Google's Adsense is one of the most powerful weapons in website publisher's arsenal. It enables you to monetize your sites easily and if used properly can generate a very healthy income. However, if you're not using it properly and maximizing the income you squeeze from it, your leaving money on the table – something we all hate doing.
Boosting your return from Adsense can be done very easily and quickly, and you'll be amazed by the results.
I ran Adsense on my sites for over a year before I discovered these techniques, and like many people, I though I was doing pretty well. My clickthrough rates and CPM figures were very healthy, and I didn't honestly think that they could be improved a great deal. How wrong I was. Immediately after I implemented a few quick changes my clickthrough rate more than doubled, and by doing some fine tuning I manged to get nearly three times as many people to click on the ads as had been previously doing so.
The first technique is one that was ‘discovered’ by the amazingly helpful Debs, on SiteSell's SBI! forums. When I read it originally, it made sense and I decided to goive it a go, but I wasn't prepared for the immediate impact it would have on my income. It involves making only a few simple changes to the format and positioning of your Adsense ads.
Firstly, forget about using banners or skyscrapers. These ad formats are almost universally ignored by surfers. Why? Because we've all been conditioned to recognise a skyscraper or banner as an advert and as these adverts are rarely of any interest, we ignore them. What's needed is a way of integrating Adsense ads into the editorial on your site as seamlessly as possible. To do this you need to do three things:
1. Use the 250 x 250 rectangle format 2. Make the background color of the ad the same as the background color of your site, or as close to it as possible. 3. Make the ads borderless by setting the border color to be the same as the background color of the ad.
Now, you need to position your ads where surfers are most likely to click on them. Research using retina scanning technology has shown that the place that surfers tend to look at first and most often is the top left. I don't know the reasons for this, perhaps it's because that's where we're used to seeing the most useful search engine results (at the top of the rankings) and search engines are the sites we most often visit, so we automatically look at the same place on other sites.
Whatever the reasoning, as soon as I made the above changes to my Adsense ads, clickthrough rates doubled, immediately.
The second technique is much newer and one which is entirely based on my own experience. Google has recently added a new type of Adsense format, called Adlinks. This displays a series of links on your page in the same style of Ad unit as regular Adsense ads. When a user clicks a link they are taken to a page of adverts that resembles regular Google search results. As a publisher, you are paid every time a user clicks one of those ads.
Adventurous soul that I am, I jumped in with both feet and started to trial Adlinks on my most visited pages as soon as it was launched. I'm using the four links in a square box format, positioned top left of my page content. After a few weeks of running Adlinks alongside regular Adsense ads, it's clear that the return on Adlinks is about a fifth to a quarter higher than regular ads. There's no clear reason for this but one explanation may lie in the fact that clicking on an Adlink takes the user to page of ‘results’. When a user clicks on one of these, you are paid for the click. If the user finds what they want, great, if not, it seems that they hit the Back button on their browser and try again, just as you would for normal search engine results. Then they click on another result, and you get paid again. So it's possible to be paid more than once from the same Adlink click. Now, this reasoning is speculative, but it does make perfect sense in the light of my Adlinks results.
Finally, Adsense has some excellent tracking statistics that allow you to track your results across a number of sites on a site by site, page by page, or just about any other basis you choose. This is a very powerful tool and you should use it to find out which ads are performing best for you and fine tune your Adsense and Adlink ads accordingly.
So you see, by spending an hour or so of your time making a few adjustments to the Adsense ads on your sites, you can very quickly treble your Adsense income. Give it a go, you'll be amazed by the results.
Kenny Hemphill is the editor and publisher of The HDTV Tuner and has been making money from Adsense for two years.