Saturday, November 1, 2008

Google Adsense Tutorial - Part 4

1. How To Maximize Visibility And Response
+ Ad Placement: Where to put your Ads?
Location is everything. The world's best ad won't deliver if it isn't visible in the first place. But after much experimentation with Google AdSense, I know that the most visible ads aren't always the most effective. In fact, they're likely to get ignored as 'blatant advertising'. What does work is wise placement. Put them where your content is most likely to interest and engage your visitors.
You can create several 'points of interest' with the wise use of graphics, tables and other layout techniques. Once you have your visitor's attention with engaging and meaningful content, they are most likely to read and click on relevant ads. And that is precisely what Google wants — "educated" clicks from real prospects, not random visits from bored people. Here are a few simple tips to make your ads 'click'!

+ Go with the 'flow'
Identify the reading patterns of your visitors. What draws their attention first? What makes them 'click'? Like I said, you want to put your ads in areas that draw your visitors in with
interesting content. There’s no point in putting your ads in some out of the way place where no one ever looks. Your users will follow your content, so you need to make sure that your ads
follow that content too. Look at the design and layout of your webpage, identify the places that you think most of your users look — and mark that as a likely spot to put your ads.

Google says that certain areas are more effective than others. Researchers have also found that when people look at a website, their eyes start in the top left hand corner and then travel down the page from left to right. All of this is true but the hottest areas can vary from site to site. You will need to experiment to find the very best places for you.

+ Above The Fold
One general rule on the Internet is that people spend most of their time on a site “above the fold.” The first thing people do when they reach a website is to absorb as much information as possible before they start scrolling. The part of the page that they can see without scrolling is called “above the fold.” That’s where you want your ads. The number of links that appear above the fold affect how likely people are to click on your AdSense ads. That’s why more ads doesn't always mean more money! Google always puts the top-paying ads on the top and the lowest-paying ones at the bottom. If you have a stack with three or more ads, the cheaper ads might steal attention away from high-paying ads and clutter up your website. You don’t want ads and links competing against each other. If you want to increase your earnings per click, remember: Less is More! And that’s particularly true above the fold.

+ Using Tables
I’ve already mentioned that one of the principles of a high click-through rate (CTR) is to make your sites blend into the page. The more you position your sites to blend into the page, the better your click-through rate will be. One very neat way to help your ads blend into the site is to place them in tables.

+ Ad Link Units
So far, I’ve been talking about where to put your ads and I’ve recommended above the fold, with little competition and suggested that you might want to put them in a table. But you should also think about which kinds of ads you want to place where. Ad Link units let you place a box on your site that contains four or five links. They come in sizes ranging from 20 x 90 to 200 x 90, and are really meant to be placed on a sidebar. Because you can place one Ad Link unit as well as three other units on the page, you might find that the choice helps: if a user doesn’t spot something interesting in one type of ad block, he might spot it on another. Where Ad Links differ from other types of ads is that they only display a list of topics that Google believes are relevant to the content of your pages. They don’t display the ads themselves. When a visitor clicks on a topic, Google pops up a new window with targeted ads. It can be argued that the Ad Links are ineffective because people have to go through two clicks in order for you to get paid. That’s right, you only get paid for the second click (but that does mean you can check to see which ads
your users are being served.) But it can also be argued that if someone is taking the time to click on a topic, then they are probably very interested and are likely to click an actual advertisement on the resulting page. Some people have found that just about everyone who clicks on an Ad Link will click on the ads that appear on the next page. I have tested Ad Links on multiple sites and have seen vast differences in results. That makes it more difficult to say whether or not they are for you. In the first case, I placed the Ad Links on an information-based site with a very general audience. The results were nothing to write home about. Let's just say that you could just about buy a large candy bar with the CPM I saw. In the second case, I placed the Ad Links on a product specific site with a narrow audience. The results were fantastic! We're talking about a CPM that is greater than what someone might make flipping burgers in one day. The conclusions should be obvious. If you’re going to use Ad Links units campaign. You need to put them:
1. On a site with a specific field of interest. A general site will give you general ads — and few clicks.
2. Above the fold with few other links. For Ad Links, this is crucial: If your users are going to click a link, it should be a link that gives you money.
It’s also a good idea to keep your Ad Link units for sites with high-paying keywords. If someone comes to your site seeking out information or a product on a top-notch keyword, they tend to be more likely to click as a result.

