Feb 13, 2009

The 5-Step Plan to Success

The 5-Step Plan to Success

Once you’re accepted, you want to maximize the opportunity. In this section, we
look at some of the most effective strategies for generating optimum revenue
from the Google AdSense program.

Step 1 - Formatting Ad Blocks

You can let Google decide for you the type of ads that will be displayed on your
webpage, but as the website publisher, you may be in a better position to decide
what ads suit the content of your website and how you would like them displayed.
To the extent possible, whether chosen by Google or you, make the ads seem
like part of the site itself.

Most internet marketing experts believe that the ads on your website have a high
probability of getting clicked if they blend in with the rest of the content of your
web page. Factors such as color scheme, font size and type, and the
appearance of your ad should match your web page. Borders are optional and
we think often you should opt out – why put a box around the ad that says “Hi!
I’m an ad!”?

Also, regardless of other design choices, text links should be blue. Why are text
links blue? For the same reason Henry Ford said of the Model-T “They can have
any color they want so long as it’s black.” They just are.

Though we think text ads are generally better than graphic ads, also known as
image ads, Google does offer them with the program.

Actually, you don’t need to struggle much with whether graphic ads or text will be
better on your pages, as Google’s technology will suggest whether an image ad
or a text ad will be more suitable and which will earn you maximum revenues
(since you earn part of they earn, they have motives to get this mix right).

However, it remains totally up to you whether you wish to run image ads or text-
based ads. You can select only image ads, or text ads or a combination of both
these formats on your entire AdSense account or on one page at a time based
on your discretion.

Step 2 - Ad Placement

“Location, location, location.” It is true in real estate and true in advertising,
including web advertising. Since the “location” of the user is your site already, the
“location” of the ad in this context means on which pages, where on the pages,
and so on. As noted, the less an ad looks like an ad, the more effective it is likely
to be.

Then there are general design and usability factors to consider.

If your webpage is cluttered and you can’t dispense with any content, you may
want to break it down further into sections or more pages to provide easier
reading. This also gives you the potential benefit of placing additional ads.

As noted, we generally recommend text-based ads. However, text-dense sites
may actually do better with image ads. If your site has very few graphics, you
may want to balance it out by putting image-based ads. In the monotony of a lot
of dense written information, image-based ads and graphics provide what’s
called visual relief. This can also prompt clicks.

Where should you put the ads? The chances of your ad getting noticed by the
visitors to your site increases greatly if you place ads as close to the top of your
webpage as possible.

If you choose to place so-called ‘skyscraper’ ads – in magazines these would be
called columns – on the sidebars of your webpage, it would be wise to place
them on the right side of your principal content areas. The reason for this is the
visitor to your page (in most languages) will read from left to right, he or she will
chance upon the ad ultimately, if not consciously then at least out of habit. Their
eyes will go there. From the left, they can visually “skip” the ad when they start
reading next to it.

Your ads should be placed in such a way that it matches the links to other
websites on your site. If you already have a links section on your site, put the
AdSense links in that section or list. This is not dishonest – if it were Google
would not allow it.

Obviously if you have a “most popular” area on your website, such as a page that
is updated daily with some kind of material that people bookmark to revisit often,
place your ad(s) there instead of somewhere else that may get less traffic. For
many websites the home page is not actually the most accessed area. If you
don’t know what the traffic pattern is on your sites, it’s easy to find out – ask your
hosting provider about usage logs.

One more thing: While some affiliate marketing programs encourage host sites to
encourage clicks directly, it is not appropriate to expressly ask your readers to
click on the ads served by the Google programs. Not only is it unprofessional
and arguably unethical, it also annoys people and moreover Google AdSense
actually prohibits any such activity. You can neither directly solicit clicks nor can
you do anything considered deceptive to encourage clicks.

In conclusion, the emphasis is always on quality of content on your web pages.

Good and interesting content makes your site better, more acceptable to Google,
more likely to win with AdSense, and therefore more profitable for you!

Step 3 - Researching Keywords

After you are done choosing the right format and location for your AdSense ads,
don’t sit back and wait for the money to roll in just yet. The next important step is
to choose the right keywords for your web pages. These will influence both who
visits your site, and how AdSense assigns ads to you.

The number one mistake most website publishers make is to constantly choose
high-paying (i.e. expensive!) keywords assuming that it will yield them more
income. While it is tempting to choose such keywords to get higher rankings on
search engines, be prudent when it comes to selecting the right keywords that go
with the AdSense ads that are to be displayed.. Remember the goal here is
clicks, not SEO rankings. This is a case where you often do not get what you pay

Consider this scenario. Your webpage talks about wine tasting courses. You
review search phrases and keywords with “wine” in it and you find “wine rack” is
in the top three and available, so you buy it. The corresponding ads also focus on
buying wine racks online, wine storage and building your own wine racks. After a
week when you check on the statistics of your webpage and AdSense account,
you see that you are losing visitors and your income is dipping! The keyword
selection is faulty in this case even though it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Why? The visitors to your webpage were actually looking for wine racks and
have landed on your webpage talking about wine tasting courses instead. The
wine course types want to sign up for the courses, maybe buy a book on wine, or
a wine of the month club. They don’t want to build a wine rack. Think
strategically, not tactically.

