One simple change that could increase your AdSense earnings

In this article I will show you one simple settings change you can make on your AdSense account which could increase your AdSense earnings on your niche sites.

When conducting research for my niche sites I will look for keywords with a certain number of searches and a reasonably good cost-per-click value for the AdSense ads I will be placing on the site (I use the free Google Keyword Tool for this) and once I’ve found what I like I will built a site around those keywords.

How AdSense is meant to work for niche sites

These are niche and very specific sites so the people who visit my sites are not randomly surfing but actually searching for information on the niche I’m covering and as such I’m hoping that once they’re on my site they may decide to click on an AdSense advert which will be relevant to the niche and earn me some money.

That’s the way it’s supposed to work, and that’s what I love about AdSense. If I’m searching for ‘cheap laptops’ then you can be sure that AdSense will display adverts for laptops, but this isn’t always the case as AdSense is a little smarter than that and has knowledge of all the other sites you have been visiting so if you visit my niche site on ‘cheap laptops’ you may actually be served with adverts that are completely irrelevant. An example is that when I use my computer after my fiance has then I will find my searches are littered with AdSense adverts for ‘shoes’ instead of those for ‘cheap laptops’ because Google uses Interest-Based advertising as well as Contextual advertising to determine what adverts to show me.

Why I turned off Interest-based Ads

To me it makes perfect sense to turn off interest-based advertising and only use contextual advertising on my niche sites as the whole method of choosing keywords based on visitor numbers and Cost-per-Click (CPC) and then creating a relevant website relies on that website serving ads related to that niche and the keywords I chose. It makes sense doesn’t it?

By looking at my Performance Reports>Targeting Types I can see that one of my sites does earn some money from interest-based ads but the majority of my sites earn nothing from interest-based and all their money from contextual, but the fact is that Google is still placing the interest-based ads on my site which means I am losing out on potential clicks to contextual ads which are not being shown.

The one benefit of interest-based ads to note is that the average CPC is often slightly higher than that of contextual ads but the CTR is half of what it is for contextual ads, so they are getting far less clicks which means the higher CPC counts for nothing.

You may want to check your own reports before disabling interest-based ads, and please realise that this setting will come into effect for your whole AdSense account and therefore all the ads no matter what sites they are on.

To opt out of interest-based ads do the following:

  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. Visit the Allow & block ads tab.
  3. In the sidebar, choose Advanced settings.
  4. Click the checkbox next to the Interest-Based Ads Preference so that it reads “Ads based on user interest categories are not allowed to show.”

By doing this and opting out you will decrease the number of ads competing to appear on your website and so if you’ve picked a niche with very few advertisers then you may decrease your potential earnings and few ads will be shown. This is a possibility but if you’ve done your research correctly then you should be fine.

Monitoring the changes

I think it’s important to keep an eye on your earnings along with clicks and pageviews to ensure that your sites are not effected by this change, but it’s easy enough to opt back in if you are adversely effected by only showing contextual ads. I only made this change yesterday but will let this run for at least the rest of the month to see what effect it has but I have a firm believe that it can only be beneficial and should increase my earnings and the number of clicks.

Could this one change earn you more money?

11 Awesome WordPress Plugins For Your Niche Sites

Once you’ve built a few niche sites and got to know your favourite WordPress plugins you will use them time and time again, and so I thought I would share my favoured plugins with you all. This isn’t an extensive list and there are bound to be ones that I don’t include, but this is just a sample of those that really add value to a site and can make your life easier.

All in One SEO Pack

This does what it says on the tin and offers out-of-the-box search engine optimisation for your WordPress blog. One of the better feature is the ability to override post titles so they are displayed differently in search engines which is great for testing without changing your posts url.

Google Analytics for WordPress

Google Analytics is the daddy of monitoring your sites stats especially since Google is where most of your traffic will be coming from. You will need to set up an Analytics account with Google and then you will be asked to paste some code into your site so that they can track it. Simply enter your analytics code into this plugin to authorise your site and it will start tracking.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to index your site and alert them when you make any changes.

Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu

This hasn’t got much to do with SEO and niche sites but it’s the first plugin I install on a new WordPress site as it removes the sidebar menu and provides a horizontal drop down menu instead which helps with navigation in the admin area of your WordPress installation. It really is a must.

Pretty Link Lite

This is a way of shrinking or masking your links which is great for affiliate sites allowing you to display a friendly url as well as being able to track them.

Quick Adsense

This allows you to insert your AdSense code into posts/pages/sidebars with minimal effort. Paste your various advert codes into the plugin and then say where you want them to go. This allows you to experiment with their positions putting ads at the end of posts, the beginning, or even the middle and specifying their alignment so they fit in snugly with your text.

SEO SearchTerms Tagging 2

This increases blog traffic by strengthening on page SEO, increasing the number of indexed pages, and auto converts search terms into post tags so that more of your pages are indexed. This also displays incoming search terms on the footer of your post or on your sidebar which can mean more visits but also helps you with keyword research and perhaps what words you should be looking to optimise or write new content on.

SexyBookmarks (by Shareaholic)

You will have seen this on quite a few blogs (and this one) and it adds an attractive social bookmarking menu to your posts, pages, or homepage. I would click on this far more often than any other bookmarking plugin and you can easily select which social bookmarking links to display.

Strictly Auto Tags

Tagging is a great way to get more pages indexed by search engines and can also increase site traffic but it’s all to easily to forget this and not add any tags to your articles. This plugin will scan your post and add the most relevant and appropriate tags but in a really smart way. Hit ‘publish’ and the tags are automatically added.

Subscribe to Comments Reloaded

This enables people who comment on your site to sign up for e-mail notification of subsequent entries and if you’re running a niche site you want to get as much returning traffic as possible. You can also have this as ‘opt out’ as well as ‘opt in’ so that the box is already ticked when a user comments meaning they are more likely to be subscribed to that comment stream. This may annoy some but it’s easy to either untick or unsubscribe.

Tweet old post

When running a niche site you will probably set up a twitter account for it too but it’s not always easy to keep this updated so why not use this plugin to keep your twitter stream (and your followers) populated with links back to articles on your site? You can specify the age of posts, exclude categories, add additional text, add hashtags based on the tags on your post, and lots more. Then just set the intervals you would like to publish your tweets at.