Friday, July 18, 2008

Google AdSense Tips

1.Don't put ads on empty pages.
When I reworked my site, I built a skeleton set of pages that had no content, just titles and some meta tags. I displayed ads on those pages, however. Although all you see are public service ads at first, the very act of displaying ads on a page causes the AdSense web crawler to quickly fetch that page for analysis. A page with good content will thus begin showing relevant paying ads fairly quickly.
If you don't have any content, then, Google will have to guess as what your page is about. It may guess wrong, and so the ads that it displays may not be relevant. You'll have to wait until Google re-crawls the site for the ads to correct themselves. Here is what Google had to say when I asked them about how often the AdSense crawler updates a site:
Thank you for taking the time to update your site. New ads will start appearing on your site the next time our crawler re-indexes your site. Unfortunately at this time, we are unable to control how often our crawlers index the content on your site.
Crawling is done automatically by our bots. When new pages are added to your website or introduced to the AdSense program, our crawlers will usually get to them within 30 minutes. If you make changes to a page, however, it may take up to 2 or 3 weeks before the changes are reflected in our index. Until we are able to crawl your web pages, you may notice public service ads, for which you will not receive any earnings.

2: Don't be afraid to ask questions
If you're wondering about something, don't be afraid to ask Google. So far, they've always responded to my questions within a working day. There are two email addresses to use, depending on the type of question:
Please feel free to email us at if you have additional technical questions or concerns. For general program or account questions, please email
Their responses are always very polite, and they appreciate getting problem reports and suggestions.

3: Avoid non-English characters on English pages
This one is a bug, to be honest. My surname is French, and I prefer to write it out correctly with the accent grave on the first "e". Every page on my site would then include at least two accented letters, because my name shows up twice in the footer. On some pages my name shows up two or three more times.
Normally, this wouldn't be an issue. But on some pages the presence of the accented characters is enough to cause AdSense to display non-relevant ads in French. This happens whether the browser indicates a preference for French or not. When I reported this to Google, this is the answer they gave me:
Hello Eric,
Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.
We are currently working as quickly as we can to address this problem. As soon as we have more information for you, we will email you again.
We appreciate your patience.
The Google Team
Until this is resolved, I've decided to strip out all accents except on the pages that are actually in French.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Google Adsense tips to overcoming Smartpricing and maximizing your earnings

