Maximizing the Effectiveness of your Google Adsense™ Ads

Part of the You Can Learn Web Success Techniques series.
By Ken Brown
March 19, 2005

You see them on many of the web pages you go to. Google Adsense™ ads. How do you make sure the ads you place on your web pages will make money for you?

How do you maximize the productivity of the ads that Google™ places on your pages?

At the start of the year, I placed Google™ ads on my web pages. I was amazed at how directed they were to the content of my pages. How was Google™ able to read my pages and place the right ads for the content displayed on the page? What steps can you take to make the most money from the ads placed by Google™?

This article was started because I found that Google™ made some mistakes. I went to an article on my website about MSSQL and saw an add on Stormwater Management and Vacuum Litter Picker. For an article about the SQL DELETE statement, Google™ placed ads for Linden Row Inn on my page. Where is Google™ getting their information?

So this is the analysis I engaged in to determine what Google™ was reading and how I could make sure to target market my customers to the article they were currently reading. Let's face it. Someone who is reading an article about SQL server and SQL commands, is probably most interested in ads relating to the problem at hand. Such as, how do I solve my current SQL related problem?

Niche Marketing to Your WebSite Visitors

You should expect Google™ to display ads about SQL training, SQL books and even websites that offer SQL solutions. Not ads about lodging. I was in the direct marketing industry for 13 years. Target marketing has made many people millionaires. The whole idea about niche marketing is finding people who have a specific problem and then providing a solution to that problem.

You see ads on TV all the time that try to get the attention of their specific target market. Ads scream at you. "Do you suffer from heartburn?" "Hayfever getting you down?" "Looking for an answer to that nagging cough keeping you awake at night?" Then the ad goes on to provide their perfect remedy for your cold, cough, or medical problem.

The Google Adsense™ program should offer the perfect targeted ad for the page delivered to your customer. If you have a page about the Rose of Sharon perennial, you want ads to be displayed about perennials, plants, landscaping or flowers. That is the interest area of the people reading your article or looking at your page. Research shows that people reading an article on plants will be attracted to ads that are related to the subject they are reading.

Pick up a gardening magazine and see what ads are displayed. You don't see sports ads in a magazine article about lawn rototillers. You wouldn't expect to see an add about how to plant a backyard garden in Sports Illustrated. The ad will be seen by a lot of people, but it wouldn't produce a large response for the advertiser, because the customers reading the magazine aren't interested in gardening. The advertiser is wasting the company's money, because she isn't targeting the right audience.

In the same way, Google™ doesn't want ads about lodging facilities on web pages about MSSQL. The target market isn't right.

You need to understand how the Google Adsense™ program works. You go and sign up with Google™'s program. Then you copy some HTML onto your web pages. The HTML contains links to Google™ with your special user's code in it. Then when your page is displayed on your customer's browser, the HTML from Google™ redirects to Google™ and grabs some different HTML and places ads onto your web page.

If your customer is interested in an ad they will click on the ad and be directed to one of Google™'s customer's websites. When your user clicks on the ad, the advertiser has agreed to pay Google™ a fee for the ad. It is called PPC or pay per click advertising. Portions of the fee is then paid to you for displaying the ad on your website.

This means it is important for you to encourage your customers to click on an ad. Google™ prevents you from directly telling your customers to click on an ad, so what you do is make sure the ads that appear are of interest to your users. Now what key areas of your page is Google™ looking at to determine which ads to display? Let's analyze a page and see if we can improve upon the ads that are displayed.

Analyze a Page for Target Marketing

I have a page that is an article about the SQL DELETE statement. But something about the content, keywords, title or description leads Google™ to display four ads about the Linden Row Inn, a hotel somewhere.

The HTML title is: SQL DELETE Statement, A Powerful Keyword

The keyword meta tag is: sql delete statement, how to delete rows in SQL

The description meta tag is: SQL DELETE Statement, A powerful command to remove rows from a database table.

There is an H1 header tag on the page: The SQL DELETE Statement

Then there is an H3 header tag: A Powerful Command to Remove Rows from a Database

Then a bold tag: SQL DELETE statement

Further down the page is an alt attribute for an image tag: SELECT statement showing qualifier WHERE clause to return one row.

Immediately after that statement is a bold statement: Image 1 shows the SELECT statement showing qualifier WHERE clause to return one row.

The next image tag has an alt attribute: DELETE statement showing qualifier WHERE clause to remove one row.

Followed by another bold tag describing the image: Image 2 shows the DELETE statement showing qualifier WHERE clause to remove one row.

The third and final image has an alt attribute: DELETE statement with subquery.

