How to Improve Adsense Revenue
by Dominik Mueller
This e-commerce article will help you make more money with Google AdSense and Yahoo Publishing Network. All information given below does not infringe any TOS of the respective service, of course.
First of all, PPC ads like those provided by AdSense or YPN are great ways to earn money online, especially if you have an established and content-rich website. AdSense ads are targeted ads, which means they fit to the site's content. Therefore it's likely they will meet the visitors' interests. This usually leads to a high click-through ratio (CTR) on AdSense ads compared to the CTR of normal non-targeted banner ads.
Now, how can you increase your AdSense earnings once you have placed the ads on your site? Don't worry, there is much you can do.
First, let's take a look at the factors which directly influence ad performances:
- unique visitors and page impressions
You will increase your PPC revenue by improving one or more of the above factors.
1. Improving the Web site's traffic
By driving more visitors to your site you will probably increase the number of ad clicks, because there are more people who see the ads. In addition, if you can get more page impressions on your website you will also have more ad impressions which might result in higher PPC earnings.
Attracting more visitors can be achieved by optimizing your website for the search engines, but also by adding more high quality content and unique services to your site. Also, your site should have at least an “okay design,” because your visitors will probably not go to your site again if it looks too terrific. In case you don't know how to do search engine optimization: I will write an article on this topic as well in the future.
Better traffic stats will increase the number of ad impressions. However, this does not mean you have got a higher CTR. The CTR could still be the same or even lower than before though, so you also need to improve another of the above factors.
2. How to get a higher CTR
There are many options you can choose to get a higher click ratio.
For instance, you have the possibility to change the ads themselves.
2.1 Ad Colors
In general you have two kinds of ad colors to choose from:
- ads that stand out, and
- ads that blend in.
Both may have their positives and negatives, but all in all you need to experiment with those types of color palettes to see which works best with your site. In my personal experience - and what I have been told from most webmasters I have talked to - colors that blend in perform better. Others have experienced better click ratios from outstanding ad colors though, so this is something you really should try out yourself. Whatever option you choose, you should at least try your ads to fit to the website's design and color scheme though.
My personal tip is: Match the ad's text color with the color of your Web site's content's text color and match the link color of the ad with your site's link color.
2.2 Ad Placement
Another factor incfluencing the CTR is the placement of your ad. AdSense ads should not be hidden from your visitors, but they should be visible at first sight. Again, there are still several places you can choose for your ads to appear.
Text ads seem to attract most clicks at the top or in the center of a website's content area - especially on websites with much text content.
Do you already know the so-called “heat map” by Google? It illustrates profitable ad placements on an example site layout. The fields which are colored dark orange experience the best performance while those fields with a brighter color do not perform that well.
Anyway, the heat map is only a tip for you. It's based on Google's researches from many different websites with AdSense ads, but the heat map possibly does not show the perfect ad placement area for your own site. So - again - it's up to you to try where on your website ads work best.
To view Google's heat map, see Where should I place Google ads on my pages?
See also WebsiteTips.com's Web Resources Internet Marketing, Online Marketing Google AdSense.
To give you a direction: On sites with an article, ads which are placed directly below the article seem to do quite well. In addition, you should also place an ad above the article, so people can click on it at the top and at the bottom of the page.
Important is that ads are placed where the user's eyes are likely to focus on them. You should also try to place the ads throughout your whole site, because this adds variety across your site and users have more selection. Also, more ads mean more revenue, in my experience.
In case you're running a forum please pay attention to the “AdSense on Forums” section below. There I will discuss the specific placement criteria for forums.
2.3 Ad Format
The third way to improve ad performance is to choose another ad format. AdSense provides you with many different ad formats.
In general, wide formats seem to perform better than narrow formats. This is because people can read more words at a time without having to skip a line. I've experienced that the 336x280 large rectangle, the 250x250 square and the 160x600 wide skyscraper have done best on my sites. These are quite big ad formats, of course, so they need lots of space, but if they're placed well they usually generate more income than the smaller and narrow ad formats.
Another good format is the wide 728x90 leaderboard, which does best under the editorial content of a web page or directly under the page header, in my experience. The 468x60 banner format does not convert that well, but it can still be placed in areas where there isn't much space available, i.e. directly in the page header (next to the logo) or within articles.
The targeting of PPC ads is very important, because targeted ads perform much better than untargeted banners. Therefore you should make sure all ads on your website show targeted ads which fit to your site's content. This will increase the CTR of the ads and also result in a better branding of your site, because people only find content and links that fit to your site's topic.
Many webmaster have problems with ads that don't show proper text links. Anyway, it's quite easy to target PPC ads.
