Google AdSense is a relatively easy way for small and large web site owners to generate revenue by displaying ads relevant to their site content. We've been participating in AdSense since June of 2003 and I thought I'd share our experiences with those of you considering using it, or are participating and would like to increase your revenue.
How does AdSense work?
Each time the page is viewed, the AdSense bot queries Google. If the page isn't listed in Google or has changed, then the bot will scan the page to determine what ads to display. The Adsense bot can be easily identified in your server logs - it's called Mediapartners-Google/2.1
Where does Google get the ads from?
The ads are drawn from the Google AdWords program. Google AdWords is a self serve program allowing advertisers to create their own ads and select keywords and phrases to bid on - it's a PPC (Pay Per Click) setup. Advertisers can specify if they want to appear in the Google SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) and/or on participating publisher sites, such as Taming the Beast.net.
Basically, if the page you are implementing AdSense code on is about web marketing (with that term appearing throughout) and an advertiser has specified "web marketing" as one of the terms they wish to bid on, then that ad may appear on your site.
Actually, it's a little more complex then that - it also depends on the popularity of the page, where the code is placed and a number of other of factors as to whether that ad is shown. If the page is popular, that increases the chances of getting higher bid ads generated on that page. Like Google's general ranking algorithm, the Adsense one is very intricate.
Even though there are many processes that go on behind the scenes, the delivery of AdSense ads is very quick - and in my opinion, very accurate; although it can take a little while for Google to get the "gist" of the page. If you look on the right hand side of this page, you'll see AdSense advertising. I haven't specified those ads, Google has generated them. As you can see, a high degree of customization can be achieved.
How much revenue can I generate with Adsense?
You receive a percentage of the amount paid by advertisers for each click on an ad. Unlike other networks, Google doesn't state what that percentage is, and I speculate it varies, but it does appear to be a generous share.
As to how much you'll make, this is a "how long is a piece of string?" type question. There are no limits. I personally know people who are generating 5 figure monthly checks by using AdSense. As for how much I make, well that's a secret :) - it's not 5 figures per month, but more than enough to keep me interested in using it as a method of revenue generation - even more so now after having read and implemented some of the strategies in Joel Comm's Free Adsense strategies book! - but more on that later.
Revenue generation will be dependent on a number of factors:
This doesn't mean to say that if you only generate a few hundred page views a day, you'll receive a pittance. In fact, light traffic sites can generate substantial revenue if their topic covers a very competitive market.
You can get some idea of how much clicks are worth using the Google Adwords Traffic Estimator. As an example, type in "web marketing". You'll see an estimation of cost for each click. Pretty amazing isn't it? To be truly gob-smacked, type in "web hosting". Yep, that's right, that's how much some advertisers are willing to pay per click to grab one of the first 3 slots in Google's "sponsored link" results. Bear in mind, you won't get that full amount as it depends on so many factors, plus publishers only get a percentage of the full cost anyway, but you can get an idea of the pricey keywords vs. the cheap clicks.
Google issues checks approximately 30 days after the end of each calendar month if you've earned US $100 or more. If you've earned under that, the balance is rolled over to the next month.
Will AdSense boost my Google rankings?
No. AdSense and general Google search engine rankings are two totally separate beasts, but effective search engine optimization will assist in getting the most relevant and higher paying ads displaying.
AdSense revenue generation tips
While AdSense is a "set and forget" type of arrangement given the amazing technology Google uses; if you're just going to dump in the code and then leave it at that, it's my opinion that you aren't going to make anywhere near what you can from it.
After reading Joel Comm's AdSense tips, I slapped myself several times for not having implemented some very simple strategies for generating more revenue. With only 60 minutes work, I boosted my CTR (Click Through Rate), increased my return per click.
I communicated with Joel regarding his book and while I'm sure he'd be pretty annoyed if I divulged too many details from his AdSense Secrets Ebook, I'm sure he wouldn't mind me publishing some generic tips.
While Google is a nice partner to work with, they are strict on a number of issues.
Any of the above can result in your AdSense account being suspended.
Good luck; may your CTR's be high and your monthly AdSense checks bring you much rejoicing!
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In Loving Memory - Mignon Ann Bloch
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