Thursday, June 11, 2009

Turning Traffic in to Adsense Traffic

Turning Traffic in to Adsense Traffic

If you've been running AdSense ads on your site for quite a while and you feel that you aren't making as much cash as you could, in 99.99% of cases you're right. Most people feel frustrated that they cannot generate the revenues they expected, and this is down to traffic levels as well as click through rates.

There are many ways to turn traffic into AdSense traffic and here is a short list of them with a description for each.

The first thing that you need to do is tune up your site's contents. While for some people this isn't an option (if you're running a forum for example it's a lot harder) most people can make their AdSense sites veritable cash cows.

To begin, you should find out what your site's keywords are. This is a basic technique in SEO (search engine optimization) known as keyword density verification. A good tool for this job is SEO Density Analizer.

You should then take this list of words and search the Overture Search Inventory or Google AdWords Sandbox to find out what other words could be doing better then what you currently have.

From that point on try to keep your site focused on the things that appear mostly in the keyword suggestions you receive. Try to include those keywords, or at least some related keywords as often as you can in the links on your site.

Because of the way Google AdSense works this is a sure way to increase your earnings because you'll get better ads in your AdSense banners, similar to how you would get a better Google PageRank

It's also important that you continuously add new pages to your site. This is very important, as the more pages you have, the higher the chance is that you'll get more hits on your ads.

It's also very important that you choose the appropriate formats for your AdSense banners and the best locations for them. While this is a much wider subject you should generally know that the top three Google AdSense formats are: 336x280 large rectangle 300x250 medium rectangle and 160x600 skyscraper.

Make sure you choose the appropriate colors for the ads, as making them too different from your site's content (or just different in a bad way) is sure to make visitors regard them as banners which have nothing to do with the site itself.

Make sure these ads are positioned where they'll generate the highest amount of profit. Most times, that location is said to be right before the beginning of your site's actual content.

On pages with a long text body, you might find skyscrapers to do better, simply because users get exposed to them for more time. Also, for sites with news or similar items, you might find a good position to be at the bottom of your content, because that's when people are finished reading your story and are looking for something else to do.

You should use more AdSense units if you have a lot of text on your page. Just make sure not to overdo it because you might find that you will get a lot lower CTR and lower revenues then you were getting in the first place by employing this technique inappropriately. You can add as many as three units, so use them wisely.

There's a Google AdSense Preview Tool that will let you visualize what ads would get served on your page and it can come in very handy as a testing mechanism.

Just make sure you respect the AdSense policy regarding click fraud. As a pointer you could place a picture next to your adds, just make sure to leave some room in between in order to make sure this isn't regarded as encouraging visitors to click the link.

Of course there are more ways to increase AdSense traffic from your site, but these should serve as a good starting point for income maximization.

Ways to Identify and Tackle Click Fraud

Identifying and tracking examples of click fraud is the first step to eradicating the problem. Click fraud is an enormous drain on the resources of advertisers operating on a national and international scale, estimated to occupy around 30% of all pay per click advertising spend. With so much at stake, its no wonder the search engines are investing so much time and effort into devising solutions.

One way in which Search Engines and other pay per click programme providers have attempted to curb the growing click fraud problem is through introducing IP address repetition algorithms. These formulae are designed to pick up on suspicious click patterns emanating from a singular IP address, which can help to uncover the existence of click farms and competitor-led sabotage, as well as identifying potential fraudsters at source.

However, there is an array of problems with this method of attempting to identify the fraudsters. Firstly, fraudsters logging on through a dialup modem, DSL line or cable modem can almost completely bypass this check, as with every new online session, a new IP address is generated. Furthermore, there is an extensive range of software available to alter IP addresses, which again can be used for 'cheating' the algorithm. Cookie and session tracking are other methods by which search engines can attempt to uncover potential fraudulent activity, but again there are ways around these for the fraudsters.

More comprehensive software is being developed which profiles and reports on the browsing habits of each click-through to enable companies to track and monitor suspicious behavior, although this could be seen by many as intrusive and ineffective as anything on a small scale is still likely to go unnoticed, based on the vast coverage of ads across the internet.

