Not happy with his AdSense results

Embarrassed by Your AdSense Results?

Not happy with his AdSense results

You had the content and the traffic. You signed up for AdSense, copied the code provided by Google and pasted it on your blog.

But at the end of the day when you check your earnings… just peanuts! Does it sound familiar? Let’s try to analyze together some real life cases…

AdSense Ads: Above the Fold or Not?

The statistics show that the ads displayed above the fold have a higher click-through rate than those displayed below the fold. But let’s see a real and common case…

I’ve just noticed somewhere a good headline and I click the link in order to read that article. If the first thing I see above or right below the headline is an AdSense ad, I can’t help but think…

“One second ago I’ve just landed on your page. Is the content that crappy that you already want me to leave?”

Placing your AdSense ads above the actual blog post is like you don’t care whether the visitor reads or not your article. Each click represents a lost reader. Have you thought about that?

That’s quite a dilemma, isn’t it?

If you place the ads above or right below the headline you increase the AdSense earnings but you lose readers. Do you earn or do you lose? Just think about… How much potential money did you actually lose for the cents earned for such clicks?

But if you place the ads below the fold, your click through rate will decrease dramatically, everyone says that. So… what can you do? Let’s move on and see…

Mistake # 1 – Treating your blog as a whole

The number one mistake some bloggers make is to treat the blog as a whole. That’s so wrong… Each page of your blog has its own life and you should treat it accordingly.

From my perspective there are 3 types of pages:

– evergreen high quality content
– low or medium quality content
– news or content related to new tools, new features, etc.

As time passes by, the content from the third category becomes outdated or not interesting anymore. Even if initially that content was of high quality, over the years it goes to the second category. News comes and goes.

Now ask yourself what you want the visitors to do when they land on each type of content described above.

Evergreen high quality content and news: do you want the visitor to read it or not? If you don’t want the visitor to leave your page quickly, then don’t offer such opportunity.

Remove the AdSense ads from the headline area. Place them right after the article. Once the readers have achieved their main goal (reading the article), they need something else to grab their attention. Otherwise they’ll leave your blog without taking any further action.

In case some readers stop reading the article for any reason, you need a shinny backup object to grab their attention quickly. Some AdSense ads placed on the right side widget may get the job done.

Low or medium quality and outdated content: do you want the visitor to read it or not? You don’t really want it to be read, do you? Well, that’s the case when you place AdSense ads in the headline area.

Mistake # 2 – Treating different kind of traffic alike

Not all traffic is equal. You need to apply a similar pattern as for the case described above. Analyze your traffic and take decisions… For example…

Does a page get a lot of traffic from social media sites? Don’t even think about greeting the visitors by showing some ads right from the very beginning. Give them quickly what you’ve promised. The article! They didn’t land on your blog page by mistake. They have a goal and that goal isn’t reading an ad.

Does a page get untargeted traffic that bounces? Offer these unhappy visitors an alternative to closing the page without doing anything. There’s the proper place for AdSense ads above the fold.

Tricky question: What if an evergreen high quality content page gets tons of bounces? Do I remove the ads from the top (solution for great content) or do I add ads to the top (solution for bounces)? Answer: In such case you have a problem… The visitors don’t consider your content as being of high quality. Listen to them!

Mistake # 3 – Your blog displays untargeted ads

According to Google, “AdSense only targets ads based on overall site content, not keywords or categories.” That’s not very good. Sometimes your blog may display such ads:

Untargeted advertising: Ads served by AdSense are not related to your content

Did you notice the problem? The ads aren’t related to the content of the blog… The ad on the right side is about printers. The one on the left side… I don’t even know what’s that ad promoting!

That’s untargeted advertising and it gets the worst results.

What can you do? What’s wrong?

1. Make sure that your keywords have high advertiser competition. Maybe there just aren’t enough advertisers for the keywords you’re targeting.

