If you’ve been anywhere on the Internet, then you’ve probably come across a Google Adsense ad. Heck, I’d be willing to bet a million bucks that you’ve probably clicked on at least one Google Adsense ad in your time.
I’ve been active and making money from Google Adsense for a number of years now. I’m the first to admit that I’m not an Adsense master, and I certainly don’t make enough from it to fly first class and drink Dom Perignon. However, I’ve had enough experience and earnings with the platform to be able to give an honest, informed opinion.
What Is Google Adsense?
As I mentioned above, Google Adsense is an advertising network. Well to be more specific, it is the publisher side of an advertising network, allowing you to run advertisements on your websites and mobile apps that can earn you money (either per click or per impression).
Google Adsense links in primarily with the Google Adwords system. In case you haven’t heard of Adwords, it’s a platform that allows advertisers to get ads to show in Google.
The most common type of Adwords ad is the “search” ad, which you will probably be familiar with. It looks like this:
However, what we are interested in is Google Display ads. They look a bit like this:
This probably looks familiar to you. In fact, you will have definitely seen ads like this (especially if you’re not a prolific user of ad blockers).
When an advertiser places an ad on the Google Display network, it can show in ad slots that have been installed by publishers on the Google Adsense network.
Basically, with Adsense you can sell space on your website where advertisers can place their advertisements through the Adwords network. All you have to do is have a website, set up an Adsense account, and then install code on to your website where you want ads to run.
Google then shows ads to your visits based on a variety of factors, such as whether your content keywords match the keywords the advertiser is bidding on, topic matching, or whether your visitors are on a remarketing list (those creepy ads that follow you around the Internet).
How Do I Join Adsense?
If this platform sounds like you, then go here to join.
Does Adwords Cost To Join?
No, it’s completely free to join. Google make their money on the “arbitrage” of the ads. Basically, they charge the advertiser $x per click, and pay you $X-Y.
Is Google Adsense A Scam?
No, not at all. It’s one of the biggest, most-trusted and well-tested advertising networks in the world. Issues relating to Adsense and non-payment/closure of account tend to come from non-compliance with Adsense ToS. This is often the case when people stumble across a clever method of making a lot of money with Adsense but violating the platform rules. If Google catches you out they can and will ban you from Adsense, and any pending payments you have will not be paid out.
Provided you operate within the rules, you should have no worries about getting paid out on time, every time.
How Much Money Can I Make With Adsense
That’s a “how long is a piece of string” question! The amount of money you can make with Adsense depends on:
- The amount of traffic your websites receives. The more traffic you receive, the more impressions and clicks your ads will get, meaning more earnings. Adsense really is a volume-based platform for most people.
- The type of traffic your website receives. Traffic from organic search clicks tends to yield better results than social media traffic, for example. If you’re dependent on lower value, higher volume traffic, you’ll need to get more clicks to make an equivalent amount of moolah.
- The niche/topic of your website. If you’ve got a website about picking a good personal injury lawyer, then you’ll probably get a high CPC on your ads (as advertisers will be paying a fortune for their ads). On the other hand, if you’re trying to run a generic site that is about cat memes or something like that, then your CPC will be low and you’ll need a much higher volume of clicks to make good money.
- Ad placement. Placement of ads in various locations (e.g. header banner, below post content, in-post etc) can have a significant impact on impression and click-through rate, therefore substantially affecting performance. I won’t go into Adsense placement optimisation in this post, suffice it to say that there is some excellent content out there on this particular subject, and it’s something you should take very seriously.
- Demographics. This is something people don’t consider, but it’s important in my opinion. Young people are more likely to use mobile devices, and also more likely to use ad blockers when browsing. Older people – potentially less tech savvy – are more likely to be on desktop/laptop computers, browse without ad blocker, and click ads.
I will say that Adsense isn’t the easiest way to make a lot of money online. It is an effective platform, time-tested and trusted and easy to set up. But because you generally need a high level of traffic to really see results, it can be quite disheartening to beginners.
What Is The Best Way To Make Money From Adsense?
In my opinion, there are two key ways to make good money from Adsense:
- Build up high-quality, authority sites that draw strong organic rankings and traffic. Use the platform in conjunction with other monetisation methods as well. This is the strategy taught in courses like RankXL (which I hope to review in the near future).
- Generate large volumes of traffic through social media, e.g. Facebook pages/groups, Twitter, Pinterest etc and monetize it. Often social traffic can be hard to “lock down” with affiliate offers, physical products etc if the content you are pushing is the standard viral-type content/clickbait you see across the gamut of social media. Adsense is a perfect match for this type of traffic, as it isn’t dependent on matching products to prospective customers.
When Shouldn’t You Monetise With Adsense?
This is only my personal opinion, but there are a few instances in which I think advertising with Adsense isn’t a great idea:
- You’re trying to promote high-ticket affiliate products or your own products. In this case, ad banners can be distracting and reduce the likelihood that someone clicks on your affiliate links. Remember that it is much easier to make $100 from an affiliate commission than it is to make $100 from Adsense. If you’re going to use Adsense on this type of page, use it sparingly so it never takes away from the key action you want people to complete.
- You’re running a professional services website, ecommerce store, or anything else that isn’t a site where you are simply trying to monetize “information”. This is a massive rookie error, but I’ve seen it done a few times. There is nothing more off-putting than visiting the website of a bricks and mortar business that has Adsense ads installed.
- You already run multiple other ad types. Unless you are specifically going for the “uber ads” look, where every article is broken up into multiple pages so you can cram the ads in, you are better sticking to a couple of key ad types. Remember, many people just block ads now anyway – or they hit the back button immediately if greeted by an overwhelming crush of ads!
Overall, Google Adsense is an excellent platform for monetizing websites; especially if you have lots of traffic, or at least a decent volume of traffic in a niche that offers good CPCs.
Setting up an Adsense account is easy (provided you’re in a tier 1, Western country) and getting your ad code and installing it is also straightforward, particularly if you are using a CMS like WordPress where many themes now come with included ad slots.
As long as you follow the rules, there are also no worries about not getting paid on time. Remember, Adsense is backed by Google itself!
Google Adsense Review
Ease Of Setup
Google Adsense is a proven, tested and effective platform for monetizing your traffic. If you have a decent volume of traffic coming through to your site (either from SEO or social media) then you should definitely consider running Adsense ads and seeing what that contributes to your bottom line.