Introduction about Google AdSense

In 2017, Google held a whopping 44% of the total global ad revenue. If you think that’s thrilling there’s more. They offer anyone the chance to get in on such massive returns through Google AdSense.

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Google AdSense is used by publishers more than any other ad network across the web. And due to its global, it’s ability to attract major advertisers to the platform has increased.

This makes it an extremely powerful monetization tool for your website. However, getting that dream click-through rate most times is a tough nut to crack for most publishers.

And if that’s you, I’ve got some tips different from the usual “use bigger advert sizes” advice you’d see everywhere.

So, after going through this article and implementing the tips, you would gain a huge competitive edge over regular AdSense publishers.

AdSense Optimization Tips

Due to the very complex structure of the advertising ecosystem, a lot of publishers often miss best practices and AdSense optimization steps on their websites. Publishers seem to be ignorant of the most basic optimization practices and tips.

This, in turn, hurts their earnings.

In the rest of this article, I’ll state what these practices are as well as how to fix them into your publisher account. But before that, let’s look at some of the most used terms and questions Adsense users ask.

Active View CPM — What Is It?  

When 50% of any ad is shown on the screen for at least a second, it’s termed Active View CPM. This is vital to publishers; because it’s a core metric used by advertisers with respect to viewability.  

Source: Ezoic

It’s one of the effective ways that an AdSense user can earn revenue from display ads.

The huge hunk of advertisers will buy or bid only for viewable ads. This is usually the reason why visitors’ engagements influences your ads rates.

How Does AdSense Define CTR and Page view?

In Google AdSense, whenever a page loads with ads a page view occurs. The click-through rate is defined by the ad impression page views to the overall user clicks.

Impressions on all ads are accumulated due to advertiser’s ads being placed in varying areas of your website as a visitor goes through the pages.

Hence, having a high number of page views resulting in a huge sum of non-viewable ads with zero or minimal CTRs may be indicative of navigation bounces at a high percentage.

According to data, Google ads get an average CTR of 4.10% across all niches from search traffic with a 0.60% click rate for display.

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What does this mean to you?

Well, a lot of accidental or short page views (navigation bounces) can easily decrease the value of ads shown on your page over time which results in low ad earnings when it doesn’t align with the average CTR Google expects.

One of the main goals any Adsense publisher should have is the balance of visitor behavior, ad earnings, and visitor engagement.

There needs to be a balance of these things to ensure good user engagement and quality outcome for advertisers in the long run. In fact, your user’s experience is definitely a paramount factor in your overall ad earnings.

Best Optimization Practices for Google Adsense

As stated by Google, publishers need to aim to complement, blend, and contrast content and ads on a page. Now, let’s look at a few effective ways to get the most results out of your AdSense account.

1. Minimize Invalid Traffic

Google began in 2015 to include in the monthly revenue report “Invalid Traffic” which lowers your earnings. Sometimes, it could be an insignificant sum, at other times, it could be a huge bite out of your revenue.

Source

As stated by Google, “invalid clicks consist of any impressions or clicks that artificially inflate a publisher’s earnings or advertisers cost for which there is no charge to the advertiser.”

This includes the use of automated software for impressions or clicks or a publisher clicking on his own ads.”

Even though Google assures it’s advertisers it utilizes smart tools and a team of experts to shield them from scheming publishers, they do not state what you could be doing to initiate invalid clicks on your site.

It’s important to state that if you continuously get invalid traffic, you would keep losing earnings and risk getting suspended, even if you aren’t aware where the invalid clicks come from.

So what do you do?

Well, there are a few tips from Google. Avoid poor quality traffic sources; avoid the lure to click your own ads, verification of implementation. However, scammers do find their way around it and legitimate publishers pay for it.

A few other things to pay attention to if you want to eliminate “invalid traffic”:

a). Content

Asides from those tips, content can never be emphasized enough.

You would be penalized by Google if you have more ads than content on your page. Ensure a proper balance of the two as it can decrease returning users.

b). Watch Social Media Traffic

Adsense does not like it. Google is more favorable to organic visits (not hard to guess why) from its search engine.

