Google AdSense is everywhere you look; from dictionary sites, eHow websites, to your favorite makeup tutorial site—but few publishers ever go beyond the initial set up, you need some AdSense hacks to make the most of your account.
Managing an AdSense account can be challenging, though, at least in the beginning. We’ve already published several posts on how to optimize your AdSense account to increase your revenue:
- Google AdSense Recalls Text Ad Arrow and Revenues Fall
- Google AdSense: Guide to Improve your Existing Revenue
- Double Your AdSense Revenue in 5 Minutes a Day
- 20 Useful Apps and Tools for AdSense Publishers
- Google Just Released the AdSense Guide to Audience Engagement
- 7 Quick Tips for Optimizing Your Google AdSense Campaign
- A Publisher’s Guide to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
7 AdSense Hacks to Increase Revenue
The posts above should give you all the info you need to effectively set up and run an AdSense account. But, every once in a while, campaigns seem to plateau in earnings. Don’t fret! Here are 7 additional tips you can use to further optimize your account:
1. Use Asynchronous Ad Codes
Good user experience invariably leads to higher CTRs and page speed is one of the most important metrics of UX. Google has made it possible for publishers to cut down their page load times by using an asynchronous AdSense tag.
Tip: You can do this on the My ads tab in your AdSense account.
2. Optimize Ad Sizes for Mobile
Mobile screens are smaller and therefore a desktop ad layout simply won’t cut it for mobile devices. What you should do is set specify special ad sizes for mobile and optimize your layout (we’ll talk about more on this in detail later).
Set up some A/B tests to figure out which units work better—then use those.
3. Geo-Target Your Paid Audience
All incoming traffic is good news for a publisher. In the case of paid traffic, however, users from some countries are more valuable than others ⎯ this is your target.
Head over to your dashboard and check which countries visit your website the most. Next, refer to this list by WordStream on the Countries with the Highest CPCs.
Check your list to confirm if you have these countries in your audience, then proceed to bring in more traffic from these countries.
Tip: You can check this in Performance Reports > Countries in your AdSense account.
4. Periodically Block/Unblock Categories
Let’s get into more specific AdSense hacks—opinion is divided here so you might want to experiment and keep a close eye on results. It’s true that there are categories that have high CPCs while others have high CTRs, but combining all categories isn’t ideal, as it increases your competition in the long run.
As a default, all the “safe” categories were pre-selected by Google for your campaign. The first step on blocking unwanted categories is by simply selecting the categories with a lot of impressions but lower revenue yield.
However, this should only be temporary; make sure to recheck these categories periodically as you may want to unblock them during a certain time, such as when you need an increase in fill rate, etc..
Competition for ad placements will be lower, but this will positively affect the quality of ads and advertisers coming your way. Thus, indirectly influencing your Ad RPM positively.
5. Set Up and Optimize Custom Channels
Another one of many overlooked AdSense hacks is using Custom Channels found in your dashboard. It’s a reporting tool that lets you know what works and what doesn’t ⎯ but it’s also a great way of organizing your inventory and presenting it to advertisers.
To summarize, custom channels can help you serve the right ads to the right people, thereby increasing revenue for yourself and conversions for the advertiser. In the long run, it becomes a cycle that continues to churn out money from your website.
6. Beating Invalid Traffic and Smart Pricing
Last year, Google introduced a line item in our dashboards named Invalid Traffic—AdSense for Content. To put it simply, these are invalid clicks on your ads as Google sees it.
Invalid click activity includes any clicks or impressions that may artificially inflate an advertiser’s costs or a publisher’s earnings. Invalid activity covers intentionally fraudulent traffic as well as accidental clicks.
Invalid activity includes, but is not limited to:
- Clicks or impressions generated by publishers clicking their own live ads
- Repeated ad clicks or impressions generated by one or more users
- Publishers encouraging clicks on their ads (examples may include: any language encouraging users to click on ads, ad implementations that may cause a high volume of accidental clicks, etc.)
- Automated clicking tools or traffic sources, robots, or other deceptive software.
Of course, we know that you’re not clicking your own ads! AdSense competition is tough, though; there may be some competitors creating this negative traffic on your site. Google suggests these steps for preventing invalid activity.
On the other hand, Smart Pricing has set the balance between advertisers and publishers for more than a decade now. Smart Pricing assures advertisers that their money isn’t wasted on useless traffic. For publishers, this assures that the opportunity to get advertisers will not be threatened.
Why combine these seemingly irrelevant topics? It’s because their solutions are similar in a way that it has to be treated the same. Here are some tips to take advantage of Smart Pricing and lessen losses from Invalid Traffic:
- Build your content! Thin content with many ads on the page is a big turn off for Google, not to mention users, Deliver unique content that will help reel in users, both new and returning. This will help increase valid traffic. Smart Pricing depends on the quality of traffic you send to the advertisers. If you create content that is relevant to the ad unit you are showing, users will be more likely to click the ad without you telling them to do so.
- Social is good, but Search is better. There were some reports claiming that social traffic causes spikes in invalid traffic. It’s good to get your audience from social media, but Google knows that there are ways to hack social traffic. The best solution is to optimize your site and strive to get highly targeted traffic that is related to the ad categories you display on your site.
- Hello, it’s you. Google is open for any refutes. If you think you’ve been wrongly accused of invalid traffic, contact them here.
7. Ad Layout Optimization
Ad layout optimization involves a lot more than just switching your ad positions. One way to optimize layouts is to run A/B tests using the Experiments feature—but as the number of ad units you test increases, this is not very scalable.
This is why we created AdPushup, our algorithms help you optimize your ad layout with minimal intervention from you. But that’s not all it does, it also helps you integrate your ads seamlessly into web pages so that user experience is improved, not compromised.
Go for the Users, then the Gold
Run-of-the-mill article websites are history, the focus now is on creating platforms where ads complement content to assist every user during their customer journey.
As publishers, we are called to commit ourselves to serving the best content for our users. Prioritizing user experience over revenue is how Google wants us to drive our AdSense campaigns—and they’re probably right.
This is a guest post by Kenneth Sytian, owner of Sytian Productions, a web design company in the Philippines. Kenneth has been designing websites and developing web apps for more than a decade.