I approach things a little bit differently. Rather than getting frustrated that so many search engine visitors don’t come back, I started to embrace it. I realized that my main goal was to help people, so why should I care if they visit only once or on a daily basis as long as they’re getting helped? So while I very much appreciate and value my regular readers, I also understand that I can help those who find the site via a search engine. I started doing keyword research to see what people were looking for in the search engines. If there are people searching to find out how to start a budget, I want to help them find out! What happened for me as I started to become more conscious of what people were searching for was that I started getting more search engine traffic – which, of course, leads to higher earnings from AdSense.
7. Add a Google search bar
This is a no-brainer. Google is the master of search, so you can bet that its search capability on your site is better than the default WordPress search tool. By installing this, you’ll help your visitors find the information they’re looking for on your site and make some extra cash in the process. When the search results (from the websites you choose) are displayed, they have the standard Google ads present, just like normal Google search results.
8. Link Google Analytics to AdSense
A while back, Google Analytics started to allow the option to integrate your AdSense data. This has helped me so much. It provides webmasters with a wealth of information about earnings. It’s simple to see which articles are making the most money, which keywords are yielding the most, what sites send the most valuable traffic, and a whole lot more. If you use AdSense, don’t pass this one up.
9. Test, retest and test again
When running AdSense tests, I typically let them run for a month in order to make sure they’re very thorough. I have a calendar I use to mark down when I make changes and what changes I make. Then, when the test is complete, I compare CPM and eCPM (effective cost per thousand) rates to see what performed better. A/B split testing is a better method when possible, but for certain tests it just isn’t possible or practical. Either way, if you want to make more money with AdSense, experimenting and testing is a must!
Tools that have helped make it all possible
Not all of these tools directly contribute to the bottom line, but each one of them proved very helpful over the last couple of years.
- Google Analytics (google.com/analytics) – This is a wonderful (and free) statistics tool that will help you keep track of your visitors and analyze a lot of data about them. As I mentioned before, it now integrates with AdSense to give even more
Google Webmaster Tools (google.com/webmasters/tools) – This will help you see how Google views your blog. It will also let you know whether there are any problems with it that you may not know about. I had some issues that were really hurting my search rankings, but I found out about them and fixed them and voila! All better.
MailChimp Email Marketing Service (mailchimp.com) – If you haven’t started an email list for your blog, you definitely should consider it. Mailchimp makes it easy because the site offers this for free (up to 2000 subscribers) while no one else does this for free.
SEObook Keyword Tool (tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools) – I use this to get a ballpark estimate of how many people are searching for particular keyword phrases.
Hittail.com – This one provides ideas for articles based on what you previously wrote about and could probably rank for. If you have a blog that’s established, it might be worth paying $10 a month for it. Try using the free trial and see how much it helps you.
Stock.xchng – The best free stock photography site I have found.
BigStock.com – The best cheap stock photography site I have found. They have lots of images you can get for just about a buck.
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