The problem of click fraud recently hit the headlines with a class action raised against Google, prompting Google to offer $90million as a potential settlement. Perhaps an acceptance of their responsibilities, Google's offer goes some way to suggest the extent of click fraud, and its vast costs to the internet economy.

There are a number of self-help remedies that can be implemented to keep an organization out of trouble. The first of these remedies is the reliance on search engine optimization and organic listings. If a site is well and fully optimized, it could eventually realize a ranking that another site is willing to pay $2.50 a click for. Similarly, with organically high rankings there are no clickthrough rates, therefore the costs associated with PPC are not applicable. Although the process is significantly more laborious and takes significantly longer to see results, the SEO process is much cheaper in the long run, and with an estimated 25-30% of all clicks being performed fraudulently, an organically high listing can save money which would otherwise be drained by click fraud for more beneficial reinvestment.

Year on year, as the pay per click advertising market continues to grow and expand, surely click fraud will follow suit. Unless an effective means of preventing click fraud is developed and successfully implemented, buyers will steadily lose confidence in the advertising medium and turn to more effective, less wasteful marketing methods, which would seriously hit the search engines and could potentially threaten the online economy as a whole.

What is Google adsense?

If you look at the Internet a few years back, you'll see that advertising was done in a way that was very similar to other types of media like television, or actually, more like what you see in a newspaper.

You'd enter a site, and in some location you'd get to see a banner (often these were quite numerous and very large), which would present and ad for whatever company was paying for adds on your space.

But there was one problem with this kind of advertising. It really wasn't exploiting the fact that the adds weren't in some newspaper, but were instead presented over the Internet.

You've probably noticed a lot of things like this over the pages you've browsed. You're looking at an on-line shop, looking for a watch but you get a banner that advertises a car.

While you might, at some later point want to buy a car, right now you're looking for a watch and it would have surely been nice if the banner were advertising a watch, because then you would have probably clicked it.

Well that's also what the folks at Google thought of, so they came up with a killer idea. This is knows as Google AdSense, and it's known as a targeted advertising program

What you do (as a web designer / website owner) is, instead of jumping through hoops to get some banner on your site that your visitors won't even care about, is you just allocate some region of the screen.

You then sign up for the Google AdSense program, you insert a small snippet of code in your webpage and Google ensures that in the location you specify, a banner will appear, presenting adds relevant to the contents of your site.

It's very easy for Google to do this because Google is a search engine company. It looks for the key words in your page, searches a database of websites to find the ones related to whatever is on your page and presto: a targeted ad.

You (the webmaster) get a fee for each visitor that clicks on an adsense banner on your site. Now that's bound to happen more often then with a traditional banner because people are actually interested in what's in that banner (otherwise, they wouldn't be on your page would they?).

But, this also does wonders for the people who want to advertise. And it's because of the same reason. The greatest thing about Google AdSense is that all the content in a banner is relevant.

This relevancy is the key to the programs success, and also the reason why everyone remains happy. The advertiser has a relevantly placed advert, the publisher earns money from their content and Google take their cut.

Of course, as always, Google has set some high standards for its AdSense program, in terms of looks and functionality. You can't have more than two such banners on your website and Google only inserts text in these banners.

So an extra benefit is that AdSense advertising is a lot less obtrusive then regular advertising. But this also means you should position the banner better because it's possible that visitors might miss it altogether.

So in the end, Google AdSense is an advertising program that is unique because the ads are relevant to the content on the site. Anyone that wants to advertise pays Google for it. Anyone who wants to place ads on their site does this through AdSense, getting paid by Google in the process.

All transactions are run through Google, and the advertisers and publishers get access to statistics which help them to understand and moderate the effectiveness of their campaign.

The whole process is elegant, simple and effective from anyone in the chain, from site visitors to advertisers, and it's one of the reasons Google are known for their innovation and new thinking.

