Writers and Google AdSense, a Primer
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Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2011
by Bruce Horst
What is Google AdSense?
True writers understand that there's nothing so invigorating and self-satisfying as communicating one's thoughts through the written word in a way that captivates, informs and inspires an audience. The only thing better would be to earn money for it!
I'd like to present some basic information on Google AdSense that may help you do just that.
In the early 2000's, search giant Google had a system in place for advertisers to bid on advertising positions on their search results page at Google.com. This was called AdWords. In 2003 Google announced that they would allow website owners to display these same types of ads on their websites as well, and this was called AdSense.
What set AdSense apart was that instead of just annoying people, the ads were 'contextual'. Google discovered that they could use a web crawler (the Googlebot) to read a web page, determine what the web page was about, and then calculate the best types of ads to display on the web page.
The results were almost magical. Instead of ads being annoying, some people reported that the ads were actually helpful. Average click-thru rates (the percentage of times an ad is clicked vs. the number of times the ad is viewed) went from an average of 0.05% to over 2%, evidence of that advertisers, publishers and consumers were happier with the ads.
Even better, the ads adjusted to whatever was on each web page which allows small mom and pop website owners to maximize advertising revenue on their websites. Website owners no longer had to deal with advertisers, we simply placed a few lines of ad code on our pages, then Google pooled the advertisers so the highest bidders would have their ads displayed, placed the ads, took the advertisers' money, and sent a check once a month to the website owner. What could be better! (Google keeps a percentage of the ad revenues for themselves, estimated at roughly 30%)
AdSense has gone through several iterations since then, and some competitors have popped up, but there has never been any advertising product even close to being as successful as AdSense.
What AdSense means to writers
Around the same time that AdSense was introduced, blogging started to become popular. This was a win-win for writers because now writers didn't have to set up their own websites, they could use one of the popular blogging services like Blogspot.com or WordPress.com. All a writer needed to do was add AdSense, and they were in business.
The downside is that so many people decided to do this, that it has become nearly impossible to find good writing in the sea of spam that is blogging these days. Incidentally, this created the niche that SearchWarp tries to serve: Quality writers who don't want to have their writing buried on the Internet where no one can find it.
Any serious writer should have their own AdSense account. It's sometimes hard to get one, but it's worth working for it because a writer can earn so much more from AdSense than any of the other advertising products. Typically a web page with properly placed AdSense ads can earn $8 to $10 RPM (Revenue Per Mille) which means for every 1,000 readers the writer will earn between $8 and $10. For comparison, the closest competitor to AdSense that I'm aware of currently pays out about $1.50 RPM.
You may or may not think $10 RPM is a lot of money. At this rate, you would need to have 10,000 readers per month to earn $100 per month. The beauty of this is that you earn this money day in and day out, while you sleep, if you are in bed sick, and while you're on vacation.
AdSense and click fraud
Because the profit potential is so great, there are literally tens of thousands of people world-wide trying to cheat the system. Advertisers pay when someone clicks on one of their ads, so some people do things to get more clicks. This can be clicking on the ads themselves, or encouraging others to click on the ads. Since these clicks are not based on the intent to actually view the advertisers website, this is fraud, plain and simple.
There have been all kinds of schemes over the years for people to get more clicks on their ads, and Google has gotten very good at detecting this click fraud. If click fraud is detected on an account, Google will quickly terminate the account and all accumulated revenue will be forfeited. For small-time publishers and writers Google has been known to be trigger happy. They seem to see it as a waste of time to deal with a small-time publishers if there is any hint of click fraud at all.
I'm saying this to make the point that once you have an AdSense account, you should guard it like a treasure. Never, ever click on your own ads. Never, ever encourage someone else to click on your ads. Some website owners won't even tell their closest friends the names of their websites, because if something happened to the friendship, the ex-friend could retaliate by clicking on the friends ads to make it appear that click fraud is occurring. For someone who relies on AdSense for their primary source of income, this could be devastating.
How do I maximize AdSense?
Books have been written on how to maximize AdSense revenue. The simple advice is to write unique and compelling content which attracts a lot of readers. There are topics that pay better than other topics. News is one of the lowest paying topics. Product reviews are generally the highest paying, since people read them before making a purchase, and advertisers pay a premium for such people.
Evergreen topics are great. These topics pull in readers year-round. Evergreen topics are typically how-to information, reference information, or historical facts. These types of articles never seem to go out of style and can potentially earn ad revenue for years and years.
How do I sign up for AdSense?
Go here. The form isn't too long, but I'll warn you that the biggest cause for rejection, from what I hear, is people listing a website which they don't own as their own website. They make exceptions for multi-user websites which use subdomains like Blogspot.com and Wordpress (hint.) Once you have an AdSense account, you can display ads on other websites besides the one given at signup. You will be paid after your account reaches $100.
One of the most intriguing arrangements I've seen with AdSense and writers is when writers form a co-op. In a writers' co-op, a group of writers build a website where they each contribute and promote. The cross-promotion gives them an edge over the vast majority of other websites operated by individual writers. Then the writers in the co-op split the ad revenue, or maybe each individually have their own AdSense accounts so they each get their own revenue from their articles. This has been very effective for a lot of websites. I can even see this as a possible direction for SearchWarp in the future.
This Article has been viewed 956 times. (Not updated in real-time.)More comments
Bruce: I have Adsense now on my Hubpages site.
My historical hits are nearing 400K, but I have only had the Adsense account, which they set up for me (all I had to do was fill out the 1099) for about three months. I am getting checks and it does feel good.
Thanks, ChristoferSome people say to be successful one should model successful people. Guess who will be shadowing you now?Studied astrology for 35 years and turned out a "different point of view" with over 120 articles. That's my short story. We can certainly talk.
I have to have a personal web site first, right?They make exceptions for people using a multi-user platform like Blogspot or Wordpress which use subdomains. Probably listing your SearchWarp Spaces home page would work ( http://jack-h-schick.searchwarp.com )
It is also easy to get started with your own domain name. Very easy, very inexpensive and very useful.
Excellent work of course. Your associates have come to expect nothing less from you after displaying time and time again your unwavering desire to help as many people as you possibly can through the successes you have orchestrated in your own life, that sir is the true meaning of philanthropy. If indeed the good souls of this life do inherit the earth then you sir shall be counted prominently among their numbers. Thank you, good day.Hullo David, I've been wondering where you are!
Thanks for the education! And all the comments it engendered were educational as well. Something to think about.
I use to have an adsense account for my website. And made little but something.
However, Google it seems doesnt allow the writer freedom of speach when it contradicts
what its purpose is to make money.
If a writer speaks freely on their concerns, beliefs or viewpoints which contradicts how
the world runs Google will close your account. Thus my account was closed.
However, I do not write for some conglomerates greed for its huge profits.
Without my account I am thus free to write how I want, want I want to write about
and with no stupid policies which i dont believe in anyway.
Which brings me to Searchwarp, a place of Freedom I seek, a place where there is no
judgement on my viewpoints, no stupid rules policies or regulations Im forced to follow,
Thanks for this, Bruce. I like the Adsense ads, they're very unintrusive. I also like your vision for the future here re Adsense!
I can use this article to help me find some great places to continue my writing. Thanks for the great information here.
This is the umpteenth time I tried signing up with Adsense, my account exists but they have not authorised it. I tried with my two blog sites earlier and it failed. I tried with SearchWarp, they haven't replied yet. The idea certainly seems great and I hope to have my Adsense account verified and accepted too.
Good advice as always, Bruce.