Saturday, March 19, 2011
The Newbie Central section has changed quite a bit, but it highlights some of the most important things newbies should know, and understand before getting the ads onto their sites. The introductory page gives you a short list of the places where you should start - just click the picture or link on their introduction page (linked) and start learning.
Adsense has been adding some other basic help pages for those just beginning with Adsense. Two of these useful sections are the Ad Placement Optimizers: the One-Click Optimizer, and the Optimization Lab (which is not just for newbies).
One-Click Ad Optimizer
The one click optimizer offers suggestions for ad placement for a variety of site types: news sites, classified sites, game sites, forums and blogs. Possibly because these are the types of sites we most frequently see questions about, though most of us helping in the forums don't seem to use these different types of sites.
Before creating these optimizers, Adsense spends a fair bit of time learning what works well for certain types of sites - so there is some research behind these ad placement suggestions. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean they will work for your site, it means they should. Every site is different, and sometimes the best ad placements for your own site might not be the same as what they've suggested. Placements that work will depend on your site layout, and your contents, as well as your visitors. If you already have a visitor base, then you need to pay attention to what your visitors want.
If your site is fairly new, then it might be a good idea to check out the optimizers and see how your current ad placement lines up with what Adsense says is effective. You may want to try some of their suggestions on different pages of your site. If you decide to do this, then make sure you create channels for these new ad placements so you can track their effectiveness yourself.
The Optimization Lab
The Optimization Lab has more help for getting the most out of your ads. There are simple instructions on how to increase your CTR and increase the CPC on your websites, however, if you are a newbie you will also need to pay close attention to the policies.
One of the possible ways to increase the CTR is to wrap your text around an ad unit. The Adsense Optimzation Lab gives instructions in the form of a div code to do this, but keep in mind that if you implement this, you really need to have more than "5" pixels of space between the ad and your text. This is especially true if you are using a lot of images close to the ad placement, or if you are using text ads with no borders in your text area. The ad unit must NOT be mistaken for part of your text.
What it doesn't give you are the instructions for using that div code everywhere. Basic websites built with html can put their ad codes within their text areas, usually without much problem. That allows them to use just this div code supplied by Adsense to set the ad to the right or left side within their text. But most blogs will not not accept the adsense code within the text areas - at least blogger will not. And some wordpress blogs may not either.
In order to do this, you'll need to parse the adsense code for blogger (do a web search - lots of blogs have already written about this). This parsed adsense code is then placed in between the two div codes given by Adsense and inserted into the correct spot in your blog's TEMPLATE, not in the text area.
What happens then is that the ad will display in that spot on each post you have without you having to place the code each time.
Also be aware that if you have your blogs set to display more than one post on a page, you will not be able toplace ad units in your sidebar (use link units instead), header or footer areas because each of your first 3 posts will already have an ad in it, and you are only allowed to display 3 ad units.
If you normally display more than 3 posts on a page, also do not use this method for displaying your ads. If you have 5 posts on a page, this code will try to display 5 ads - one in each post. Adsense will then only display one public service ad, and no other ads.
This method of inserting the code into the template is really only good if you have your blog set to display one or two posts per page, but it will work fine for static websites (ie: sites that are all individual pages, rather than a blog with multiple posts on a page).
There are other things in the optimization lab you might want to look at - and a few to be careful about.
In the "Boost Impressions" section one of the things they list is to use Adwords to increase site traffic. Please, please, please do NOT run over to Adwords and start buying ads to increase your traffic.
Adsense and Adwords used together can cause publishers a lot of grief. Most new publishers signing on at Adwords have NOT taken the time to understand how these work together, and what you need to do to MAKE it work. If you are considering using Adwords to drive traffic directly to a page loaded with Adsense ads, then forget doing that. The purpose of Adwords isn't to get people to go click on your ads. It's purpose is to advertise your SITE, PRODUCT (which is NOT adsense), or SERVICE.
The page that your Adwords ad leads to must meet certain quality guidelines (available at adwords), and your website must also meet certain quality guidelines...if it doesn't, you can lose both your accounts. As well, your ad itself must not be misleading. If your ad says "get a free laptop" it better lead to a page where someone gets a free laptop. So how many free laptops have you got to give away? Oh...none? Well then that ad is misleading. Change the wording so it says "sign up to get a free laptop", in which case the page it leads to has to have a spot for someone to signup for a free laptop.
There are many misleading advertisements that end up on our websites as publishers. I don't know about the rest of you, but I report these ads when I find them, and so do many of my readers. If my readers click an ad for a free calendar template, it's because that's what they're looking for and if the click doesn't take them to a page with a free calendar template they're gonna complain.
Make sure well before you sign up for Adwords that you understand all the requirements from both the Adsense side and the Adwords side, otherwise you may be risking your account.