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Published 6th November 2017 by

Google Adsense is one of the best ways to monetize a website or blog. Learn how to join the Google Adsense program, how to include adsense code in your blog and start making additional income from your website.
Search Engine Optimisation Series
  1. SEO - Search Engine Optimization
  2. A Guide to the Robots.txt Exclusion Protocol
  3. What are XML sitemaps?
  4. Using Google Webmaster Tools
  5. Getting Started with Google Analytics
  6. Getting Started Earning Money with Adsense
  7. Website Loading Times Are Vital - How to Improve Yours
  8. Improve Website Speed by Enabling Compression
  9. Google Trends Keyword Comparison Tool
  10. 8 Excellent (and Free!) Search Engine Optimization Websites

Google Adsense has become one of the most effective ways for site owners and bloggers to monetize the content on their site. Google has millions of advertisers buying traffic through pay per click (PPC) campaigns and Adsense allows site owners to display these adverts on and earn a commission for each time an advert is clicked on.

Firstly, let's have a look at some of the terminology we will be using in this article and learn the language of Adsense and monetization.

Above the FoldWhen referring to content, Above the Fold is what you can see on the page without scrolling.
Ad CodeThis is the short code snippet which Adsense provides and you copy into your web page.
Ad UnitA configuration for a type of advert, for example a banner. The ad unit is configured with colours, fonts and various other settings. Google then generates the Ad Code which you place on the page.
Click Through RateCTRThe CTR is the number of clicks on an advert divided by the number of ad impressions expressed as a percentage. For example, if an Link Ad is delivered 100 times and received one click, then the click through rate for that advertisement would be 1%.
ImpressionsNumber of times an advert was placed on a page.
Revenue per thousand impressionRPMAd revenue per thousand impression (RPM) is calculated by dividing the estimated earnings by number ad impression received and multiplied by 1000.
Cost Per ClickCPCCost Per Click is the amount earned by a publisher each time a user clicks on an ad. In AdSense reports, CPC is calculated by dividing the estimated earnings by the number of clicks received.
Estimated EarningsEstimated earnings is the close estimates of your recent account activity which will be finalized at the end of the month. This is just to show you instantly the estimated earnings for the activities happened on your account and may not be the actual amount you will ultimately be paid.
Unpaid EarningsUnpaid finalized earnings are accurate earnings amounts that include all revenue you will be paid for validated clicks and impressions.

Signing up to Adsense

In order to sign up and start using Adsense, you will need a website which meets Google's selection criteria. Your website must have content, it must be indexable and be active. It must not be a site for the sole purpose of showing adverts (made for Adsense). Your website must also have been live for a while as well, newly created websites are rarely accepted. Google review each site manually, so you must show that your website is a high quality and updated regularly. Do not try to register for sites under construction or are not publically accessible.

Once your website is up and running for a while, you can then sign up for the Adsense program. If you already have a Google Account (YouTube, Gmail etc) then sign into your account and head over to Adsense Registration page. From here you will need to fill in a few details. Once that is completed successfully, they will give you some code which you must place on your site. This is to verify that you are the owner of the website. Once this is done, you can let Google know and someone will review your site.

It usually takes a couple of days to get reviewed, so be patient. With any luck, you'll get an email notifying you that your website has been accepted.

Adding Adsense to your Website

Now that your website has been approved, you can go about setting up your ad units and adding the code to your pages.

Ad units are configured on the Adsense website. Once you are logged in, you can go to My Ads > Content > Ad Units. This will present a list of the currently active ad units which you can configure, or click New Ad Unit to start creating a new one.

Google Adsense Setup

Google Adsense Setup

When you create or edit an ad unit, you can pick the colours, size, shape and types of ads being displayed so that they match with your sites colours and layouts. For each ad unit you create, you can then copy the ad code into your site. Exactly how you add the code to your site depends on the platform you are using and is beyond the scope of this article.

Google Adsense Ad Code

Google Adsense Ad Code

Newly created Ad Units will not display immediately after they have been created, It generally takes between 5 to 15 minutes after you have created your AdSense unit before it will start displaying on your website.

Never under any circumstances should you click on your own AdSense units. If you get caught, your AdSense account will be terminated immediately and you will be banned from any further participation in the Adsense program, forever.

If you accidentally click one of your ads, it's best to let Google know before they ban you. If you do this then the click will be discarded and you will be safe. If not, you risk being banned.

Adsense Placement

The placement of the adverts is very important. Ideally, you should place adverts above the fold as these are seen by the most visitors. Not everyone will scroll to the bottom of the page so ad units placed at the bottom will be less likely to be seen or clicked.

Place your ads near the content that your users are interested in, also make sure that users can easily find the content they are looking for. For example, if your site offers downloads, make sure the download links are above the fold and easy to find.

Google Adsense Placement

Google Adsense Placement

Adsense Reports

Google Adsense provides a suite of useful reports which allow you to see how each of your ad units performs, which pages perform best and most importantly your estimated earnings. Estimated earnings are not finalised until the end of the month, at which point they are shown in the Transactions report page.

Google Adsense Performance Reports

Google Adsense Performance Reports

The default report gives much of the key information you will require. The top metrics you will be interested in are the estimated earnings, page views, impressions, clicks and page RPM. Below this, you can see a graph showing estimated earnings by day.

Along the top, you can see various tabs showing different views, from clicks and views to visitor engagement and sessions.

Golden Rules

  • DO read the Adsense terms of use, especially the section around content. Google is very strict about the content adverts are placed in. For example, showing Adsense adverts on adult orientated sites will get your entire site banned. If your content is even close to being questionable, don't place AdSense on it.
  • DO NOT click your own adverts or encourage friends/family or anyone else to click adverts on your page. This is click fraud and WILL get you banned.
  • DO NOT scrape content from other sites to include on your site. Google classifies this as duplicate content and you will be penalised.
Tutorial Series

This post is part of the series Search Engine Optimisation. Use the links below to advance to the next tutorial in the couse, or go back and see the previous in the tutorial series.

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