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AdSense SEO

AdSense Tips Summary
by Vaughn Aubuchon

This page is a summary of Google Adsense tips.
If you are an AdSense publisher, you can increase your Adsense revenue, by using the following tips. Not all tips apply to every web page, but most do.

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AdSense Specific Tips

The TOS
Ad Types - PPC-CPM
Ad Format - colors
Ad Placement
Ad Performance Reporting
Adsense for Search
Advertisers - blocking
Testing
Ad Removal

AdSense Page Optimization

AdSense-like Appearance
Page Maintenance
Page Quality
Page SEO
Page Traffic
Page Targeting
Google Analytics

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AdSense Specific Tips

The TOS

Study and follow the AdSense TOS.
Do not jeopardize your participation in the progam.

CLICKING - NEVER, NEVER click on your own ads.
Never instruct others to click on your ads. (
Secrecy - Do not tell any friends or family members about your websites that have AdSense on them - they may try and "help you" by clicking on your ads, which can result in you being rejected from the program, with no recourse. Google can easily detect abnormal click patterns and IPs, etc. It may sound extreme, but it has proven to be good advice.)

APPEARANCE - DO NOT encourage clicks.
DO NOT place images next to Adsense ads.
DO NOT draw undue attention to the ads. No arrows, no flashing.
"Sponsored Links" is the ONLY acceptable text for introducing ads.

SITE CONTENT - DO NOT place prohibited content on your web pages. Read through the list to determine content that is not allowed.

COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL - DO NOT steal copyrighted material and place it on your web pages. Not only will you receive a "Duplicate Content" penalty, but you may receive a DMCA Cease and Desist order. If you get a couple of these, you are going to have a tough time getting your content indexed in Google.

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AD TYPES

TEXT ADS - When using the "Get Ads" feature, specify "Text Ads Only". Image ads are CPM ads, and pay very little - typically, ten for a penny. JUST ONE image ad wipes out 3 or 4 higher-paying text ads.

CPM ADS - The default condition is to serve CPM ads to everybody. Email Adsense to "opt out" of low-paying CPM ads. This will help you to make more money, because your high-paying PPC ads will not be displaced by low-paying CPM ads.

PSA ADS - Avoid Public Service Ads which literally pay nothing. If you are getting PSAs, check for "poison words" on your page, which can result in only PSAs being served. Also, sometimes called "stop words." If you cannot identify any poison words, consider specifying "Alternate Ads" in your "Get Ads" feature.

ALTERNATE ADS - Personally, I do not specify alternate ads, since I consider the lack of Adsense ads a personal failure - either in keyword selection, or in page quality. I keep changing things UNTIL I no longer see the PSAs. Google has paying ads for just about everything.

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AD FORMAT

BLENDING - Do NOT use borders.
Make the ad background color the same as the page background color.

TITLE LINK - Almost always, use the standard blue color for your Title Link. This works best overall, since most visitors easily recognize it as THE "link color."

AD TEXT COLOR - Use the same color for your ad text that you use in your body text. This aids in blending the ads, and makes them look more natural.

AD URL COLOR - I like green, just because it adds a little "color". Try other colors, too. Many prefer grey.

EXPERIMENT - From time to time, try changing your Adsense ad text colors to see if there is any improvement in CTR. If there is not, change them back to your old colors.

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AD PLACEMENT

NUMBER OF BLOCKS - Use only ONE ad block per page.
The 250x250 is best (IMHO), since
A. It shows a maximum of 3 ads, and
B. the text is
larger.

In general, the fewer the ads shown on your page, the more you will receive per click. Google will serve you the highest-paying ads first, then lesser-paying ads, as you add more and more ads. Google can also serve ads which have high-CTR rates, but pay very little (1 to 3 cents). You must filter these out. Arbitrage publishers create the highest CTR ads.

TOP CENTER - Place your single ad block at the top of the page, just below the title, near the center of the page (just like this page - removed for low performance).

Try other positions, to see if your CTR improves. Try the extreme left (menu-like) and extreme right (Google-like). Use the positioning that provides you with the highest CTR. Always place your ads "above the fold".

AD LINKS - Try Ad Links. I find them to be poor performers, but your experience may be different. Many publishers have good success with them. It all depends upon your site, subject and implementation. Try them at the very top, and at the very bottom of your page.

