What Is Google AdSense And How Does It Work?11 min read

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So, what is Google AdSense?

Simply put, Google AdSense is a way to monetise your site and your content by displaying ads based on your content and visitors.

These are the ads you see when, for example, you’re reading a blog article.

Google AdWord ads are relevant to your content, which means your audience will find them relevant to their interests. This is an ideal way to generate revenue through your content and is particularly well-suited to high traffic sites.

What’s the difference between Google AdSense and Google AdWords?

This is a common question, so I’ll address it right away. Basically, Google AdSense is used by publishers, whereas Google AdWords is used by advertisers.

“AdSense allows publishers to monetise their blogs and sites through the display of relevant AdWords ads in their content. Publishers then receive payment when their visitors engage with these ads.”

AdWords on the other hand, allow you to advertise on Google Search Network and on Google Display Network. The latter incorporates content sites that are not search engines. It works by you paying Google for each engagement your ad receives.

The advantages of Google AdSense

why use google adwords

So, let’s take a look at a few of the advantages that make Google AdSense attractive to publishers.

  • AdSense leverages off Google’s superior search capabilities. Google’s page ranking and search technologies form the basis for AdSense. With this, ads are precisely matched to your content.
  • Therefore, ads are highly targeted and relevant to your audience.
  • Google uses specialist filtering technology, an editorial team and your input to define stringent filters specifically matched to your requirements.
  • It’s quick and easy to get AdSense up and running on your website.

What types of websites are best suited for Google AdSense?

Websites that are particularly well suited for Google AdSense are ones that publish high quality content and have large amounts of traffic.

These could be news sites, blogs, niche social networks, forums and discussion boards, and free online tools.

If managed properly, these types of sites will generate new traffic while at the same time, servicing their loyal visitors. This is the recipe for running a successful AdSense strategy.

Eligibility for AdSense participation

Following on in this section, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your site would be a good fit for AdSense. There is also an application process that conducts a thorough assessment of your site, so don’t assume that satisfying all the conditions below will automatically meet with approval for AdSense.

Once you have achieved eligibility however, the sky’s the limit and Google Adwords are yours to command

But by all means, let’s have a look at these criteria.

  • Do you own a website?You don’t need us to tell you that you’ll need to own a website and have access to the HTML source code. This is required for copying the AdSense code on all the pages where you wish to display AdSense ads.
  • How long has your site been active?In some locations, your site will only be taken into consideration if it has been active for at least six months.
  • Does your site comply with AdSense’s policies?You need to ensure that your site is compliant. You also need to be aware that it’s your responsibility to keep up to date with any changes in the AdSense Terms and Conditions.
  • Are applicants over 18 years and older?
  • AdSense works with Blogger and YouTube;eligibility for these require a different set of requirements.

It’s possible to sign up for AdSense if you’re already part of another ad network. There are guidelines for doing this.

However, there are a couple of things to be aware of here. You won’t be able to place more ads than content on a page. Also, you’ll need to deal with any contractual issues that could arise with your ad network due to serving Google ads directly.

How it works

With the boring (but admittedly important) admin out of the way, we can crack on with how Google AdSense actually works.

Publishers make their website ad space available and choose where they want the ad displayed. This is done by pasting ad code onto the site.

Advertisers then bid, through a real-time auction, to have their ads displayed on their site. The highest paying ad will be displayed and therefore earnings vary on a case-by-case basis.

Google then handles the billing to ensure you get paid.

Ads displayed on a publisher’s site can have a cost per click or a cost per impression payment model. The publisher has no say as to which option should apply to the ads appearing on their site.

There are different styles of ads, such as text-based, image and video. Ideally, you want your website to be able to cater for the different types in a way that offers your users a good experience.

The last thing you want is to bombard your audience with too many ads. Shorter articles, for example, should not display a bunch of ads. It could frustrate visitors and cause them to leave. Make your content high-quality, your ads relevant, and keep your page looking slick and professional.

The following placements are available to you:

Leaderboard Banners

Large graphic banners at the top of the page grab attention and this is exactly what the leaderboard banner achieves. They are displayed in a prominent position while your content is clearly presented below.

how to use google adsense

Horizontal banners

Horizontal banners can be placed in the middle or at the end of your content. The middle is a good position if you’re not sure your users will stick with the content to the end.

