What is Google adsense and how does it works? Can you make a living out of Adsense or is it another myth? Read our guide for beginners to Google Adsense and learn how you can start using Adsense in your website or blog.
What is Google Adsense?
If you are a beginner to blogging and to the online World in general, you may have heard about Google Adsense or seen the adsense ads when you searched something on Google and visited a website that is using Adsense.
In this guide, I will try to give you an overview of what is adsense and how it works by taking into account my thoughts when I first started using Adsense (10 years ago) and questions I received from other bloggers over the years.
- It is owned by Google.
- It generates a large part of Google’s income.
- Adsense ads are shown in the websites that participate in the Google Adsense program (these are called the Adsense Publishers).
- Adsense is a platform for publishers i.e. those people that have a website and want to show Google Ads. The system for advertisers i.e those who want to advertise their products or services in Google, is Google Adwords. See also: Tips for beginners to adwords.
- Adsense ads can be shown on mobile devices as well.
- Adsense works with EPC (earnings per click) and CPC (cost per click). Publishers will get paid for clicks on ads appearing in their websites.
- Currently (Feb 2015), Adsense publishers receive 68% of the click cost and Google 32%. This means that if an advertiser pays $1 for each click on his ads, the adsense publisher will get $0.68 and Google $0.32
- Anybody (above 18) with a website that meets the Google Adsense guidelines can participate in the program.
- Adsense has strict rules that should not be violated for any reason. It is your responsibility as an adsense publisher to know and follow the rules.
- Adsense has a number of products suited for desktop websites, videos, games, mobile apps and more.
- Adsense ads can have a number of formats and sizes including text and images.
- Adsense publishers get paid monthly by Google.
How does Google Adsense works?
Now that you have a better idea on what is adsense, let’s see how it works in a step-by-step mode.
#1 – Create Adsense Account
The first step is to go to http://www.google.com/adsense and create an account. Your adsense account is associated with a Google Account like the one you use to login to gmail, youtube etc.
#2 – Add Adsense to your website
Before being accepted to the program, Google needs to check that your website adheres to the adsense guidelines. To pass this step, you need to add adsense code to your site so that the Google crawler can access your website’s content.
This is a very important step because as we will see below there are cases that your application may not be accepted.
During this step and until you are fully approved, adsense ads are not shown to your website but they are hidden by default. If your application is accepted, ads will start to show and you will get paid for the clicks.
Have in mind that this is a once off process since after you are accepted as an adsense publisher, you can run adsense on any website you want (provided of course that it is not violating any adsense rules).
#3 – Setup your payment information
The next and final process in the application process is to add your payment information so that you receive payment and the end of the month and once you passed the minimum threshold of $100. Please note that before receiving any money from Adsense, Google will verify your postal address by sending you an envelope with a confirmation code so make sure that the details you provide for your postal address are correct.
Where do the ads appear?
How many adsense ads can you show per page?
In any given webpage, you can show up-to 3 adsense units.
Where should I place my ads?
The general rule is to place the ads where they can be seen by your visitors but without violating any adsense or google webmaster quality guidelines.
You can use these simple rules:
- Place 1 ad unit above the fold in the main content of the website (not sidebar)
- Place 1 ad unit in the sidebar. The 160×600 is very good for placing in the sidebar
- Place 1 ad unit at the end of your page or article (preferably in the main content area)
How does Google decide what kind of ads to show in my website?
That’s not an easy question to answer since there are many factors taken into account before an ad is shown. You can assume that Google will try to show ads that are relevant to your content and interesting for your users. In case you want to block an ad (or group of ads) from showing, you can do so by visiting “Allow and Block Ads” in your adsense account.
How much money can you make with Adsense?
This is a very common question and I have already provided a detailed answer in my previous post: How much does adsense pay. In summary how much money you will make from adsense depends on:
- The amount of traffic your website receives
- The type of traffic
- The number of advertisers in your niche
- The type of content you have on your website
- The position of your adsense ads
How to increase your adsense revenue?
Once you have adsense running, there are a number of things you can do to maximize your earnings. You can read more details in my post 10 tips for maximizing your adsense earnings, but have in mind that asking your friends to click on your ads is NOT one of them.
How to increase your chances of being accepted by adsense?
If you take a look at Adsense forum, there are many people complaining that their applications for joining the Adsense program were rejected. The most common reasons are:
Website was violating Adsense guidelines
Website has little content
Website had no original content
Website had only duplicate content
Domain was new
To increase your chances of being accepted to adsense follow these simple rules:
- Make sure that your website has a lot of content (a number of pages indexed by Google)
- Make sure that your content is unique and original (not copied from other websites)
- Make sure that your pages do have text content (not only images and videos)
- Make sure that you placed the test adsense code in all your pages and that you have ad units above the fold
- Don’t apply for an adsense account if your website is less than 3 months old (that’s not an official rule of Adsense, it’s my recommendation). For some countries (India, Pakistan, Middle east) you may have to wait for your domain to get at least 6 months old before being accepted to Adsense.
Can you make a living out of Adsense?
If you take a look at the success stories provided by Adsense, you will see people (Website owners) that live exclusively from Adsense. So the answer to the question is Yes, you can make a living out of Adsense BUT my 14 years experience of working online, tells me not to count on this.
The reason is not that it is not a reliable platform but because you need a lot of traffic to make money from adsense and this can not in any way be guaranteed. You may receive a lot traffic from Google now but after a change to their ranking algorithm, your traffic drops and you lose a large portion of your income.
The above can happen not because you are trying to violate any rules and trick Google but because the competition online is so big that you cannot be 100% sure that your current rankings will remain for ever in the same positions.
Conclusion and Final thoughts
Adsense is a great way to make money online. It’s easy to use, it’s reliable and it works better than any other platform. Adsense works by giving you the opportunity to create ad units of different types and sizes and add those to your website. Google fills that space with ads that are related to your content and audience using a complex algorithm.
When someone clicks on ads appearing in your website, you get a large portion of the revenue. While it’s easy to setup and use, there are a number of things you can do to increase your revenue by tweaking your ad positions and settings.
If you don’t have an adsense account, the first step is to apply and get accepted to the program and then hope that someday you will also be featured in the Google Adsense success stories!
Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions on how adsense works.