2. There may not be enough information on your site for Google’s crawlers to determine the content of your pages. For example, these crawlers are unable to derive meaning from audio and video files.

3. Read more AdSense related stuff and improve your skills. There are a lot of possible reasons for getting untargeted ads.

Instead of Conclusions – Final Thoughts and Tips

1. Don’t copy a business model that is different from yours and expect the same results. For example, usually any article directory has AdSense ads right below the headlines. That’s fine, it works great. But don’t forget that the articles aren’t written by the owner of the directory. So, let’s be honest, whether the articles are read or not isn’t important to that owner. That’s a different business model.

2. No time available for improving the AdSense part of your blog? Then you’d better remove these ads. Replace them with very targeted affiliate banners. Some affiliate ads very well matched to your content will get you more money than some mis-used AdSense ads.

3. Be dynamic. Modify your ads placement according to the type of the content, the nature of the traffic and visitors’ behavior. Be sure that your blog displays ads that match your content.

4. Value your readers first. A visitor who doesn’t read anything that you write but only clicks a link gets you the earnings relevant to that click. A loyal reader that visits your site constantly may get you bigger earnings in the future. Long-term thinking, OK?

To Your Success!
Adrian Jock

P.S. Now it’s your turn! What do you think? I guess that my ad placement suggestions may be quite controversial. Isn’t it so? What do you value more? Readers and later clicks or quick clicks and no readers?

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41 thoughts on “Embarrassed by Your AdSense Results?

  1. Hi Adrian,

    Yes I do feel exactly as you mentioned with Adsense, I have the content and the traffic and yet very low earnings. I will be replacing them with affiliate links as you advised. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the nice Adsense tips, Adrian! :)

    Placing Adsense ads makes sense when your site gets a lot of visits. Personally I would prefer placing banners and links to affiliate offers on your pages because I think this has greater revenue potential. By using this you’re also in control of targeting for your ads.

    Totally agree with you that webmasters should respect visitors and their intention for visiting their web pages. If you promote any kind of info than let the visitors to find that info easily.

  3. Thank you for your comment & shares, Branko :) I agree with you, if a website doesn’t get a serious amount of traffic there’s no point in placing AdSense ads.

  4. Mistake #3 isn’t necessarily a mistake. Google uses retargeting as a way to increase sales for their clients. The untargeted ad you mention above about discount printers is likely displayed because you were looking at printers recently. Big G isnt dumb… they know how to increase clicks.

    I like your point about placing ads above your content, but you have ads all over your site too. And believe it or not, I saw your ads before I read the content. If it was a good ad, I may have jumped ;) Unfortunately high paying social media jobs seemed like a very untargeted advertisement based on the conent… wait… let me go back to first part of my comment. haha

  5. Hi Adam, thank you for your comment :-)

    1) I was expecting a remark like the one from your first paragraph. No, definitely I’m not interested in printers or in that thing that I don’t know what it is. During the last 6 months I didn’t search for anything related to printers. I have no reason to do it :)

    It’s not about Google being dumb, most of the times it’s about the webmaster who does the wrong things. For more info you can read Google’s relevant page on irrelevant ads.

    2) “I like your point about placing ads above your content, but you have ads all over your site too”

    Did you see any ad above or under the headline? That’s my article about. My ads are on the right side widget and after the article. That’s exactly what I recommend for AdSense too. There’s no contradiction between what I preach and what I do :-)

    3) The social media jobs thing is very targeted. A lot of traffic comes from social media sites ;-)

  6. Seriously, how sad am I? I was excited about Adsense telling me I had earned $2.69 after a day of signing up! :) One day…. ! (though after reading…yeah I could do much better)

  7. I have several blogs that got smoked by the recent penguin update. Traffic dropped by over 75% :( Adsense even had the nerve to tell me my earnings were down 90+ percent with a huge red arrow on my screen.. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Hi Adrian,

    Good to know these things, but earning with Adsense is one ambition I don’t have.

