optimize google adsense experiments

Google AdSense Optimizations

Once you have started earning some money with Google AdSense, you may get some notifications about various optimizations that you can do to “improve your earnings.” Do the Google AdSense optimizations really work? It depends upon the optimization and how it applies to your website.

Google Optimize Suggestions

Remember, that Google works best for Google. Those search results that are scraped information from other websites that appear on the search results page? That helps Google. The ads above the fold, and links to Google properties. That helps Google.

That is true for optimizing AdSense as well.

optimize google adsense experiments

The good news is that as an AdSense publisher, you get a cut of what Google earns putting ads on your website, so that puts you on the same team. However, that doesn’t necessarily make what Google suggests the best for you. It doesn’t mean that they are trying to reduce your earnings either. Remember that Google has an enormous number of websites to fill with ads. They think in the aggregate. You, however, think about what is best for your specific website.

For example, I have a freelance writing blog that I publish with tips and information for both freelance writers, and clients of freelance writers. The people this website are directed at are people doing freelance writing — or wanting to do freelance writing — now, which means that ads for colleges or other writing programs aren’t very effective on this website. Unfortunately, ads for writing courses were essentially filling up every ad slot on that blog.

This isn’t Google’s fault. The website is an educational website for writers, after all. However, the kinds of people reading it, generally won’t be the people looking to go to school to be writers, especially at the sketchy kinds of institutions that often show up in those particular AdSense ads.

I turned those ads off. Google allows you to restrict certain ads, or even ads from certain domains. Ironically, they don’t really provide this opportunity in order to let you maximize profits, so much as to prevent competitors from advertising on your own websites. For example, if I ran writing school, I wouldn’t want other writing schools publishing ads on my website. However, you can use the blocked ad categories as you see fit, and I block the Education & Training category. I blocked Ringtones and Downloads on my personal finance blog because those took a lot of impressions for little returns. (It makes sense that people looking to improve their finances aren’t dropping money on costly ringtones, right?)

This bugs Google AdSense because it knows that overall, on its millions of sites, that these ads make money. But, you know your website better than Google, so should you trust your gut, or go with Google’s non-specific data?

Google AdSense Experiments

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose blindly. AdSense allows you to run optimization experiments. What it does is run half your impressions with those ads blocked, and the other half with them unblocked, and then it reports back how it affects your earnings, including things like number of clicks and cost per click. It does take a few days to fully run an experiment, but you can usually tell which way the data is going pretty quickly.

In my case, blocking the Education and Training category performed much better (+48%) than not blocking it. So, I kept it blocked.

However, it turns out unblocking the other subcategory, Job Listings, actually improved my earnings. I’m not in this for purity, so the block for those ads came off.

Click the Optimization tab from time to time to see what, if anything Google suggests. When they do make a suggestion, click that Experiments link and check it out. You may even want to repeat the experiment later on, especially if you writing focus changes.

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Building a Writing Calendar

A writing calendar, or publishing calendar, if you prefer, is a good way to stay on track with your writing. Just sitting down at a set time and coming up with a topic to write about is like asking a comedian to “be funny” right on the spot. It’s a lot easier if you plan for it and know it’s coming. Most people who will tell you that they are a comedian have a joke already memorized for when you inevitably ask them, “Can you say something funny, right now?

A writing calendar works the same way. Instead of sitting down and trying to instantly come up with a good topic for your parenting blog on the spot, you instead check you calendar and see what you were going to write about today.

It doesn’t take much for a writer to start writing. Sometimes nothing more than the title is enough of a prompt. For those ideas you have with a little more nuance, feel free to jot down a few lines of text to get yourself going in the right direction.

What kind of calendar you use is a matter of preference. Some people prefer an electronic calendar. A mobile based calendar means you always have it with you to tweak or add items to. An online calendar can give you the same benefits. A prefer a big paper calendar that I can quickly jot notes on while in mid-project, and that I can stick Post-It notes to when I need to add, or flesh out ideas.

