Did you know that you could turn the tables on Google and actually use its search engine to generate money?
Google Adsense pays you money in exchange for being allowed to publish paid-for ads on your web site. The clever thing is that the ads are related to what your users are looking for on your site. If used correctly they can both enhance your site and make you money.
So how does it work? Google provides you with its AdSense HTML code, which you place on your web pages. Then, Google automatically reads your pages and decides on the best ads to display.
It uses a sophisticated algorithm that includes such factors as keyword analysis, word frequency, font size, and the overall link structure of the web. It says it knows what a page is about and can precisely match Google ads to each page.
AdSense also uses geo-targeting to serve Google ads to your pages that are specific to a user's region and language, based on their IP address. This means that the ads that are served to a user from Australia may be different than those that appear for a user from Canada.
If a visitor clicks on one of the ads they get taken to the advertisers web page and you get paid cash - easy!
Well, not quite. First you must have a site with plenty of visitors, otherwise it isnt worth the effort. Secondly, your page must be set up in such a way that Google stands a chance of working out what you are trying to promote or sell. In essence, you need to look at your page title, headings and initial copy to make sure that Google matches the right ads to your page.
For example, on my page devoted to digital photography courses, I dont want to advertise rival courses. So what I do is ensure that the first words on the page are digital cameras, not digital camera courses. That away, Google shows ads for companies selling cameras, not training courses.
Dont expect to earn a fortune. Google is a bit cagey about its ad rates, but you typically earn a few cents per click. Advertisements for casino or other gambling sites could make you up to a dollar or more for each click though.
On the downside, the very nature of Google Adsense means that users navigate away from your site, which may not be in your best interests.
Another word of warning, if Google cant work out what to display it will serve up ads for charities. It will also do this for the first few minutes after putting a page live.
In two months of using Google Adsense on a few of my sites I have made a few hundred dollars. But other canny users, who have specifically targeted high value clicks by setting up portal sites with lots of traffic have made thousands upon thousands of dollars!
Q. So with Google Adsense can I really make any web site generate money?
A. Possibly. If you have a high traffic site with a particular theme you should be able to make it pay its way. The trick is in getting the traffic in the first place.
Q. What type of sites work well?
A. Nich?? sites really. It is still fairly easy to get high search engine listings for way-out or nich?? search terms. Getting a high rating for the word vacations is near impossible nowadays if starting from scratch, but something like Anguilla beach hotels just might be possible.
Q. Anguilla beach hotels - youre kidding me?
A. No, actually. http://www.anguilla-beaches.com/ is one of the most visited sites on the net and has generated a lot of income for its owner with Google Adsense and other techniques. Oh, by the way, Nori Evoy, a 14 year-old teenager, runs the site, although she did have a little help from her dad Ken, a well-known internet marketer and the creator of the excellent SiteBuildit - see http://buildit.sitesell.com/newsdata.html
Q. So how hard is it to put ads on my site?
A. If you can handle a little bit of HTML coding you shouldnt have a problem. You can colour coordinate the ads to suit your pages too.
Q. Can I change the way the ads look?
A. You can choose from multiple ad layouts, designed to suit a wide variety of page designs.
Q. How will I know what pages produce the most revenue?
A. You can code each page differently so that you can tell which channels are producing what revenue.
Q. How do I get paid?
A. Google will send you a cheque approximately 30 days after the end of each calendar month if your earned balance is US $100 or more.
Q. Great! How do I start?
A. Get over to https://www.google.com/adsense/ and see if your site is eligible. Once signed up it is a simple task to add the necessary code to each page.
About The Author
Steve Nichols runs InfoTech Communications. InfoTech specialises in online communications and has acted as consultant and trainer for many blue-chip companies including Aviva, AWG, BT, Shell, Standard Life, HBOS, BNFL, AstraZeneca, Diageo, Accenture and Australia New Zealand Bank.