Monday, April 6, 2009

How To Really Make Money With Google Adsense

Every guide I’ve read about making money with Adsense is about the same - they tell you that all you have to do is:
  1. Put some Google ads on a web page.
  2. ‘Drive’ traffic to the web page (what does this even mean?).
  3. Sleep all day and watch the money roll in.
The problem with all of these guides is that they leave out all the important steps. They aren’t going to give you a real road map that tells you how to get the traffic. They aren’t going to tell you what types of traffic to go after. They aren’t going to tell you which niches pay. They aren’t going to give you all of the classic pitfalls that 99% of the ‘make money onlinerz’ fall into.

Making Money With Adsense Can Be Complicated
I’m going to just say it straight up - learning to make money with Google Adsense can be pretty complicated. A lot of things can go wrong and you need to learn what these things are so that you can avoid them.
I started making money with Google Adsense over four years ago and honestly, I have a pretty good grasp of the problems that you can run into. I want to outline some of the things that can get in your way, and then provide you with some of the solutions I’ve been able to come up with.
Creating A Web Page
One of the hardest parts of making Adsense money is learning how to create webpages/websites. If you’re going to make money this way, creating web pages is a necessity.
When I first started, I had to learn to create pages using HTML. This was an extremely tedious process. It took me months and hundreds of hours of work to put my first site together. I would skip this step completely.
If you’re just starting out, I would recommend first learning to create sites with Blogger. Blogger is 100% free and fairly easy to use. Many people are already using Blogger to create family type blogs and the transition into making money with it is fairly simple.
A temptation that you’re going to have when you start with Blogger is that you’re going to want to create the perfect looking sites. Don’t do this. I would pick one of the introductory templates and stick with it until you’re making a healthy income. Spending a ton of time on the look of your site won’t help with traffic and trust me, traffic will be the biggest hurdle you have to overcome.
Once you have mastered Blogger, you can start to learn how to use a similar program called WordPress. Learning WordPress will allow you to create sites on domains that you buy and this will give you a little more flexibility with your site.
There honestly isn’t a huge need to ever leave Blogger. I know a lot of people that make great money using Blogger to create sites that are monetized with Adsense.
Getting Traffic
Bringing traffic is definitely the most important skill of anyone who wants to use Adsense to make money. This isn’t exactly something that we can cover in a single article, but I want to give you the basics so that you can get started.
The most important thing you need to know about getting traffic for Adsense is that organic search traffic is the only way to go. Social traffic blows for Adsense. Social visitors won’t click on your ads and even if they do, they’re junk leads for the advertisers buying the clicks. If the people that click your ads aren’t a good fit for the advertisers, Google will pay you less (considerably less) than people who provide better leads.
People that are searching in Google for information on a certain topic are by far the best fit for Adsense ads. For example, let’s take a person that searches for ‘How To Get Student Loans’ in Google. They are probably a student that needs financial aid right? So they find your web page about ‘How To Get Student Loans’, where they find an ad that offers a good rate on a student loan and !CLICK!, you have yourself a couple bucks.
This scenario creates a win-win. The advertiser bought the right kind of visitor and you got paid for it. Social traffic on the other hand won’t be a good fit for this advertiser. Sure, some students may find your page socially, but amongst the social visitors will be mostly people that aren’t the best fit. This will lower the amount of clicks you can get from social traffic and will also be providing consistently poor leads for advertisers. This means Google is going to pay you a lot less than they will pay people that can get search traffic.
Getting organic search traffic from Google and other search engines is obviously a matter of getting ranked for keywords that people are searching for. If you come up #1 in Google for a popular keyword phrase, a lot of people are going to click into your site and they will be exactly the type of people you need.
Google, Yahoo, and MSN are the ‘big three’ search engines and they are getting a lot closer to each other than they used to be. Getting ranked in all three of them take the same basic strategies. You have to put the right content on the page using onsite SEO, and then work on getting links that will strengthen your rankings. Each of these search engines use links in a major way to determine which web pages are the best.
In the last four years, I have chased almost every type of traffic out there and honestly, organic search traffic is the only type that’s worthwhile if you want to make money with Adsense. If you want to get started in the search traffic game, I will recommend you to read Introduction To SEO.
Another traffic related issue that you can run into is going after the wrong keywords. If you choose the wrong keywords, they may not really be worth much. They can actually be worth nothing if they never bring you any traffic, and they can also be worth very little by way of click prices. If you’re only getting $0.01 per click, it’s going to take a load to make anything at all.
I’m not going to outline all of the concepts here, so you’re going to have to read some of the other articles I linked to to learn these concepts.
Adsense Optimization
The next problem you can run into is not getting enough people to click your Google ads. Optimizing your Adsense can be a lengthy process, but it’s almost always worthwhile. Obviously if you can get more people to click, you get paid more from the same amount of traffic. Here are the basics of how I make sure I get my Adsense properly optimized:
1. Test placement first. On every site I have, I start by first testing the placement of my ads. There are three main placements that have worked for me. The first is the 336×280 large rectangle placed above the page titles like Griz from Make Money For Beginners does. This is by far my favorite placement and usually does a great job of getting a high percentage of search visitors to click an ad. The second placement I like is the same large rectangle ad unit with the text of the page wrapping around it. The third I like is the 728×90 leaderboard stretched across the top of the page.
In order to test between these three placements, it’s very simple. You will give each placement 500 impressions worth of search traffic and you will go with the one that gets the most clicks. Yes, it’s that simple.
2. Test colors second. Once you know which placement will get the most clicks, it’s time to test colors. I usually test a few different colors, the first being the same color that your site uses for links. If your links are green, use green. If they’re blue, use blue. This generally helps the ads to blend in and that’s a good thing. After I test the matching link color, I will usually test a generic blue (color #OOOOFF). This one still works well, as it’s the color people most associate with links. I will then thirdly test a color very opposite to my site’s links. I will give each color 500 impressions and will go with the one that produces the most clicks.
The background color I go with always matches the theme exactly and I never test anything else (not that I haven’t tested different colors before - I certainly have). Matching backgrounds almost always get more clicks.
Making money with Google Adsense is simple if you can learn all of the concepts. You have to learn keyword research, onsite SEO, offsite SEO and link building, and Adsense optimization. If you can do that, you’ll do great with Adsense.

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