Google dominates the world of online advertising – last year they took around 33% of the world’s $120 billion spending on digital ads.
That’s a hell of a lot of advertising!
When we look at the search results in Google, the top three positions along with results appearing in the right hand side bar are all paid for by advertisers. These are called ‘sponsored results’…
The way advertisers get their ads shown is through the Google Adwords program.
This is a ‘pay per click’ business model, meaning that the advertiser pays each time someone clicks on their advert.
Advertisers bid the amount they’re prepared to pay for each click they get. They can bid higher to try and beat their competitors to the top of the search results.
In addition to the amount bid, Google uses an algorithm (they like these!) called Adrank to work out which adverts will get the top spots.
This algorithm uses a combination of your bid, the quality of your ad and landing page along with ‘the expected impact of extensions and other ad formats’, not that I’m even sure what that last bit means!
In Google’s words:
Ads at the top of a page generally have the following qualities:
- High relevance: The ad text, keywords and landing page are relevant to people who click the ad.
- Good performance over time: The ad consistently generates clicks.
- Competitive bids: The ad’s bid is competitive with other advertisers and exceeds the top of page bid estimate.
In addition to appearing in the Google search engine results, advertisers can choose to have their ads shown on third party sites.
Sites like yours or mine.
It’s easy to join Adwords and doesn’t take long to understand how it works.
Just visit adwords.google.com sign up and get going.
Adwords is only half the story, it’s Google advertising from an advertisers perspective.
The other side of the coin is Google Adsense
In addition to showing ads on the search engine results pages, Google will display targeted ads on sites within its ad network.
Website publishers or blog owners can earn money by showing Google Ads on their sites.
They get the choice of where to put the adverts and the styles displayed.
Google then pays the publisher a percentage of the value for each click made through the site.
The more ‘Click Throughs’ you get, the more you earn.
Some adverts command much higher value than others. Obviously there are more high paid businesses fighting to get click thoughs in industries such as insurance, finance or gambling than there would be in niche areas such as fancy dress costumes.
Google looks at the text on a publishers page and decides what the site is all about – it then generates contextual adverts that fit with your site.
This means it’s unlikely to show an insurance advert on a site about fancy dress.
The more competitive the search term, the more advertisers are willing to pay and the more you will earn as a publisher.
Google pays the publisher around 68% of the price paid by the advertiser.
To sign up for Adsense and generate income for displaying adverts on your own site, go to http://adsense.google.com/
Make sure your site is properly setup and has a decent amount of content uploaded before applying.
Adding ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ pages is a good idea.
Adsense is one of the most popular ways that website owners use to generate revenue.
Some do much better than others.
Don’t get the idea that you can just sit at home clicking away at ads on your own site, or getting your mates to do it for you – Google is very good at spotting such activity and will cancel your account in an instant.
Even if they believe there is a chance of fraudulent clicks, they reserve the right to disable your account to protect their advertiser’s money.
They will withhold payment from you and refund their advertiser.
You mustn’t put more than 3 advertising units on a single page, personally I think one is usually enough.
There are a whole host of other rules to adhere to which you can see here: https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1346295?hl=en-GB
If you’re building a site with the objective of selling your own product or sending people to some other offer, Adsense may have a negative impact.
By its very nature, when someone clicks on an advert, they leave your site and head off in another direction. This may not be what you’re looking for.
It’s not all doom and gloom though…
You can earn income from Adsense if that’s what you want to do, just don’t rely on it as your only source of income.
Here are some of my tips for being successful with Adsense:
- Choose a niche where there is plenty of advertising taking place with good cost per clicks.
- Check that when you do a Google search for your chosen keywords that there are plenty of ‘Adwords’ ads.
There should be 3 adverts above the organic results and a full side bar of further ads. If it’s half empty, people aren’t bidding on keywords in that niche.
- Build Traffic – You’ll need plenty of visitors to generate decent income.
- Create more content on more pages – The more pages you have showing adverts, the more chance you have of getting click throughs.
- Take care designing the look of your ads – If you make them fit in with the colours of your site you’ll generate more click throughs, however, you mustn’t break Google’s rules by hiding the ads within your own content. Google states that ‘publishers may not implement Google ads in a manner that disguises the ads in any way. This includes formatting neighboring content to look similar to the ads’.
- Experiment with size and placement of your ads. Once upon a time, the long 486 x 60 ads in the header worked well – I think these are almost invisible to people these days. More subtle placement in the body of a post or in the sidebar will probably get you better results
How do you find out the average cost of clicks in a particular niche?
One way is to use the Google Adwords keyword tool, now renamed the Keyword Planner. This is a free resource.
You really need an Adwords account to be able to use this properly. It is available at http://adwords.google.com/ko/KeywordPlanner/Home
By clicking on ‘Keyword Ideas’ and searching for particular keywords you’ll get to see how many people are searching and approximately how much they’re paying per click for their adverts.
I use another tool, Keyword Canine just because its straight forward and easy to use.
In this screen shot you can see the sort of information it provides.
It shows you how much competition a keyword has as well as the number of monthly searches and the cost per click.
If you’re wanting to make money from Adsense, you need to find a niche that has lots of key words that have a high search volume, plenty of competition and a high cost per click.
If you choose a niche like ‘auto insurance’, you can earn very high amounts per click, the trouble being you’ll be a very small fish in a very big pond.
The competition in these sectors is immense – to beat the big players to the top of the search engines and harvest those clicks would take a monumental effort – even then success is by no means guaranteed.
You’re much more likely to achieve good results by finding a hungry niche with much less competition and average cost per clicks.
Adding Adsense to your Blog
Adding Adsense by hand is relatively easy – just copy the code Adsense produces you, paste it into your posts or add it to a side bar text widget.
If you prefer, there are lots of ‘Adsense plugins’ for WordPress that make the job even easier, just search for ‘Google Adsense’ in the ‘add new plugin’ search box.
How do you get paid?
Assuming you actually earn some money, you can choose between a check (That’s a cheque for you UK followers!) or an electronic funds transfer.
You have to reach a certain earnings threshold before checks are issued.
In the not too distant future, with mail and processing costs increasing, checks are likely to be wholly replaced by bank transfers.
Feel free to add any Adsense tips you have in the comments below..