A Beginner’s Guide to Google AdSense
What is Google AdSense?
AdSense is one of two large parts of Google’s advertising system. The other part is called AdWords.
AdSense is the platform that delivers advertisements to websites, YouTube videos, and other Google publishers across the internet. AdWords is the platform that helps advertisers create and publish advertisements on publisher’s websites.
In a more simple sense, AdWords is the platform that takes your money in exchange for advertisements, while AdSense is the platform that gives you money in exchange for hosting advertisements on your website.
Both services are free to join and anybody can sign up.
With AdWords, advertisers pay for each click an advertisement receives. This is called Pay-Per-Click advertising and it’s the most common type of online advertising on the internet today. With AdWords, website owners get paid for each click their advertisement receives.
Basically, an advertiser is paying a website owner to host advertisements on that site while Google is acting as a middleman. Google connects advertisers with relevant websites and takes a cut of the profit.
How much money can you make with Google AdSense?
There’s really no limit to how much money you can make with Google AdSense. Some websites make hundreds of thousands of dollars per month from advertising revenue, while others make only $5 or $10.
The amount of money you make depends on two things:
- The number of clicks your advertisements receive
- The Cost Per Click (CPC) of the advertisements
Cost Per Click is the amount you earn for each click. The more clicks you receive and the higher your CPC is, the more money you’re going to make.
CPCs vary widely in value. They depend on the type of advertisements. Legal advertisements and keywords, for example, tend to be worth a lot of money and the CPC can be as high as $10 or more. The vast majority of CPCs aren’t that high and range between 20 cents to $1.00.
Google takes a cut of every click an advertisement receives. That cut is approximately 32%. If a publisher is paying $1 for each click their advertisement receives, then you will receive 68 cents per click and Google will receive 32 cents.
32 cents may not sound like a lot of money. But multiply that by a few million clicks and you start to understand why Google is one of the world’s most successful and profitable companies.
How does Google choose which advertisements to display?
Google has made an entire business out of putting targeted advertisements in front of web searchers. They have become exceedingly good at it over the years and that’s why many people accuse Google of “stealing your information” or “selling your personal data to advertisers.”
In reality, Google collects information about your search trends and history and uses that data to decide which advertisements you’re most likely to click on.
If you’re an AdSense publisher, then Google primarily uses two things to decide which advertisements to display on your site: keywords and bidding.
Advertisers can bid different amounts for certain keywords. Google chooses the highest bid and puts the advertisement of the highest bidder on your site. At the same time, Google analyzes the keywords on each page to determine if the page is relevant to the advertisement.
Google also takes many other factors – including the quality of the advertisement and your own personal data – into account when displaying advertisements.
Ideally, Google wants its advertisements to appear in the following situation:
- Someone Googles the keyword “how to fix a computer”
- Google displays a list of relevant search results and web pages
- The searcher clicks on one of the relevant results and visits a webpage that explains how to fix a computer. That webpage has AdSense advertisements around the main content. Those advertisements are for PC software that promises to fix, clean, and speed up a PC. The searcher reads the content then decides to click on one of the advertisements Google has chosen to display.
- Everybody wins in this situation. The searcher solves his or her problem, the website owner makes money from AdSense, the advertiser makes money from software sales, and Google takes a cut of the profit.
Every day, this process is repeated millions of times across the internet.
What’s the best way to make money with Google AdSense?
As I said above, there are some people who make hundreds of thousands of dollars per month from AdSense and there are some who make just a few dollars.
The difference between these two people is about more than just traffic – although that’s part of it. There are websites that receive thousands of visitors every day and may only receive $5 in AdSense revenue by the end of the day. Another website might be able to convert that same traffic into more than $100 of daily AdSense revenue.
You will make more money from AdSense if your website features keywords from a competitive niche.
Advertisers will pay a lot more money for a search keyword like “best lawyer in Los Angeles” than they would for “best free solitaire game online.” While the first keyword might be worth $3 per click, the other keyword may only be worth pennies.
One click on a high-value advertisement may be worth hundreds of clicks on a low-value advertisement.
With that in mind, there are two broad ways to make a lot of money on Google AdSense:
- Get a few clicks on high-value advertisements
- Get a lot of clicks on low-value advertisements
When you read other AdSense guides around the internet, they often toss around 5 figure numbers like their nothing. They make it sound like every half-decent AdSense publisher is making $10,000 per month while sitting at their computer playing video games all day.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but most publishers will never make $10,000 per month.
Don’t let that discourage you! But you need to be realistic. If there was an easy way for anybody to sit at their computer making 5 figures, then everybody would be doing it.
Making a lot of money with AdSense takes creativity, intelligence, and, most importantly, a dedication to hard work.
If you have all three of those things, then there’s no reason why you can’t make a lot of money with Google AdSense.
How to build a website for Google AdSense
So you want to build a website and make money with Google AdSense.
One of the best tips any new AdSense user can get when building a new website is to build websites based on topics they’re interested in. Building a website about a topic you know and like is significantly easier than building a website on a foreign and confusing subject.
