Over the years at FE International we have found an increasing number of website owners coming to us wanting to sell their sites monetized with AdSense. Usually, only larger companies have a dedicated team in place to sell ad inventory directly so smaller sites tend to rely on ad networks such as Google AdSense to generate revenue.
The draw of AdSense which has made it a go-to revenue stream for those starting up online is the ease of setup (in just a few hours) and the speed at which you will start to see the pennies roll in. However, optimizing AdSense to ensure that you, your visitors and advertisers get the most out of your site is a far more in-depth process.
Below we have put together a list of 30 tips, tricks and experiments to help you make more money through AdSense and over time increase revenue for when you decide to sell your website.
AdSense Tips and Quick Fixes
We have found that the official guide offered during the signup process for Google AdSense to be fairly limited and does not offer much useful advice. Some of the tips below may come across as obvious to the more experienced website owner, you will be amazed at how many people are missing out on the low hanging fruit of these AdSense quick fixes.
- Use Standard Sized Units – There are more than a dozen ad units that Google lets Partners choose between. However using the most common sizes (i.e. 300×250, 728×90 or 160×600) will give AdSense a wider range of advertisers from which to choose from.
- Allow Text & Images – You can choose within AdSense to either restrict an ad unit to “images only” or allow both text and image ads. Permitting both will give AdSense a deeper pool of ads to choose from, and should in-turn increase your click through rates and earnings.
- Make the most of Link Units – These are one of the most widely underused AdSense options that have the potential to out-earn leader boards and rectangles. By placing up to three link units on a page you can give your site a quick and effective ad revenue boost.
- Placing Ad Units above the Fold (ATF) – This may seem obvious, but the closer to the top of the page that your ads are, they more likely they are to be viewed and clicked (plus the more money you should earn).
- Relative Positioning – While placing ads above the fold is generally advantageous for revenue, the relative positioning of an ad (i.e.what they’re placed next to) can be more important than their explicit location. (Think about call to actions around the ad or positioning an Ad in an area that is likely to be clicked). Be careful with this – See tip #27 for more info.
- In-Dashboard Health – In your AdSense partners account you will see a ‘scorecard’ widget that highlights your revenue optimization score. This tool is simple and generic but it’s worth checking you have the highest possible score or digging a little deeper if not to fix any errors.
- Supplementing AdSense – AdSense only allows for a limited number of ad units per page. However, in some cases pages can easily accommodate more ads without overwhelming your visitors. If you are looking to increase your revenue and think your site could do with more ad units, you can always supplement your AdSense units with ads from a competing providers such as media.net.
- Set up a Custom Search Engine – This is a great way to get more AdSense units on your site as a custom search engine will usually see very high RPMs (although the traffic is relatively light).
- But, beware of overdoing it – When AdSense earnings begin rolling in it becomes easy to make bad decisions that can be detrimental to your site in order to generate additional revenue. What may seem like a short term win to you can damage your long term earnings and returning traffic.
AdSense Ideas to Experiment With
We believe that the easiest pathway to success with AdSense is having the ability to experiment with what works best for your site and your audience. As one website’s audience will be entirely unique from another, it is impossible to give you suggestions that are universally applicable to every niche. However we have put together some idea for experiments to get you started and help you figure out what works best for you.
- Change the size of your ads – Experimenting with replacing 300×250 ad boxes with 300×600. This small increase in ad size will allow you to devote more prime real estate and deliver more eye catching ads with better calls-to-actions (hopefully translating into higher click through rates). Similarly, changing the leader board size from 728×90 to 970×90 helps ads stand more to your new and returning visitors. However (as stated in point 1) if you use these unique sized ad units it may limit the number of advertisers that you have to choose between.
- Changing the colors of your Ad Units – A simple suggestion, but spending time finding the optimal combination of text/background and border color can be time consuming but can result in huge rewards to your AdSense earnings. Changing link unit colours from the standard blue to a color more in keeping with your site can also be very effective.
- Put a Link Unit Under your Navigation Bar – This is inline with Google AdSense’s terms of service and could become a big earner for your site very quickly.
- Inserting Banner Ads Into Your Text – An effective way of attracting attention to your banner ads is by inserting them into content. You can try out different positioning within your text to see what receives the most engagement.
- Moving Leaderboards Down – Leaderboards (728×90 ad units) are commonly placed at the very top of the page with the intention of making it the first thing people see. However when visitors instantly scroll down, the Ad is lost. One solution to this is placing the ad just above the title of the article so it is in view for longer with a higher change of engagement.
