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Blogging: May 21, 2010

Making Money with Google Ads

One of the ways bloggers generate revenue to pay for their hosting costs and website domain names is by adding Google Adsense advertisements. In particular, even though smaller blogs (such as blogicus), are unable to attract blogads advertisers, Google Adsense can provide enough income to pay for the cost of blogging and perhaps a weekly Starbucks coffee or two.

To make the advertisements effective, they must be matched to the content and be placed in an effective position. Theoretically, Google inserts ads that are contextual, based upon the surrounding text. In practice, this is often not the case, in part because bloggers obscure their content, making both contextual assessment and indexing difficult.

Here are a few suggestions based upon my experience that will improve ad relevancy and revenue.

First, place your content as close to the top of your html source code as possible. In other words, when using multiple columns, the center should always be displayed first. Many blogs have side columns that are so loaded with links, ads and other paraphernalia that the content of individual posts becomes obscured. Putting the content first appears to help Google select appropriate advertisements and is of benefit for search engine optimization.

Blogicus is a three column lay-out but if you examine the source code you’ll find that the content follows right after each page’s header. As a result, the blog enjoys a fair amount of traffic (for a small blog) from search engines and ad relevancy has improved through time.

Second, always use header tags (h1, h2, etc) for your titles. In a related post at Problogger, Darren suggests

Post titles are important for search engine optimization as the search engines assume that what you put in your titles tells your readers what your site is about. Similarly they are important for AdSense.
This has been my experience as well and it should be noted that the way Google locates titles amid all the other tags and content is via the header tags. This makes them of great importance to the categorization of contextual advertisements and search engine placement. I found a significant improvement when I began using <h1> tags used for all post titles.

Third, use unique keywords, descriptions and titles in your meta tags that represent your content. Most blogging packages have plugins for generating these automatically and some, such as MovableType, have fields enabling manual additions. Take the time to make sure there is a unique combination of each so that your posts will be indexed and those searching will be able to find your content.

The keyword meta tag appears in the <head> section of your html code and uses the following format: <meta name="keywords" content="keywords go here">. Similarly, the description is contained in the tag: <meta name="description" content="the description goes here">. And, your post's title should appear like this: <title>the title goes here</title>.

Fourth, Google does provide a means to target only the relevant portion of each page for ad determination. You simply place a code before and after each post’s content (click here for more information).

Finally, place ads in positions the provide exposure but not interference. My experience is that the bottom of the post produces the most relevant ads and highest click through percentage. I look at it this way: your readers don’t want ads interfering with their access to information and won't be attracted to a site the appears spammy. However, once they’ve completed reading, there may be more relevant information available from an advertiser.

How to get started? Simply use your Google account to apply for Adsense.

Note: this is a relevant blast from the past

Posted by tim at May 21, 2010 8:34 PM




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