If however, your site gets a lot of user engagement, then place it at the end.

Sidebars for skyscraper or rectangular banner

The sidebar is ideal real estate for the rectangular banner. These can be responsive, so they adjust according to your visitor’s display.

Link units

Link units are text links that can be below the fold. It blends in well with the page’s content but should be clearly highlighted as being a link by, for example, the colour of the text.

You are not allowed to make it look like a menu. Be careful of this, as Google will interpret it as trying to obtain clicks through dishonourable means.

Customised appearance

You have some control over what the ads displayed on your website look like. It stands to reason that ads should not destroy your carefully constructed webpage.

However, you also want ads to be noticeable as the more clicks they attract, the more money you’re making.

These are the design elements you can define:

  • Ad typesYou can choose whether the ad types shown are display ads, text ads or rich media ads.
  • Ad coloursPublishers can choose from pre-defined styles or they can create their own. It allows you to make sure the ad text, background colours and border colours complement your site.
  • Ad sizesYou can choose from many ad sizes to match the design of your page.

Monitor the engagement with the ads and tweak these elements to try and improve their performance.

AdSense Custom Search

This is an advanced feature that is suitable for search-focused websites that cater for users looking for travel, products, jobs, or local business. You need to apply for approval to run AdSense Custom Search on your website.

AdSense Custom Search lets you display highly targeted ads alongside your site’s search results and is suitable for both desktop and mobile application.

Google AdSense on YouTube

It’s possible to link your YouTube channel to your AdSense account. This will allow you to monetise your videos. You will choose the videos you want monetised as well as the types of ads to be presented to your viewers.

Google will make payments to you a month after your AdSense balance exceeds $100.

AdSense Custom Search

This is an advanced feature that is suitable for search-focused websites that cater for users looking for travel, products, jobs, or local business. You need to apply for approval to run AdSense Custom Search on your website.

AdSense Custom Search lets you display highly targeted ads alongside your site’s search results and is suitable for both desktop and mobile application.

Google AdSense on YouTube

It’s possible to link your YouTube channel to your AdSense account. This will allow you to monetise your videos. You will choose the videos you want monetised as well as the types of ads to be presented to your viewers.

Google will make payments to you a month after your AdSense balance exceeds $100.

what is google adsense

How to implement AdSense

It’s extremely easy to implement AdSense. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign up for your AdSense account.
  2. Generate the AdSense code.
  3. Paste the code on each page that you want ads to be displayed on.

And away we go! Remember, implementing Google AdSense does not affect your page ranking.

AdSense Auto Ads

how to use adsense auto ads

This is a new feature that requires a piece of code to be added to each of your pages just once. It makes managing your AdSense ads much easier.

It uses machine learning to analyse your pages and then determines when specific ad units would likely perform well. It also identifies available ad space and displays ads there, which increases your potential for generating revenue.

Publishers have the capability to choose the types of ads suitable for their website. What really makes AdSense Auto special, is the ease with which you can switch new features and ad formats on and off, as required.

Google AdSense is extremely easy to implement, plus it can transform your website and content into revenue streams. The ads are relevant to the content on the page, and therefore also suitable for your audience.

AdSense works best for websites with high traffic and engaged audiences. This should not be interpreted as a problem, but rather as an incentive to grow the quantity and quality of your traffic.

Of course, when you’re not manually placing your ads, you’re not choosing what brands are shown on your site, so you are potentially running the risk of irrelevant or substandard brands being advertised on your site.

However, if your site is of high-quality, the Google algorithm will reflect this as such and you’ll find the ads are still relevant to your site and for reputable businesses.

Closing Words

Clearly, using Google AdSense on your site seems an easy and effective way of monetising your site. Provided people click the ads displayed, you’re going to profit. Considering the ads are targeted at the sort of people who would use your site in the first place, it seems fairly likely that this will happen.

So now that you have a basic level of knowledge when it comes to Google AdSense, why not have a look at our Google Mastery Course, or if you have any questions, go to our Facebook Community and see if anyone has your answer!

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