How To Really Make Money With Google Adsense

The other day Mark and I were laughing about how unbelievably addicting Google Adsense is. Mark had just installed Adsense on a newer site and made $3 his first day. I don’t know why but having a $3 day on a new site is sometimes more exciting than making thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars at a job. Those who have had their first $3 day on a new site know that income just keeps growing and growing if you know how to ‘feed’ it. Every five and six figure Adsense earner once started by getting their first click.

Every guide I’ve read about making money with Adsense is about the same – they tell you that all you have to do is:

  1. Put some Google ads on a web page.
  2. ‘Drive’ traffic to the web page (what does this even mean?).
  3. Sleep all day and watch the money roll in.

The problem with all of these guides is that they leave out all the important steps. They aren’t going to give you a real road map that tells you how to get the traffic. They aren’t going to tell you what types of traffic to go after. They aren’t going to tell you which niches pay. They aren’t going to give you all of the classic pitfalls that 99% of the ‘make money onlinerz’ fall into.

Making Money With Adsense Can Be Complicated

I’m going to just say it straight up – learning to make money with Google Adsense can be pretty complicated. A lot of things can go wrong and you need to learn what these things are so that you can avoid them.

I started making money with Google Adsense over four years ago and honestly, I have a pretty good grasp of the problems that you can run into. I want to outline some of the things that can get in your way, and then provide you with some of the solutions I’ve been able to come up with.

Creating A Web Page

One of the hardest parts of making Adsense money is ordering cialis online learning how to create webpages/websites. If you’re going to make money this way, creating web pages is a necessity.

When I first started, I had to learn to create pages using HTML. This was an extremely tedious process. It took me months and hundreds of hours of work to put my first site together. I would skip this step completely.

If you’re just starting out, I would recommend first learning to create sites with Blogger. Blogger is 100% free and fairly easy to use. Many people are already using Blogger to create family type blogs and the transition into making money with it is fairly simple.

A temptation that you’re going to have when you start with Blogger is that you’re going to want to create the perfect looking sites. Don’t do this. I would pick one of the introductory templates and stick with it until you’re making a healthy income. Spending a ton of time on the look of your site won’t help with traffic and trust me, traffic will be the biggest hurdle you have to overcome.

Once you have mastered Blogger, you can start to learn how to use a similar program called WordPress. Learning WordPress will allow you to create sites on domains that you buy and this will give you a little more flexibility with your site.

There honestly isn’t a huge need to ever leave Blogger. I know a lot of people that make great money using Blogger to create sites that are monetized with Adsense.

Getting Traffic

Bringing traffic is definitely the most important skill of anyone who wants to use Adsense to make money. This isn’t exactly something that we can cover in a single article, but I want to give you the basics so that you can get started.

The most important thing you need to know about getting traffic for Adsense is that organic search traffic is the only way to go. Social traffic blows for Adsense. Social visitors won’t click on your ads and even if they do, they’re junk leads for the advertisers buying the clicks. If the people that click your ads aren’t a good fit for the advertisers, Google will pay you less (considerably less) than people who provide better leads.

People that are searching in Google for information on a certain topic are by far the best fit for Adsense ads. For example, let’s take a person that searches for ‘How To Get Student Loans’ in Google. They are probably a student that needs financial aid right? So they find your web page about ‘How To Get Student Loans’, where they find an ad that offers a good rate on a student loan and !CLICK!, you have yourself a couple bucks.

This scenario creates a win-win. The advertiser bought the right kind of visitor and you got paid for it. Social traffic on the other hand won’t be a good fit for this advertiser. Sure, some students may find your page socially, but amongst the social visitors will be mostly people that aren’t the best fit. This will lower the amount of clicks you can get from social traffic and will also be providing consistently poor leads for advertisers. This means Google is going to pay you a lot less than they will pay people that can get search traffic.

