Google AdSense is a web-based application that allows publishers in the Google Network to serve automatic text, images, videos, and other interactive media ads which have been targeted to specific site content and the audience viewing them at any given time. Google first launched AdSense in 2003 as a way to administer, sort, and maintain advertisements and generate revenue on a per-click and per-impression basis.

Billions of people view and interact with Google AdSense advertisements on a daily basis. However, few of them understand how it works. In this post, we’re going to discuss the nuts and bolts of Google AdSense.

The Basics of Google AdSense

Google currently operates three types of AdSense for webmasters and publishers. These types break down into three sections:

  • AdSense for Content: Content-based advertisements are targeted by interest of the audience or the content on a specific page. Targeting is done using cost-per-click and cost-per-impression. There are various advertisement sizes available for those using AdSense for Content, and the ads range from simple text to videos and other media-rich ads.
  • AdSense for Search: This system generates and places relevant ads on SERPs based upon the related search terms that user’s type into the search field. AdSense for Content generates greater revenue, but AdSense for Search tends to generate higher returns through click-through rates.
  • AdSense for Video: As the name suggests, this platform allows publishers to decide which type of ads accompany their video content online. Available formats include pre-roll and post-roll video or image advertisements, as well as banner ads that overlay the video momentarily.

In order to start your AdSense account, you just need to sign up with Google to open an account. You will be provided with code to place on your blog or website. Then you’ll have the freedom to choose how your ads look, where they show up on your pages, and what kind of ads you want to accept. The program is designed to help webmasters generate money by displaying Google ads. Success is measured in two ways:

  • Impressions: determined by the number of page views on sites and posts with ads
  • Clicks: determined by how many people actually click on ads

How it Works on Your Site

AdSense starts with advertisers selecting the keywords they want to associate their advertisements with. This means they have the power to associate their ads with particular keywords that are popular within their target market. For example, a gardening or home-improvement business would use keywords such as “gardening, yard tools, and tillers” to connect their advertisements to relevant searches.

From there, Google AdSense spiders will match those ads up after crawling websites in two ways:

  • Specific keywords that people type into Google’s search engine and display those ads along with search results.
  • Websites using AdSense will show up in SERPs after a page is crawled by Google bots and is determined to have content relevant to the advertisements.

How is AdSense Different?

There are a lot of advertisement platforms available to webmasters to help monetize the traffic on their website through ad dollars. According to Google, there are a number of advantages that make AdSense better for your website than other ad networks:

  • Run Interesting Ads: AdSense delivers text- and image-based ads that are easy to read, and targeted to the content on your pages and the queries that consumers are searching.
  • Leverage Technology: Google search and page-ranking technologies are at the heart of AdSense, and they are proprietary to Google. Their systems understand context as well as content on pages and accurately match ads to your pages.
  • Run Targeted Ads: On top of keyword-targeted ads, you’ll enjoy placement-targeted ads that offer pay-per-impression ads specifically suited to your pages.
  • Filter Ads: You don’t want or need every ad relevant to your industry showing up on your page. For instance, you wouldn’t want a competitor’s ad to display on your page simply because it is relevant and uses similar keywords. AdSense gives you the power to filter the ads you don’t want to see on your site.
  • Startup is Fast and Easy: You don’t need any technical expertise to get your AdSense campaign up and running. Sign up for an account and Google will give you simple lines of HTML to add to your site. In just minutes, Google ads will be displayed on your site.

Watch Out for Pitfalls

A lot of webmasters believe they can take advantage of Google AdSense to falsely boost their performance and generate more revenue for themselves. If there is one thing you need to know, it’s the fact that Google isn’t stupid. If their systems are smart enough to instantaneously generate ads relevant to your site and your content, it can detect attempts to falsify clicks and impressions.

Here are a few important factors to keep in mind as you integrate AdSense onto your website:

  • Never Click Your Own Ads: This shouldn’t have to be mentioned, but you’d be surprised how many people click their own ads to boost revenue. The problem is that Google knows who is clicking on those ads, but clicking on your own ads too many times can get your AdSense account suspended.
  • Watch Ad Clicks: Keep an eye on your daily, weekly, and monthly clicks. If you have been averaging low to moderate daily clicks throughout an entire month, and suddenly see a few days of high click-through rates, you should be concerned. It could be nothing, but if those clicks turn out to be false clicks by malicious users, you could have your account suspended. The best course of action is to seek out help from Google Support to determine how to move forward.
  • Don’t Plaster Ads: Google limits ads on a page to three blocks. You can place ads in the header, sidebar, and footer on each page of your site. Attempting to plaster ads all over your website not only violates Google’s policy, it irritates your regular readers and can hurt traffic on your site.

Google AdSense is one of the most powerful tools for monetizing your website. Understanding how it works is critical to generating revenue for your site. Whenever you run into bumps in the road, Google offers robust support to ensure that you get the most out of your AdSense account.