What Is Google AdSense and How to Make Money With It
By Yossi Maman
One of the advantages of creating a website for your brand is that it helps you earn money online. If you’re currently selling products or scheduling services through your site, you’re already finding ways to meet that goal.
Still, there are even more ways to boost your revenue - including hosting ads through your site. The most popular ad hosting program is Google AdSense, which lets you publish ads on your website and make money every time people click.
While Google AdSense isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, it’s a creative way to enhance the content on your site while also supplementing your income. Here are the main benefits of Google AdSense - and how you can make most of the platform.
What is Google AdSense?
Google AdSense is a free tool website owners use to place Google Ads on their sites. This Google advertising tool connects you - the website owner - with advertisers so that you can display ad content.
So, how does it work? When you register for AdSense, Google uses an ad auction system to place ads on your site. These ads are chosen based on your website’s niche, as well as the subjects that site visitors are interested in. Then, in return for hosting Google ads, Google will pay you a commission for each click the ads receive.
The benefits of using Google AdSense
Not sure whether to use Google AdSense to run ads on your site? Here are 10 advantages of the program:
1. Google AdSense enables you to monetize your website, offering a way to earn passive income through your site.
2. All you have to do is a little setup and then Google handles the rest, including sizing ads to properly fit desktop and mobile screens.
3. Google AdSense is free to use, so there’s no financial risk in getting started.
4. There’s a wide range of advertisers working with Google AdSense, so you can display ad content relevant to your niche. Advertisers paid Google $147 billion in 2020 to appear in search, on YouTube, as well as on Google AdSense-enabled websites.
5. Ads that appear on your site have been vetted by Google, so you can be assured that the ads meet certain quality standards.
6. Ads that appear on your site are compatible with your content and cater to visitors’ interests. As a result, they’re unobtrusive and add value to your visitors’ experience.
7. You get to choose which types of ads to use and where they go on your website.
8. You can customize the design of the ads to match the look and feel of your site.
9. You’ll get paid monthly by direct deposit so long as you make at least $100, so this could realistically become a steady paycheck.
10. As your website traffic grows and your audience becomes more engaged, you’ll incrementally increase your earnings through Google AdSense.
How to get started with Google AdSense in 5 easy steps
Google has made it easy to use AdSense to make money online. Let’s walk through the setup process:
01. Create a Google AdSense account
The first thing you'll need to do is create an AdSense account. First, go to the Google AdSense site and click Get Started. On the next page, Google will ask you for three things:
Your website URL
Your email address
Whether or not you want customized help optimizing your ads
In the email address field, enter a Gmail address if you have one. If you don’t, you’ll need to create one.
02. Set up your payment information
Before you can start running ads on your site, make sure Google has all the information it needs to pay you.
Go to the Payments tab on the left side of the page. This will take you to your Payments dashboard. When you start earning ad revenue, you’ll see it here.
For now, you’ll need to:
Update the “How you get paid” area with your banking information
Fill in your payments profile under Settings so Google can verify your information and tax details
You may also want to briefly review your Account settings (again, go to the left-side navigation to access this). The information should be up-to-date if you have an existing Google account. If it’s not, make the necessary edits.
03. Connect your website to Google AdSense
Now, it’s time to sync your website with AdSense. To do this, you’ll need to add a special code to your site. This signifies to Google that it can place ads there.
First, from your Google AdSense dashboard, go to Sites. Then, click Add Site and enter your domain name. In the next screen, you’ll be provided with custom code along with instructions for embedding it on your website.
If you’re a Wix user, you can easily integrate your website with AdSense using the Google AdSense app. All you need to do is download the app, and then paste in the code provided by AdSense. For more detailed instructions, follow these steps to verify your Wix website with Google AdSense.
Once you’ve pasted the code into your site, go back to the Google AdSense screen. Then, click Get Review. Google will take you back to your dashboard where you’ll see a notice.
Although you may have to wait up to two weeks for Google to verify your website, you can still get a head start in setting up ads. So, let’s go to the next step.
04. Choose your ad placements
At this point, you’ve told Google that you want it to place ads on your site. But how will you decide where to display those ads?
There are two options for determining where the ads will show up: you can either let Google choose for you, or you can select the placements yourself. Below, we’ll walk through both options.
Option 1: Use Google automation
The quickest way to create ad placements is by using Google’s automated tool. Why might you choose this over the manual option?
You’re brand new to website monetization and need help with it.
You’re thinking about custom placements, but want to first see what Google considers the optimal positioning of your ads.
Ads would look fine on any page of your site—especially if you’re a publisher or blogger—so there’s no need to hand-pick your ad units.
Here’s what you need to know to set up Google automation:
To start, go to the Ads section in your Google AdSense dashboard.
If you’re interested in seeing what auto ads might look like, click the pencil next to your domain name under “By site”. Google will pull up a rendering of your website on the next screen:
When it finishes rendering, you’ll see your website. You can toggle between the mobile and desktop view using the corresponding icons above.
To see what it looks like when Google automatically places ads on your site, switch on the “Auto ads” toggle on the right.
In this example, Google has placed three ads on the selected page. In the panel on the right, you can increase or decrease the numbers of ads shown under “Ad load”.
In that same panel, you also get to control what types of ads you display:
In-page ads from Google advertisers
Matched content from your own site (Note: You have to have a high volume of traffic to be eligible for matched content)
Vignette ads between page loads
Wide-screen ads on desktop
If there are any pages on your site that you don’t want to show ads on, include them under “Page exclusions.