Getting organic search traffic from Google and other search engines is obviously a matter of getting ranked for keywords that people are searching for. If you come up #1 in Google for a popular keyword phrase, a lot of people are going to click into your site and they will be exactly the type of people you need.

Google, Yahoo, and MSN are the ‘big three’ search engines and they are getting a lot closer to each other than they used to be. Getting ranked in all three of them take the same basic strategies. You have to put the right content on the page using onsite SEO, and then work on getting links that will strengthen your rankings. Each of these search engines use links in a major way to determine which web pages are the best.

In the last four years, I have chased almost every type of traffic out there and honestly, organic search traffic is the only type that’s worthwhile if you want to make money with Adsense. If you want to get started in the search traffic game, you will probably want to read my Introduction To SEO.

Another traffic related issue that you can run into is going after the wrong keywords. If you choose the wrong keywords, they may not really be worth much. They can actually be worth nothing if they never bring you any traffic, and they can also be worth very little by way of click prices. If you’re only getting $0.01 per click, it’s going to take a load to make anything at all.

I’m not going to outline all of the concepts here, so you’re going to have to read some of the other articles I linked to to learn these concepts.

Adsense Optimization

The next problem you can run into is not getting enough people to click your Google ads. Optimizing your Adsense can be a lengthy process, but it’s almost always worthwhile. Obviously if you can get more people to click, you get paid more from the same amount of traffic. Here are the basics of how I make sure I get my Adsense properly optimized:

1. Test placement first. On every site I have, I start by first testing the placement of my ads. There are three main placements that have worked for me. The first is the 336×280 large rectangle placed above the page titles like Griz from Make Money For Beginners does. This is by far my favorite placement and usually does a great job of getting a high percentage of search visitors to click an ad. The second placement I like is the same large rectangle ad unit with the text of the page wrapping around it. The third I like is the 728×90 leaderboard stretched across the top of the page.

In order to test between these three placements, it’s very simple. You will give each placement 500 impressions worth of search traffic and you will go with the one that gets the most clicks. Yes, it’s that simple.

2. Test colors second. Once you know which placement will get the most clicks, it’s time to test colors. I usually test a few different colors, the first being the same color that your site uses for links. If your links are green, use green. If they’re blue, use blue. This generally helps the ads to blend in and that’s a good thing. After I test the matching link color, I will usually test a generic blue (color #OOOOFF). This one still works well, as it’s the color people most associate with links. I will then thirdly test a color very opposite to my site’s links. I will give each color 500 impressions and will go with the one that produces the most clicks.

The background color I go with always matches the theme exactly and I never test anything else (not that I haven’t tested different colors before – I certainly have). Matching backgrounds almost always get more clicks.

Summary

Making money with Google Adsense is simple if you can learn all of the concepts. You have to learn keyword research, onsite SEO, offsite SEO and link building, and Adsense optimization. If you can do that, you’ll do great with Adsense.

60 Comments »

  1. matt2257

    Hey Court and Mark,

    Nice insightful post. I never thought about the scientific method of testing 500 impressions at a time.

    But, I don’t think I have any sites that got that many impressions total!

    Looking forward to more!

    Matt(poiboy)

  2. Hey Court and Mark,

    I was just laughing with Mark about this phenomenon on the phone the other day. Each $1 click is better than a whole day’s pay (emotionally not financially of course). Just today I got my first search term that wasn’t my own site name on a google page 1!! It’s not a super high payout/volume one, but it’s a step and only after month two. Thanks for all the advice.

    -Bill

  3. Nice Bill! It’s WAY too funny how that happens! The same thing kind of happens when you hit a new all-time high on Adsense (or just when you have a good day for that matter).

    I’m actually working a little extra tonight on content for one of my sites because my Adsense is doing great today. I always try to use the positive energy to improve.

    Bill a page one listing is something to be proud of and with more work, more rankings will surely come.

  4. Thanks for the great tips! I just had my best day today with adsense, since I started my blog eleven months ago. I’m learning more and more everyday.