- You don’t have to spend as much time researching
- You get to enjoy your work
- You can carve out a niche and become a well-respected authority website
There are dozens of other good reasons, but those are the most important ones. The more you know about a topic, the more content you can write. The more content and traffic your website has, the more AdSense revenue you can earn.
Building a website isn’t nearly as hard as many people think. Ten years ago, you may have required in-depth knowledge of FTP, HTML, Java, and other web development topics. Today, even someone who can barely send an email should be able to create a website in under an hour.
Here are the basic steps to building a website with AdSense:
- Buy a domain
- Sign up for a web host
- Build your site’s content, pages, etc.
- Sign up for AdSense and post advertisements on your site using a plugin or coding
There are a number of ways to simplify each step. Many web hosting companies give new users a free domain upon signup, for example, which means you can skip step 1 and go straight for step 2.
Furthermore, Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress have made the content-producing side of things ridiculously simple. WordPress is the most popular CMS out there today, which is why most web hosts offer one-click installation of WordPress on all hosting accounts.
Unless you know web development coding languages, then you should use WordPress or the CMS of your choice to build your website.
WordPress is a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) platform. When you create a new page or new blog post, editing the content is extremely easy because everything you see on screen is what is going to be displayed on the page. If you’ve used programs like Microsoft Word before, then you won’t have any problem building an awesome website using WordPress.
Being a successful AdSense publisher doesn’t mean you need to know any coding languages or have in-depth knowledge about web development. Thanks to new online tools, building a website has never been easier than it is today.
Many of the world’s most successful AdSense publishers have never written a line of code in their lives.
How to join AdSense
If you’re building a website strictly for AdSense, then you shouldn’t sign up for AdSense right away. There’s no good reason to sign up for AdSense immediately after creating your site because your site won’t be attracting any traffic at that point in its life.
Instead, build your site and create at least 10 to 15 pages of good content. Write blog posts about your topic and create unique, original, and entertaining articles. Flesh out your menu system, fill out the sidebar, and consider creating a header logo.
Once you’ve made your site look presentable and filled it with valuable information, you can sign up for AdSense. There’s nothing stopping you from signing up for AdSense on day one, but you’re probably not going to see great results until you build out your website.
If you’re ready to sign up for AdSense, then go to http://adsense.google.comto fill out your application. Remember that it’s free to sign up for AdSense and they accept anyone – it’s a simple application which asks for basic contact information.
Once your application is complete and approved, you can start posting advertisements on your site. Google will provide you with HTML code from your AdSense menu after logging in.
You can customize your advertisements to display different color schemes and box styles. You can also choose to display only text ads, only image ads, or a combination of both.
As far as color schemes and box styles go, you want to choose a design that blends into your site. Contrary to what some might believe, you generally don’t want your advertisements to stick out from the rest of your site. We’ll explain more tips and tricks further down the page.
Google AdSense Tips and Tricks
Think of ways to attract traffic to your website
I’m going to share a “secret” about building a successful AdSense website: nobody is going to visit your website if you don’t give them a reason to visit.
As simple as this lesson may seem, many early AdSense users don’t understand it at all. They think writing a 400-word post a few times a week is going to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to their site.
Give your visitors a good reason to visit your website. Make them want to come to your site. There are countless ways to do that, but here are some tips:
- Tell your visitors how to solve a problem
- Create unique, interesting content about a popular subject
- Share your content on social media
- Post something controversial
- Use link baiting tactics to your advantage
- Create a website about a niche topic where few other websites have gone before
- Try to go viral on social media, or, at the very least, share all your content on social media to see what people like
Perform keyword research
Keyword research is an important part of any AdSense professional’s lifestyle.
Keyword research lets you spot important trends before they occur. It lets you capitalize on up-and-coming keywords and find niches which nobody else is talking about. It also lets you see if there are opportunities in popular high-volume niches where websites already exist.
You can use a number of online tools to perform keyword research. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is one popular keyword research tool – especially since the information comes from Google itself.
However, there are countless other online services and SEO companies which offer powerful keyword tools of their own.
When performing keyword research, there are four things to look for:
- Average Cost Per Click (CPC): This indicates the average value of an AdSense advertisement in that niche. The higher the Average CPC, the more money you’ll make per click.
- Monthly global search volume: Global monthly search volume indicates the approximate number of people searching for a particular keyword in an average month.
- Monthly local search volume: Google is getting more and more local. Just because a search term is dominated by powerful websites internationally doesn’t necessarily mean those websites will appear in first place on search rankings in your country. Look at local search volume to see if you can corner the niche on a particular keyword in your country. Local search volume is the number of people who search for a keyword each month in your country.
- Search trends: Some keywords will explode in popularity over a month and then disappear forever. Other keywords might spike at certain times throughout the year – like tax season or sports playoffs. Don’t get fooled by high or low keyword search volume in a single month – look at the past trajectory of that keyword’s search volume to get an idea of where it could go in the future.
Don’t be afraid to pick a micro-niche
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There are over 7 billion people on our planet. About 2.5 billion of those people use the internet on a regular basis.