+Horizontal Ad Link Units

Recently, Google introduced a new format for Ad Link Units: horizontal. This is a huge difference. Users are reporting increases in CTR as high as 200% using this units! Instead of piling the links one on top of the other—which is great for putting above lists of links but stand out too clearly when placed in text—the horizontal ads blend in perfectly when placed on pages with articles.

You can still only use one Ad Link unit per page and users still have to click twice before you get paid but they’re definitely worth slipping into a long article. I’d recommend that you put them either above the article or in the middle. They’ll be too easy to miss at the bottom.

+ Using Multiple Ad Blocks
So Google allows you to put up to three AdSense blocks (ad units) on the same page, as well as an Ad Link unit and a search box. What does this mean for web publishers? A real bonanza: you now have many more chances to hook readers with new ads as Google will show unique ads in each ad unit! To leverage this opportunity, look at adding new content to your high-traffic pages. Use attractive, quick-loading graphics that encourage people to scroll down. For example, relevant, catchy graphics could be a great way to draw your visitors to an ad. A B2B website could run a daily cartoon strip with a humorous take on trade news and issues. Your AdSense ads can be positioned right underneath the cartoon, which will lend instant visibility to the ads.
That’s a strategy that will maximize exposure to the AdSense units, leading to more clicks and more money! With multiple ad blocks, you can decide which ads are served in the best
place for your site.

+ Controlling Your Ads
Attracting Relevant Ads
Getting the color and placement right will help improve your click-through rate. But neither of those will affect which ads your site serves. In theory, Google controls the ads that appear on your site. You don’t get to choose them at all. In practice, there are a few things that you can do stop irrelevant ads from appearing and ensure that you get the ads that give you cash. The more relevant the ads, the greater the chance that a user will click and you’ll earn money. The most important factor is obviously going to be your content. Google’s robot will check your site and serve up ads based on the keywords and the content on your page. Bear in mind that Google’s robot can’t read graphics or Flash or pretty much anything that isn’t text. I’ll talk about content in detail in chapter 8 but for now, remember that if you want to keep your ads relevant, you’ve got to have the sort of page that Google can understand and use to give you the ads you want.
Keep The Title, Directory And Headlines Relevant
How exactly Google’s robot reads pages is a secret guarded about as closely as Coca Cola’s special syrup formula. One thing that does seem to have an effect though is the title of your URLs and files. When you create your pages and view them on your computer before uploading them to the server, you should find that AdSense serves up ads related to the name of the directory that holds the page. That gives a pretty big clue as to at least one of the things that Google is looking at: the name of the directory. Actually, it’s not just the name of the directory that’s important. The name of the file plays a big part too. If you have a website about wedding trains and the title of one of your pages is trains.php for example, there’s a good chance that you’ll get ads about Amtrak and Caltrain. That wouldn’t give you many clicks. Change the name
of the file to weddingtrains.php and there’s a much better chance that you’ll see ads related to weddings. If you find that the ads that are appearing on your site have nothing to do with your content, the first places to look are your directory and your title. Make them more relevant to your content and you should find that you get better ads. Another place to look is your headlines. Instead of using a tag for your heading, try using the <h1> tag with headings that contain your keywords. That should help them to stand out to the robots. And if you don’t have any headlines at all, try adding some.

+ Finding Keywords
We know that Google’s robot searches websites for keywords, then reports back and tells the company what kind of ads to send to the site. If your site is about pension plans for example, then your keywords would be things like “retirement”, “401k” and “pension”. Getting the right keywords on your site won’t just make your ads relevant; it will also help you to make sure that the ads you get are the ones that pay the most. There are all sorts of tools available on the Web that tell you how much people are prepared to pay for keywords. and let you see how much people are prepared to pay, and also has a list of keywords with their prices. Again, you don’t want to build a site just to cash in on a high paying keyword but if you know that “401k” pays more than “retirement” for example, then it makes sense to use the higher paying keywords more than the lower paying ones.

+ Keyword Density
You’ll need the right keywords to get the right ads. But you’ll also need the right amount of keywords. There’s no golden rule for the putting right number of keywords on a page to get the ads you want. You’ll just have to experiment. It also seems to be the case that keyword density is counted across pages, especially for high-paying keywords. If you have a site that's generally about cars and you write a page for car rental, a higher-paying keyword, you might find that you need to produce several pages about car rental before you get the ads. In general though, if you find that your ads are missing the point of your page and that your titles are all correct, then the next step would be to try mentioning your keywords more often and make sure that they’re all finely focused. For example, talking about “fire extinguishers” is likely to get you better results than talking generally about “safety equipment.”

