Putting The Cart Before The Horse
Many people over-think the way they use a fairly simple system in this day and age, and as a result, make a mess of things. Because these systems are often new, people assume that they will naturally be complicated and “too different”, and will require special knowledge, even when this is not the case. When using AdSense this often leads to a situation where the person thinks “AdSense” while writing content – rather than thinking “content”.
Probably all of us have read sites that seem to have been designed to trigger AdSense. The content on these sites reads in a horribly forced way and sounds like it has been written around the keywords. Half of the time – let’s say the keyword is “Swarovski crystals” – the content will be poor and over-stuffed with keywords. The writer might as well just type “banana banana banana Swarovski crystals banana” for all the effort it takes to crowbar in a keyword. But if you are writing about Swarovski crystals, it’s more or less impossible not to use the phrase anyway.
Indeed, it could be said that one of the keywords in this article is “keyword” – and because the article is about keywords, it has been used repeatedly without even trying. Pick your subject, think about it in a logical way, and you will see that obsessing about such a detail is not helpful for your purposes. Why overcomplicate a really very simple system? It just isn’t necessary.
Trying To Trick Google
Hands up everyone whose mom or dad used to say to them: “If you had brains you’d be dangerous”. Most of us? Or is that just my mom? Anyway, the point of the phrase, such as I understand it, is that some people in trying to be devious just reveal how little they know, and if they played it straight when they needed to, they’d get a lot further. This is something that people do a lot when it comes to AdSense.
An unbelievably large number of people make the mistake of trying to trick Google on a program that has been designed by Google. Now, we’re talking about one of the most powerful and well-known companies in the world. Do you think they’ve got there by being stupid? Don’t you think that when they were designing the systems that have made them so successful, they might have planned for people who would seek to exploit loopholes? You’re not going to pull the wool over their eyes, and if you try to they’re not going to take it lying down.
Your best chance of AdSense success is to have a good site, as simplistic as that may sound. What ads do you think are going to get the most clicks? The ones that are on sites with a high Google ranking because the content is worth reading, or the ones that are hosted by someone who has thought more about how he is going to trick Google into giving him more money? Surely the answer is simple?
Clicking Your Own Ads
Have you heard the phrase “self-praise is no recommendation”? Well, whether or not you have, it’s true. If you are intent on becoming President or Prime Minister, then you are not going to get very far by wandering the streets saying “I’m amazing! Vote for me! Ask me about how fantastic I am – you’ll be stunned by what a good account I give of myself!”.
By the same token, you are not going to make much money on AdSense by consistently clicking your own ads. This has less to do with the fact that it takes a lot of clicks to make any real money, and more to do with the fact that Google is not stupid. You’re not going to get any money from clicking your own ad – Google knows where the clicks are coming from and it will rule out any that you make for yourself.
Now, there is a difference between inadvertently clicking on your own ad – or trying it just to see what will happen – and consistently and regularly clicking on it. In the first case, Google doesn’t bother much about it because such things can happen by accident or be put down to curiosity. But if you try to game them by repeated clicking on your ad, they will know – and not only will they not pay you, they will ban you.
There is a double punishment for anyone who tries to hoodwink the system in this way, which makes it doubly stupid to even try. Firstly, you waste a lot of your own time for no gain at all. Secondly, you won’t be allowed to use the service anymore. So it’s not worth trying to see if you can do it – do you think they’re about to hand out free money to everyone?
If you know a little bit about AdSense, then you will know that content which people want to read will attract the most clicks. It’s just common sense. Many people, aware of this fact, will make a logical leap that can get them into trouble – and it’s often impossible to have any sympathy for them when they do it.
You want readable content on your site, of course. That’s how it works. But a staggering number of people labor under the impression that if they can’t write it themselves, the best idea is to take it from somewhere they know it will be read. The idea is as follows: “I’m no writer, but this guy is really good. I’ll use his content on my site, people will read it, and I’ll get more clicks!”.
The first thing wrong with this assumption is nothing to do with legality or morality. For one thing, it may get read a lot on one side, but that has a lot to do with placement and existing readers. Just placing it on your site won’t immediately bring people in. Secondly, and this has a lot to do with legality, it is a breach of copyright. You’re not just breaking the law, you’re doing it inefficiently.
It cannot be said often enough – you stand and fall on your own content. You might love that article on another site, but if you do, then you are better off linking to it and explaining why you love it. It’s more honest and it won’t get you into trouble. Write your own content, and if you really are an awful writer, pay someone else to do it – freelancers have surprisingly reasonable rates.
“More Is Always Better!”