Whatever kind of calendar you use, the key is to actually USE IT. That means not only putting items on it to be written, but READING those ideas and then writing about them. It can be all to easy to add an endless list of “to be written articles,” only to completely forget to look at your calendar when it is actually time to write.

Take a look around your mobile device’s app store, or wander into the office supply store and take a look at planners and calendars. Pick one you like, and start using it today.

 

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Writing Calendars and When To Ignore Them

As a professional writer, one of the things that always strikes me as odd is when new, or aspiring, writers ask me, how to come up with things to write about. I have notebooks full of more article ideas that I’ll ever be able to write in one lifetime. However, I understand how it can be difficult to just sit down at 8:00 a.m. and start typing.

There reality is that most writers actually have lots of things to write about. They either just can’t force those ideas into their brain at will. And, when they do come up with great ideas to write about their topic, they dismiss them as not worthy, too complicated, or something like that.

A Blogging Calendar or Writing Calendar

This is where a blogging calendar, or writing calendar comes in handy. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I use one of those desktop blotter calendars you can get for less than $10 at any office supply store, or from Amazon. Fill in a topic on each day for each blog, or website, that you generate content for. Soon, you too will have a tons of topics. As an added bonus, you can start to see trends and upcoming events that you might want to capitalize on.

writing muse hideout

For example, if you are filling in your April writing calendar, you might want to consider topics on Spring, or on filing your taxes, or planning for a big Mother’s Day weekend. You may also happen to notice that you are writing a lot about a specific topic. You can either take the opportunity to spread those topics out, or conversely perhaps market the upcoming list of topics as a way to get detailed information for your readers.

The trick to effectively using a writing calendar is to be willing to move articles around. If you need to publish something else on the 23rd, then just cross out the original article and write it down on a new date.

Most importantly, you need to know when to ignore your writing calendar.

Sometimes, you’ll get the writing fever, where you muse wakes up, jumps on your back and whips you forward. As an experienced writer, you know that these days and times come with far too many less motivated days in between. When you want to write: write. And when you want to write about certain topics, then do that. Your publishing calendar will be there later when your muse hops off and goes to lie down in the warm fields of grass for a long rest.

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confetti celebration

10,000,000 AdSense Impressions

Today, I got a fun little message from Google AdSense on my AdSense dashboard telling me that I had my 10,000,000th Lifetime Ad Impression last week. It doesn’t appear that I get anything for that feat (other than the accumulated earnings made along the way), but unlike other metrics I see from time to time, this one feels good.

However, it feels like I should have more money for all those ad impressions. 🙂

10 million ad impressions

Somehow, I’ve never really noticed the “All Time” option on the Google AdSense reports, but this notification made me take a closer look. Those 10 million ad impressions came from around 3.8 million page views, and resulted in close to 85,000 clicks. It’s hard to draw any conclusions from that considering that the webpages that make up those statistics, and even the AdSense program itself, has changed quite a bit over the last two or three years, but even if it doesn’t affect any strategies or plans, it is still fun to look at.

Now, I know that 10 million impressions isn’t really much for a content company or other corporation, but considering my business is a one-man operation run from my basement home office while working as a freelance writer, freelance web developer, and work at home dad, well, I think 10 million impressions is pretty, well… impressive.

Of course, the goal is to get to $10 million in earnings, not 10 million impressions, so there is a lot of work to be done going forward. Blogs need update, websites need refreshed and expanded, apps need developed, newsletters need written, and services need sold, but for now, we’ll take a little bit of time to celebrate a job well done, so far.

confetti celebration

 

So, what’s next?

I’ve been revamping some of my online empire, and building up my freelancing business. I’m working from a new overall strategic vision that combines the two as a single business entity. From there we can move on from six-figures and start shooting for seven. Stick around, and we can take the ride together.

Happy 10,000,000 page views to me.

 

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