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Google AdSense Forum

Lessons Learned: AdSense
What have you learned in the last year and a half?

 2:02 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

A year and a half later with AdSense and still going strong - here are my lessons learned: (What are yours?)

1. Graphic design: Provide clean pages and lots of them with a simple, 1 color (non-tiled, generally) background

2. Meta Tags: Use them! Make sure you don't have 90 bijillion keywords. The fewer and more targeted the better. Put the title tag up on top first.

3. Content: Provide useful, necessary content. Get feedback from your visitors to find out what they are looking for; what they want, and create pages accordingly. The more descriptive text on each individual page, the better.

4. Ad Settings: Change them about once a month or so. Make large banners smaller; use verticals in some places, definitely change colors so people notice - especially repeat visitors who have 'turned off' the ads in their heads if they see them in the same place with the same colors and formats all the time.

5. Partner: Partner with sites similar to yours. Ask them to list you as a partner and you'll do the same. Number of hits generally increases all clickthroughs.

6. Integrity: Have the highest level of it as a publisher and follow the TOS! (Even generally, speaking, a good webmaster should do this anyway.)

I'm very happy with the results for my own site. I do use other programs as well, but none even comes close to Ad Sense in terms of revenue. I can't say I can give up my day job quite yet - but it may get there in the next few years if all goes well.

I'm looking forward to reading others lessons learned as well!




 4:41 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

brainybetty, thank you for your sharing, me too be in this program for more than 1 year, I've got 2 warning letters due to wrongly putting excess keywords and/or hidden words, I spent too much energy on SEO tricks rather than on CONTENTs - shame on me. I learn a lot from your lessons, thanks again, I am going to learn more from you and others who really perform well and know how to teach others.


 6:00 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Things I've leaned as an advertiser.

1) Always uncheck the "content network" box on your campaign. Otherwise your ads will show up on AdSense sites, bringing you fraudulent clicks and low value clicks from Internet users just surfing around randomly. (Unlike on search engines where the user is looking for your product or service.)

2) Many AdSense sites openly copy material from your sites or your competitors' sites, but Google AdSense doesn't care. You must have the AdSense site take down the copied material to avoid penalization of your site in search engine rankings because of duplicate content. But AdSense will not help, and they will tell you to work it out with the AdSense publisher yourself. Your only resort is lawyers, even if you can find 4 or 5 sites a month who do this.

3) AdSense will kick out offending sites when you complain about an inordinate number of clicks, but they will not refund your money. Instead, they will send you obviously stock e-mails about how it is entirely possible that unbiased users clicked on your ads.

4) When an AdSense site has language like "help me out and click on the links to the left", you can complain to Google. The AdSense site will change its language in the next few days, but they will not be kicked out of the AdSense program.

5) "AdSense for Search" is an insidious way for Google to change the rules on advertisers and run their ads even when they have opted out of the content network. The only way to get your ads out of these sites is by disabling the search network partners, and that means your ads won't show up at good places like AOL, AskJeeves, and Netscape. If you get too many clicks from one AdSense site and complain, Google will kick obviously offending sites out of the program but you won't get money back and in any case, it's like cutting off the head of a hydra: you can never keep up with the new sites.


 8:16 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

Are fraudulent clicks getting that bad beren?

Myself as a publisher and advertiser i have clicked on my own ads twice by misstake and both were not charged.


 8:23 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's the perception of fraudulent clicks that we need to watch out for, as publishers. It will be unfortunate if advertisers in your area are pulling out, not because they have experienced questionable clicks, but because they heard from somewhere that Adsense is full of tricky publishers that the best thing to do is pull out. We don't want to see advertisers pulling out :o(


 9:05 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)


So you are saying that all one has to do is complain that someone from, say, a competitor's site clicked too much on your ads and they can be kicked out of adsense? Sounds pretty scarey.


 10:07 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

1) Always uncheck the "content network" box on your campaign. Otherwise your ads will show up on AdSense sites, bringing you fraudulent clicks and low value clicks from Internet users just surfing around randomly. (Unlike on search engines where the user is looking for your product or service.)

I dont agree, G hard fight against frauds, I trust in G as advertiser, some large company spend millions with content network, they dont are stupid.


 10:30 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

beren says:
>>1) Always uncheck the "content network" box on your campaign.

The vast majority of AdSense is reputable. Some industries/search terms are incredibly not. You are probably in one of these.

The 'content network' ROI for some companies is killer, bad clicks and all nothing beats the return.

To any AdWords advertiser I say test, monitor and adjust. But above all do not make sweeping generalizations, rather make judgements on data - for the results are wide depending on many factors.

[edited by: Jon_King at 10:31 pm (utc) on Oct. 31, 2004]


 10:30 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

The thread is moving away from the topic. I split my Adwords campaign into Content and Search and bid low on Content owing to the low ROI, but I have ad groups where Content consistently gives me more conversions than Search. It must be caused by some respectable AdSense site, but this is clearly an exception.

As for the AdSense lessons learnt:

* Use channels

* Try various layout formats

* Increase visibility of your site


 12:13 am on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

On reading Beren's post, my first thought was "What an A-ho##". Unfortunately, Beren has some valid points.

Nevertheless, despite the validity of said points, I'd like to state that it's not just adsense carriers who have been known to steal content. I recently had to "take care" of one content thief and now I am faced with the prospect of confronting another. But this time the thief is...an advertiser whose ads appear on my own site.

To respond to this thread's topic, I will say that I have learned this: Adsense has brought a lot of crud to the surface of the serps. But that is not the fault of good website operators who are trying to develop revenue---it's the fault of google for not monitoring this program properly.