If you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the lottery – well, that much is true. But this, of course, does not mean that you will win the lottery if you buy a hundred tickets. More to the point, here’s another conundrum – if you ask one person out on a date, they might well say no, but this doesn’t mean that you should spread your chances and ask twenty people out.
Why is this? Well, in the second case, the impression that you give is that you’re not particularly fussy who you go out with, as long as someone says “yes”. Someone might, by the law of averages. But if they find out that you also asked another nineteen people, they aren’t going to be thrilled. In fact, by the time you get to person number #14, the chances are that they’ll have heard just how desperate you are.
What does this have to do with AdSense? Well, quite a lot, surprisingly. If you paste AdSense units all over your webpage, you might think that one of them has to get clicked. But the fact of the matter is that people visiting your site will think “Would you look at how many ads there are here? I can’t find any content – this is just an ad farm!”. It’s spam, and any clicks you do get will also have less value.
Favor quality over quantity. You may think that you’re increasing your chances of making some cash by offering more opportunities, but if you look desperate, you’re not going to get the quality you are after. You might get a date, but it will be with someone equally unfussy and the relationship won’t be very satisfactory.
“If I Like It, They Will Too!”
One of the foremost rules of real estate and property development is as follows: Develop for the market and not for yourself. To take an extreme example, you might really love Justin Bieber. You might think “I’d definitely buy a house that had a huge picture of Justin Bieber on the wall, one that was impossible to remove or paint over!”. But you’re selling the house, not buying it, so what you like doesn’t matter.
That’s not meant to sound callous, simply to illustrate a point about how you make money. What you think is worth buying is not an important aspect when you’re trying to sell. To maximize your chances of selling something, you have to give it mass appeal. Too many people get emotionally attached to developing a house for sale and make it something they’d buy, without thinking about the market.
The same goes for monetizing a website. You might really like a particular niche – it can have a particular emotional attachment for you and you will find it easy to write enthusiastically about. Placing ads on that kind of content might well attract a small number of clicks from people who are equally enthusiastic about the subject – but it will not bring in much in the way of traffic.
This does not mean that you should refrain from setting up a website about a subject that enthralls you. Just don’t expect it to be your moneymaker, and if you want to make big money you should look to develop a site that will have mass appeal and will attract clicks. Any money you make from the more obscure niche that you love is a bonus because you like the subject matter anyway.
“If Everyone Likes It, I’m In The Money”
Just as it is a bad idea to run a website for AdSense purposes and make it about an unpopular niche, the reverse can be similarly true. Now, there is an aspect of balance to be considered here. Certainly, you want to make your website attractive, and having a popular topic for it is important. No-one should try to tell you “that’s been done, try something else”. But there is more to it than that.
If you are looking to “exploit” a niche, consider exactly how popular the niche is. If it’s a fundamentally “limited” niche, then it will not bring in much traffic. On the other hand, if it is a spectacularly popular niche, there is the chance that your site will get lost in the churn of so many sites about the same subject, and you’ll lose out to more expensive, more established sites.
This makes for a difficult decision. How popular is “too popular”? That’s a value judgment and it varies from niche to niche. But if there are already twenty well-established sites on the subject you want to write about, you’re going to have the mother of all battles on your hands just to get noticed. On the other hand, looking for something no-one has already done doesn’t leave you much space.
What you can look to do is bring a unique slant to the subject, such as geographically localizing it. There are lots of sites about, for example, herbal medicine. What you might consider doing is taking a local approach by talking about herbal medicine in a specific locality. Equally, you might take a more nuanced approach by making it about the pros and the cons of herbal medicine, where many sites talk all about the pros.
Too Little Content
It cannot be said too often to people looking to make the best of their AdSense website – content is king. The number of websites you will see with uninspiring content can lead you to assume that content takes a back seat to optimization, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of those sites won’t be doing much business.
It is galling for many people to hear this, but unless you go for good content, you’re not likely to get very far with an AdSense website. The skills of optimization and good writing are not necessarily ones that go hand in hand – you may be brilliant at creating and tweaking websites but unable to string a sentence together, or you might be a witty, intelligent writer who can’t tell his URL from his SEO.
The regrettable fact for many people is that no matter how difficult it is, you really want to have good and plentiful content on your site – or no-one’s going to want to read it. If you can’t write to save yourself you have two choices – learn to write better, or find someone who can. The idea of paying someone to write your content may seem like an unnecessary expense to some, and like cheating to others – but in the end, you have to provide what readers want, or fail.
Many sites fail to reach their potential because the creator of the site thinks they can get away with skimping on the content. You can’t. Do what it takes to get good, original content on your site, and you’ll be a lot better off, even if you do have to factor in payment to a good copywriter.
