Guest post by Daniel Scocco from Daily Blog Tips.
I have been using Google AdSense to monetize my blogs and websites for as long as I remember. In fact it was the first method I ever tried (I made a whooping $15 on my first month… back in 2005). Over the years I migrated to other methods (e.g., direct sponsors and affiliate marketing), which made AdSense become merely an inventory filler. I was still making around $1,000 monthly from it, but whenever I could I would use other methods over it.
Then some months ago I started noticing an upward trend on the CPC of my sites, and I figured that I should give AdSense another try. I started applying some tricks here and there, and the next month I made over $3,000 with it (that is combining all my sites). I was pleasantly surprised, and I decided to keep using it actively on some sites.
In this article I want to share with you the tips and tricks I used to triple my AdSense earnings in one month.
1. I added units to my Big Websites
Daily Blog Tips and Daily Writing Tips are my largest websites in terms of traffic. They are getting close to one million monthly page views (combined). Despite that I was not using AdSense on them, mainly because the direct sponsorship model was working relatively well.
Some months ago I decided to load some AdSense units on the sites, however, and the results were very positive. Around 70% of the boost I generated to my earnings came from these two sites. At the same time I managed to keep the other monetization methods working fine, and no reader ever complained about the new ads (more on that later).
Even if your blog is already making money with direct sponsors and affiliate marketing, therefore, you could still manage to increment your earnings by strategically adding some AdSense units.
2. I added units to my Small Websites
As many webmasters do, I have a bunch of small websites scattered around the web. Some are on free hosted platforms like Blogger, and others are self hosted sites that I abandoned along the way. Most of these sites still get traffic, however. Not much, but combined the numbers get decent.
I figured that adding AdSense units to all these sites could yield some money, and I was right. The main reason is that, since these are abandoned sites and don’t have loyal visitors, I can place the units very aggressively. The result was a very high CTR (Click-through rate), which compensates the small traffic levels.
Don’t underestimate the earning potential of small websites, especially if you are willing to place AdSense units aggressively.
3. I used the Large Units
If you want to make money with AdSense you’ll inevitably need to use one of these units: the 336×280 large rectangle, the 300×250 rectangle, the 120×600 large skyscraper or the 728×90 leaderboard.
Whenever I tried to use smaller units the results were disappointing. Even if I positioned them aggressively the CTR was just too low.
All four units mentioned above can produce good results, but the best performing one is by far the 336×280 large rectangle, and that is the one I used to boost my earnings.
4. I placed the Units above the Fold
My first trial was to place the 336×280 large rectangle between the post and the comments section of my blogs. The results were OK. I then decided to try placing them below the post titles for one week, and the CTR skyrocketed. In fact I still need to find a placement/unit combination that will beat placing a 336×280 unit below post titles.
I knew this rule, but I guess I needed to test and get confirmation. The rule is: if you want to make money with Google AdSense, you must place your units above the fold.
5. I Focused on Organic Traffic
My main concern with adding a large AdSense unit right below my post titles was that some of the loyal readers could get annoyed with it. At the same time I knew that loyal readers become ad blind quite fast, and that the bulk of my money would come from organic visitors (i.e., people coming via search engines to my posts).
To solve this problem I decided to display the large rectangle only on posts older than seven days (using the Why Do Work WordPress plugin). It worked like a charm, as loyal readers don’t even notice the ad units when they are browsing through my recent posts, and organic visitors almost always see the ads because they usually land on posts older than seven days.
6. I started using AdSense for Search
I was not sure how much money I would be able to make with AdSense for Search, but I was not happy with the search results provided by WordPress, so I decided to give it a shot anyway.
Currently I am making around $60 monthly with AdSense for Search. It is not much, but if you sum it over one year we are talking about $720. On top of that the search results are as relevant as you’ll get, so it is a win win situation.
7. I started using AdSense for Feeds
Another AdSense product I decided to try was the AdSense for Feeds one. I opted to display the ads below my feed items (you can also place them on top, but this would be too intrusive in my opinion). The results here were pretty good, both in terms of CTR and earnings.
You obviously need a large RSS subscriber base to make this work, but I am guessing that even with a couple thousand subscribers you could already make $100 monthly from feed ads.
8. I played around with section targeting
Section targeting is an AdSense feature that allows you to suggest specific sections of your site that should be used when matching ads. You can read more about it here.
I found that on niche and small websites section targeting can help a lot. Often times Google was displaying unrelated ads on these sites because there weren’t enough pages. After using section targeting I managed to increase the relevancy of the ads and consequently the CTRs.
9. I tested with Different Colors and Fonts
If you enabled both image and text ads on your units you should be able to customize the colors and fonts. I did some testing with both of these factors, and it helped to increase the numbers. Nothing dramatic, but it was definitely worth my time.
You just need to track your CTR for a couple of weeks. Then change the color or font and track it for another week, seeing if you can beat the original CTR. If you can, keep the new format. If you the performance decreased, try a new color or font and track the CTR for another week, until you find the optimal combination.
On my sites the best results came from making the ad units merge with the look of the site, but on some sites contrasting colors perform better, so testing is a must.