They dislike paid traffic especially the kind that isn’t paid for from the platform it comes from (such as paid bot retweets or massive Facebook groups paid posts.)

c). Contact Google

If you know you aren’t generating the invalid clicks, but you’re getting a whole bunch of them, contact support. This is because you might be a click-bombing victim from your competitors.

2. Blocking Categories

Unblocking or blocking categories in Adsense can have a huge effect on your revenue.  What kind of effect and how? It’s a tad bit complicated. All “safe” categories by default are marked as enabled.

However, riskier categories such as gambling are not enabled. And most likely, you probably left the settings like this because you believe in Google to choose the most efficient ad for any user on your page. That’s a positive viewpoint. But let’s get real.

You may think if you allow all ad categories to display on your site, you’re increasing the competition of advertisers over your visitors. But this isn’t so. Some categories have high CTRs while others have high CPCs.

The main question is how RPM can be maximized with category unblocking/blocking?  High RPMs are a function of high CPC and high CTR.  But one won’t work without the other.

If a specific category of ads pulls in massive CPCs but horrible CTRs? Then it isn’t the best category for your visitors.

Below “Allow and Block Ads” look at the analytics shown to see what categories are performing poorly.

Categories with high impressions but minimal revenues are what you should block, temporarily at least.

Given, it may reduce your ad placements completion by advertisers but it will pill your way the best advertisers and ads for your audience.

Here is a caution for you, do not become trigger happy and go on a blocking spree, take your time to monitor the results deeply and watch their fill rates.

3. Getting Higher CPCs with Smart Pricing

A lot of publishers are scared of the Adsense algorithm for Smart Pricing. The algorithm aims to ensure that advertisers get quality ROIs when advertising on the network.

This means that at any random time, the conversions of advertisers will be tracked by Google.

Pages and websites that pull in higher rates of conversions will get maximum CPCs inventory bids.

Knowing this, what is the average expected conversion rate? For search traffic, clicks research has shown that the average conversion rate is 3.48% while for display is 0.72% . That means this is what Google expects from your traffic.

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Unfortunately, though, as a publisher, you can only see CTRs, not conversions. So it’s impossible to aim at specific advertisers or ad categories to enhance your quantity in the eyes of Google.

What you can do, however, is aim at raising your site’s worth in other to attract higher CPCs and better bidders.

Smart Pricing is not new. It’s been here for a long time.  It’s mainly about the quality of the audience engaging with the ads.

Clicking is great. But if users just click without becoming clients, a lot of advertisers over time see it as a wasted investment.

So modify Smart Pricing to work for you rather than against you.

Block categories that are unprofitable. Put ads in areas where you won’t risk mistake clicks and pull in converting traffic. Not cheap views that do not change into clients.

How would I know what type of traffic will convert?

You would need to do some “reverse engineering” on the classical customer journey. And offer content that’s specifically aimed at converting visitors. For example, a lot of review websites do a killer job on this.

Visitors often read reviews in their conversion journey. It’s extremely likely that review websites would have high Smart Pricing results with high CPCs as well.

This is how you can make your websites to pull in converting traffic and match your visitor’s journey.

4. Custom Channels

If you aren’t using custom channels, you’d want too. They allow you to effectively track the performance of ads units and attract top advertisers.

With custom channels, you can create ad groups or single placements that can be targeted by advertisers directly.

In giving advertisers such ability, you increase your ad space competition, and consequently, how much money you can make.

5. In-flow and Anchor Ads

Every newbie in website monetization is aware that above the fold is where the cash is at. However, it’s not that simple.

Here’s why: The ad over the fold is most likely the first thing seen by a visitor when they come to your site.

Ads are created to be appealing. However, your visitor didn’t navigate to your page to view ads, and you must never forget that. They came to read your content. They came to learn from you and ask questions (in most cases).

So let’s assume a user lands on your site with the promise of reading quality content.

Now, if you do everything right, this visitor will see a relevant ad and want to click on it.

However, they came for the content. Even if the ad offer is very relevant, if you don’t have amazing content, they’ll keep scrolling. And when they are through, they’d forget about that interesting ad they saw.

How can you solve this?