“It’s About Content, Forget The Keywords!”
Now, for all that has been said about writing to your subject and providing interesting content, there should be no confusion on the matter of keywords. They are certainly important, and outright ignoring them is not going to get anyone very far in terms of AdSense clicks. The question of balance is an important one here, and too many people make the mistake of ignoring one thing to serve another.
The question “content or keywords” is a red herring. Ignore content and you will find that few people read the site even though the keywords have got them there. Ignore keywords and they won’t ever get to the site to read the content that might have been well-written and thought-provoking, but failed to grab Google’s attention.
It’s not impossible to write good content and hit the keywords at the same time. It’s more difficult than focusing on one or the other, but that’s why there is a higher pay-off for managing it. It may be quicker to knock out a keyword-laden site or to write what comes into your head, but you have to put something in to get something out.
Practice writing to your subject and reading over your content to make sure that you aren’t ignoring keywords. After a while, it begins to come naturally, as you will structure sentences to emphasize a subject and lean on keywords where necessary. It might take a while to get to that point, but no-one rises to the top and stays there without putting in time and effort as a minimum.
Not Being Image Conscious
Catching someone’s eye in a subtle way is not always easy. If you are in a crowd and want to get someone’s attention, you’ll pretty much have to jump around like a total buffoon and shout their name at the top of your voice to even stand a chance. But on the internet, this is not an option. You have to be more subtle if you want to get anywhere beyond the attention of a select few.
With AdSense, the bottom line is obvious – you want people to click the ads on your page. In order for them to click those ads, they need to see them and to feel that they should click them. Now, you can draw people’s attention to the ad by placing a very big image on the page right next to them so they are hard to miss – but Google does not like this, as it is seen as influencing the customer.
It doesn’t matter if you are doing it deliberately or accidentally, it is in Google’s list of things you must not do, and if you do it you will be ranked lower than you would be otherwise. If you are doing it deliberately, then you need to learn about more reasonable ways to influence them – like powerful content.
We’d all like a short cut to make things easier for us, but the truth is that a short cut that pays out every time is not going to be sustainable. If it were that simple, everyone would do it and everyone would be rich – and any economist will tell you that someone has to lose out for someone to win big. To make money you need to be good at what you do – whatever limitations are placed on you.
Not Knowing Your Keywords
If it seems like there is a lot to remember about AdSense, then there is a reason for that – it is. Sometimes it takes almost as much knowledge not to do the wrong thing as it takes to do the right one. Sometimes you don’t have to specifically apply that knowledge, but just avoid going against it. So for anyone who feels that there is a contradiction between “don’t rely on keywords” and “make sure you use keywords”, it’s important to know where the safe ground lies.
You shouldn’t specifically rely on keywords because they can be overused and make a mess of your content. However, you need to have them there because they are important in terms of attracting visitors. It’s like making chilli. You need to have some peppers in there or it won’t be spicy – but add too many and it’s inedible.
What you need to do is use the right keywords, and use them enough to attract visitors. You might wonder what the right keywords are, and there is a ready-made tool to help you with this – the Google Keyword Tool. You have a subject in mind, and you enter this into the Google Keyword Tool, which furnishes you with the highest-paying keywords.
Your task from there is to put these keywords, in large enough quantities, into your content so as to attract advertisers (and to pull in readers who will click on those advertisements. The more attractive the keywords, the more visitors you will get – and your role is to fit these words into good content.
It’s Simple, But Not THAT Simple
The simplicity and automatic nature of AdSense can go one of two ways. Some people can think that, with the seeming simplicity of the program, there must be more to it – and drive themselves mad trying to find the “secret” of success. Others can settle on the fact that it is simple and think that they do not need to do anything to make it pay – and they are just as misguided.
AdSense will do most of the work for you. But that’s the point – most does not equal all. If you are building a house, you will leave most of the work to builders, but don’t assume that everything has been done and move in or put it on the market, because you need to make sure that it is what you wanted. Don’t think that money will come to you without your input, because that’s not workable.
There are tweaks and changes that you can make with AdSense, to make the ads fit in better with your content and the look of your website. For example, leaving the default settings on can make the ad stand out a mile, and if you do this on a site that does not fit in with it you might as well just have a sign pointing to the ad saying “THIS IS AN AD. CLICK IT NOW, PLEASE. I WANT MONEY.”.
An hour or so spent playing with the settings to make the ads fit in better with the look of your site can mean the difference between lots of clicks and hardly any. Such a small amount of work for potentially a higher return is really not too much to expect. Do yourself a favor by getting it right out of the gate.