Mountain Girl

Living the Dream, Not Sure Whose

Beth Ingalls

Beth Ingalls
October 30
Writer & editor, cultural critic, activist, former Mayor, lover of live music and above all, Mom. Killer memoir in the works. Agent needed.


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JUNE 27, 2009 12:18PM

How Does Adsense Make Cents?

Rate: 12 Flag

We've entered a new world. 

CTR...CPM...Page Impressions....Analytics. If you don't know what those are, then you don't know shit!

You best bone up.

I thought it would be useful to post some info about Adsense for those of us who are giving it a try. Since I am not an expert, I sourced the most reliable information I could find.

Hope you find it helpful and good luck all you blog whores and pimps! And congratulations on taking it to a new level!


Hey Baby...Wanna Look at my Blog?


This is from Alana at 5/9/2009

Adsense Tips to Increase Your Earnings

Are you not making as much money from Adsense as you had hoped? Here you will find a few useful tips to help you increase your ctr (click through rate) and start earning more money from your ads.

First I would like to explain a little about why many people are saying "adsense doesn't work" and "you wont make much money with adsense" and so on.

To start with I will tell you it does work and many people are making a lot of money using Adsense but you have to know how to use it properly.

(please note here, Adsense have introduced interest based advertising which will change things in the long run, but it is still worth applying the tips in this article to improve your earnings)

Adsense ads are targeted to your content, what you write determines what ads are displayed on your blog, site or webpage. Even with the new interest based advertising, you will still want your ads to be relevent to your content.

Adsense ads have different values, different topics pay different amounts.

Google pay their publishers more money for targeted traffic, to make more money with adsense you need to send targeted traffic to the advertisers.

The following steps will help you learn how to send more targeted traffic to google, increase the amount of clicks you receive and improve your adsense earnings.

Things You Will Need

An adsense account


Step 1

How to get Ads that Match your Content

This first step is quite easy. Google crawls each page you are displaying ads on to find out what that page is about. Google then display ads that they think match your content.

So how do you tell Google what your content is about?

Firstly, stick to one topic per page, on a blog this means displaying only one post per page, having a blog with many different posts all displaying on the home page and all on a different topic will confuse Google and you will get unrelevent ads.

Secondly, use your title to describe what your content is about. This might seem like a no-brainer but you will be surprized at how many posts are titled "my thoughts" or "what I did at the weekend" etc. How many advertisers, do you thing are bidding on "what I did at the weekend"?

Use descriptive titles, focus your content and give google something they can work with. Bear in mind there are just some topics that there are no ads available for and you will not get relevent ads for that subject. A good way to check out if the topic you intend to write about has ads available is to google it, if there are many ads displaying on the search results you then know there are ads available.

These simple steps should improve the relevence of the ads you are displaying.

Step 2

People do not Like Ads

So don'tt make your ads look like ads, they wont get clicked on. Anyone who uses the internet regularly knows what an ad looks like and there is a general tendency to ignore ads that stand out or are too obvious.

For blogs and websites try to blend your ads in to your sidebar and content, go into your adsense account (do not just change the code yourself, google's terms of service do not allow you to alter the code) and use the options available to adjust your ads.

Remove the border from your ads or match it to your background colour, match the ads background to your background also.

Make the ad text colour match the text on your site and change the colour of the ad title to the colour you use for the links on your site. Doing this will make the ads fit in with your content, which in turns makes them look less like ads.

Play around with this step and experiment until you have your ads matching the rest of your content. The less obvious the ad the more likely it will get clicked.

Step 3

Nobody is Looking For Your Ads

So dont hide them, if you have your ads tucked down the bottom of your page, they are less likely to be found. You want your visitors to be able to see your ads. Put them above the fold, the top left sidebar is where most readers will look first and also above your content/title. As you have by now already adjusted your ads to look like your content they will blend right in, so they wont look out of place and visitors will be more likely to read them and click on one that interests them.

Step 4

Less is More

Google ads are sorted by highest paying first, the very first ad that displays on your page is the one that will pay you the most if it is clicked and the ads decrease in value from left to right down the page after that.

This means that if you have three ad blocks on a page, one in the top left of your sidebar, another in the center above the content and one at the end of your content, the very first ad in the block on your left sidebar is the highest paying and the very last ad in the block at the end of your content is the lowest paying.

