Make Money Online with Google AdSense

Most of us start out blogging for fun, but it’s inevitable that eventually it will be time to take a shot at making money online. Over the past year, I’ve read a lot of great AdSense guides and tried a lot of different things on this site. Some succeeded, while others did not, but each and every one of them has been a good learning experience for me and helped me to optimize my Google AdSense revenue. Here is a compilation of my experiences with Google AdSense so far:

What is Google AdSense? Google AdSense is Google’s advertising service that uses javascript code and Google’s search technology to match up appropriate advertising with the publishers content. This, in theory, will make your advertisements more appealing to your readers. Revenue is then generated on a “Cost-per-Click” basis, with you getting paid each time a reader clicks on your advertisements.

Once you’ve signed up, you may be a little overwhelmed, as there is a lot to learn. Here is a bunch of the most common questions and the answer I would give:

How do I boost my Click-Through-Rate (CTR)? There are two ways to boost your CTR. The first way is to increase traffic; however, for many blogs starting out this is something that will take a lot of time. You need to gain a loyal readership and get a lot of content indexed with the major search engines before this goal can become realistic. The second and easier method is to work on your ad position to maximize the number of clicks you will receive. In the next few sections this will be covered in greater detail.

Where should I place my Adsense ads? There are a few schools of thought on this, but I’ve found two methods to generating a higher click-through-rate that have worked well for me. The first is to make sure your advertisements are placed “above the fold.” This means that they will be seen by the reader without any scrolling involved. This helps to ensure that they will at least be viewed before a web surfer hits the back button and gives you more chances for a click. The second and most important to place advertisements is within your posts. This can be done in a variety of ways. WordPress users can easily add Adsense ads inside their posts using the AdSense Deluxe plugin. I find this is effective for longer posts, but I prefer to have an advertisement placed in every post I do. Jason Drohn of JDs Blog has written a great post on how to integrate Adsense without a plugin. I simply placed the following code on to each page where I want to display them (in my case Main Index and Single Post pages):

<div style="float: right; padding-left: 5px;">
{Paste Adsense Code Here}
</div>

You can float the advertisement to the left by changing right to left and adjust the padding to right. Doing this will allow you to wrap your post’s content around the advertisement and increase the chance of additional clicks. The only thing you need to remember when using this method is that you will need to write a longer opening paragraph for your post to maintain a good appearance to readers. If you write a lot of shorter posts, you may want to use a smaller ad format, or consider placing them just below the title (without wrapping them around text).

Should I blend my ads or make them stand out? I’ve been debating this for awhile now. Some claim to have success both ways, but I’ve found that for this site blending advertisements works better. Making them stand out with a border, different color background, or whatever else will cause them to get noticed, but web surfers are more likely to know they are advertisements this way.

What are the best ad formats? According to Google, the most effective ad formats are the 336×280 large rectangle and the 300×250 medium rectangle. Depending on the layout of your website, using 160×600 advertisements can be very effective as well. As far as my personal experience, I’ve found that the 336×280 large rectangle has given me the most success. This is could be because it’s integrated into my post, but more than likely the real reason is because you will often get Google Video advertisements in place of link advertisements, which readers are more likely to click.

How can I get rid of those annoying AdSense ads that don’t have anything to do with my content? If you’re trying to maximize your AdSense income, targeting high paying keywords and getting rid of advertisements that have nothing to do with your content is a must. The first thing you should do is tell AdSense where to get their keywords. If this isn’t done, they can use information from your sidebar, header, footer, and other places to determine which advertisements to place on your site, which will only hurt your site’s potential income.

To do this, place the following start code at the beginning and the end code at the end of where you want Google to look for keywords:

<- google_ad_section_start -> <- google_ad_section_end ->

Next, go to your sidebar, header, footer, and wherever else you want Google to avoid and enter the following at the beginning of the content:

<- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) ->

and this at the end of the content:

<- google_ad_section_end ->

This tells Google AdSense to ignore anything between these tags.

This stuff has been talked about a lot and will do a lot to help get valid advertisements, but there is more you can do. The next step is to monitor your blog for advertisements still showing up that aren’t relevant to your content. Next, write down the URL of the advertisement listed below the advertisement (DO NOT CLICK IT).

Now, once you’ve gotten your list of URL’s together, go to your Google AdSense account and do the following:

  1. Click on AdSense Setup
  2. Click Competitive Ad Filter
  3. Enter the URL of any advertisements you don’t want to show up on your website. To add multiple URL’s, type the URL and hit enter, then type the next, etc.

For example, if you don’t want to see the “Are you Gay” advertisements because your site doesn’t touch that subject, filter out “thegayquiz.com/gay” and that advertisement won’t appear on your site any longer. Repeat this until you’ve added any URL’s you’d like to censor out.