Just because a keyword is high paying and is seemingly related, does not mean
it is totally relevant and you need something relevant. Relevance is more
important than value! In the above case, you could have – and should have –
chosen wine tasting tour, wine tasting party, wine tasting event, wine tasting
class, wine tasting school, course tasting wine and so on. You are interested in
relevance more than popularity. Tasting is a match. Racks are not.

Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can research your keywords for
AdSense ads:

• You can check out the popularity of various keywords if you already have
an account with Google AdWords. This way you will get an idea of the
popularity of various keywords as well as the cost and returns that entail.
• Google AdWords also has a tool known as the AdWords Keywords Tool
which can sometimes help you search for alternate keywords and
• Another tool known as Keyword Analyzer can generate numerous key
phrases that are typed by Internet users in different search engines
• Consider getting a WordTracker account. They have an excellent tool that
suggests top 1,000 most popular keywords. This tool can also help you
create a list of relevant keywords for your webpage. You can learn a lot
from a small investment here.
• Another great idea is to search for top 100 keywords on 7search which will
give you an idea of high-paying keywords.

Your clickthrough rate will be boosted tremendously by including the right
keywords in your web copy, of course. Keywords occurring in your ads are
usually highlighted on the search engine results page. This also helps in drawing
additional attention to your ad.

The URL of your webpage is also an integral part of achieving success on
Google AdSense program, as it is on the Web generally. Current wisdom holds
that the keywords in the URL are equally if not more important than the ones
featured in the actual webpage content or in metatags. If you change your
ordinary URL to a keyword rich URL relevant to your market, it is possible to
raise your CTR as much as 200% or more without doing anything else.

Obvious domain names with the keywords that you want might be expensive to
purchase from a broker, but you can also buy used domain names that are no
longer active, often for just a few dollars per year.

Step 4 - Developing Content

Let’s assume you have good ads, good placement, and good traffic.

This step is all about how to tweak your pre-existing content to support the most
effective profitability from your new AdSense program.

One major mistake many web publishers make now is to lard up their pages with
a bazillion keywords for so-called “search engine optimization.” Do not fall into
that trap and clutter your webpage with high-profile buzzwords that do not
contribute to the value of your webpage or the experience of your intended
audience. Remember, we’re focused here on clicks, which means bringing

relevant readers to your site and giving them a good experience that puts them in
an inquisitive or buying frame of mind.

As a general rule, all content shifts should make some kind of sense. You may
well be able to make connections between articles on sports, to articles on sports
medicine, to articles on herbal supplements which feature ads for those products.
On the other, a web page on bicycles should not have ads for other kinds of
pumps, if you know what we mean.

Before you decide to add that magic Google AdSense code on any page of your
website, you should have dealt with the following two important steps:

• High quality textual content

Ensure that your web pages have enough textual content so that the
AdSense program can set up ads that are relevant to the content on your
pages. If you have very little content, it will be difficult for Google to
determine the focus of your page and end up displaying only public
service ads that do not earn any revenue.

• Use different page titles for different pages

Have unique page titles based on the specific content of each page.
Avoid generic or vague page titles such as ‘Untitled Document’ or ‘Page
1’. Be crisp and precise and avoid using long phrases and difficult words
in the page titles. If your page has a very long title, it might get banned
from some search engines, so be pithy.

Step 5 - Tracking and Reports

Tracking the results of your marketing efforts can help you focus your efforts and
make adjustments to win.

Google offers a great free tracking feature known as ‘Channels’. You can use
these channels to track ads on specific URLs or to categorize ads based on their
formats, keywords, location on web page and so on.

You can choose from two channel types offered by Google.

URL Channels

This will help you track the performance of your web pages without altering your
ad code. All you need to do to track your performance is to enter a full or partial
URL in the channel and you’re done. A full page URL will track the performance
of the specific page having that address. If you want to track all the pages on a
specific domain, you need to enter a top-level domain name.

Custom Channels

Custom channels are used to track the performance of your webpage based on
the criteria that you specify. You can choose what specific factor you would like
to track and customize the channel according to your requirements.

As the name suggests, custom channels are very flexible, and if you have ever
used any kind of data reporting tool you will find setting them up easy and logical.
You can have up to 50 custom channels!

You can compare the performance of different ad formats and the relevancy of
ads. You can also compare how ads on one page are performing when
compared with ads on other pages. You can do so by assigning each group of
pages to a specific channel and eventually comparing results in your customized
channel reports. You can also see where your clicks are coming from by
assigning a channel to each of your separate pages. Also, it is a good idea to
name your channel in such a way that it is easy to identify different channels in
reports, especially if you are using a dozen or more.

Server Logs

In addition to the ‘channel’ program offered by Google to track your AdSense ads
on your web pages, you can also use any of the various high quality external
AdSense tracking software packages to track your performance in greater detail
(except actual revenues – you need to get that from Google). One major
advantage of such software is that it runs locally, which enables you to access
specific information that Google doesn’t track. Be aware that none of these third-
party software solutions are “endorsed” by Google currently but most of them
guarantee to operate within AdSense guidelines. Just make sure they do,
because you don’t want to lose your account status over a technical violation by
a third party.

Some of the information you can obtain by using tracking software:

• Referring website of all your visitors
• The type of web browser they are using
• Where the actual ad-clickers are coming from
• Search keywords typed in by the visitors to your website that eventually
brought them to you

You should use a combination of Google channels and a reliable AdSense
tracking program so as to get comprehensive information about your AdSense
Source:AdSense Revenue Exposed Michael Rasmussen and Jason

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