Daniel is the owner of Daily Blog Tips. He is also the author of the Make Money Blogging ebook, which you can download for free by signing up to his newsletter.
Well, I guess it’s true that some people get a good amount of traffic whatever they write about. And you know how to use ’em well. You know a lot more about AdSense than anyone else. I’ve bookmarked this for future reference.
I never really paid much attention to the larger units and always tried to optimize placement instead. I’m pretty surprised that the size matters that much…ah, well, I’ll stop here ;) Thanks for poiting out the obvious I never tried before!
Adsense, still pays. I would argue with anyone on that. However, a common error that is made by publishers is failure to test, re-test and test some more. It is surprising how little changes can yield BIG results…even for experienced publishers.
Thanks for the 8. I must admit (and I am ashamed) that I knew about this for a long time, because I too had, and still have, the problem of irrelevant ads. Now I will definitely check this out at last and try it on my own sites and blogs. It can’t hurt.
This is why I keep coming to these major blogs, many times I read something that I already know, but for no obvious reason I actually never tried, tested, applied or implemented. Then, after reading the post, I feel an impulse to “Just do it”.
@Adventurous Writer, the two big sites are: http://www.dailyblogtips.com and http://www.dailywritingtips.com
I shall certainly try out some of your good suggestions on my website. Many Thanks!
Oh that’s really so nice of you that you have shared such a valuable tips with us.Google Adsense has become the most popular online contextual advertising program and proper custom integration with WordPress can help to increase Adsense earnings.Good job.
Thank you. After reading this post, i installed WhyDoWork on my blogs. In just a couple of days my Adsense earnings are going up.
For now, I only have Adsense on two of my blogs. Thanks to your post, I’ve gone back and looked at one of them and changed the Adsense block and display. We’ll see what that does. Thanks again for the post.
Use your website theme color for your ads, and make the ads look like links to your site. They work well. Try it.
Tip 5 – Focusing on organic traffic is the biggest key for having a successful Adsense site. People who arrive through search are already laser targeted (providing the site is configured well to ensure that optimal ads are showing). Focusing on bringing in search engine traffic exclusively (rather than chasing social traffic or developing a large readership) has helped my Adsense earnings skyrocket over the past year.
Very interesting, especially the big rectangle Google Ad for posts older than 7 days.
I’d like to see screenshots of where you placed the Adsense units and the colors you tried…
Use your website theme color for your ads, and make the ads look like links to your site
but sometime blue link is great.
Its always nice to read from Daniel. Though personally adsense for feeds always bring disappointment for me, I will rather prefer using some affiliate ads instead of google ads.
Three times zero is still zero unfortunately.
I followed your advice and placed large rectangle ads below the post title my CTR got increased by 5 fold. Thanks for the tips. I appreciate your help.
Thanks for the tip, I’m going to test these on mys site.
Daniel, this is very insightful stuff. Daily Blog tips is a great blog, it’s good to see you contributed to Problogger with more useful content for us.
I have about 15 or so blogs doing pretty much nothing but they are getting some traffic so I am going to give these tips a go.
Interesting post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I’ll likely be coming back to your blog. Keep up great writing. Have a excellent day!
Thanks for the tips, I have been using Adsense on my netbooks blog and have had pretty low CTR.
I especially like the tip about showing Adsense ads for posts older than 7 days so will give that a go plus using bigger ads and making sure they are above the fold.
I took your advice and added the large 336×280 ad to about 15 or so of my low traffic blogs. It’s been a couple of days and I have already seen the income almost double for each of those days. It was well worth changing to the large ad and putting it above the fold. I will be looking at implementing a few more of your tips over the next few days. Thanks for the info!
Even though Adsense search gives very low income but surely it should not be missed.
Is it OK to put the Adsense below the post titles?
Organic traffic is great. Everyone wants to have it. It’s tough to make it synthesize out of the clear blue though.
Excellent article. I got here from someone tagging it on tagfoot. I am bookmarking it to refer to it later. Definitely things I need to do. I do some but I need to do more.
This really useful, I’m trying to choose the right sizes .. Also, what is limit of adsense blocks I can put on same page ?
On each page you can have up to 3 ad units and 3 link units. If you look around you can find case studies about ad placement, ad units, and ad colors to find which ones have historically performed well. I would also suggest testing your own. This is because each website is different from topic, to colors, and amount of content. There is no way that the best strategies apply for every website the same way. Each website is unique and should be tested to yield your best results. Thanks Darren for sharing.
Technically, it’s not Darren, but Daniel – you obviously missed out the fact that this is the guest post by Daniel Scocco from Daily Blog Tips :)
I didn’t know all these tips for adsense. Thx for sharing them with everybody, this will hopefully improve my earnings.
Finally, Finally…I’ve been looking for this information for a long time. Thanks
Would you know how to display one column wide ads, with 2 links stacked on top of one another within the Google Ad (like on mahalo.com).
I think conversion would be through the roof with a set up like this, but Adsense manager, as far as I can tell, doesn’t let you choose this and defaults to two small ads side-by-side or one ad if there is little content on the page.