Google AdSense is a contextual advertising program that allows you to run ads on your website or blog, or YouTube videos, and get paid when when visitors click on them. The ads are generated from businesses that use Google’s AdWords program.
The Google AdSense program has several great advantages including:
- It’s free to join.
- Eligibility requirements are easy, which means you can monetize your website or blog even when it’s new.
- There are a variety of ad options and several you can customize to fit the look and feel of your site.
- Google pays monthly (if you meet the $100 threshold) by direct deposit.
- You can run ads on several websites from one AdSense account.
- There are options to run ads on mobile devices and RSS feeds.
- You can easily add it to your YouTube and Blogger accounts.
With that said, there are a few drawbacks to AdSense as well:
- Google can terminate your account in an instant, and it’s not very forgiving if you break the rules.
- Like all forms of online income, you need targeted traffic in order to make money.
- When people click on an AdSense ad, you do make some money, but your visitor also leaves your site.
- It doesn’t necessarily pay more than other similar programs.
AdSense is a great monetization option, but it’s not a get-rich-quick or make-money-doing-nothing option. Further, Google has a lot of rules that aren’t always noticed upfront.
As a result, many website owners found out the hard way that they’d violated a Google policy, and have lost their account forever.
Types of AdSense Ads
Google offers a variety of ad types to run on your website:
- Text ads use words, either as an Ad Unit (one offer) or a Link Unit (list of offers), and come in a variety of sizes. You can customize the color of the box, text and link.
- Image ads are graphic ads. They come in a variety of sizes. You can choose an option that mixes both text and image ads.
- Rich media ads include HTML, Flash or other interactive feature.
- AdSense for Search allows you to have a Google search box on your site. When a user enters a term and conducts a search, a search results page opens with AdSense ads. You can customize the color scheme of the search results page to harmonize with your web site.
Google AdSense Payments
Google pays monthly through direct deposit or check, but will not issue an AdSense payment until your earnings reach or exceed $100. If you don’t earn it in one month, your earnings roll over and are added to the next month. Each time you reach the $100 threshold, Google will issue a payment on the next payment period. Through your AdSense account, you can see your current earnings, what ads are generating the most clicks, and more.
Making Money with AdSense
Making a significant amount of money with AdSense requires a plan. Here are tips for maximizing AdSense revenue:
- Read and adhere to Google’s rules. Webmasters must comply with Google’s webmaster policies as well as the AdSense program policy.
- Don’t click on your own ads or ask others to click on them. Incentivizing clicks, buying Pay Per Click (PPC) space, or using a program designed to drive traffic to AdSense pages are against the rules.
- Have great content your target market wants to read.
- Use honest, organic traffic building website promotion techniques, especially search engine optimization and article marketing.
- Test ad types and placement to find the options that lead to the most income.
- Read email from Google, especially if it’s sending a warning about something it doesn’t like on your site. Failure to deal with Google’s complaints will lead to termination of the program.
Dealing with Competitors’ or Questionable Advertisements
If you offer products or services on your website, you may find that some ads Google delivers come from your competitors. Another issue that can occur is ads that may not be completely legitimate or they might offend your market. To prevent these offers from showing up on your site, Google AdSense allows you to specify up to 200 URLs you want to bar from appearing on your site.
The challenge of this is two-fold.
- You don’t know what ads are running on your site until you see them there. Plus, with each page load, and depending on the visitors browsing history, the ad may not show up again or it might appear in a different spot.
- Since you can’t click on your own links (to the get the URL), you need to be careful about obtaining the URL to block. The best way is to right click the link, select “Copy Link Address,” and paste it into a document or text editor (i.e. Notepad). The Google URL is really long, but you’re looking for the section that identifies the advertiser. Copy that link, and paste into your AdSense blocked ads account.
Other Programs Besides AdSense
There are many ad network programs similar to AdSense, such as Media.net and InfoLinks. Some might require a traffic threshold, so you’d need to wait until your site was established. Most have similar rules to Google, such as a limit to the number of the network’s ads per page (usually 3) and termination for clicking your own ads. In most cases, you can run different ad networks on your site without violating terms of service, but you’ll want to read the rules of each network before doing it. Further, you want to avoid your site becoming so overwhelmed with ads that your readers can’t find the content.