Monday, 16 March 2009

Affiliate Week Profile: Google AdSense

By Sean Michael KernerMarch 9, 2009

There's a good reason why Google text ads are a common sight on more than a fair share of various Web pages across the Internet. Simply put: they work, for both advertisers and publishers (as well as Google's bottom line) driving revenues for all involved. Getting in on the game and making money with Google is easily done and with a few basic guidelines is almost a sure bet to help your site generate incremental revenue.
Getting StartedFor advertisers they are called AdWords, on the publisher side it's called AdSense. But don't be confused. They are fundamentally two sides of the same coin. Getting started with AdSense is a simple pain free process, though there are a few "tricks of the trade" to make sure that you fully maximize your earning potential.
Assuming you already have a Website on which you will be able to include the AdSense links, the first step is to hit and sign up. When AdSense first started it used to take up to a few days to get approval, but now it seems to be incredibly rapid. The "critical" screen in the application process is the third one in which you list your contact information as well as the site on which you'll serve the ads.
Even if you plan on showing ads on more than one site, you only get to choose to place 1 URL on the application form. Don't be too concerned, though. It's really just a formality as you can still put ads (once approved) on your other sites easily as well, so long as they don't contravene the Google terms of service.
Google also gives the choice of showing Adsense "content" ads as well as the opportunity to earn income from offering Google search, it makes good sense to check off both options. It doesn't cost you anything, so why not do it?
The other item to check is the box enabling Google to send you survey's periodically. Normally, I don't tend to like agreeing to companies sending me that kind of stuff. But in Google's case you should make an exception because Google makes it worth your while. In any Google survey (driven through AdSense) that I've received they've always offered a plum in some form of AdWords credit (anywhere in the $25-$50 range), which is not bad for 10 minutes of my time.
Optimize Your ContentIn my experience I've noticed that Google seems to approve just about any type of site (that doesn't contradict its terms of service of course), regardless of quality of content. That said, though, AdWords ads are served based on the content of your site to achieve relevance. The theory is that relevant keywords will be clicked more often and thereby drive more revenue to the site publisher affiliate. Considering the success that Google has enjoyed, I'd say it's a fairly safe bet that their theory is correct.
So, for AdSense publishers, it's critically important to make sure that you've optimized your site content if you want to get the right ads that will generate more clicks. That means you should make use of the same basic methodology that you'd use to optimize your site's content for search engine indexing. Use text for all your content and make sure that images have tags with text descriptors. tags are also helpful to further identify the content that you're serving on your site. Any site that Google's spider can't crawl is also a site that AdSense won't be able to determine proper relevant links for either.
Use AdWords to LearnSeeing as AdSense is the other side of the AdWords program for advertisers, you'd be well served to sign up for that program as well. Understanding how AdWords work is fundamental to understanding what ads may potentially show up on your site as what as what potential revenue you may drive. Create an AdWords campaign for the site that you want to have the AdSense ads show up on and figure out which keywords are likely to apply. Google's keyword cost per click estimator, as well as recommended daily budget calculators, will help give you an idea of what advertisers are being told to spend (and what keyword costs are) for a site like the one you're trying to promote.


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