What is Google Adsense? It is more or less an online advertising agency for publishers. So what does it do? It allows the website owner/operator to put snippets of HTML code on your website pages and have Google do the rest. Google secures advertisers through its Adwords program, and then matches their ads with relevant content on websites in the Adsense program. Then when these ads are clicked by your visitors you make money. Sounds too easy don’t it. It is pretty easy if you already have a lot of traffic across an already existing website, but first I recommend you get to that point before looking too far into Adsense.
First, you have to apply and get approved for a Google Adsense account. It is not an entitlement but rather a privilege to be a part of their program. It is unclear what the real criteria are to being approved, but it is known that Google is cracking down on sites that are basically just traps to get you to click ads. If you do not have a site or blog with real useable content then you may not get approved. No one wants to search a topic and end up on a website that is nothing but ads and Google knows this. There are a lot of these sites out there and I am sure some of them pull in a lot of money, but in my opinion it is only a matter of time until the final curtain comes down on these types of scams. Not to mention, you want to build something with a real audience so you have people who come to your site on purpose, not because they are tricked.
But getting approved is only the beginning. Once you have been approved for an Adsense account it is extremely important to study up on the rules, better known in the Adsense world as TOS (Terms of Service). You better be in compliance with this or you can expect to have your Adsense account shut down. There is not much, if any, flexibility on this. I have read countless posts from folks who had their account shut down and Google doesn’t typically do second chances. Not to mention you will forfeit any accrued earnings if this happens. As it currently stands Google allows you to place up to 3 ad spots on any given page. In addition to this you may put up to 2 search boxes and you can also put 3ad links. Something worth knowing about the search boxes and ad links is that they do not pay for the initial click, but rather only if the user clicks on one of the ads on the results page.
Every site is different and so what works for one may not work for another. You have to do some trial and error to see what works best for you. Experiment and learn to use and read analytics programs to see where you need to make adjustments or improvements. Make use of channels within the Adsense interface. You can create what is called a channel to track the efficiency of a particular ad or even a URL.
Say you have 3 ads on your home page and you want to see which one gives the best results. So you can add each one to a separate channel and begin to track its performance. If you have a banner ad at the top of your home page you may want to name this channel Home Top Center, and the second one you may have a 300 x 250 (by the way, this is recommended as the most profitable size ad unit) and name it Home Bottom Left and a third ad unit Home Bottom Right. After a few days look at the performance of each of these ads and see which ones tend to do best. If you are not getting the results you are looking for then you might want to try different ad sizes or try them in different locations to see what gets your audience’s attention. You will have to find out through testing what works best for you. Google also allows you to change the colors of the ad text, ad background color and borders to you ads. You may want to try these things, but in most cases the default ad parameters will be pretty good for most sites.
So how much can you make with Google Adsense? Well, the sky is the limit, but a lot depends on what niche your site falls into. Some ads pay more than others, some way more, and some way less. If you had a blog about medicine and it had a large audience of doctors and physicians, chances are you would have some very high paying ads. Pharmaceutical companies might pay very good money to advertise with you and pay top dollar for any clicks from your visitors. This is what I would call a best case scenario. Unfortunately, most advertisers don’t fall into this same category. The profit margins on most products just don’t allow companies to buy clicks for $10 to try to make $10. It just wouldn’t add up. You will see people trying to sell you information on how to get $10+ a click, but if you sit down and do a little figuring you might come to the same conclusion that I have. Most companies would go bankrupt paying these kinds of prices. I am not saying it isn’t possible, I know it happens, but for most of us it is not realistic. As a conservative estimate I would call $2 to $3 per thousand page impressions a successful ad campaign. This would include all advertising on your site, not specific to Google Adsense. I would recommend using more than one ad program. I am not limiting it to that, but I think you can pretty much almost count on making that much regardless of what you are doing. Let’s just call that the floor for advertising earnings. I wouldn’t try to put a ceiling on it because there are people out there making millions at it. (Note: This is just a broad estimate, ad prices vary by many factors regardless of the advertising program you are using. I would just personally, in my own opinion, call this range a success, but not necessarily optimal performance).
Some of you may be asking what a good CPC is for Google. Well, you won’t find much information out there on this, mainly because Google is particular about what information its publishers share. You will not find that info here either. When you come across a post or article that is divulging all their data about their account then my instincts would tell me that it was a fake or a scam. Don’t get fooled by screen shots and pictures of earnings. These can be manipulated in Adobe Photoshop in a matter of moments. Google does allow participants to disclose their total earnings, but not the data behind those earnings. No sane publisher making good money at Adsense is going to risk having their account shut down for violating Google’s TOS just to tell some total stranger too much about how they did it.
The ideas behind Adsense are pretty simple, but if you are going to use it get prepared to do your homework. Google has all the information in the world, but it does not really have a customer support to speak of. There is a forum available, but the rest you will just have to dig through their site to find what you need. Don’t be discouraged, with a little persistence you will be up and running in no time.