  5. Adam that’s great! We have some cool stuff planned that will hopefully help you to increase your Adsense income even more. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you out. :)

  6. Have you tested Image ads vs Text ads?

  7. Deez I definitely have and have always done better with text ads. I actually rarely use image ads unless it’s a product based site and even then I always do testing to see if image ads will work there.

    When I have allowed image ads to be shown, I have often had ads served that weren’t as relevant as the text ads are. That obviously causes a problem.

  8. Yeah, i agree. I currently have unattractive Weights Loss ads on an Investment site. I didn’t know that all investors were overweight – did you?

    Anyway, thanks for the input and great content on the site keep it up!

  9. You are so right: I am over the moon at the moment because my Adsense this month is already 50% up on last month’s and that was one of my best months ever. Its still under $100/month but its genuinely exciting to realise that most of that income is passive!

    • Lissie that’s great and I’m sure that it will just keep going up and up!

  10. This single blog post has inspired me to completely rethink the way I use Adsense. I am planning some big testing strategies now. Thanks Court and the Gang!

  11. Art Wesley

    I need to thank you, Court—THANK YOU! There now, I feel much better. For the greater part of a year, I hammered away on various “niche-sites” and models aiming to turn a few bucks, targeted at earning full-time during the long haul. I had the free time to invest—including a number of sleepless nights as required. (I am not here to push a link, so I shall omit the paid programs, packages, and sites I put to good use. If you are curious, give me a thumbs-up and I shall send the information to you specifically to do with as you desire.) I digress. I explained months ago how “synchronicity” and dark humor landed me on your blog. The information, skill, and work you share—free, are stunning. A few months ago, I lost my job and got sick. I put my server and laptop aside—no internet, during the “insane” period of fear and panic. I still followed your newsletter semi-regularly nonetheless. I am calmer now and (somewhat) back on track. This article “How To Really Make Money With Google Adsense” is informative—nothing concealed—and inspiring. I shall put your instruction to good use. Court, you always over-deliver and surprise.

    • Art seriously thank you, it means a lot. Please let me know if there’s anything that I can do to help you out.

  12. You said: “Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you out.”

    I would really appreciate some tips on link building. Your “Intro to SEO” gives an overview, but not any detail.

    • I’ll have more link building posts coming out in the next few weeks! I can tell you though that many people that I help know how to build links, they simply continue to look for more and more methods.

      Don’t worry I’ll follow up with posts that have plenty of details!

  13. I’ve been following you Court since the spring – and when I started, I couldn’t understand any of the language you were using! I’m happily learning to master the blogosphere and I owe a lot of that to you, money man!

    • Jennifer my little sister says the same thing! She thinks I need to tone down the tech language. :) Well I’m glad that you’ve stuck around long enough to make sense of things and I hope that we can help you out.

      Take care and sincerely – thanks for the compliment. :)

  14. Court….I just read the email you sent out from the Keyword Academy on “The Easy Way To Know Which Keywords Pay”.

    Man…I’ve been messing up with my keyword selection. No wonder I’m getting clicks and going broke!

    Thanks for the info…I will change my ways and make sure that I read every single email you send out. Well worth my time.

    Keep up the great work.

    • PC we have honestly all been hit with that. All we can do is learn and move on. By the way, I tell myself that just about every week – we always have to learn from our mistakes and move on.

  15. I agree that most important thing is getting traffic

  16. Court and Mark, your information has been very helpful. Thank you. A while back Court had said he felt it was helpful if one worked between 10 and 50 niche sites. Is this still something you stand-by Court?

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    - Larry

    • Larry I think it would be a great thing for everyone to have that many sites. There are a lot of different approaches that I like and that is definitely one of them! Mark and I have been talking about creating some specific walk-through posts that should help people to see some of the stuff that we’ve been getting into lately. I think you’ll like it quite a bit.