On a related note, you can also let Google automate mobile ad optimization for you. To do this, go to “Global settings”:
If Google auto ads is the route you decide to take, just toggle the automations on and let Google automatically choose the placements for you.
Option 2: Create custom ad placements
Alternatively, you may prefer to manually select your ad placements. Why might you choose this over the automated option?
You don’t want ads to appear on every page of your site.
You want control over which parts of the page they appear on so the user experience doesn’t get disrupted by poorly placed and disruptive ads.
You want to use ads to monetize high-traffic areas of your site that are informational but not revenue-generating, like blog posts, property listings, recipe pages, etc.
Before you start setting up your own ad placements, you’ll first need to get acquainted with the various types of online ads available.
These are the typical banner ads with images that you find around the web. You can place them anywhere on your site as a variety of sizes and shapes are available.
You can customize:
Ad shape: square, vertical or horizontal
Ad size: responsive or fixed
In-feed ads are another type of ad you can display through Google AdSense. For blogs, magazines, directories, product reviews and other list-like content, these ads appear between listings in your feed.
You can customize:
Ad style: image above, image on the side, title above, or text only
Similar to in-feed ads, these work well for publishers, reviewers, and listicle sites. The main difference is that the ads appear in the middle of your content.
You can customize:
Color for the title, description, and sometimes the background
Search engine ads
You can place a Google search box on your site that displays AdSense ads in the results. You’ll get paid for clicks on those ads.
You can customize:
Where search results are pulled from: all over the web or the sites of your choosing
Google displays a list of topics to your visitors. When they click a topic link, they’ll be shown relevant ads—and it’s only when they click an ad that you get paid.
You can customize:
Before moving onto the final step, I’d recommend you go page by page through your site and decide:
Which type of ad should appear on it
Where exactly you’ll place it
What size will fit best
Once you’ve thought about your ad placement and customization options, go to the next step to learn how to create and display your first ad.
05. Create and run ads on your website
It’s time for the fun part - creating your first AdSense ad.
There are many different website builders out there, and each requires a slightly different process. In this step, we’re going to focus on how to create and run AdSense ads through your Wix website.
To create your first ad on your Wix site:
Sign into Google AdSense
Click Ad Units
Click +New ad unit
Select Display ads
Enter a name for your ad at the top left
Click Ad Size on the right and select Fixed
Enter the ad’s width and height
Click Copy Code Snippet to copy the ad code, and then click Done.
Once you’ve copied the ad code, you’ll need to activate that code in the Wix Editor so that it appears on your site. Here’s how to do it:
Go to the Google AdSense app in the Wix Editor
Paste the code into the app, and click Activate (Note that once you activate the code, it can take up to 48 hours for the ad to be displayed.)
That’s all there is to it. Take a look at this article for more information about how to add and set up the Google AdSense app on your Wix website.
How much money can you earn from Google AdSense?
Google AdSense is not a get-rich-quick scheme. However, it is a way to passively earn income from your website.
Here’s the formula Google uses to pay its AdSense users a commission for clicks:
# of ad clicks * bid amount *.68 = Your Commission
Google gives AdSense users 68% of the total earnings from their ad units. Here’s how the calculation would work if you had an ad that received 100 clicks and the advertiser had bid $1.00 on it:
100 * 1.00 * .68 = $68
Now, how much you earn is dependent on how much competition there is for your ad unit as well as how much advertisers are willing to pay per click.
Your website, niche, brand authority, as well as the quantity and quality of your traffic can all affect these factors. So, it’s really important to view Google AdSense as something you can make good money from if you spend time making your website and content the best it can possibly be.
If you’re curious to see your potential earnings, you can use Google AdSense’s calculator. This calculator starts at 50,000 monthly page views, so you’ll need to get your site to a good place before you can expect serious earnings from it.
Best practices when using AdSense
There are a few more tips I want to leave you with before you start using Google AdSense:
01. Publish content regularly
Google AdSense is about turning your website traffic into money. Without traffic to your website, there’s no money to earn from AdSense. And keep in mind that this is about more than just sheer numbers.
You need steady and engaged traffic coming to your website if you want them to take notice of the ads there. By creating high-quality content and optimizing it so that the right people find it in search, you can do just that.
02. Never place more ads on a page than you have content
Your website is the home of your brand - not a place to host a bunch of ads for other companies. So, you need to be careful about how many ads you allow on each page and where they go. Ultimately, your content should be getting more attention than the ads themselves.
03. Don’t try to game the system
Google has very strict program policies, many of which revolve around deceptive practices that artificially boost your commission. This includes things like clicking on your own links, incentivizing others to click on ads, or using a tool to push high quantities of traffic to an AdSense-enabled page. Read the Google AdSense program policy if you're not familiar with its terms.
04. Take advantage of blocking controls
Google does a good job pairing Google Ads with the content of your site. However, if it mistakenly displays a competitor’s ad, or something that doesn’t align with the values of your brand, you should use the built-in Blocking controls to remove the conflict.
05. Keep an eye on your reports
Google AdSense comes with an entire area dedicated to Reports. Check in on this at least once a week to see how your ad units are performing. You can then make informed decisions when it comes to drawing better traffic to your site, optimizing your ad placements, and more.
06. A/B test your ads
Another thing you can do to improve your earning potential is to experiment with different ad units, placements, colors and sizes. Use the Experiments found under Optimization to conduct A/B tests on your ads. Or you can have Google do the assessment and automatically adjust your ad units for you.
Image Credits Featured Image: WIX
By Yossi Maman - Product Manager
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