- Google Experiments? – It’s very easy to A/B experiments within your google AdSense account. Meaning there is no reason not to have at least one experiment going at all times in order to find out what converts best for your site.
- Shift From Right to Left – As most people in the world read from left to right, it makes sense that content on the left of your site is viewed more than that on your right. (I.e. if you have a skyscraper ad unit on the right side of the page, try experimenting with moving it to the left).
- Put Ads in the Comment Section -This is one part of the site generally well below-the-fold, but an area that also received a very high level of engagement (great for ad visibility and potential earnings).
- Aligning Ads With your Content –If your ad is adjacent to an intro video for example, when visitors expand the video to watch it the ad will be pushed out of sight. An answer to this could be moving the ad further down the page to stay in view.
- Shut Off Other Revenue Streams – As highlighted in point number #7 we generally encourage running other types of monetization efforts besides traditional AdSense banners to supplement and diversify your income. However, to analyse the impact on your AdSense performance it may be worth shutting these off to see if lower paying monetization tricks might be cannibalizing your higher paying opportunities.
Our Technical AdSense Tips
In addition to many of the design based elements highlighted above for increased revenue, we have some ‘behind the scenes’ tweaks that can help your entire Ad Serving process run a lot more smoothly. Increasing your websites speed, optimizing your site appearance on mobile devices and taking advantage available analytics/ reporting methods can all be advantageous to your overall income.
- Top Performing Ad Units First in your HTML – Ads are filled on a first come, first served basis by AdSense. This means that if you have your best performing ads first in the HTML, you will ensure that they are shown to viewers first.
- Optimize for Mobile Traffic – It may come as a surprise to some what a high percentage of traffic to your site comes from mobile devices (and it’s growing rapidly). Be sure to visit your site from your reader’s perspective to understand your ad unit experience, if it’s sub-optimal, there may be some quick fixes for you here to improve the user experience.
- Mobile Friendly Ad Partners – Lots of ad networks (i.e. media.net) now adjust ads automatically to render in a logical way for mobile devices. You’ll be pleased to hear that no extra work is required for this, it’s the same code that powers traditional desktop ads.
- Improve your Load Speed – Slow loading ads on your site will not only drag down the performance of your ads, but of your site as a whole.
- Try out Mobile Anchor Ads – AdSense can now offer mobile optimized partners Mobile Anchor Ad’s that will sticks to the bottom of the mobile device screen as the user scrolls.
- Where Possible, Use Responsive Ads – Another option is Google’s responsive AdSense code. Using this you can enable your site to dramatically change the size of ads displayed based on the user’s screen.
Getting to know your AdSense Reporting – AdSense features an extremely detailed, flexible reporting interface where you can break down information about your conversions. Taking the time to truly understand all of the data available to you will help you become a much better ad optimizer.
How to Get Banned From AdSense!
In this post we’ve taken you through what you should be doing in order to make money with AdSense. However we also thought it may be useful to highlight what not to do when you begin optimizing and experimenting with your display Ad revenue.
- Disguising Your Ads – As a rule of thumb, your ads should never be deceptive. It’s difficult to define this one as you can see from our points above that there are countless different variations of ad sizes and positioning. It should always be obvious to your readers that the ads they are clicking on are ads. If you are being misleading by giving them the impression a link leads to another section of your site for example – this may lead to google penalties.
- Talking About Your Ads – In line with their terms and conditions Google doesn’t want you to share much information about your trials and triumphs with AdSense. Publishers like yourself are not allowed to share any confidential information such as CPMs or CTRs. However, you are allowed to discuss the percentage change in earnings (i.e. from changes you may have made to your site) you should always avoid specific amounts and rates as this could also leave you in hot water.
- Don’t Think Short Term – As we mentioned in point #9, you should always put your visitors first and think about the bigger picture (especially if you are looking to one day sell your site). You may come across opportunities to generate easy additional earnings that come at the expense of users experience and the long term prospects of the site. It is important to keep a close eye on any metrics that may be effected by your AdSense experiments such as your visitor’s time on the site and bounce rates.
So How Do You Make Money With AdSense?
As a website owner you can easily get caught up in the everyday running of your site and underestimate the value of taking the time to optimize your ads properly in order to improve your business. Even the most modest of improvements in a few key performance metrics can dramatically increase your earnings overtime (especially as your traffic grows). We urge you to experiment and try out these tips for yourself – be sure to leave a comment below letting us know how you get on!