Almost everyone has probably heard of AdSense by now, if not then I am pretty sure you have seen AdSense and may have not even known what it was. To explain AdSense, I must first tell you a little about ' AdWords ', Adwords is a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising system that is available through Google the search engine. You create a small text ad, which is placed on Google's search result pages, the ads match your websites subject or content. You bid or set a fee that you are willing to pay Google every time someone clicks on your ad, this is a great way to get highly targeted traffic that can turn into sales, subscribers, or whatever you are trying to achieve with your website traffic.
Now that I have explained Adwords, I can now tell you about AdSense. AdSense makes it possible for website owners to earn money by simply letting Google place ads on their web pages. AdSense ads can be either text or images, the ads can be altered to blend into the webpages, so they don't make your site look junky or poorly designed. AdSense ads are highly relevant to the content of most webpages, for instance if you place AdSense ads on a webpage that sells Coins, you will get ads about selling coins or other coin related subjects.
Every time a website visitor clicks on one of the AdSense ads on your webpage, you earn money, and every month after your first balance reaches one hundred dollars, Google will send you a check or you can have the money deposited into your checking account. The AdSense program is a great way to earn extra money if you have a website, it's easy to make a few dollars every day, and some folks are making thousands of dollars per month doing it.
When I first started Adsense, I placed the ads on my webpages and it wasn't very long until I had made a small amount of money, a few days later my account balance had grown even more. I was pretty happy, but I thought to myself, after reading a lot of articles, I am not making nearly as much money as others are making with AdSense, something must be wrong.
Then I thought, maybe my website doesn't get the traffic that the others are getting ? I chatted with a lot of people on the internet that were in the program, and I discovered that the amount of visitors I get, was higher than some of the traffic they receive. You may think that 200 - 400 unique visitors a day is low for website traffic, you are very wrong, the average website gets a lot less per day, especially if your website is only a few months old or is not optimized for the search engines, or it's subject matter has a very low search demand.
If my website was getting a nice amount of traffic or visitors, why was my AdSense earnings so low ? The first thing that I discovered that was wrong was ' adsense ad placement ', that's right, you have to study each webpage's layout that you plan on placing the ads on. Wherever your webpage has sections or areas that grab and hold the visitors attention, this is a prime area to place a section of AdSense ads, in other words, place the ads on your webpages where folks will notice them.
We are currently allowed to place up to 3 different AdSense ad sections or groups on each webpage. I found after some testing that the best places for my ads are, just under the title or sub-title, near the middle of the page, and near the end or bottom of my page. If you place one section of AdSense ads near the top of your webpage, folks entering your site will probably notice the ads, and if they scroll down a ways and theres more ads, that increases the odds that they will notice them also.
Probably the best place to place one section of ads is at the bottom of your webpages, right after your last bit of text or interesting reading, but make sure you place the ads before any other links, because when visitors are ready to leave your site, they may leave by clicking on one of your ads, earning you money, and if you have other links showing before your ads, they may leave your site by clicking on one of them. So after I studied the layout of all my webpages, I went back through and repositioned the AdSense ads, almost immediately I noticed my earnings increased.
I left my webpages alone, and about three months later I received my first check in the mail, it wasn't a lot of money but still for really doing no physical work I was very glad to get it. My earnings slowly started getting better and better after that first check, the next month I received another check, then the following month I got another and so on. After having been in the AdSense program for about 8 months, and chatting with more folks who were also in the program I found that my earnings were still low compared to some other people.
I then discovered another method that increased my earnings even more. I noticed that my ads stood out from the rest of my webpages text and content. I had always thought, I should make my ads a different color than my webpages background so folks would notice my ads, and click on them, I was totally wrong.
Almost everyone that has been on the internet for any length of time, has become so accustomed to seeing banners and other flashy ads that almost everyone now has what is called 'ad blindness', that is, when they visit a site they are automatically turned off or they ignore anything that looks like an ad.
I used the Adsense editor and I changed my ads background and border colors so they matched the background color of my webpages, and I changed the text color of the ads so they matched the text color of my webpages content. The ads blended in very well, to me they were barely noticeable from the rest of my webpage, but right away the number of clicks on the ads increased, and the earnings went up even more.
I left my webpages alone and for another couple months my earnings stayed about the same, I was content with the results, but my earnings were still not as good as some of the other folks who received roughly the same amount of traffic that I did. Then I found out that they had done something else to their AdSense ads, something that made the ads seem to really get peoples attention, they were placing images near the ads, it seemed adding images made the ads look unique and it helped make the amount of clicks on them rise.
So I searched the internet and I found some little icons and images that matched the content of my webpages, and near where the Adsense ads were shown, I displayed the images by adding a simple html image tag. I asked google if adding the images was within the AdSense rules, and I was advised that they were fine as long as they didn't make folks click on the ads, by this I mean, you cannot have a flashing sign that says, ' click these ads ', or you shouldn't have a scantily dressed girl pointing to the ads saying ' make me happy - click here ' or stuff like that, just make some nice little images that pertain to your webpages content.
The next couple months or so, my earnings still continued rising slowly. By this time, besides my regular webpages I had been working on several BLOG's pertaining to different subjects, so I thought I might as well place AdSense ads on all of my blogs also and make even more money. For a couple weeks my earnings went up quite a bit, and I was very happy, then all of a sudden, just like someone turning off a switch, my AdSense earnings plummeted.
I was now making in a day, what I had made when I first joined the program, what the heck happened I thought to myself ? My traffic was still slowly rising, the number of clicks was rising, but for some strange reason, the earnings per click, (EPC) had dropped a lot, it was horrible.
Then I learned that Google had introduced a new feature or system into the AdSense program, called 'smart pricing', 'smart pricing' automatically adjusts the cost of an ad click. Using Googles system of analyzing AdSense data, if it shows that a click from one of your webpages is less likely to turn into an online sale, or other business result for the Ad publisher, the amount you earn per click in AdSense is greatly reduced.
When 'smart pricing', was introduced, some AdSense users saw their EPC drop to as low as 3 cents a click, where before 'smart pricing', that same click might of earned them a dollar or much more, this was quite a drastic drop in earnings.
What is horrible about 'smart pricing', besides the earnings loss to AdSense users, is that one site or webpage can trigger it, and once triggered by that one webpage, it effects your entire account and every webpage you have will now earn substantially less per click. Remember awhile back when I had added AdSense Ads to my BLOG's, that seemed to be what had triggered smart pricing for me.
The BLOG's were on numerous subjects, but they were not business or real professional sites, so hardly any business results such as sales, occurred from folks clicking the ads on these sites. After I removed the Adsense ads from the BLOG's, it took about a week, then I noticed that the EPC was once again climbing back up, yes the 'smart pricing', spell had been broken.
If you are thinking about trying AdSense, or if you are already in it, beware of the smart pricing curse, or if it has already effected your earnings, try removing AdSense ads from your webpages a few pages at a time, the smart-pricing system is evaluated each week, so it will take a few days to see if you have removed ads from the page(s) that triggered it.
About the Author
Robert W. Benjamin has been in the software business on the internet for over 5 years, and has been producing low-cost software for the past 25+ years. He first released software on the AMIGA and C64 computer systems in the late 1970's-80's.