Where Adsense Should Appear

When deciding whether to incorporate Adsense into your website there are several factors to consider. Many feel that it diminishes their brand, whilst others see it as a useful tool for visitors which creates revenues and makes their content profitable.

The choice can largely come down to the commercial goals and the purpose of your website. Many businesses who sell products decide to place Adsense adverts within their website. This would appear to be a strange choice, opening up opportunities for rivals to promote their service or product to your potential customer base.

Many publishers claim that they are only doing this to allow companies who provide ancillary services to advertise. These claims have some merit, as those who for example sell pillows could provide those who sell bedding with an opportunity to advertise.

Although this would make sense, there are still those online retailers who allow rivals to penetrate their audience. Many claim that there are still benefits in allowing your direct competitors to advertise within your website. One of these is that ultimately if visitors wish to see your competitors they would be able to see them through a Google search regardless. This may be true however the thought of an established brand like coco-cola having a Pepsi advert in their website is not even a possibility.

Another factor which is considered in this situation is that publishers do not feel that Adsense is effective in making conversions. They feel that visitors who would click on adverts are not highly qualified customers, as they would quickly navigate to the materials or products that interest them if they were.

Despite Adsense being a questionable choice for online retailers, it is surely a good supplementary service for other varieties of online publishers. For example, a website which provides a free service like dictionary.com gets high levels of traffic, and is able to make their service profitable through adsense. This has been the case for Bloggers who originally provided content free of charge, being unable to reach the scale that is necessary to contract with advertisers directly.

This could also apply to other previously free services, including wider forms of information broadcast, and news for example. In 2006 a man who later published a selection of Videos claims to make $19,000 a month through adsense, claiming that he was also contacted through Google to help him increase the CTR (Click Through Rate) that he achieved. The thought of success like this has been a major factor in stimulating online publishers to opt for Adsense.

Many publishers also claim that adsense makes their website look more professional. Those who are able to contract with advertisers are generally seen to provide a service with large appeal, and therefore those unfamiliar with the program may feel that the Adsense advertiser is in this position.

Adsense however, is also aligned with those publishers who use the service purely to provide links to adverts. Everyone has done a Google search, clicked on an Adwords advert and came into a website which reads top ten resources on… This is a major problem, as is generally something that surfers find frustrating. If people see that it says adverts by Google, and they then see adverts by Google on another site, they may align that site with consumer unfriendly practices. This is therefore an issue which Google has to address, to maintain Adsense as a reputable service.

Regardless of the disadvantages and the websites for which the service may be inappropriate it is still a useful tool for website visitors. Those who visit a website, and click on a link provide revenues for the publisher, whilst those who provide free services are able to generate revenue.

The only fear that Google has, is that rival PPC programs offer better deals to publishers and they decide to go elsewhere, therefore taking advertisers with them. However, ultimately it is best for advertisers and publishers if they largely remain in same PPC circuit.

Why Advertisers support Adsense

Google is the biggest search engine on the web. It controls over 40% of Internet searches, and with that it controls pay per click advertising (pay per click). PPC involves the advertiser paying a rate for every click through (CTR) in which the advertisers set. As their budget increases, their position increases, and as their position increases, they get more traffic.

This has lead to over 140,000 companies choosing to advertise with them, and they advertise in a number of ways. The first way is through is through appearing on Google searches, the second is through appearing on distributors websites, and the third is through appearing in distributors search results. As advertisers appear in Google searches, the question is sometimes asked. Why do they choose to advertise with distributors as well?

One reason for this is scalability. Those who originally choose to advertise in search results and who were getting a ROI (return on investment) will decide at one point that they need to identify other advertising opportunities. With thousands of websites which have the capacity to display their adverts the advertisers can gain further exposure very quickly.

Another reason why advertisers choose to advertise in Google distributors websites is that it gains them further exposure. 60% of internet users do not use Google, so the advertiser can appeal to a wider audience through choosing to opt for distribution channels. Many website users may be looking to buy a product such as a phone, yet instead of coming across a website which sells such a product, they come across an article. If the article is on a website which contains Adsense then inevitably advertisers can use this channel to penetrate their audience.