In-flow and Sticky ads (also known as floating, anchor or hovering ads). The appropriate mixture of ads that go along with users as they scroll, as well as in-flow ads which offer “exit points” in content, are proven ways to get high RPMs.  

Another thing to bear in mind is, on mobile gadgets, anchor ads can result in invalid clicks. Hence, you might want to disable them for mobile devices.

6. Size Optimization

If you got paid every single time you’ve heard about mobile optimization, you’d be the richest publisher alive. And it’s repeated for a reason.

Depending on the setup or theme of your site, you can develop varying layouts for various devices. Using responsive pages will consistently place ads in wrong locations, so you’d want to ignore that to maximize your mobile revenues.

For instance, an ad unit placed on the sidebar may appear on the footer of your post when your visitor is using a mobile device. Or even swallow up a lot of screen-room when placed somewhere else on the page.  

What you could do rather is hide ads that offer low performance on mobile devices when a Smartphone or tablet is used to surf your page.

Then add mobile-only units that display just on mobile devices and are optimized for mobile layouts.

7. Geo-Targeting

Some cities, states, and countries have higher CPCs than others. US, UK, Australia, and Canada, for example, bring in higher CPCs than India or Africa.

If your blog is in German or Italian language — you may want to think about adding English sections for high CPCs.  And then search for niches with high prices in your locale.

Assuming you have an English content site, you need to try to pull in traffic from nations with high CPC.

That means your visitor acquisition efforts have to focus on such countries and draw on the interests of individuals of that region.

How to check for countries that pay the highest? In your performance reports look at how the countries are doing. See how the countries can bring in more traffic that would result in a high CPC.

8. Testing

A/B testing is great. It offers an awesome way to study your visitors.

By understanding which users prefer variant B and which ones prefer variant A in the middle of a test offers publishers with a terrific proposition.

Assign users that performed well with variation B (generated higher ad revenue, bounced less) result B, and give the user’s who performed well with variation A result A.

Less testing and greater visitor segmentation are a lot better than numerous tests with no implementation. Meaning, do not test one thing and then deliver it to everyone.

One of the best optimizations you can make is adjusting ad placement.

These ad placements are available to advertisers in two forms:

  • Automatic placements: This is controlled by the Google AdSense system. Advertisers can target different publishers’ websites at once.
  • Placements defined by Publishers: You can define your own ad placement using custom channels. This way, you’ll display only specific ad units on the publisher has selected.

Note: To maximize your adsense earnings, endeavor to run specific tests, then figure out the distribution of the variables based on the performance of the subjects tested — in relation to their preferences.

9. Using AdSense Asynchronous Code

Google in 2015 introduced the asynchronous code for ads to aid publishers to lower their pages load time which contain ad units. This code simply aids sites ad units load faster and in order of positioning.

This is quite important because web users lack patience and if your page loads too slowly, you’d get a very high bounce rate because users simply hit the back button.

Obviously, it’ll lead to no conversions or clicks, just terrible page views.

10. Strict Policy Compliance

The worst thing that can happen on your AdSense journey is getting the ban hammer for ignorance. Ensure strict policy compliance of AdSense rules. Do not disguise your ads.

Make sure your ads always look like ads.

Trying to be deceptive with the location of your ads (i.e. close to navigation and buttons) will only initiate invalid clicks, which will lead to you getting banned from the platform.

Also, make sure you’re not encouraging your users to make accidental clicks. A lot of users have gotten banned for asking visitors, to support the website by clicking on ads.

Aside from Google’s publisher policy, ensure you aren’t interrupting your visitor’s ability to properly consume content (i.e. covering content, breaking words). Make sure your site is very easy to navigate.

As you know, navigation has an important role in both the quality and quantity of page views you get from a single user session. Optimization of usability always ends up being a better investment in the long haul.

Conclusion on Google AdSense tips

After going through these tips you are now armed to get your AdSense account optimized for increased earnings.  

Implementing these steps will place any publisher ahead of the run of the mill publishers. Who will sooner or later wish someone had told them these tips!

Remember to strictly comply with Google AdSense policy. This is important because without an account none of these tips matter. And Google doesn’t hesitate to swing the ban hammer.

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