How to Make Money with AdSense?

If you’re looking for a way to make money online, AdSense is probably one of the top methods you’ll come across when searching for ways to monetize your website.

But what exactly is AdSense, and can you really make money with it?

Banking on my experience as an online marketer, I’ll introduce you to the intricacies of AdSense marketing and show you how you can make your website profitable.

But before we delve into the details, be advised: there’s a certain way to go about monetizing your website through AdSense and that’s by conforming to Google’s guidelines.

Anyone who promises to let you in on a secret, tries to pitch you a shortcut or an overnight trick, is a snake oil salesman.

Now that we have gotten this out of the way, let’s see how to make money with AdSense:

What is AdSense?

Google’s AdSense is one of the world’s largest network of online advertisers chosen by almost 2 million people worldwide.

It’s the meeting place of advertisers who want their products or services advertised and publishers who can offer them an advertising platform.

The ad that goes live on a publisher’s site is determined through a real-time auction, where advertisers bid for your ad space.

The ad that will eventually be displayed on your site, will be the ad of the highest bidder. Every time someone clicks on an ad displayed on your site, you automatically get paid.

As you can see, the mechanism behind AdSense is simple and the benefits for you as a publisher are multifold:

  • It’s free;
  • It’s easy to use;
  • You can choose where the ads will show on your site;
  • There are several ad type options you can select from;
  • You don’t have to worry about billing, Google takes care of that for you;
  • You are automatically paid after each click and after having accrued a certain minimum amount ($100 in the US);
  • 68% of the ad revenue goes to you;
  • Ads that are displayed are relevant to your visitors;
  • It’s reliable.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for AdSense?

According to data from 2015, Google paid out nearly $10B to its publishers. That’s a lot of money!

If you want a piece of the pie, there are certain prerequisites that you must meet that AdSense calls eligibility requirements, and these are:

  • Owning your own website;
  • Complying with AdSense program policies;
  • Your site must be at least 6-months old;
  • You must be at least 18 years old.

Beyond these, there are other requirements that are related to the quality and content of your website and blog, namely:

  • You need to own a high-quality website;
  • Said website should be rich in content;
  • It should attract a lot of traffic;
  • It must be relevant to advertisers.

Let’s see how you can meet each of these requirements.

1. Building a High-Quality Website

The quality requirement extends to design, usability, code, and – as we will discuss in the next point – content.

The type of website that can run AdSense has to meet Google’s guidelines for search engine optimization. A website that:

  • Loads fast;
  • Is rich in unique and valuable content;
  • Is easy to navigate;
  • Is free of any malicious code or spammy content;
  • Is mobile-friendly;
  • Engages visitors is a good candidate for running AdSense ads.

When you apply for AdSense, your website will be evaluated by Google, and if it fails to meet their requirements, your account will be disapproved.

I had this happen to me once and the reason for the rejection was that my blog wasn’t at least 6 months old and had insufficient content. So yeah, that can happen if you jump head-first into things.

I encourage you to carefully read Google’s guidelines before you submit your request and if you get rejected, make sure to fix what’s missing or wrong with your website before you resubmit.

2. Creating a Content-Rich Website

A content-rich website means that your site has a plenty of content and that content is varied.

Text-based content is of course indispensable for many types of websites, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to text only.

Add images and videos to your content, and not only because of Google, but also because of your visitors.

Long walls of text with no images and no formatting is not going to be appealing to anyone, leading your visitors to spend little to no time on your website.

This phenomenon of visitors abandoning your website very soon after landing on one of your pages is called bounce rate and it’s a signal that Google uses to determine the quality of a website.

The higher the bounce rate, the lower the relevance and quality of the website.

Having a site that’s exclusively text-based is by far not the best user experience you can give to your visitors.

You have to convince your visitors to stick around on your page and interact with your content.

The only way to achieve this is to come up with interesting and engaging content, otherwise you won’t be able to monetize your site.

As long as you’re in compliance with AdSense policies, you can have any type of content to make your website as rich and varied as possible.

3. Building a High-Traffic Website

With good content and a quality website your chances to attract a lot of traffic are much higher.

Once you have a steady flow of daily visitors, you can consider applying to AdSense, but to actually make a decent amount of money, you need hundreds and thousands of unique visitors every day.

If your website doesn’t get enough traffic, you should look into ways to better optimize your content and drive more traffic to your site.

High traffic is crucial for earning money through AdSense, since you are paid based on how many people click on the ads that are displayed.

4. Your Site Must be Relevant

Adding relevancy to your site means your content must be relevant both to your visitors and the advertisers that will place their ads on your site.

One way to achieve relevancy is to target your content for keywords that your visitors are likely to search for.

