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Adsense Optimization – the Holistic Approach

Posted By Darren Rowse 14th of April 2005 Adsense 0 Comments

Increasing Adsense Earnings is a task I get asked to help people with every day.

One of the interesting trends that I’ve noticed in chatting to people wanting advice is that they often come with a fairly single minded approach. The initial request is often one of the following questions:

– ‘Can you help me increase my Click Through Rate?’
– ‘I need to raise my page impressions to help me increase my earnings – can you help?’
– ‘CPM (earnings per 1000 impressions) are too low – can you help me increase them?’
– ‘I want to get higher paying ads on my blog – how do I do that?’

These are all good questions to be thinking about – however I find that post people seem to be obsessed about one of them and quite oblivious to the others. As a result they are only working on one of numerous factors that can increase your Adsense earnings and are possibly ignoring others that could have significant impact on your overall earnings.

The way I like to break it down is into an equation which I’ve previously talked about in Part III of my Adsense Tips for Bloggers Series – the equation is quite simple:

Adsense Revenue = Traffic Levels + High Paying Ads + Relevant Ads + Optimally Positioned and Designed Ads

Another way of saying it is to say that you need to be thinking about:
– Impressions
– Payment levels per Click
– Ad Relevancy
– Click Through Rate (CTR)

Many people just concentrate on one of these factors and ignore the others. Here are some scenarios that I’m seeing every day:

Obsession with traffic levels – If they can just double their traffic they’ll double their earnings. They work so hard on getting people to their site that they forget to think about how they’ll get people to see and click on their ads when they do. As a result their ads are poorly positioned and designed. Yes their traffic levels are on the rise but they are not capitalizing on it. I’m constantly amazed how many highly trafficked sites have ads that are so under-optimized and hate to think how many bloggers are missing out on some significant dollars as a result.

Obsession with CTR – I’ve had a few consultations with people recently that have been so obsessed with CTR that they’ve failed to work on any other factors. In one case the blogger’s CTR was increasing nicely but his overall earnings was on the decrease because he’d been losing traffic (due to lack of blogging – he was watching his Adsense stats when he should have been writing content) and his payment per click was decreasing due to irrelevant ads.

Obsession with Click Values – This is a trap that many fall into. They read in forums that if they blog about ‘green widgets’ that they can earn $45 per click or more so they put their current blogs on hold to start a ‘green widget’ blog or change the focus of their current blog to include a ‘green widget’ category. The thing that they fail to realize is that while a few webmasters at the top of the heap may actually be getting high click values that its a very difficult thing to achieve to be at the top end of earners on these keywords. This is for a number of reasons.

1. Every man and his dog (or should I say blog) is targeting the high paying keywords because they read the same forum entries that you do. The competition is fierce in these keyword areas. Your competitors will have been developing comprehensive, well optimized sites for a long time – to get your share of traffic will be tough.

2. There is growing consensus among Adsense experts that Google watches sites carefully that target the higher paying keywords. They have to do this due to click fraud. Some have written that it is only the best and most credible sites on the high paying keywords that get the top rates. ie – if you start a blog on ‘green widgets’ you might actually find that instead of $45 per click you’re only getting 0.45 or even 0.04 cents per click until you build a site that is credible in Google’s eyes.

It might actually be more profitable for you to let the ‘green widgets’ blog idea pass you by (unless you have a way of getting significant traffic) and to find a mid range keyword where there is less competition and more chance of becoming an authority site on the topic.

My take home advice is this. Take an all round approach to your Adsense Optimization. Work on getting more impressions (you can do this by working on getting more traffic to your blog, adding more ads to your pages etc), work on CTR by tweaking your design and positioning, think carefully through what ads you’re targeting and making them relevant to your content and try to keep your time spent on these different areas in balance with one another.

You can read more about the different elements of my Adsense equation at Increasing Traffic, High Paying Ads, Relevant Ads and Well Placed and Designed Ads.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. One more reason to look at it holistically. I’ve noticed that higher traffic pages have lower CTR and CPM. Obviously building traffic is necessary but any traffic building techniques (even pinging the update services) is going to bring some junk traffic.

    From having a general purpose personal blog as well as some more narrowly focused business pages, I can say that tight focus is important, too. If your blog talks about blue, green, red and purple widgets, the other color widgets are going to dilute your green widget ads. You end up serving less ads for green widgets and serving ads about purple widgets to people who might have clicked on that high value green widget ad if it had been served to them.

  2. Ugh…it’s hard to edit in these tiny boxes. “traffic building techniques *are* going to bring some junk traffic.”

  3. I would have to agree you have to have traffic but the competition is relentless and overwhelming.

  4. I chose to start blogging about Green widgets for non-monetary reasons- my parents are planning an ecohouse and have found that the AdSense value of that blog is much higher than that of my more eclectic personal blog.

    Keep up the good work, I’m finding ProBlogger a great resource as I start trying to make money, maybe even a living, from my own blogs.

  5. Joined up blogging
    Problogger on the holistic approach to AdSense optimisation. I’m into the third day of treating blogging as a full time job, and I’m finding Darren’s blog a great source of info on the subject.

  6. I visit proBlogger, its’ nice . I also have Make Money Online Blog at: http://honeymakemoney.blogspot.com

    You can get good tips for making money online from here.

  7. Hi there,

    How do you actually get the first wave of traffic?

    I can’t seem to get any. Maybe you would like to take a look at my blog and give some feedbacks? http://woonwz.blogspot.com

  8. hi..there

    problogger is a great site…i have learn alot from this site… but still im having trouble with getting traffic to my blog

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