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AD REPORTING

CHANNELS - Assign one Adsense reporting channel to EACH page, so that you can observe the performance of each page. You cannot see the results of individual changes, if you use the same channel on multiple pages. This is especially important for your best-performing pages, which should be studied the most closely.

The higher your CTR, the more money you will make. Use the channel to determine the change to your CTR, when you make any page change. Let your CTR be your guide.

If you hit the 200 channel limit, disable your lowest-performing channels (pages), to free up room for new channels for testing. Luckily, I have been granted 500 pages.

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ADSENSE FOR SEARCH

SEARCH BOX - Add an "Adsense for Search" box to your index page, so that your visitor can quickly find what he/she is looking for on your site, AND the Internet.

In addition, you can get paid, if your visitor clicks on the search results.

Many publishers place an "Adsense for Search" box on every page. You may choose to do the same. For me, this is overkill.

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ADVERTISERS

BLOCKING - Use the Adsense Blocking Filter to block those ads which you find offensive, have spelling errors, or are MFA (Made For Adsense, of Made For Ads).

Block all ads from the giants, which pay very little, such as amazon.com, ebay.com, shopping.com, and target.com.

I also block ads which go from the specific to the general (less focused). For instance, if my page is about a heart diagram, I block ads for "diagrams" in general, which pay very low. No one who is looking for a heart diagram wants to see any other kind of diagram!

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TESTING

TEST, TEST, TEST - Do not believe everything that you are told. There are many misconceptions. You must find out for yourself, what works best on your pages. Sometimes, what you think is best, may not be true. Keep an open mind.

ONE DIFFICULTY - While you are testing, Google is testing too! Do not confuse the results of YOUR changes, with changes made by Google! WATCH what Google is changing at the same time that you are making changes. Google switches ads all the time. Be aware that any performance change may be due ENTIRELY to the ads that Google is currently serving you, and may not have anything to do with your changes.

MINIMUM TEST TIME - Don't jump to conclusions. One day is always inconclusive, due to random variation. There are definitely day-of-the-week variations. A week is a much better length of time to evaluate any change. But sometimes, the result of your change is SO BAD, that you don't have to wait a week. If the results are terrible, then switch back right away. There is no sense in throwing away money.

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AD REMOVAL

UNDERPERFORMING PAGES - Sometimes, you may have a VERY popular page, but the Adsense ads perform terribly, no matter what you do. It may be that Google simply does not provide good ads for the page. It may be that the subject of the page simply does not generate clicks. For instance, webmasters don't click - we have been trained (terrified) into not clicking anything.

REMOVE ADSENSE - It really doesn't matter what the reason is. You must remove the Adsense from that page. The huge number of impressions that do not generate clicks, will pull your CTR and eCPM stats WAY DOWN. This will result in you being paid far less per click on your other pages, and you will make a lot less money. Google rewards high CTR, and punishes low CTR.

This situation has occurred with my most popular pages. I have gone back and forth with adding and removing AdSense. The result is always the same. Poorly performing pages must be removed. Several of these pages will never see AdSense again, because they are a huge detriment to total income - a millstone, holding all the others back.

You don't have to believe me. Just try it yourself.
Strive to raise your CTR (legally), and keep it high. That is the nature of the game.

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Page Optimization for AdSense

AdSense-like Appearance

FONT - Use the Verdana font on your page, especially near your AdSense ad block. This helps the ads to "blend in", and therefore appear more natural on your page. Use a font size similar to the font sizes used in the Adsense ads.

UPDATE: Google is now experimenting with changing the AdSense fonts. I am seeing the Verdana font replaced with what looks like a Times font. Google is trying other fonts, such as Comic Sans MS (reported to be abandoned due to complaints) and Times New Roman. This throws a monkey-wrench into your SEO optimization. One cannot optimize fonts (blend), when Google is experimenting and changing them. We must all figure out what to do about this. Stay tuned.

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Page Maintenance

UPDATING - Update frequently. Google loves fresh content. Fix any errors that are found.

LINK ROT - Periodically run a link checker on all your web pages. Fix all broken links that are found. Either remove or replace every one of them. A webpage with a lot of old, broken links is considered to be of lower quality, because the webmaster has not kept it up. A free online link checker is Dead-Links dot com.

CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT - Try to make each page better and better. Add new information as it becomes available.

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Page Quality

QUALITY FACTOR - The Adsense algorithm contains a "quality" factor. In general, the higher the quality of the web page (and CTR), the higher the quality of the ads served.

SPELLING - Run a spelling checker. You can be penalized for poor spelling.

GRAMMAR - Poor grammar can reduce the perceived quality of a web page. Top advertisers prefer to advertise on high quality pages.

MINIMUM LENGTH - In general, I believe that a page with 500 words is judged a better page, than a page with 100 words. What is the ideal length? I don't know. I think it can vary. But the more excellent the text, the better.

My own personal speculation is that 400 words might be a good minimum, and 10,000 words is far too many. My largest page is 6,000 words, and that is too long (an archival tome is an exception). All my other pages are much smaller. Break up very large pages, into smaller, more readable pages. This allows you to place additional, more targeted AdSense ads.

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Page SEO

Perform Search Engine Optimization to ensure high placement in the SERPs.

TITLE TAG - Make it brief and accurate. Do not load with keywords.

META TAGS - Provide appropriate meta tags for each page - your Description Meta Tag should be brief and accurate, and your Keyword Meta Tag should only contain words which appear in the body text of your page - limit to 10, or 5 is even better.

LINKS - Reduce outgoing links to only the very best. Too many outgoing links can cause a page to lose focus, and distract your visitors from clicking on the Adsense links.

READABILITY - Some blogs use grey text on a grey background, which is the worst case for readability. This actually PHYSICALLY HURTS my eyes. There is no reason to do this, except laziness, because it is an application default. Unbelievably, some very prominent bloggers still do this.

Use black text on a white background, if you aren't sure what to do. OR, as a minimum, at least provide sufficient contrast so that JUST READING the text is not a difficult task.

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Page Traffic

TRAFFIC SOURCE - Organic traffic is best. Strive for high SERP position in Google. Do not concern yourself with your MSN or Yahoo position. They provide little traffic.

ALT TEXT - Choose your "Alt Text" for images carefully. I get more traffic from just Google Images, than I get from the total traffic from both MSN and Yahoo combined. Think about THAT!

RSS FEED - Provide an XML RSS feed for your visitors, so that they can easily read your new content. Feedburner is a good way to do this, but I couldn't get it to work, so I just linked to my RSS feed on my index page. I'm done with RSS - the only thing it does is help thieves to steal your content. No more RSS for me.

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Page Targeting

KEYWORDS - Carefully select the keywords you want to target for each page. Keywords that pay the most are those involving money, such as attorneys, credit, insurance, loans, medicine, mortgages, and real estate. However, these keywords are the most competitive, and therefore the hardest to rank for in the SERPs.

If you have difficulty getting highly-targeted ads, then try the Adsense feature called "
Section Targeting." This will cause Adsense to serve you the ads that are relevant to the keywords that you want targeted, and ignore nearby untargeted words.

Google provides an excellent source of keywords at -
https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

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Google Analytics

STATISTICS - Use Google Analytics on every page to get important information about your visitors.

INSURANCE - We frequently hear about sites that have been banned, due to "invalid clicks" and "click-bombing". If YOU get a warning, or get banned, you must jump through hoops, and provide your log files to Google, in order to prove your innocence.
HOWEVER, if you are using Google Analytics, Google ALREADY HAS this information, and already knows just what is going on. I consider this to be very important, since Google can far more easily determine that YOU are not responsible for any transgressions. Use Analytics for information, AND for added safety!



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Vaughn's Other
Google ADSENSE Related Pages

* Ad Interest Categories

*
AdSense Heat Map

*
AdSense Penalties

*
AdSense Publisher Tiers

*
AdSense Stop Words

* AdSense Tips

*
AdSense Top-Paying Words

*
AdSense vs. YPN

*
AdWords/ Adsense Diagram

*
Google Certified Networks




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Vaughn Aubuchon
Vaughn's Summaries
©2008 Vaughn Aubuchon
www.vaughns-1-pagers.com
All Rights Reserved

This Vaughns Adsense Tips Summary
was last updated on 2014-07-17.