Again with a bold tag describing the image: Image 3 shows the DELETE statement with subquery.
The rest of the article talks specifically about the SQL delete statement and does not mention anything about lodging, the Linden Row Inn or travel. So one of these key indicators is our problem. Since none of the keywords mention Linden or Inn, but the article does talk about removing a row from the database table, I am going to concentrate my attention on the use of the word row. I can either remove it completely, or add additional keywords that highlight the article's specific area of interest, which is MSSQL statements.

Changes Made to Resolve the Issue

I added the additional text to the keyword meta tag: how to delete rows in sql database tables, mssql delete statement

I changed the description meta tag to read: SQL DELETE Statement, A powerful MSSQL command to remove information from a database table.

Then I wanted to see what affect it would have on the Google™ program that analyzes the page and placed the ads on the page. A simple save and copy to the server was all that was needed to test my theory.

After that minor change, there was no difference in the ads delivered by Google™. So, the next step is to make additional changes and see if other HTML tags were being read by Google™ to determine ad content or if I had to wait for Google™ to re-evaluate the page on their next robot crawl.

The H1 tag shouldn't be causing the problem, so I turn my attention to the H3 tag. I remove the word rows from the H3 tag and rewrite it to: A Powerful MSSQL Command to delete information from a Database table. Again, I save and place on the website right away to determine what Google™'s reaction will be to my change. After refreshing my page and viewing the Google™ results, The Linden Row Inn is still showing as the directed ad for my target audience.

Next I need to review the image tags. These alt attributes of the image tags neeeded a rewrite, I removed the word row and inserted the word information: remove information from the database. I thought adding the word database would help Google™ find the right context for the ads I need for my customers. Unfortunately, Google™ still didn't understand what I wanted.

Next, I looked at the bold tags below each image, where again I had used the word row. I removed that word and added "information from the database." Still no change on my Adsense ads.

All that was left was to analyze the article itself and see if there were too many instances of the word "row" within the content. There are 17 instances of the word row in the meat of the article. The word row appears in just about every paragraph. Is that the real problem?

Now before I did a wholesale butchering of the article, I wanted to evaluate if I really wanted to change anything about the article. Sometimes you have to let Google™ be wrong and the article has to stand as is. But when you make that choice, you risk losing revenue.

After my changes, I was down to seven instances of the word row, with an additional instance in the keyword meta tag. But still no change in Google™'s ad delivery to my page. It isn't a long article with only 13 paragraphs. So, my next step was to add words that Google™ would then interpret differently as the most important word in the article. I decided to pepper the article with the word SQL.

At this point there was still no change, and I thought it best I let Google™ crawl this page again and see if there is any change after that occurs. When I place a new page on my website, the Google Adsense™ program recognizes it right away, so I was surprised Google™ wasn't re-analyzing each of my changes.

Check your Google™ Ads after Placing Them on Your Pages

One day later when I checked my changes, the Linden Row Inn still had four instances on the Google Adsense™ box. I wanted to give Google™ more time to evaluate the page. Two days later I rechecked the page. Good news. The Linden Row Inn now only has two of the four ads appearing on that page. So, I still need to rework the page to help Google™ pick the right advertisers.

But at least now there is SQL Server Crash Course and Advanced Query Tool showing on the page. My MSSQL customers may be more interested in those subjects.

So the next step is to remove the word row from the first two paragraphs. Amazingly, after doing that and adding the word MSSQL, I was now down to only one instance of the Linden ad.

After waiting for another couple of days and then re-checking the page, now all my ads are related to either SQL or Microsoft. Now my visitors are more likely to see the types of ads they are interested in clicking. When they click then Google™ and I will make some money.

In summary, check your Google™ Ads after placing them on your pages. Do the ads displayed reflect the content of the page? Are your visitors interested in clicking on your ads? Many visitors aren't going to find what they are looking for at your web site. If they are going to leave at least try to make some money from them and help them find the solution that will make them happy.

As with any good SEO plan, the ads displayed require you to evaluate the page for content, keywords, titles, bolded words, italics, image alt attributes, H1 tags, H3 tags and any weird use of words. I hope this helps you refine your Adsense program for success.

Lesson 11: Why Use an RSS Feed for your Website?

Becoming a Top 10 Blogger - Climbing to the Top 10 Percent in Your Field. Are you in the Top 10 percent in your industry? Is your company a top ten company or is it further down in the list? Are you one of the best in your line of work? When people you work with are looking for answers to their problems, do they search for you? If they find you, do you help them with their problem or do you send them off to find someone else?

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