Google AdSense is one of the most popular methods for monetizing websites. In order to get the best results, it’s important to try different advertisement strategies. In this article, I will give you an introduction to AdSense and show you how to get the most out of this ad service.
These recommendations are based on my own experience with multiple websites.
About Google AdSense
The AdSense concept is based on the idea of showing advertisements which fit the content of your website as much as possible. For example, if your website is about shoes, you are likely to see shoe-related ads. The AdSense service examines your page content to find out which ads fit the interest of your readers best. The better your site and advertisements match, the better the results will be.
AdSense offers multiple ad formats from which website publishers can choose. There is a large range of widely used ad formats, such as skyscrapers, leaderboards and rectangles. These banner formats feature both text ads and graphical ads. You can adjust the font and colors of text ads so they match your website design or to make them stand out more. Graphical ads can be static images, Flash animated banners or modern HTML5 animated banners.
Of course you can select mobile banners too. This banner type is designed for display on smaller screens of mobile devices, such as smartphones. If you have a responsive website and would like to make your banners responsive as well, you can choose responsive ads. AdSense will look at the available space within your website layout and automatically display the best banner size. Other than that, AdSense gives you the option to use link units. This banner type is based on text links and its font and colors can be adjusted as well.
Applying for Google AdSense
In order to display Google AdSense banners on your website, you need to apply for the AdSense program first, which can be done through the AdSense website. The review process takes a couple of days. Google will evaluate your website to see whether it complies with the program policies and whether they will allow you as a new AdSense publisher. Please consult the Google AdSense website to learn more about the rules and the registration procedure.
Let’s Get Started
As soon as you are enrolled in the program, you can start publishing AdSense ads on your website(s). Using the AdSense administration panel, you can create a new ad. First, enter a name, for example your site name and the ad size (a good idea if you publish multiple sites so it’s easier to identify your ads). Then select the ad size, the ad type (text and/or graphical ads) and adjust the font and color scheme if applicable. For analytics purposes, you can create channels and assign ads to them.
You can also determine what you want AdSense to do in case no banners are available, for example showing a blank space, a solid color or a custom backup ad. For almost any website Google has a lot of ads available, so in most cases you won’t see these banner placeholders. After that step the HTML code you need to run ads on your website is displayed. Copy the code and paste it in the appropriate place within your website template.
Google AdSense offers extensive statistics on the usage of the advertisements on your website. You can see the number of ad views and ad clicks, for example. Depending on the type of ad, AdSense pays you for either ad impressions (CPI) or ad clicks (CPC). In the next part of this article I will provide you with tips on how to optimize the number of impressions and clicks.
How to Get the Most out of AdSense
One of the most important things when publishing AdSense ads is to use an acceptable number of ads. Google allows up to three banners and three link units on each page. In my opinion, the number of banners you should publish depends on the amount of content on your page. For example, if your webpage includes a lot of content (comparable to a page from a printed newspaper) it’s no problem to display the maximum amount of banners, especially when they are integrated well into the page content. After all, you don’t want to lose visitors due to aggressive ad placements – for example, if the user has to scroll past a couple of banners to reach the ‘real’ content of the webpage.
While it may be tempting to maximize your ad performance, it’s important to consider the user experience too. Users visit your website because they are interested in your content, but at the same time you would like to receive the most revenue from those visits. The key to success is to place ads on places where users spend the most time during their visit: next to or within your main content and near the navigation parts. Important locations are for example the main menu and the spot at the end of your page content. By doing so you can give your visitors what they want while also getting what you want.
Banner placement shouldn’t be an afterthought. I recommend thinking about banner placement when designing your website layout. In general, these are the best performing ad formats, sorted by proportion:
|Banner type||Banner size(s)|
|Leaderboards||728×90 and 970×90|
|Rectangle banners||250×250, 300×250 and 336×280|
|Skyscrapers||120×600, 160×600 and 300×600|
|Horizontal link units||728×15 and 468×15|
|Vertical link units||160×90, 180×90 and 200×90|
Example of Ads On a Typical Content Page
A typical content site consists of a header featuring a logo, a main navigation menu, a content article, and a page footer. In the image below you can see a couple of ad placements that I would suggest in such cases. Which banner size you choose depends on the available space within your website layout.
Don’t display a banner as the first element on your webpage. It’s better to display your site header first, for example a logo, a search box and the main menu. If you display a banner as the first element, users will ignore that banner and scroll down automatically.
Because the main menu is a very important way to interact with your site, your visitors will use it frequently. As that part of your site receives so much attention, it’s a good idea to display an AdSense banner next to it, for example below the main menu to keep your website header neat and tidy.
On some websites it’s profitable to display a horizontal AdSense link unit below the main menu. Link units consist of text links that fit the look and feel of your main menu, which is frequently a horizontal link list as well. You will receive the best results by adjusting the colors of the link unit so they match your site layout.
The space below your horizontal main menu is also a great spot to display a leaderboard banner. This banner will be viewed above the main content of your webpage, so in most cases it will be visible without scrolling (visible above the fold). The user will notice the banner when he scans the webpage to see where the main content starts. When he starts to look at the main content, the leaderboard banner will be within eyesight.
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