  17. Thank Court. Keep up the great work. I know there are many of us that appreciate it.

  18. Hi,
    Great post Keep it up.
    God Bless you…
    :)

  19. Hey, I came over from Garry Conn’s blog and I have to say that I am really impressed with the content.
    I am still pretty new to all of this and love the tips and tricks! keep them coming! :)

  20. “The second placement I like is the same large rectangle ad unit with the text of the page wrapping around it. The third I like is the 728×90 leaderboard stretched across the top of the page.

    I didn’t get. Will all 3 ads be on the blog at the same time or will test each one individually?

  21. i am a beginner in monetizing my blog with Adsense. i still need to learn more about the tips and tricks on Adsense. hopefully i might be able to earn a decent amount of cash on Adsense.

  22. Adsense is my main source of income when making money online. nothing beats adsense when it comes to making money online.

  23. i use Adsense on my blogs and websites, i can say that Adsense is the best make money online program on the internet.

  24. great tips! you know to correct way to learn beginners about seo! well done court!

  25. this kind of information i was looking for from the last two months.
    very useful article
    thanks

  26. I recently added an Adsense square ads on my travel blog. my adsense earning is still low since i dont have large volume of internet traffic yet.
    `

  27. I too have making money for years now with google & I run a 100% FREE blog telling you step by step how to make money with google! I am currently running a contest “Prove it’s fake & I’ll give you $10,000″. Prove that my screen shot of my google earnings is fake & i’ll pay you $10,000!

  28. Batam island, January 09th 2010.

    Hola or hello! Dear good bloggers! I need your help to make me a google blog, the name is: NGOBROL or GOODLE or BIZNIZ. Somebody help me! Thanks, may God bless you!

  29. i also want to make money online that is why i immediately joined the google adsense program and also read a lot about making money on websites and blogs. i am also trying to learn affiliate marketing.

  30. That first click that pays is exciting. Unfortunately, in December 2009 my Adsense revenue went down instead of up even though I had more traffic. Way down. I’m hoping it was just because of the holidays.

    Thanks for such an informative post.

  31. i am really very thankful that Google launched the Adsense program. this enables most of us who owns several websites to work at home.

  32. I just had my first $3 day this past week. It’s really exciting!

    Of course a $30 day would be much more exciting.

  33. i love google Adsense, it enables me to earn money on the websites and forums that i have put up several years ago. if you got tons of websites, you can earn a lot from Adsense alone

  34. thanks for the info very informative i got 1 question i only had videos with short description on my blog less clicks more money now i added content more visitors more clicks less money please help thank you

  35. Hi, I discovered your blog while browsing looking for something interesting to read. I’ll definitely be coming back to read more. I really appreciate the time you’ve put into this. Thanks for sharing

  36. Making money in the Internet isn`t so simple as everyone think, make money working online with simple membership websites, or CPA is one of the most often choices, but this is not so easy . One of the easiest ways, maybe not so profitable as CPA is AdSense websites, there are a lot of great templates optimized for this , promotion of niche keywords in Google is very simple.

  37. Excellent breakdown of the basics for succeeding with Adsense! Similar to other types of income opportunities, the most challenging part always seems to be getting enough traffic, and the right kinds of traffic. Knowing about ad placement and colors is very informative! SEO and Keyword Research continue to remain challenging subjects for me, and your blog will remain in my bookmarks for future reference.

  38. Monetizing websites, blogs, etc is a good way to earn some passive income.-~:

  39. This is really a great artice informing other about google adsense I’m sure a lot of ppl have been helped with this blog

    Thanks!

  40. monetizing a website is really a great way to earn money in a passive way just like real estate.;`”

  41. monetizing stuffs is the best thing that i do, i love to monetize internet traffic through ppc programs`,*

  42. monetizing stuffs is my trade, i love to monetize websites and other venture investments that i have:*-

  43. Hi I really loved your blog post. Keep up the fantastic work!