The first you should do is to control whether the site has enough content. The more text content there is the faster and more accurate your ads will be targeted by Google's bots. So you should add additional content to your site to get better ads.
If you still don't get advertising links that fit to your site's content and thus to your visitors' interests, you should implement section targeting.
Section targeting is a very useful tool to help Google find the best ads for your site. It allows you to suggest sections of your text content that you'd like Google to emphasize when matching ads to your site's content.
You can implement section targeting by adding special HTML comments to your site's HTML code.
The HTML tags to emphasize a page section take the following format:
<!- google_ad_section_start ->
<!- google_ad_section_end ->
If you want Google to ignore specific sections of your site when targeting ads you need to use the following comment tag:
<!- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) ->
Here's an example of how your site's code should look like after implementing section targeting:
<html><head><title>Your Site's Title</title></head>
This is text content of your Web page.
<!- google_ad_section_start ->
This is the text which you want Google to emphasize when targeting ads.
<!- google_ad_section_end ->
Here might also be some content.
Please keep in mind a significant amount of content should be placed within the section targeting tags, because insufficient content might result in less relevant ads to appear on your site. Also, it is against Google's TOS to use ad targeting to display ads which don't fit to your site's content, so you only may use section targeting to emphasize content sections of your site which include proper content.
Another way to improve ad targeting for your site is to emphasize specific terms by making them bold (
<em>) or making them a heading (
<h2>). Google will pay special attention to emphasized terms and phrases within your Web page.
The fourth way to improve your total advertising income is to get a higher cost per click on ads displayed on your site. But how to increase the CPC?
First of all, you should do some research on different keywords which fit to your site's topic. Go to Google and perform searches for these keywords. The more AdWords ads appear in the right bar of Google's search results the likelier it is that ads for the regarding keyword have got a higher CPC. In addition, you can take advantage of Overture's Bidtool to determine which keywords pay well in terms of PPC advertising. Although the Overture tool is a direct indicator for the YPN, you can still use it to get a good idea of the keywords' click prices.
Now that you know which keywords AdSense should display ads for on your site the only thing you need to do is to target ads for the keyword(s) you have chosen. You can do this by adding additional and targeted content and by emphasizing words or complete sections of your web page, as explained above.
5. Google Search Box
AdSense also offers the possibility to implement Google Search into your website. Google Search is a useful service for your users, it can search either your site or the whole Internet. The search results pages can be customized to fit with your site's theme, and you'll be paid for every valid click on the ads that appear. The search box is also great to earn money from visitors who did not find what they were looking for on your site, because the search box allows them to search exactly for what they have been looking for and it will display ads that are targeted based on the keyword(s) they search for.
So the Google Search Box can earn you some extra money. You should not expect too much from the search box though. I have only been able to increase income by 1 to 3 per cent through Google Search.
6. Optimization Tips for Forums
While I have already written much about placing ads on “usual” websites here are some tips on how to make more money from PPC ads displayed within forums:
Ad Format & Placement
160x600 Skyscraper ads placed above the fold on the left side of your forum seem to perform very well. However, you should also place a 728x90 leaderboard ad below the forum's header. The combination of these two ad formats works well and results in a high CTR, in my experience.
This can also be seen in Google's Heat Map and I can only confirm the ad placements suggested by the heat map.
In addition, you should also place an ad between the first and the second post of the threads in the forum. There already exists a script for vBulletin which automatically displays PPC ads in this place. You should integrate this script to your forum to improve PPC income.
Above I have written that a leaderboard ad directly below the editorial content would work fine. This suggestion also works with forums. Therefore it is a good idea to place a leaderboard ad directly below the last post of the thread, because user's who read the whole thread might be looking for the next link to click on - and what's a better link than a targeted PPC link?
Anyway, this would require you to remove the leaderboard ad below the forum's header, because you may only display 3 AdSense ads per page. I would recommend to do so, because the leaderboard ad at the bottom of the page seems to perform better than the ad below the header, in my experience (and against Google's heat map). Instead, I would place one of Google's horizontal link units below the header (a link unit may be placed as an additional ad, so you can display more than 3 ads per page).
Over all you should try to use ads that blend in, because people spend lots of time in forums and the forum design should not be disrupted by outstanding ad colors.
Google's Search Box can also be implemented into your forum. I'd suggest to place it directly in the forum's search tool. For instance, dnforum.com offers its members to use both the forum's and Google's site search.
Well, that's it. I think I've written everything which came up to my mind at the moment.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and at least some of the above information will be useful for you.
About the Author
Dominik Mueller is Founder, CEO and Senior Domain Broker of dnbroker.us, a domain brokerage company. In addition, he publishes a blog dedicated to domain names, web hosting and e-commerce (dodo1.com) and is a moderator of the domain name forum DNForum.com.
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