Google Smart Pricing: What Is It And Why It May Affect Your AdSense Earnings

If you have heard about Google Smart Pricing and are wondering what it is and how it may effect your Google AdSense earnings, here you may find some useful information and references.

Until now Google Smart Pricing has been a kind of well-kept secret as very few people have written, researched and inquired about it. Google has also been very hesitant in sharing any specific information about this program, active since already two or more years, officially to avoid online publishers paranoia and not to help dishonest individuals from taking advantage of the system.
"When Google first started, you basically just earned a certain percentage of whatever the AdWords advertiser was paying per click. It was pretty simple. If the advertiser paid $1.00 per click and if you as a publisher were earnings 50% of that, you made $0.50.
Google started to realize, though, that all clicks were not created equal. Clicks from some sites were more valuable than others, at least that’s what they figured. So they came up with an algorithm, a mathematical equation for determining how valuable your AdSense account, sites and pages are, and use that equation to determine what percentage you get per click."
Can Google Smart Pricing be a threat to your AdSense earnings? Should you run to make changes to your AdSense ad placement if you see a sudden revenue drop?
The answer is no. You are likely to be just victim only of some normal market price fluctuation, but understanding what smart pricing is, how it works and how it does affect some AdSense web sites is positively going to help you plan better your online marketing and monetization strategy.