For example, if you have a website about water filters, keywords such as “how to install a water filter” or “water filter review” are more likely to attract more organic traffic than more general topics like “why to clean tap water”.

The more relevant your content is, the more interesting it will be to your visitors, and the more money you can earn.

5. Your Site Mustn’t Violate AdSense Policies

Google holds their publishers to high standards, so they can offer advertisers a quality platform for their ads.

Therefore, sites in violation of their policies can have their application disapproved or their accounts banned.

Reading through the AdSense Content Policies you’ll be able to get a clear idea of the type of content that is prohibited (e.g. adult content, drugs related content, etc.) and the type of content that is required (e.g. privacy policy, cookies policy) by Google.

It’s not uncommon for beginners to start researching the web for ways to monetize their sites and come across terrible advice that I will discuss next.

AdSense Pitfalls to Avoid

People will always try to take the short route to success, and while it may be tempting to do that with AdSense, the risk of having your account banned and your site blocked from search engine results should be a strong enough deterrent.

Here are the most common mistakes you should avoid when monetizing your site through AdSense.

  • Avoid artificially inflating ad performance;
  • Avoid placing too many ad units on one page;
  • Don’t use paid to click programs;
  • Don’t trick your visitors into clicking on ads (e.g. through pop-ups);
  • Do not incentivize or otherwise encourage your visitors to click on Google AdSense ads;
  • Don’t resort to any tricks to bypass Google’s advertising guidelines.

Another faux-pas that many are not aware of is the practice of creating so-called made-for-AdSense websites.

These websites are created with the sole purpose of monetization and not much else.

There’s no desire to add value to visitors behind them, there’s no burning passion for a certain subject to fuel them, and simply put, there are no incentives for visitors to keep coming back to these sites.

If your website’s only goal is to make money through AdSense, both your visitors and search engines will soon pick up on it.

Google’s algorithms have become as fancy and sophisticated as ever, so if you think you can outsmart them, think again!

I mentioned earlier that Google looks at bounce rates to assess quality or relevance of a search engine result.

But there are many other metrics that they’ll look at such as dwell time or click-through rate (CTR).

Dwell time is the amount of time people spend on a certain page, while CTR is the number of visitors who click on a link or ad on your website.

These are just some examples of metrics that can shed light on practices that fall outside the rules.

How Much Money Can You Earn with AdSense?

If you’re doing it right, AdSense can be a profitable way to earn money with your website, but how much exactly can you pocket with AdSense?

It depends. There are two important things that you need to focus on to boost your AdSense payouts – the number of daily visitors and click-through rates.

We’ve already touched upon the ways you can make your site popular – putting out valuable and attractive content, optimizing your pages for good user experience, making your pages load fast, etc. – but how you can increase CTR on pages that have ads?

As I mentioned before, as per the AdSense policies you should avoid any trickery like paid-to-click programs or incentivization techniques.

What you should and can do is to optimize your ads:

Ad Optimization Tips

If you’re getting a lot of visitors, but they don’t click on your ads, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are your ads positioned in a place where your visitors can see them?

Position your ads in places where the focus and attention of your visitors may be concentrated.

This is usually above the main content and other above the fold locations. The left sidebar is another hotspot that can increase ad performance.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with ad locations to see which locations lead to better CTRs.

  • Are your ads in a color that makes them stand out?

You have to walk a very fine line when it comes to choosing the best color for your ads. Make the ads “scream too loud” and your visitors may willfully ignore them on account of them being too annoying.

Blend them too much into the background, and your visitors may once again miss them.

To get your ads noticed, choose colors that nicely complement your website’s color scheme.

  • Are your ads the right size?

Some AdSense ad units perform better than others, and the same goes for sizes.

When choosing sizes, you’ll notice that some ad sizes are flagged as “Recommended” by Google, so it’s best to choose these over other ad sizes.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to experiment with different ad sizes and use multiple ad units to see which yield the best results in your particular case.

  • Are your ads relevant to your visitors?

Ads that are displayed on a page are either based on the visitors’ previous search history, or they’re relevant to the content of your page.

If you want to display more relevant ads, make sure you optimize your pages content-wise.

Conclusion: Is AdSense Worth It?

I still haven’t given you an exact number with regard to the amount of money you can make with AdSense, and the truth is that it’s hard to estimate how a blog or website will perform.

There are many factors at play, and it all comes down to how visited your site is and how your visitors interact with your content and the ads displayed on your pages.

One thing is certain, however: If your website is really successful and visitors are interacting with your content, it’s not farfetched to say that, with time, you could potentially earn six figures per year.

Updated on: August 9, 2018