Tag Archives: Google

HubPages AdSense Revenue Increasing May Be Worthwhile Yet

As most of you know, I have from time to time thrown a bit of effort into a writers profile of sorts at HubPages as Hub Llama. For the most part, this experiment has served just three purposes. The first, is to determine what if any leverage can be achieved by using HubPages to build backlinks to my other online projects. The second, is to have a sort of catch-all place where I can write quick, unpolished, articles that do not fit into one of my other websites or online businesses. The third, is to experiment with keywords, because HubPages pulls a bit of traffic and ranking on its own, so one can sometimes get a quicker feel for what variations of a key phrase or set of keywords might be the most profitable.

As nothing more than a potential side benefit, I have also followed the possibility that Hubs published on HubPages produce passive income online by themselves, though I have not made this any sort of focus in my endeavors over there.

In order to monitor profits from HubPages and determine whether there is any value in pursuing attempting to make money writing online at HubPages, I have, of course, installed my Google AdSense number on HubPages and linked the HubPages AdSense to Google Analytics. So far, the results haven’t been all that inspiring. It isn’t that Hubs don’t get traffic, they do. The problem is that the ads on HubPages don’t just draw from your Hub’s content, but also, seemingly, from Hubs around them, or from the overall HubPages domain itself.

What that means, when it comes right down to actual AdSense data for HubPages is that most clicks pay very low amounts, even for Hubs that are about topics and similar in content to webpages elsewhere that earn much higher CPC. For example, I often see something like $0.07 for a single click on a newer hub which make analyzing how much each click pays easier. A similar webpage on a related topic on a different site, or on one of my more carefully crafted sites, will pull down something like $0.35 to $1.00 for the same kind of clicks. Add in the fact that HubPages displays your ads 60% of the time, and you have a recipe for some low earnings.

However, today, I happened to notice a single click take down well over $2.00 on a topic where that would be considered a good amount anywhere. Now, that is just the one time, but it does raise the question. If the right topics were written about, and enough of the low-paying CPC advertisers could be filtered out in the AdSense competitive ad filter, could HubPages be a bigger source of monthly income?

We’ll find out soon enough. I’m going to launch my 100 Hubs in 10 Days Challenge soon, and I’m going to hit several “juicy” topics along the way. Between the extra linking, the HubRank pushed inevitably toward 95+, and my own backlinking and promo-ing, there just might be enough sizzle to see some real dollars earned on HubPages.

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Wedding DJ Costs or How Much Power Does It Take To Rank High In Google Search Results?

wedding-dj-dance-playlist-graphic At the request of a friend I recently wrote up an article about the wedding DJ business. More specifically, I wrote a Hub about wedding DJ prices. The idea was that since so many people want to know what a wedding DJ costs, but so few DJ companies actually will say on their websites what they charge to DJ a wedding reception or other event, that he could refer them over to the webpage with the data.

The wedding reception DJ rate piece did pretty well while it sat on top of some of the topics pages on HubPages itself and generated a little bit of traffic organically. However, the article doesn’t really show up anywhere in main Google search results pages. The SERPs are, of course, loaded with long-established webpages that ironically, do not answer the question most people are asking when they search for wedding DJ prices or wedding DJ rates or something similar.

Instead these searches return webpages with information about wedding DJs who will do a wedding reception for you, but not pages that actually have any price or rates on them. In fact, most of the top search results flatly state something like, contact us for rates, or fill out this form for a rate quote.

This is one of the area where Google and all Internet search engines fail miserably. They are unable to detect the difference between a webpage that actually lists rates or prices and one that points you somewhere else for that same information. This is obviously a very tough programming challenge both from the perspective of being able to discern when someone wants actual pricing information, and from the perspective of knowing which content delivers an actual rate or price. Then, there is the even more difficult task of determining which pages best serve the searcher. For example, a highly regarded webpage about wedding reception DJs that does not list a solid dollar amount might still be a better resource than a thinly populated webpage with dollar signs all over it, but filled with less than useful information.