    I admire marketers who can do this well. When I visit a site and it is good quality overall and has the information I am looking for, I don’t mind, as a visitor, seeing those ads.

    If the site is of lower quality, the question becomes a moot point because no one visits sites just to view Adsense ads.


  9. Hi Jude, thank you for commenting and resharing the article. As for low quality sites… well, they get visitors too. For example, you search for something on Google and click a link. But you don’t know in advance the quality of the content from that page. Right? :)

  10. Yes, that’s true. But I would exit that site very quickly. Actually, it happens a lot.

    Do you think the Adsense ads increase traffic to a site? Is it possible that the big G’s search engine algorithm favors sites with Adsense?

    Just wondering.


  11. Exactly, Jude! You exit that site. How do you do it? You have two options: to close the window (or to type another URL in the address bar) or to click an ad from that site if that ad is related to your interests. Some people will click the ad.

    Disclaimer: Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to prove that low quality sites are great for making money :)

    Regarding your question: no, I don’t think that the AdSense ads increase the traffic and I don’t think that G favors such sites.

  12. Great tips though, but it becomes necessary many times to place the ads above the fold to even keep it running,

    If I have both content and the ads above the fold, I don’t see any problem in that?

  13. Hi Rajesh,

    1) If you have the ad on the right side, not above or right under the headline, then the ad isn’t so intrusive. That’s fine, this is what I said in the article.

    2) If you have the ad placed above or right under the headline, I already explained it in the article. Didn’t you read it? :) If your article is outdated or of low quality, then it’s OK to have the ad there. If your article is a good one, then it’s bad to have the ad there. It’s bad for 2 reasons:

    a) People didn’t land on that page in order to read that ad, did they?

    Do you know what Google AdSense recommend on their website? “First, consider your users” and they also recommend you to ask yourself “What is the user trying to accomplish by visiting my site?”. Such pieces of advice are normal, don’t you think? What’s the value of a blog if the readers aren’t welcome there? Zero. Respect your readers first and then you’ll make money. More money than the case when you don’t care about your readers.

    b) Why do you want the people to leave quickly your page?

    Do you like bounces? One visitor who clicks on that ad without reading the article will not come back. A visitor who reads the article may come back again and again if your content is great. More visits, more clicks, more money from one single visitor.

  14. Minor quibble… I believe Google will look at content on the page to determine relevance and not evaluate the site as a whole. So sites with multiple topics can still get properly targeted ads. Although Google certainly isn’t perfect at this.

  15. Hi Marios,

    Who is that quibble addressed to? To Google?

    “AdSense only targets ads based on overall site content” is just a quote, it’s not my opinion. In my article I provided the link to Google’s site where you can find that text ;-)

  16. Adrian,

    Hey excellent point you made about the low payouts from Adsense. That’s actually one of the reasons that I don’t use it.

    I refuse to lose my traffic for a couple cents. Great tips on placing an ad after the article and I really like how you have your set up. Very eye catching and will want to make a lot of people click.

    Thanks for sharing this post and I hope you have a great day.

  17. Hi Okto,

    I really don’t know if the ads relevancy is the biggest cause but indeed I noticed many blogs that display untargeted ads. Thank you for your comment!

  18. Somehow AdSense never disappointed me, as it was never a part of my main monetization method. Recently I started experimenting with few micro-niche sites, and it’s doing good…My main focus is on review and Membership site…

  19. Hi Adrian,

    Currently, I have just one ad slot on my blog, affiliate banners has taken the positions of the rest and they’ll working great for me.

    Adsense doesn’t just drop peanuts, it depends on the niche you’re blogging on, for example, internet marketing niche has the lowest CPC while there are some niche with $10 per click :)

    It would have been great if clicks open in new tabs though not all readers are right clickers, a click is nothing but farewell to your readers. Nobody wants that for peanut but they have no choice

  20. Hi Adrian,

    What did you just say? Too many ad slot? Definitely no!
    I guess you need to check again ;) or can you count them for me :D

    I hope this doesn’t fall in the spam folder, Happy new month.

