Letters to Stephen – Helpless in Google Adsense Land

Taylor writes…

I have a website at www.loopwise.com and I would like to find someone to help me install google adsense ads on every page in my website. I have about 100 pages, and I would need you to target the keywords and ads for each page.

Is this something you would be interested in helping me out with? Do you have experience with Google Adsense strategy? thanks, OR Do you have any insight or wisdom for me? I am trying to gather good advice on how I can take advantage of the traffic at my site.

My site www.loopwise.com gets roughly 100k unique visitors per month. How much in adsense dollars do you think that would make me each month? I should be making a ton of money off of my traffic right? Any wisdom you could impart on me would be greatly appreciated.

Congratulations on your site. It looks like a great resource. Now here’s my insight and wisdom…

I did a quick look through, and it appears that you haven’t added any Google Adsense. Its difficult to optimize a site without having a baseline something to go by. Are your placements poor? Is there enough clicking going on? We really can’t tell until you take the first step and just put them out there first.

One of the best sources of information is Google themselves because they have a vested interest in seeing you succeed. Google’s blog has a whole category of posts that talk about the best practices when starting out. Their tips are designed not to get you kicked out of their program, which is one of the pitfalls of most starting Google Adsense users. Read and understand their terms of use, and read through their blog as they often point out things that they don’t like seeing done. There are also a number of case studies that they offer that show success stories related to the Adsense programs. These might give you an idea of how your site could potentially perform. In fact, if you find a site laid out similar to yours, you might want to use their placements initially to give yourself a place to start your optimizations.

As for keyword targeting, well, that depend on your content. Google allows you to use tags to limit where Adsense looks for keywords to generate the ads. For example, you can limit Google to just looking at your article title or only the body of your article using their “Google Start and End” tags. In order for you to select how much of your site for Google to target, you really need to try it, measure your results with that change, and see if its a keeper.

Not all sites will perform the same with the same cookie cutter placements. For example, when I worked with someone from the Google Optimization team, we went back to square one, just to see if it would make any difference to my bottom line. What I noticed was that the placements suggested by him actually decreased my overall revenue. The reason this happened was because I had already optimized my placements for my site. But never be afraid to try something new. You can always fix it by going back to the way it was.

The types of optimizations you will deal with will likely be placement at first, finding which spots offer you the highest possible click through rate. Often, ads placed in the body of the text work best where people have to look at them. Next, is to match the colours of the ad to your content so that it blends in. I typically like to use a borderless ad with links that match the colour of hyperlinks on my site. You can see examples of this on Futurelooks and here. Some sites work very well with ads that stick out like a sore thumb, but its up to you to figure out which way works best for you. Getting further down, you’ll start limiting where Google picks up keywords from by using the Google Start and End tags. Start with the basics, and as your Adsense IQ increases, feel free to try other things by making the change, measuring the results, and see if it worked.

I talk a lot about measuring results. This is done by taking advantage of the Google Adsense tool known as Channels which is built right into your account. You can create a channel each time you create new ad placements. Every time you make a change. Every time you change a placement, create a channel for it and give it a descriptive name so that you know what it is. By comparing channels and your changes, you can see the progression or regression in your results. For example, if you had a top 728×90 banner with red text, but you wanted to try blue text, you would create a channel called “728x90_top_bluetext” which you could compare to your other channel called “728x90_top_redtext”. When you make the change, give it a few days so that you have enough data to compare. Don’t panic and change it back if you see an initial drop in revenue.

Can someone do all this for you? I’m pretty sure there are services on the web that offer Google Adsense placement consulting, but why pay for that if you’re just as adept at doing it yourself? If you take the time to place your ads, measure your results, you can reveal all of the revenue potential of your site on your own. In fact, I don’t know anyone that is successful that doesn’t do it themselves and I’d feel very uncomfortable with a stranger having access to all my Google Adsense Account Information. You really do need to get your own hands dirty.  But you’re not going to get anywhere till you place your ads and get started with your optimization process.

Goodluck and Happy Earnings!