Why display many low paying ads? It is a fact that many new visitors to a site do not read all the way to the bottom of a page, visitors who read the first line or two and find they are not interested in the content will be looking for a way out, if your ads are targeted, which they should be, having a few ads well displayed near the top is offering them a choice of places they might like to go. So ok they may not have liked your content but at least you made money if they clicked your ad to leave.

Visitors who do like your content and do read all the way to the bottom could click your ads, if you have them at the bottom, but we already know these ads pay less, so why put them there? instead why not put a link to another related article of yours that they can click through to instead, keeping a visitor on your site longer also increases the chances of them clicking an ad but with the benefit that they may also return to your site again.

Step 5

Experimenting with Ad Blocks

As I discussed before, ads that look like ads get clicked less often, so too do ad blocks that stand out as advertisements. Think about which blocks you are displaying, do they look like an ad block or just like a list of links? Google offer many different types of blocks and it is well known that some get a better click through rate than others. So if you are seeing a poor click through rate, change the type of ad block you are displaying. Try a new one out for a week or two and see if it has a different result. Keep experimenting with this step until you find what works for your site.

Step 6

Use Channels to Track Your Clicks

In your adsense dashboard there is an option to select a channel for each individual ad code, this is really easy to do and you can put a specific name on each block you use so you will be able to track which blocks are getting clicks and which are not working. Set up as many channels as you need, you can add and remove them from your site as you need and they will help you get a much better idea of your ads performance.

Earning More with Adsense

Using the above tips will help you to learn more about your adsense performance and experimenting with these methods can increase your earnings, you should keep notes on the changes you make so that you can refer to them later on.

Different things will work for different sites and there is no golden rule to adsense, your click through rate will depend on your topic and your visitors, where they are coming from etc, social traffic from sites like stumbleupon is considered untargeted traffic and is not usually the traffic that click on your ads whereas targeted traffic, traffic that comes from a search engine tends to have a much higher click through rate.

Optimizing you site for search engines brings the profitible traffic, this SEO experiment I conducted over the course of a few months shows the effect targeted traffic had on my adsense earnings.


Tips & Warnings

None of the steps in this How to Guide violate Googles TOS (Terms of Service)

If you are considering any other ways, not mentioned above to increase you earnings, I would advise you to check out Googles TOS first, violating the TOS could lead to you being banned, so be careful before you do anything you are not sure about.


This from Article Click is useful too.

The internet is full of articles, ebooks and hype about using blogs with Google's Adsense program to make money. The formula for success, it seems, is simple. You blog, place ads, get traffic, visitors click on the ads and you get paid. The question many people want to know is, can we make a profit?

This question has been difficult to answer, in large part, because of the Google Terms of Service for Adsense users. Although the terms have recently been loosened somewhat, users were long prohibited from sharing personal information regarding their success levels and other key statistics that might have provided prospective for-profit bloggers from developing a clear perspective on the profit potential available.

If you are curious about whether or not you can make blogging with Adsense a legitimate moneymaker, it is worth conducting this relatively simple exercise. The results can give you an idea of whether or not it is worth your time.

First, determine how long it will take you to build your blog. Consider the set up time and the time necessary to do initial promotion and to write at least ten to twenty starter posts. We will say our preparation time is fifteen hours.

Second, estimate how much time it will take on a weekly basis to do additional promotion and to add at least two new posts. Multiply this figure by 52 (the number of weeks in a year). For this example, we will set promotion time at 156 hours (3 hours per week).

Third, add preparation time and Promotion time. This will give us an idea of the total time required. In this case, total time is 171 total hours.

Fourth, investigate the average value of an ad click in your niche. You can use the Overture bid tool, easily found online, to get a reasonable idea of the value of each click. In order to make your projection “safe," reduce that number by half. This yields PPC, or “pay per click." Let's say the bid tool says clicks related to our keyword are worth about forty cents. Our PPC is .20.

Fifth, determine how much your time is worth. Do you feel your blogging time should generate at least $10 per hour? $20? This is a matter of personal preference. We will assess the value of our time at $10 per hour for this exercise.