  21. That was a joke, Gilbert. In your previous comment you mentioned that you have one ad slot. I suggested that you remove it in order to have the optimum number of AdSense ads: zero LOL

  22. Hi Adrian,

    To be sincere with you, Google AdSense really sucks…I blame myself for concentrating too much on AdSense as my main source of income.

    However, from my experience, the best position is top of the page ( or below title post and/or probably by the right side of the post content) and the preferred size to use is the 336 by 280.

    Thanks for sharing Adrian!!

  23. Hi Dave,

    Thank you for your comment. The best position? There’s no such thing. The same as … there’s no best type of advertising, no best vehicle, etc.

    It depends on the context, it also depends on what your main goal is, etc.

    As mentioned in my article, if your page includes low or medium quality and outdated content, then yes, the best position is at the top. If your website is an article directory where there are other people’s articles, then yes, the best position is at the top. If your web page is actually a free online tool, then yes, the best position is at the top. Etcetera.

    But in other cases, the best position is NOT at the top unless you want to lose money by earning less than you can earn ;-)

  24. Hi Adrian,

    Indeed a must read for all bloggers whether newbie or experienced who wish to monetize their blog from adsense. Thanks for sharing it :-)

  25. Thanks for the info! I’ve been using Google Adsense for a while, but have considered switching to ads from advantlink or another affiliate program. Have you used any of those programs? Is so do you have any recommendations?

  26. Hi Amy.

    Thank you for your comment. To make real money using affiliate programs that

    i) pay per click, or
    ii) pay per impressions, or
    iii) pay per sale but there are tiny commissions

    your website needs a lot of traffic.

    For example, if you need 500 visitors to make a sale and you earn one dollar for that sale (case iii), well… figure out how much traffic you need in order to make a decent amount of money ;-)

    So it’s easier to make money by using any affiliate program that doesn’t fall under the above categories. This type of affiliate programs is the one that I recommend you.

  27. Thanks for information. I didn’t realize I needed so much traffic to make that much money. I definitely need to look into some of the more specialized options at least for now.

  28. Hi man,

    I have read many Adsense related article, but this one is just epic. Never thought of doing the Adsense placement as per post.

    Noted, once I am done with my current experiment, will try this one too.

    For me, I value readers, let’s see how my model goes with time.

    Awesome post buddy. :)

  29. Hi Rohan,

    There might be something wrong with your current experiment…

    – On some pages, the AdSense ads weren’t displayed.

    – On the page where you posted the article “What are the baby steps in business?” I saw a fitness ad. Irrelevant to me & not related to your article and the potential readership. Untargeted ad ;-)

  30. Hi Adrian,

    Adsense is not earning much amount for me from last 3 months. After reading this article I got a fair idea about what I am doing wrong with my blog. Thank you very much for sharing this information.

  31. Hi there, truly thankful for this post. I agree and specially like the first tip – Not to treat the whole blog entirely the same. Although some of my blogs are already getting good numbers for AdSense on a very small domestic Slovenian market, actually when I look at the numbers of visits per categories, actually I am not getting enough visitors that banners would be attractive for sufficient amount. So, until I don’t get enough visitors per category that I am writing about, I don’t intent to put AdSense into it. You just confirmed that. Thank you, Matija, Slovenia

  32. Hi Mr. Adrian

    Thanx a lot for helping me by posting this article. I shall apply all your suggestions on my blog. I was really descouraged after not getting returns from my blog. Now I hope, after applying your suggestions, my earnings will increase.

  33. Adsense only makes you happy when you have a large number of subscribers. If you have less subscribers, then relying on only adsense is foolish. In that case other platforms should be used like affiiliate. And one more negative thing about adsense is that it pays very less RPM.

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