Out of curiosity, I have typed up this post which both exceeds the commonly excepted minimum word requirement to be taken seriously by Google (300 words) and that has two links with different anchor text to the webpage in question. The homepage of this site sits at around a 3 on the fabled PageRank scale based on various toolbars, so we aren’t talking about huge fire power, but it has been known to push up a page into the top 10 results for lesser used keyword searches. Thus, we’ll get to see two things. One, how far, if at all can these links push my Hub (which stands on the shoulders of HubPages and its "authority") and, two, what alternate searches might be less competitive, and potentially more profitable?

Stay tuned, or just grab the Make Money Writing Online RSS Feed.

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Google Gets Serious About Webspam and Advertising Tricks Finally

For all of it’s talk, sometimes it seems that Google does very little to stop the continuous rise of webspam and SEO tricks aimed at drawing in the unaware user to a webpage filled with advertising (or worse).

However, recently, Google has finally taken a concrete step in the direction of improving the average user’s search results, and in the process, knee-capped certain webspammers and black-hat SEO or gray-hat SEO gimmicks, depending upon your point of view. In the process, it has improved the quality of the Internet, or rather, its move will have the affect of making the Internet a more accurate and reliable source of information over time. As junk websites and their “made for AdSense” (MFA) pages have their traffic dry up, the incentive to keep them going and to continue creating more low quality, but high search result ranking, junk sites diminishes. This also increases the ability of quality writers to make money writing online with AdSense.

How did Google finally achieve the goal of actually hurting webspam and garbage websites? Was it a secret improvement in its oft vaunted, and overrated, ranking algorithm? Did new duplicate content monitors, or an improvement in detecting low quality websites come online? Did the company finally start taking seriously, the numerous reports of garbage search results?

Nope. Instead, a simple change in the way a common search error is handled will end up making a huge difference.

Misspelled Searches Cash Cow Killed

misspelled-google-search-engine-results-rankings For years, it was a dirty secret that by targeting misspelled searches, one could make lots of money online.

An exploitation of webpages and webmasters who were honest and focused on quality caused legitimate websites to lose out to sham websites, and caused search engine users to end up reading dubious information about their search keywords, that is if they could find their way past the abundance of ads.

It was a relatively easy exploit. Social engineering is a way of hacking computers, or scamming users. The idea is to simply do something in such a way that most people would make an incorrect assumption about what what going on and therefore, hand over valuable information without knowing a mistake was being made. The best part (worst part?) of social engineering tricks is that they circumvent carefully constructed security systems, firewalls, and policies, that might have otherwise stopped the hacker from gaining access to anything valuable.

One common example of social engineering hacking are emails pretending to be official communications from a bank, company, or even another person in which they as the user to verify their username and password. The average user makes the incorrect assumption that the only way they would get such an email was if it was legitimate, and being good people, try and be helpful by following the instructions to click a link and enter their personal account information. Upon doing so, the website, which looks exactly like the real company’s website, says thank you and that everything is find now. The user goes on about their day, while the crooks empty their bank accounts.

Although much less nefarious, the most common (until recently) hack of search engines and searchers was to target keywords that were commonly (or not so commonly) misspelled. When the searcher typed keywords into Google’s website, the misspelled words made a better match with misspelled words on the scam webpages than they did with the correctly spelled words on legitimate websites. As a result, the search engine results pages (SERP) would show the junk webpages above the real websites’ pages.

For example, if a searcher was looking to buy a new computer monitor they might go to Google and type in “computer moniter” in an effort to do research or check prices. Quality websites, including those of the companies that make and sell computer monitors, would spell “monitor” correctly. Junk websites would create webpages with “moniter”. Google’s ranking algorithm would, not unexpectedly, rank the pages with the “same” word as the search (the misspelled word) higher than those with the close, but not exact, word monitor.

For the last year or two, Google has tried to help searchers in this situation by including a note at the top of search results saying, “Did you mean monitor?” However, the search results were still displayed based on the misspelled word. Many users, MOST users in fact, would just scan down the the results and use them instead of clicking on the link to take them to the real word.

The same tactic generated another issue for Google. Ads purchased through the AdWords online advertising program of Google typically targeted properly spelled keywords. Those bids were often not extended to misspellings which means that there was a double problem for Google. First, the search result accuracy on which its livelihood depends was compromised. Second, the lower number of ads targeted at misspelled words means that those ads were displayed at the top of search results for less money than they would be if the automated ad auction included all of the properly spelled words.

Google eliminated both problems with one tiny change in the way it handles misspelled search queries.

