At some point, most entrepreneurial types consider ways to make money online, and one popular web-based moneymaking opportunity is Google’s AdSense program.
Google AdSense is a simple, free option for businesses that want to display Google ads on their websites and earn a profit from user clicks. Here’s everything you need to know to get started building your own AdSense empire.
What is Google AdSense?
Google’s AdSense program allows people and businesses to display Google advertisements on their webpages. Website owners earn money when visitors click on those ads. Businesses of all sizes across the globe use the Google Ads platform; with the AdSense program, Google places targeted Google Ads on participants’ platforms.
Website owners can also place Google search boxes on their webpages. When visitors use the search box, Google accurately places ads based on visitor search terms.
Google’s proprietary algorithm interprets site content so irrelevant ads aren’t used. Only the ads most likely to generate revenue are placed on a given website. For example, if you run a travel-based site, the Google Ads on your site will likely promote travel-related products.
Before posting an ad on a third-party site, Google’s professionals review the site with language filters to prevent accidentally placing inappropriate ad content. The company’s personnel ensure ads conform to professional, editorial and ethical guidelines.
How does Google AdSense work?
After signing up for AdSense with Google, here are the three primary steps:
- Make ad space available. You can make ad space available by pasting an ad code where you’d like Google to place ads on your website.
- Set a bidding time. Advertisers will begin bidding for ad space on your site through a real-time auction. The highest-bidding ads will appear on your website.
- Receive checks. Google handles all the billing and ensures you get paid by advertisers.
AdSense offers these customization options to your advertisers:
- Where to display the ads
- How to organize ads on the page
- What types of ads to include
- Size and format of the ads
- Specific categories of ads to display or not display
Along with customization tools, AdSense offers support services, personalized ad-performance reports and integration with Google Ad Manager – a centralized ad-management platform – and Google Analytics, which helps measure ad performance on your site.
Google Ads and Facebook Ads are both effective ad platforms. Google Ads perform better for immediate sales, while Facebook Ads work well for generating sales leads.
How do you make money from Google AdSense?
The more people who visit your site, the more likely users will click on Google Ads and generate AdSense income.
A few website owners achieve quick and impressive traffic levels and “go viral.” However, most people don’t achieve huge traffic levels overnight, so they use a different AdSense strategy: investing in their website and even creating additional niche websites.
“It was slow going our first month … we spent around $2,000 in December 2010 and made a grand total of $32.89 … ouch!” said Justin Cooke, co-founder and CMO of Empire Flippers. “A few months later and we realized we were onto something that would be a profitable project for us. We started to sell off some of our niche sites to fund increased growth and, in 2012, we [grew] the revenue to just over $20,000 per month on average.”
Creating an AdSense empire
If your website has a good amount of traffic, you may be content to sit back and earn passive income from the Google AdSense program. However, website owners who want to build an AdSense empire are much more proactive. Here’s what empire owners do:
- Buy domain names. Consider purchasing several domain names and using the best web hosting services to generate traffic.
- Create additional websites. Next, successful users build various websites and place AdSense ads on all their sites.
- Reinvest AdSense earnings. The next step is reinvesting part of the AdSense earnings into buying more domain names, which helps users earn more money.
Cooke advises paying close attention to the type of websites you create to fuel your AdSense empire. “Create niche sites or blogs that are specifically built with AdSense in mind and targeted around profitable AdSense keywords. You’ll find a much higher cost per click (CPC) with this microtargeting.”
No matter your strategy, website owners usually have to wait two months before seeing any AdSense money – one month earning AdSense revenue and then another month waiting for a check, as Google pays out one month later.
While your domain name choices matter for search engine optimization (SEO), it’s far more important to use SEO tools that look at keyword ranking and audience demographics to improve your website’s position.
Pros and cons of Google AdSense
Google AdSense can help entrepreneurs increase revenue, but there are also some downsides to consider when pursuing this opportunity.
- Targeted content: AdSense targets various ads that fit the context of your website. It allows you to incorporate marketing that will draw readers in and engage them, without omitting content space.
- Design integration: Ads easily integrate into your site’s organized space by adding colors, borders and shapes. Instead of taking away from your website design, AdSense works to complement it.
- Reporting options: Advertisers pay for ad space in different amounts, but on average, AdSense pays about $18 per 1,000 views on an ad. You can keep track of the number of clicks and revenue generated through AdSense’s secure portal.
- Limited languages: AdSense only supports 50 languages, thus limiting those who can use the system.
- Account verification: Once your account reaches a certain level, Google requires verification for payment. This can create obstacles for those who travel frequently or don’t have a permanent address.
- Banning potential: Google will ban publishers if it detects invalid clicks. However, bots can potentially affect your ad clicks, or people could be clicking multiple times without you knowing.
Despite these cons, business owners can still enjoy an excellent ROI by utilizing AdSense and sticking to their strategy. With a little patience and a lot of determination, you can reap these benefits in no time.
“It’s important to know that you’re not going to be able to get started without some risk,” Cooke said. “You’re going to have to invest some time and some money to test things out, get your process worked out, etc.”
Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.