Sixth, assume a click-through rate of eight percent. This is a low figure, as many blogs can generate click-through rates approximating 25%. Click-through rate is expressed as CTR.

Now it's time to perform the critical calculation. We need to determine the required number of visitors necessary to produce enough money to make the process worthwhile. To find the number of visitors required you need to do a little algebra. You multiply visitors (unknown) times pay per click(.20) times click thru rate (.08) which will equal how much your time is worth (10) times total time required (171).

You don't have to do the algebra, the number of visitors would be 139,200. In order to make the process pay, you will have to drive 106,875 visitors to the blog over the course of one year. That translates to approximately 292 visitors per day, on average. Obviously, that is a very “doable" number based on the amount of time we have set aside for the process.

So, for our example, blogging for bucks with Adsense is a winner.

Perform these calculations based on your own unique circumstances and you can determine the viability of earning money with a blog and Adsense.

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photo credit: Cuban prostitute - from
Why do I suddenly find myself feeling like I have a final exam tomorrow for a subject I have never studied? Great info but way too much to try to deal with sanely.
beth i appreciate the information. but i'm going to concentrate on writing. until issues concerning ep's and covers (these generate readership unfairly if automatically chosen on a daily basis) i won't put ads VOLUNTARILY on my blog. that said and ranted, you're still high up my identifiable coolness factor list.
such crass commercialism! when do i get my check?
Uhh, CPM - Constant Passive Motion - equipment used during recovery of knee surgery.

CTR - awesome construction machines with multiple applications. I love this one.

Page Impressions - What the hotel guy with the funny hat thinks of you?

Man! I'm so ready for this adsense stuff :-)
Thanks for the information, Beth, as depressing as it is.

(The subtext of this guide seems to be "You too can make money writing, even if you can't write, as I'm demonstrating here." Oh, well.)

I will comment on the writer's Step 2:

People do not Like Ads
So don'tt make your ads look like ads, they wont get clicked on...

This has the flavor of an experienced used car salesman explaining to a new colleague the rules for cheating customers. Trick people into clicking on ads by making them look superficially like content? Thanks, but no thanks.
Yeah, the bottom line is not much to be made. I thought some would find it helpful but maybe I should have just kept it to myself. whatever. And the thing is also that there is no way to truly customize here - since everything goes through OS.
Beth -- more good research. Thanks. Can you tell me this: if I plonk ads on my site, does OS benefit? I know I'm not going to, in any sense of the word. My heart sank when I saw what looked like an animated tombstone atop my reminiscence about my father. But my heart regularly soars in the company of the people here, which means I'm happy to provide financially. It's always been astonishing that there's never been a fee charged. So -- do you know what kind of action OS can expect from a single site? Thanks
Is there going to be a pop quiz on this?
" but maybe I should have just kept it to myself"

Never. Then we would miss seeing you here.
Beth thanks for doing the research and providing more research tips. My thought, since I work hard on getting the word out about my other small business, was Holy crap! When am I going to have time to write since time seems so short now.

Don't stop sharing things you think are interesting or might be of use.
" I thought some would find it helpful but maybe I should have just kept it to myself. whatever"

That might be the single saddest sentence I've ever read on this site.

Whether somebody likes or dislikes a business decision, understands or doesn't understand a process. makes or doesn't made a moral judgement all pale in the face of a person trying to do something helpful and then having to take shots for it.

In real (non-virtual) life I write and deliver training. There are few things I know better. I've done it for a really long time. When it's done well, it's lucid, engaging, and complete. Like what was done here.

Beth needs no one to defend her. That's not the point.

The point is: the way we treat each other will kill OS a lot faster than the ads will. When any contributor's reaction is---maybe I should have kept a try at being helpful to myself---we're all just a little bit weaker.
This is a great post. Thanks.
This was such a helpful post that I put it on the links of our new group blog created to monitor and flag spam blogs. So far OS has been very responsive to our concerns.

We are also interested in learning about people's experiences with AdSense.

It makes me sad that Beth might feel attacked. Explaining how something works is always helpful.
Folks the best way to handle adsense is to just put it on your page and let it go. Look, you weren't getting a lot of money before Open Salon let you put ads on your blog. You probably won't make much now.

Just relax, put the ads up, and use the revenue to buy yourself a cocktail or two a month. That's all you'll probably get.