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My Adsense Secrets


Notes for webmasters and others > My Adsense Secrets


1. Play by the rules

2. Clear, value-laden pages

3. Shorter, focused pages

4. Breadcrumbs and fair repetition

5. Use basic meta-tags

6. Have Ads which are present but not obstructive

7. Buy into the whole Google thing

8. Read Google's (and others') tips

9. Keep adding stuff

10. Be patient


I get top Google ratings for lots of my pages and do well from using Google's Adsense for gaining revenue from this and other sites.

Here's my secrets.

1. Play by the rules

There are lots of sites telling you how to cheat on Adsense and 'get more income'. This is a loser's game if you want any steady income into the future. Google employ a lot of smart people who's job it is to catch cheaters and they will kick you out quickly and permanently if you break the rules.

I don't know Google's formula, but I bet they give ratings to websites overall, based on how well-behaved they are. I get high rankings and I think it's partly because I model good behavior on all pages, adding real value and not trying to cheat.

Having said this, use...

2. Clear, value-laden pages

Always add value for your readers. Be generous with what you tell them and do in in a way that they find easy to read. Content is king! My web isn't that fancy, but it does have thousands of useful pages, all of them free and easy.

Also try to be clear in your language. I get lots of 'thank you' emails from people who have given up on psychology and other text books but find my writing style easy to understand.

Try to understand your readers and how they are using the site, then add value 'delighters'. I know lots of students use my pages, so I have a special 'students' page to help them do references for their essays.

Remember: If your readers like what you write, they will come back time and again and, very importantly, tell all of their friends. And some of those will click on ads.

3. Shorter, focused pages

Make each page a specialist page (note how I've separated this from the webmaster page). This has two benefits:

  1. It helps the reader, who generally likes to read about one thing at a time.
  2. It helps Google, who can serve customized ads to the page.

Don't make the pages too short (note that I haven't broken this page into sub-sections). If the page is too short then readers will give up on endless click-and-waiting.

I use minimum graphics and maximum text. Search engines like text. They may use download speed as a ranking factor - which makes graphics bad news.

4. Key words, breadcrumbs and fair repetition

Use key words in the title and headers that will help Google find your page.

Use the 'breadcrumbs' at the top of the page that show the trail within your hierarchy of pages as to where your reader is now. It was uncommon when I started using it in 2002, but now many sites use it. For this page, the breadcrumbs are simply:


Notes for webmasters and others > My Adsense Secrets


Breadcrumbs both help the user and also repeat key words in the page title.

Do remember to be fair in repetition. If you over-do it, you'll both annoy your readers and also are likely to be caught out by Google's smart anti-cheating software.

5. Use basic meta-tags

Meta-tags are the HTML lines at the start of each page that tell the search engine useful by which to find the site. Here are the meta tags I use (these are the ones from this page):

<meta Name="keywords" Content="webmaster,changingminds,adsense,secrets,google,revenue,profit">

<meta Name="description" Content="Here are some notes on how I play by the rules yet also get good income from Google's Adsense.">

There are comments about that search engines ignore the 'keywords'. I don't know about this so I use them anyway.

6. Have Ads which are present but not obstructive

If you plonk ads right in front of people as they are trying to read the text, then you may get more clicks for now, but people will be less likely to come back.

Advertising should be subtle, not a baseball bat for whacking people around the head. If you annoy people, they won't come back and won't recommend your site to others. I disagree a bit with Google about this. They have stats that show more central ads get clicked on, but what they don't have is stats about people who give up on the site as a result.

Experiment with colors to find what works best. Measure your return over a good period, say a couple of weeks, then change colors and do it again. It's a fun test and eventually you'll find the best combination. Two approaches you can use is either (a) to use colors which match your site so the ads 'fit in', or (b) use contrasting colors, so the ads stand out Beware of making ads annoyingly bright -- you don't want to chase your readers away.

Here's my blog about bad website design, including complaints about poor usage of ads.

7. Buy into the whole Google thing

Use things like Google's search and the translation engine. They will help more people to use your site. Remember: the more visitors, the more you'll make on Adsense! Their Analytics system is amazing for getting into the real detail of your visitors. Regularly read the Adsense blog. The Adsense calendar is a nice addition to track the blog, etc.

8. Read Google's (and others') tips

Google has an unsurprisingly knowledgeable page on Adsense tips, which is well worth reading, of course as well as a helpful set of case studies (go look at their sites -- and their HTML!).

There are lots of other tips pages like these out there -- try them too and figure out whether and how you can use their ideas. Read adsense blogs -- there's lots of them.

9. Keep adding stuff

Keep the site alive by non-stop addition of useful information and other stuff. I write at least one new page every day and update every weekend. This builds up a regular readership. I also indicate changes through an RSS feed.

Adding new things all the time may mean that you have to reorganize or tidy up now and again. This may not be a great idea if you've got a page up the search rankings. I started organizing subjects in a hierarchy from the beginning. What I do also keep doing is adding new links to existing pages, which also keeps things up to date.

I also believe that search engines (Google, at least) likes sites which are constantly being updated as it shows they are up-to-date and 'alive'. 

10. Be patient

I'm not in this for a quick buck, but I do intend it to evolve into a decent income in the future . I'm building oodles of useful pages for readers, having fun and learning loads in doing so and making some nice money at the same time.

Your readership will not go from zero to a million-a-day overnight unless you have some genius idea that gets front-page headlines across the world (in which case make sure you're on a hosting system that can stand the load!).

The percentage of people who click on ads is relatively small, so to make decent money you need lots of readers. I've been told I'm uniquely persistent but it's not that hard, really. Just build, build, build.

(Note: ten years later and it's bringing in enough to pay the bills. I'm 'semi-retired' but still working on the site every day).


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