+ Keyword Placement
It shouldn’t really matter where you put your keywords, should it? As long as the right words are on the right page in the right amount of numbers, that should be enough to get you relevant ads, right? Wrong. One of the strangest results that people have had using AdSense is that putting keywords in particular places on the page can have an effect on the ads the site gets.
In my experience, the most important place on your webpage is directly beneath the AdSense box. The keywords you place there could influence your ads.

Keeping that in mind, you could play with your ads in all sorts of ways. If you had a site about camping for example, you might find that you’re getting lots of ads about tents and sleeping bags, which would be fine. But if you also wanted to make sure that one or two of your ads were about Yosemite or mobile homes, then mentioning those keywords once or twice on the page
directly below the AdSense box could give you ads for sites with that sort of content too.
Bear in mind though that you’ll often find that you get ads that try to combine the main thrust of your site with the words in that keyword space below the ad box. So if you had a site about gardening and you mentioned “cabbages” beneath the ad box, you’re more likely to get ads about growing cabbages than ads about cabbage recipes. Experimenting with the placement of the keywords could allow you to control at least one or two of the ads you receive and help keep them varied. That’s definitely something to try.

+ Keyword Frames
One of the reasons that websites don’t always receive relevant ads may be that all the navigation and other non-content words affect the way Google reads the page. If your links and other words take up lots of space, it could well skew your results. One way to avoid your navigation affecting your ads is simply to create frames. You put all of your content in your main frame and the navigation material in a separate frame. Only the “content frame” has the Google code (google_page_url = document.location), so your keywords won’t be diluted by non-relevant words.

+ No 'Baiting'!
Often I've clicked through a 'promising' website, only to find reams of keyword spam, interspersed with AdSense. Websites like these make AdSense look bad. Keyword spam may trick search spiders, but your human visitors will leave disappointed. People hate being 'baited' by a web marketer. Offer content that makes their visit worthwhile. Address the needs and concerns of your visitors with original content. Quality content builds trust and loyalty — and that, in turn, makes people want to click. Search rankings may change, but loyal visitors keep coming back for more!

+ Changing Metatags
Metatags certainly aren’t what they used to be and in AdSense, they’re barely anything at all. There’s a good chance that when it comes to deciding ad relevance, your metatags have no effect whatsoever. I’ve already mentioned that the title of your page will have an effect. It’s also
very likely that the description does too. But that doesn’t mean that your metatags are completely irrelevant when it comes to AdSense. They aren’t. They’re only irrelevant when it comes to serving ads; they still play a role in search engine optimization and getting
your site indexed faster.

+Inviting The Robot
So far in this chapter, I’ve explained some of the ways that you can tweak your page to keep your ads relevant. But the changes you make won’t have any effect until Google’s robot stops by and re-indexes your page. What will generally happen is that once you upload your new page, you’ll still get the old ads and you might have to wait some time before the robot visits it again
and you can find out whether your changes have the right result. To get the robot to stop by earlier, reload the page in your browser, and then again a few minutes later. Do not click on any of the ads just reload and wait a few minutes before attempts. You should find that you receive new ads within a few minutes.

+ Public Service Ads
The penalty for not getting your keyword placement and density right isn’t just irrelevant ads. It could also be no ads at all. If Google can’t find any relevant ads to give you, it could use your space to present public service ads, which are very nice but they don’t pay you a penny. You might prefer to earn money and give it to a charity of your choice rather than give space on
your site to a cause that Google chooses. The most obvious way to beat this problem is to specify an alternate URL in the event that Google has no ads for you. You can do this from your AdSense account. Instead of linking to the Red Cross or whoever it may be, you’ll receive a link to a site that you’ve pre-chosen.

You can also use this space to deliver image-based ads that come from your server. For offers that pay per action (clicks or signups), I like to use You can signup for a free account and find new ways to monetize your unused ad space. You can also use Google Backfill, a very neat service that allows you to select keywords relevant to your site and display targeted ads instead of the public service ads or your alternative URL. They’ll match your colors and styles and split the revenue 50/50. It’s all in line with Google’s TOS and makes good alternative to no revenue at all while you get your keywords fixed. The service is available at

+ Blocking Ads
Finally, the last way to control the ads you see on your site is to block ads you don’t want. Google gives you a limit of 200 URL’s to block, which isn’t much. You might well find yourself burning through them pretty fast, especially if you try to block lower paying ads in favor of the higher-paying ones. Playing with keywords, content and placement will give you much better results.

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