Another reason why advertisers choose adsense is because they trust Google. The company is renowned for being an ethical company who are fun to work whilst providing free services to millions worldwide. Advertisers feel that money invested with Google is safe. Despite the evolution of click-fraud and its inevitable disadvantages for advertisers they appear to understand that this is an issue which Google wants to stop and hopefully will eventually. Advertisers are happy that Google admits a problem exits and provides refunds accordingly.

The trust in Google also stems from a trust in pricing. The pricing is set by market forces and therefore advertisers never feel that publishers or Google are overpricing the service. This means that as long as advertisers are able to advertise they will continue to do so, if not at the same rates.

Another strong advantage for advertisers is that they can appear where publishers promote their service. An example of this can seen if you consider a publisher who is discussing the benefits of new IT software. If a software retailer appears on the website then inevitably they will be the likely source from which the web surfer will purchase the product. If the surfer is not interested then you could argue that they would not click on the advert.

The service which Google provides has created an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to advertise. Although the issue of click fraud still plagues the service it is till widely regarded as the best. New businesses attempt to promote themselves on the web, whilst established brands alike choose to attract interest in their service using the same technique.

Why Use Google Adsense?

Undoubtedly, you've heard about Google's AdSense and you are thinking about giving it a go. But is it really worth placing an AdSense banner on your site?

The answer is a definite yes. You could always have some other banner on your site, or even use some search of affiliate ad program and that would probably make you some money, given of course that your site enjoys a healthy amount of visitors. However with affiliate marketing, it is expected that the visitor from your website completes a sale before you are remunerated.

But that's nowhere near what you get for using AdSense. There are people who earn in excess of 100.000 dollars per year by using AdSense. And it doesn't just stop with making more money. Firstly, the ads are text only. That means they're by far less obtrusive on your visitors then your average, flashy banner that's designed to catch the eye of the visitor.

Sure, you'll have to ensure they get better placement, so as to be noticed but despite that they don't bother viewer’s as much as traditional ads. Think about the many sites you've seen using pop-ups, floating banners and many other schemes that will have visitors screaming in anger every time they visit the said website. You can actually do better then that, annoying people less and still making an amount of money.

Secondly, the ads are generated based on the contents of your site automatically. When you use an affiliate ad program, you have to specify certain categories that your sites belong to.

However, if any page on your site falls outside of these categories, the banners aren't targeted anymore. And what that means is that you're potentially showing ads to people who don't have any interest in them and that can lead to inefficiencies.

With Google AdSense that just about never happens: the ads present on your site will always be in sync with whatever your visitors are interested in and that adds to your site's value and to the revenue it produces.

What's more, the look of these banners and their size is customizable, which means they will feel more integrated with the rest of your site's content, which brings an increase in your site's overall visual quality as opposed to a traditional approach.

For many people, there's also a great problem with finding people to advertise on their site as well. AdSense is clearly the easiest solution available to this problem today.

It's free to join the AdSense program and it almost takes no time at all. The potential database of websites from AdWords is larger then anything you might encounter from any competitor, numbering over 150.000 users. This means as more people compete the CPC or cost per click for search terms will inevitably rise.

Also, setting up AdSense on your site is a breeze, and you can complete the whole process in less then an hour. It takes a lot less to do then any form of affiliate advertising which is yet another reason to choose the easy AdSense approach.

All you need to do is add an AdSense banner on your website (other then registering with the program of course) is to copy & paste a few lines and you're all done, you get to choose where the banners go, how large they are and how they integrate with the rest of your site.

For any webmaster out there, that's a killer scheme because it lets you draw the line between your site's usability level and the amount of advertising you wish to have. Some people need the money badly while others just keep AdSense running to pay for the hosting of their website.

AdSense is a great advertising program because a lot of thought has went into making it "just work for everyone". It works great for the people who use AdWords, for the webmasters using AdSense, and most importantly for the visitors of the websites.

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