Once you have submitted it, any URL’s you have entered should disappear from your site completely and permanently. I check through a few pages every week on this site at random and try to find any ads that I deem irrelevant to my sites content then filter them out. This will help you receive more relevant advertising on your site and hopefully improve your Click Through Rate (CTR). Also, many of these generic ads that you will want to filter don’t pay much when clicked (some are a penny per click), so your clicks should pay better if you get rid of them.

In order to target keywords, you will want to stick to a particular niche on your site. If you want to branch out more, set up a second blog to cover other topics. This will help Google avoid being confused as to which advertisements to place on your site. You’ll also need to experiment with which keywords pay the most, then target these keywords.

How do I know which Ad formats are working the best? There are two easy ways that I know of. With MyBlogLog’s free metrics service, you can view day old clicks. You’ll want to click the “Ads” option to see which ad formats were clicked. If you use different ad formats in different spots on your blog, you’ll quickly learn which formats are working the best. If you want same day stats, you’ll need to pay a small stipend for instant metrics (I think it’s roughly $3.00 a month).

The second method is to use a free service like Crazy Egg to see where people click on your site. I like the heatmap option, which gives you a picture of your sites homepage and allows you to easily see EXACTLY where people clicked when visiting your site.

What are AdSense Link Units? Adsense link units also targeted advertisements that work similar to normal AdSense ads in that they are Cost-Per-Click, however they actually require two clicks in order for you to get paid. When someone clicks on this on your link unit, it will then take them to a bunch of related links. When those are clicked, that is when you get paid. The nice thing about these link units is they are easy to integrate into your website and they are relatively unobtrusive.

What other publishers features are available with Google AdSense? In addition to getting relevant ads targeted to your website’s specific content, Google AdSense also offers two additional services. They are AdSense for Search and Referrals.

What is AdSense for Search? Google allows you to easily add Google Search to your blog and display AdSense advertisements within these results. When searchers click these ads, it will work the same as if they clicked the advertisement on your webpage.

You have the option of adding a search engine that opens the search results in the same window, in a new window, or even allow you to open the search results within your webpage. If you’re a WordPress user, it may prove difficult to add Google search to your blog. For these people, there is a Google AdSense search plugin available.

How does Google’s referral system work? Google is in the process of rolling out Referrals 2.0, which will offer several referrals, allowing bloggers to find appropriate referrals for their blog’s niche. Each referral has different requirements for you to get paid. For example, Firefox requires someone to simply download Firefox via your referral button and you get paid. The Google AdSense referral, on the other hand, requires the person to sign up and generate at least $5.00 worth of revenue before you will get paid $5.00. ProBlogger offers 5 tips for improving your AdSense referrals.

Overall, having success with Google AdSense requires a lot of individual work, with a focus on ad placement and using proper keywords. It also helps to get a lot of pages out there and indexed with Google. What works for one site, may not work for another website in another niche, but hopefully you can take something from my experiences and generate some additional income with Google AdSense.

Sounds great, how do I sign up for Google AdSense? Google AdSense does not have a minimum traffic requirement, so no matter the size of your blog, if you want any easy way to make money online, you can easily sign up using the link below:


Think I missed something? Let me know in the comments below!

  • Gili

    These are very useful tips for anyone starting off Adsense.

  • A good comprehensive guide to beginning adsense. Good tip about 330 rectangle showing videos – I’ll give it a try

  • Jason Drohn

    Very Nice Kyle! How are you doing with your earnings?

  • Kyle Eslick

    Gili and Tejvan – Glad you found it useful. Let me know if you see an improvement 😉

    Jason – Things are improving. I’ll e-mail you tonight with some more info 😉

  • Russell Wagner

    Hey I may be using adsense in the near future and these are great tips, thanks.

  • Kyle, very nice write up. Stumbled this post. I am just looking at monetizing with AdSense and this is going to be very helpful.

  • Kyle Eslick

    Russell – I definitely recommend signing up!

    K – Glad you found it useful. It’s not a definitive guide or anything, just a write up of my experiences for the most part. Because your site is in a similar niche, I bet that they will probably work for you.

  • Green

    Thanks for the article, i have a question. I have a blogging module, i want to place ads in the middle of content but div tags break the ad and i receive javascript errors 🙁 How can i fix it?

  • Kyle Eslick

    Green – I explained above in the post how to use span tags to place it wrapped within your post content div tag. You can use top, bottom, left, right, etc., to place it where you want.

  • A very comprehensive post. FANtastic work!

  • Thank you for google commnent tags, this is great info.

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