Are you earning AdCENTS from Google Adsense on your niche blogs? Today I thought we would take a look at some ways to optimize your Adsense earnings on these blogs with a few tweaks. We’ll be looking beyond things like theme/template selection, ad placement and the like and into some less obvious areas.
You may have already heard of ’smart pricing’, where a very low click-thru rate along with some other factors may seriously reduce your Adsense earnings across all of your sites. However, there is also a more subtle form of ad pricing that Google uses on a per page basis. Google will rank your page based on several quality factors and this determines the percentage of the advertiser’s bid you will receive. Because of Google’s quality assessment you could be showing high priced ads and only making a small percentage on them. It can make the difference between earning 5 cents on a click or 50 cents or even 50 cents or 2 dollars.
Let’s look at some steps you can take to improve your chances at getting the best payouts for the Adsense ads you display on your niche blogs.
A Completed Site
Adsense rules already tell you that you shouldn’t place ads on under construction pages. Beyond that, you’ll often hear that you shouldn’t place Adsense on a brand new domain for 3 to 6 months and to even be cautious to some degree with a pre-owned site. Placing Adsense on a site too early, before all the pieces are in place, can result in it receiving a low quality score from the Google Adsense bot and it may take a while to get re-evaluated.
Part of the completion process should be indexing within the Google search engine. If your site hasn’t been indexed yet or, in the case of a pre-owned domain, not indexed with the updated content, don’t place your Adsense ads. This goes into the calculation of the quality of your site.
On that point, don’t use Adsense as a way to get your site indexed into Google. Some people suggest this but it doesn’t work all that well these days and will result in the site getting a lower quality score by the Adsense ‘bot.
The truly completed niche site will have all of the right elements in place and it will be receiving search traffic from Google prior to inviting the Adsense ‘bot in for an inspection. This will result in the best quality score and thus the best earnings.
Content is _________?
Yes, you can probably fill in that blank easily if you’ve read enough Internet Marketing blogs. But what do you need to do to crown your content king for the Google Adsense ‘bot?
While you can make things work with short content of about 100 words if you target everything exactly right, most sites will obtain the best quality score by having an article word count between 300 and 1000 words. But the word count isn’t everything. Your article should have a keyword density of 3 to 4 percent. Much higher than that and you may get downgraded for keyword stuffing, much lower and the ‘bot may not be able decide what ads to show and present unrelated ads or the dreaded public service announcements (PSA).
Secondly, the best results come from content that is of decent quality and unique. Content that doesn’t do well with Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) algorithms or is duplicate content in Google’s search index tends to get a lower quality score. You don’t have to be a great writer, you just have to produce content that relates to the targeted keywords and isn’t an exact dupe of 500 other pages across the Internet.
The Google Adsense evaluation ‘bot also prefers to see more than one page of related content when it spiders a site. For example, if your niche blog is highly targeted toward something like “professional widget cleaners” and has several closely related articles on that topic, you will stand a better chance of getting a high quality score than if you had a page on widget cleaning, a page on your pet dog and a page on local dentists.
Who Are You?
Having a contact page seems to greatly increase the credibility of the site in the Eval Bot’s eyes. It’s easy to add a contact page plugin to your WordPress blog and there are other alternatives you can use for static HTML niche sites and Blogger blogs. Even a page with rudimentary contact info like an email address should pass this test.
Having a Terms and Conditions page isn’t a hard and fast requirement although having one seems to help to some degree. This page could just state a few things like, “This information should not be construed as legal or medical advice and is presented for entertainment and informational purposes only.” Having a page labeled About with this same kind of basic information seems to serve the same purpose.
Inbound and Outbound Linking
OK, most people who’ve read a little bit about Internet Marketing know that you should have both quality and quantity inbound links to your site and how well it relates to its keyword. The Google Adsense Eval ‘Bot does take these inbound links into consideration in determining the quality of your niche site. If you have a lot of low quality, unrelated keyword anchored, inbound links you may get a lower quality score as compared to someone who has a few high quality, high authority, niche related anchored links. This makes sense, doesn’t it?
However, did you know that the Google Adsense Eval ‘Bot also takes outbound links into consideration? The Wii Playing, free cappuccino sipping, engineers at Google aren’t stupid and they know that a site with no outbound links and few, if any, internal navigation links is designed specifically to get Adsense clicks and they’ll downgrade the quality score of these sites. Having the basic on-site navigation is obvious but what kind of external links you should have?
I’ve found that having links to a few sites that seem to be well trusted by Google will help improve the perception of quality on the page. The big one is Wikipedia. Linking to a Wikipedia article on the topic at hand gives your niche blog a lot of credibility to the ‘bot. You know how much Google loves Wikipedia although it may be interesting to see how their new Knol service plays into this. Vic mentioned this one in his recent webcast, YouTube. Placing a YouTube video on your page can also help boost credibility to the ‘bot. Lastly, links to major news sources like CNN, ESPN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Yahoo News and so forth can help too. You can use CSS tricks to make these links less obvious to human visitors if you want but they should be there.
Looks like I’m just a few words shy of a $99 eBook with this article.
I’ve been applying these techniques to my older Adsense niche sites as part of cleaning up and improving them and I’ve been using them on some of the new niche sites I’ve been kicking off. So far, I’ve seen some considerable improvements in my earnings. If you have any ideas to add to the discussion I’d appreciate them and if you have any questions I’ll try to answer them.