With that in mind, there are very few topics that won’t interest at least someone on the internet. Even the most obscure niches could have an interested and dedicated following.
Don’t be afraid to create a website about an extremely niche topic. Perform keyword research to make sure there are at least some people searching for information about that niche online and then build a website.
Whether it’s vacuum cleaners, an old video game, or the search for extraterrestrial life, there are plenty of good niches out there waiting to be exploited – and there always will be.
Don’t make your advertisements look like advertisements
In this day and age, every internet user has seen an annoying advertisement. Most internet users have seen thousands upon thousands of advertisements over their years of browsing.
The average internet user has become extremely desensitized to the glaring pop-up advertisements that were common when the internet first became popular. Most internet users aren’t going to click on an advertisement if they think it’s an advertisement unless it offers something really good.
With that in mind, the best way to encourage people to click on your advertisements is to make them blend into the rest of your site. Use common box styles and colors across your advertisements and your website.
Why? So when people visit your website to solve a problem, they could see an advertisement that solves a problem. If that advertisement looks like an extension of your website, then visitors are more likely to think it’s a solution personally recommended by your site as opposed to a random advertisement.
Of course, not all sites work better with this policy. You might find that your site has a better Click Thru Rate if it has glaring and obvious advertisements. It depends on your niche and the type of visitors you receive.
Note: Disguising advertisements as actual navigation buttons on your site is a violation of the AdSense Terms of Service. However, making advertisements look like natural extensions of your site by blending box styles and color codes is perfectly fine.
Understand the power of SEO
I could write thousands of words about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and its importance to AdSense users, but I’m going to keep things brief here.
SEO lets your website rank at the top of search engines. When people search for keywords in your niche, SEO lets your site be the first thing people see on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Approximately 80% of searchers click on the top 5 Google Search results. If you’re in the top 5 search results for a high-value, high-volume term, then you’re going to make a lot of AdSense money.
As soon as you move away from the top 5 search rankings, you get smaller and smaller portions of traffic.
Of course, for extremely high-volume search keywords, even websites on the fifth, sixth, and seventh pages of Google Search could get enough traffic to make an AdSense campaign worthwhile. As mentioned above, it’s all about keyword research and identifying the potential value in a niche.
SEO is a highly technical profession that requires a strong understanding of Google’s terms of service as well as lots of competitor research. It’s not something anyone can master in a day or a month. But if you focus on learning SEO strategies month after month and year after year, then you’ll eventually see which strategies increase site rankings and which ones get your site punished.
The ultimate goal of SEO is to push your site to the top of Google for high-value, high-volume keywords. Once your site is firmly entrenched in this position, it should be attracting excellent daily traffic and earning lots of AdSense revenue for you.
Best of all, this AdSense revenue is passive income because your sites are attracting traffic without your immediate active involvement. That means you can spend more time focusing on building other AdSense websites.
Why aren’t my websites making lots of money with AdSense?
AdSense isn’t a get rich quick scheme. You can’t build a site in a day, throw some AdSense advertisements on it, then wait a month and go out and buy a Ferrari using your “hard-earned” cash. It’s not going to happen.
In spite of that fact, every day, thousands of people around the world ask themselves why they’re not making a lot of money with Google AdSense.
So why aren’t you making lots of money? Where’s your Google paycheck? What do you need to do differently? Here are some reasons why your site might not be making lots of money with AdSense yet:
You don’t have enough traffic
Traffic is the lifeblood of any successful AdSense website. No traffic means no clicks means no revenue.
There are plenty of reasons why your website isn’t receiving traffic. Some reasons might be fundamental to your website: you may have chosen a bad keyword or low-volume niche.
Other reasons are fixable: your social media marketing may be flawed, you may have bad content, or you may have chosen a slow web host.
Whatever the reason for your poor traffic may be, you need to fix that problem as soon as possible. The sooner you attract more traffic, the sooner you can start making lots of AdSense money.
You don’t have a good Click Thru Rate
Click Thru Rate (CTR) is the rate at which visitors click on your AdSense advertisements after visiting your website. This is the percentage of visitors who click on advertisements and effectively give you money.
The higher your CTR, the more visitors you convert into advertising dollars. Achieving a high CTR is a blend of science and art. It involves split testing and monitoring the behavior of your visitors.
You have unrealistic hopes and dreams
Google AdSense is like gambling: everybody loves to tell stories about the times they won big and earned lots of money, but nobody likes to talk about the times when they lost it all.
You don’t have to look far online to find empowering rags to riches stories of new internet millionaires. Every online marketing forum has members posting pictures of their extravagant houses, cars, and other awesome things.
Don’t get too caught up in the success stories of other AdSense professionals. Ignore them or use them for motivation, but understand this most important lesson above everything else:
Making money with AdSense is hard work and only a small fraction of users will ever make “a lot” of money with AdSense
Now here’s the good news: like everything in life, half the battle of making money with AdSense is just showing up. Work on your sites every day, research the latest trends, and contribute something valuable to the internet. If you can do that and stick to your goals, it won’t be long before you’re sharing your success story with the internet too.