Now, instead of just trying to notify users that they misspelled a word, the search results now display, by default, the results for the correctly spelled word, and instead, the results notify users that if they really meant to spell the word the other way that they can click a link to take them to those results. In other words, Google now does the opposite of what it once did to display search rankings of incorrectly spelled keyword searches. By default the correct spelling is displayed and the incorrect spelling is listed as an alternate search, instead of vice versa.

The result?

Higher quality websites now show up even for average users who misspell their search words and the lower quality sites thrown up by those hoping to make a quick buck on a little bit of user ignorance have seen their traffic dry up. Additionally, Google has increased its advertising income by ensuring that the full gamut of ads participates in the computerized ad auction that determines which ads show up on top of those same search results.

This change is a win-win for honest webmasters and quality vendors, as well as for Google. The only ones hurt by this action are the underworld Internet marketer community, and frankly, most people are glad to finally have even a small whack made at them.

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Google AdSense Competitive Ad Filter Broken?

Update to the Update (most recent): Turns out that blocking Yield Manager did not stop the ads from appearing either. Eventually, I resorted to searching for other websites on the same topic and waiting for an equivalent ad to appear. When I finally found one on a website that I do not own or have any relationship with, I clicked on it to see where it went. I blocked THAT address which seems to have done the trick.

It is a shame that in its quest for secrecy that Google cannot provide webmasters with a usable way in which to find out who is displaying advertising on their websites. The so-called preview tool that they provide is laughable in both its functionality and the fact that one has to just get lucky in order to get the ad in question to appear in the tool at all.

Update: Although I didn’t get much of an answer to my question in the Google AdSense forums (big surprise), I did some more digging on my own and came up with a likely answer. When using Firebug Firefox plugin to view the source of the offending ad, I was able to see the whole source code for the JavaScript based ad that was being displayed. While I don’t know much about JavaScripting code, I did notice in all of the programming a domain name, yieldmanager.com.

Again, I don’t know much about how JavaScript works, but I am going to assume that yield manager is actually having the ad placed and that when it displays, this bit of code goes out and actually ends up running an ad from the low cost per click paying atdmt.com folks.

On the one hand, that means that atdmt is not displaying ads on my site by paying some ridiculously low ad rate, because the ad actually comes from yieldmanager.com. The problem isn’t so much whether or not the ad pays well, but rather that it is virtually NEVER clicked on. In fact, I got my first click on that tower ad in a long time, and it paid decent. But, if it’s only going to bet clicked once every week, then it isn’t worth it. So, for the time being, I have added yieldmanager.com to my competitive ad filter too.

Hopefully, this will return that tower ad to its previously profitable status and eliminate the wasted impressions generated by this overly generic, non-call to action, advertisement.

Like many other AdSense publishers, I long ago added ATDMT.com to my competitive filter list in order to block their advertisements from appearing on my websites. However, on one of my websites, I’ve noticed that their ad appears repeatedly despite being in the list that is supposed to block them from showing up at all. In fact, on this particular website, one ad from ATDMT seems to appear almost exclusively in the sidebar tower ad.

It is not a matter of giving it time since ATDMT has been in the list for months. In fact, I was somewhat surprised when I went to add the domain name to the competitive ad filter list and found that it was already there. The full domain is supposed to be filtered atdmt.com and yet, an ad from click.atdmt.com shows again and again on different days, on different pages, and in different browsers.

This raises the question, is the AdSense Competitive Ad Filter working properly? Or, is Google using the list as a “suggestion” and continuing to display whatever ad it feels like? Or, are publishers not allowed to block atdmt.com at all?

I’ll be posting a question in the AdSense forums, which is the only form of help available to most content publishers when it comes to Google AdSense. A quick Google search revealed that if this sort of thing is a widespread problem that there don’t appear to be too many people aware of it, which leads me to believe, for the time being, that this is just a singular glitch on my website.

Ironically, the ad in question was brought to my attention not only by the sudden appearance of very low CPC rates on what traditionally provides relatively decent pay per click, but also by the fact that NoScript was suddenly showing in the status bar that it was blocking some JavaScript even though I have my domain whitelisted. Turns out that not only is atdmt.com showing up past my competitive ad filtering, but that it is also running an animated JavaScript ad as well.

Well, off to post my forum question.

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