For Beren, and all who think like him, I'd like to state that for me adsense was a way to develop a monetary return in exchange for what I was already intent on doing: providing good solid content for my niche audience.


 5:14 am on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

What I learned:
The more content I make the more I earn and the content that brings in visitors and the content that google will pay for is two diffent things.


 5:23 am on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Very true, content is king. We have outpaced our earning each month by just adding content each month. It pays off.


 1:02 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

What I learned...

1. Positioning of the banners is important. I went from a side positioning tskyscraper to a large box position within the page content. Effectivly increased the clickthroughs by 50%.

2. Matching box colors to site colors works well to blend in the G boxes. Although I like the earlier tip about changing up the colors. But will only try that if I see the clickthroughs levelling out.

3. I blocked out competitor sites from appearing in the AdSense boxes. Page impressions and clickthroughs remained the same but my income dropped by 35%. So I let them back in.

4. Site content is most important.

I've been online since 1998 with a site that revolves around my hobby. I've been ranked #1 at G for over a year for my keywords. I stumbled on the AdSense only 4 months ago. Revenue is very good, outpacing my affiliate programs by a factor of 50. But I'm always wondering if it could be better?


 1:29 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here are some lessons that many publishers still need to learn:

1. Earnings go up, earnings go down and earnings go up again

2. Based solely on your own data, don't try to make generalisations about the entire Adsense network

3. Most people who are doing well keep it quiet.

4. Whatever you do, you don't try to cheat.
Webmasters complain how strict Google terms are, but that's actually good for everyone who does the right thing. Fear of G is good.

5. Adsense is not for everyone. Some sites will make money from Adsense(judging by the posts here, serious money) while others are better off with affiliates or other advertisers.

6. You can't bank CPC or CTR, it's earnings that count. If your CPC or CTR goes down, but earnings are up - that's good.

7. Be realistic. Everyone has dreams of making a mint off the Web, but if they don't materialise for you - don't look for someone to blame. OK, this is not Adsense specific, but it is the underlying theme to the above points.


 10:03 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

macro, best post i've seen in long time! cheers ;)

but people are sharing what works pretty well I think. google is even sending out brochures of what works best - it is in their interest.


 11:01 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

That Google can ban your website from the serps but not from Adsense.


 11:06 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Macro's 'Post' reflects in a perfect way how I am/was feeling so many times... trying to analyze things... thinking "this time I found the formula!" just to find out the next day that something on G's side was completely changed again... and sometimes I am not doing anything for weeks just to get amazed that certain channels triple/quatruple overnight without apparent reason. So the best lesson is: try making your sites better and as long as they are providing a value to the user there will always be people visiting them + a way to monetize them.


 1:37 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

freeflight2, nothing is without reason. Now, based on that look for the reasons and keep your earnings growth on target.

But, going by your last sentence, you're pretty clued up. You will be the long term winner.


 3:58 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

What I've learned as an editorial or "content site" publisher:

1) AdSense is a great way to increase revenue from an editorial site. It's especially useful in monetizing pages or subtopics that don't lend themselves to affiliate links.

2) AdSense is a "set and forget" solution that works especially well for mom-and-pop content sites, because it allows the publisher to focus on building content instead of trying to sell ads.


 5:39 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)


You are right: someone said "What else are you doing?" to imply (IMHO) that if you don't spend all day every day chasing up your site, vetting and joining affiliate programmes, negotiating like Lord Hanson, etc, you are somehow being negligently idle.

Not for all of us. I have a potential $1m asset and a long-term consultancy (also of the order of $1m to date) that each need more nurtuing than my Website does, even if I thought I had the skills or patience for one of the oft-touted "better than AdSense" schemes.

I *do* spend *way* too much time on my site and AdSense as it happens, but its basic "set and forget" nature is great, as you say.

"Horses for courses" is my cliche-du-jour! B^>




 3:53 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

That Google can ban your website from the serps but not from Adsense.

Um, Google can cancel your AdSense account ... as many have complained on these forums.


 4:19 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

... that 'our' AdSenseAdvisor with only 64 posts has a lot of catch-up to do:



 4:53 am on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

What I've learned since late last February...

1. Addiction to Adsense stats is real.

2. Mediabot is a speed demon when new content is added, though its accuracy isn't always spot-on right off the bat.

It does seem to learn after a week or two what really fits with our content, while we're busy tearing our hair out wondering what we can do to get better targetted ads. From this, I have learned patience and to ignore the poorly targetted ads. They do improve over time.

3. Some, perhaps many advertisers believe that the folks out there in cyberspace live in the search engines.

Personally I spend very little time really using a search engine and putting it through its paces, maybe once or twice a week at the most. Mostly I use links from one site to another to make my way to useful information that interests me. And, of course, there's my extremely packed and well used 'favorites' list.

4. Blending and location. Blending for visual appeal. Location to catch interest.


 2:24 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

*ASA blushes profusely* freeflight2, thanks for posting that! AWA does a fabulous job over at the AdWords forum and is definitely worthy of praise.

If any of you have feedback for myself, you're always welcome to send it on over to adsense-support@google.com with "AdSenseAdvisor feedback" as the subject. In the meantime, I'll try my best to live up to AWA ;)

As always, thanks for being such a great group of publishers. The quality of the discussions on this forum is definitely a testament to the wealth of knowledge you all possess.



 7:33 am on Nov 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

4. Blending and location. Blending for visual appeal. Location to catch interest.

I couldn't agree with this anymore than I already do. Reworking my layout with AdSense in mind has helped my revenue increase from when I just plonked the AdSense code onto pages.

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