Smart Pricing - Overview
Basically, Smart Pricing is a discounting scheme that Google applies to AdWords advertisers who are not having a sufficient return on investment for some of the ads in their campaign.
If an AdSense site does not convert effectively clicks into actual customers for the AdWords advertisers then Google may strongly discount clicks across your all AdSense account to supposedly compensate advertisers for the wasted ad investments.
Jensense, the AdSense expert reporter summarizes it like this: "Google's smart pricing feature automatically adjusts the cost of a keyword-targeted content click. So if our data shows that a click from a content page is less likely to turn into actionable business results - such as online sales, registrations, phone calls, or newsletter signups - we reduce the price you pay for that click."
Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration wrote:
"Basically, if you are a Google Adsense publisher running a network of sites, one low-performing website could cause Google to lower the ad prices (EPC) of all sites in your account.
Smart Pricing "black-box" techniques are definitely a cause of worry for Adsense publishers. I have personally seen my earning drop when I started showing Google Ads on another less-popular website. Once I removed ads from this website, it took about 7-10 days until my earnings graph hit the normal mark."
Smart Pricing has been devised for a number of reasons. The main one is probably the desire to increase advertisers spending on AdWords by providing an incentive for them to continue their less rewarding campaigns by heavily discounting their cost.
How does Smart Pricing work?
Smart Pricing takes into account how well visitors clicking on Google ads on your site, do later convert into real customers for the AdWords advertisers behind those clicked ads.
The overall principle is: When a Google AdWords set of ads, appearing on a partner AdSense site does not perform sufficiently well, (that is the advertiser sees little or no conversions after the clicks) Google tries to compensate the advertiser by discounting the cost of its CPC campaign clicks.
Therefore an online independent publisher using AdSense could see a sudden drop of revenues if Google Smart Pricing was one day to kick in.
The key aspect here is that Smart Pricing works across an entire AdSense account and not on a per page or per site basis. That is, you would not be discounted just for those bad performing ads, but for ALL OF THE ADS YOU DISPLAY ACROSS ALL OF YOUR WEB SITES.
On this very aspect, read what Amit Agarwal, a very successful online independent publisher (and an AdSense Premium partner) received in his email when he raised some concerns related to smart pricing to his AdSense account representative.
"I'm sure you know that Smart Pricing affects on an account level rather than affecting a particular website, based on it's performance.
Your website is an established blog, with quality traffic, and the chance of it getting Smart Priced is very low.
However, if you associate a new blog with your account, there is no guarantee on how it is going to perform, and based on that your account may or may not get Smart Priced.
Please factor in both these points, before you make a decision. If you are confident that the new blog will be akin to yours i.e. it will have great content, have quality traffic, and as a web property, it will be beneficial to our advertisers, then chances of it being threatened by Smart Pricing are very low."
(Source: Digital Inspiration)
But what else can affect poor conversion rates?
Poor conversions may be caused by poor contextualization, highly irrelevant ads on the site, by adding one new site to your AdSense account, by having too much unrelated content published, and according to some sources also by a too aggressive placement of ads (generating false, unintended clicks) or by excessive filtering of advertisers (I am not too sure of why this would be the case, but I'll keep inquiring).
This is why even just one poorly converting web site can trigger smart pricing to discount prices across an entire account, even when this involves multiple web sites "completely unrelated to the poorly converting one" (Source: Jensense), making it a potential financial disaster threat for those maintaining small or larger networks of sites.
As Google then discounts ads for those advertisers not making effective conversions, the question raises spontaneous about how Google tracks and monitors such effective conversions for its AdWords advertisers.
The official answer to this is that Google tracks conversions for smart pricing publisher accounts through advertisers data who have opted into AdWords Conversion Tracking.
But you as an online AdSense publisher " not have access to any of the data that would be used to determine which sites (if any) are converting better than others."
That's why one key problem in this whole story is also "the fact that AdWords advertisers do not and are not required to reveal their conversion data to Google.
Google gives them that ability, but a lot of advertisers do not use it, so Google has to try and “guess” at whether or not your clicks are converting for those advertisers." (Source:
As mentioned, the one good thing is that Smart Pricing kicks in and out every single week and therefore it is generally possible to snap out of it, once you are aware of its existence and have detected what could have triggered it.
What You Can Do To Avoid Google SmartPricing Affecting Your Site
From the online publisher viewpoint, if I have some pages that, while displaying AdSense ads, provide no conversion to the advertiser behind it (because the ads are not relevant to the readers of that page, or because the positioning of the ads made people click on them but they were not actually interested, etc.) I should promptly act on them by either:
a) dropping AdSense ads from displaying there (the loss of revenue could easily be made up with the re-established higher unsmart-priced CPCacross the rest of your account.)
b) optimizing, editing, improving page contents, adding more relevant information hoping that this can trigger better and more relevant ads from Google.
c) opening a separate AdSense account (difficult to do unless you have a second company) and assigning the guilty web site to it.
I know that in many cases this is difficult or next to impossible to do. This is why it is important to understand the logic of smart pricing and not to panic irrationally.
In most cases there is absolutely nothing to do. It is not smart pricing at work but just a normal market price fluctuation.
Secondly, a good thing to remember is that Smart Pricing is updated on a weekly basis. So, if you ever get hit, you can also easily get out of that situation as your reported click-stats to Google can inform in near real-time Google of your adopted changes and improvements.
While risky, removing ads from those suspected poorly converting web sites could result in seeing a positive adjustment to a higher smart pricing level in as little as a week or in as much as a month, as Google smart pricing is tracked with a 30 day cookie.
But be careful. Google recommends not making any such heavy changes unless you are really sure about what you are doing.
Identifying smart pricing at work is not an easy matter. Jensense reports that this is so "even using channels to differentiate sites because one site with a low CPM could actually be converting the highest, but is simply in a lower earning niche. But a publisher could mistaken a low CPM for also being poorly converting and remove those ads... which could result in even smart pricing reducing overall per click earnings even more."

Monday, November 12, 2007

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