Hi guys. So after a solid 7 months of not posting, what gems of wisdom do I have to toss out to my readers? Well, when you travel, always bring a fresh role of toilet paper – especially when traveling to remote parts of the world! Ok, I’m kidding (we’ll, actually not). Here are a few of the (many) photos I took while abroad.
More pictures to come when I post again…IF I post again
But back to SEO and Making Money — this is a Make Money Online blog and not a photography blog afterall.
Ok first, no, I’m not dead, injured, or broke. I’ve been busy the past 7 months and writing make money guides hasn’t been my primary focus the past 5 months (since I’ve been back). In fact, I haven’t posted specifically for one reason: I always seem to pay a price for posting real information here. And I earn all my money outside of this niche. These days, I’m only really inclined to do work when it leads to money. Call me a lazy, money grabbing bastard, but oh well.
Back to the topic of Adsense Myths. I see a lot of pure shit out there in terms of information about adsense. There is fact and there is fiction and from where I stand, most of the stuff you read on forums and pick up from the table of gurus is fiction. Let’s talk a bit about what I’ve learned with Adsense the past two years of making hundreds of thousands with it.
Sense Myth 1: You Can’t Make a Real Income with Adsense
Fact: This is &(&*(##.
I’m not going to bother proving my income anymore. Been there, done that. But you can make absurds amount of money with adsense if you know how. I’ve talked about how, Grizzly talks about how. Court over in his Keyword Academy has an entire program about the topic, and there are countless other sites that detail strategies (most are wrong though). Now, just because you CAN make easy money with adsense, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. But we’ll save that for another post. Or maybe later this post!
Adsense Myth 2: More ads on your site mean more money
Fact: Not necessarily.
I can’t say for sure, but I’ve noticed some ad sections seem to pay more. It’s usually the bigger 250×300 ads that seem to give out the best paying clicks. And it’s also the MAIN ad that usually get’s the best click values. I suspect that Google tracks the conversions on each of your ad bars and gives the best CPC to the highest converting. In some cases, I’ve noticed that throwing on too many ads can lower the CPC. It’s up to you to specifically test this, but it doesn’t always pay to go gungho with plastering as many ads as you can on your site. There is another reason for keeping the number of ads down that I’ll address later on in the article.
Myth: Mixing adsense and affiliate offers decreases your adense earnings
Fact: More rubbish.
You can do quite well mixing adsense and affiliate offers on the same site. The key is HOW you do it folks. I will admit, for some niches, pure adsense works best. But putting on a few related affiliate offers won’t usually take from your adsense. In fact, you might even increase your income. I’ve had sites literally double in income by combining adsense with affiliate offers.
Adsense Myth 3: CPC is Everything when it comes to keyword research for adsense sites
Fact: Google Keyword Tool CPC lies more than Hilary Clinton
Sites will tell you to go after high CPC, but I’ve found over the past few years that the CPC shown in the adwords tool if far far from true. That’s 80.00 CPC can bring in .10 cent clicks and that .25 cent CPC can bring in 10 dollar clicks. Don’t believe it at all.
You have to remember that just looking at a single keyword’s CPC is no way to really judge your total potential earnings either. I’ve seen some so called formula’s floating around that guestmate your potential earnings based on the expected traffic and your CPC. Rubbish and half!
For one, not all of your ads will display the keyword you are targeting. You might be targeting the keyword: Midget Thongs with a CPC of $10 according to the keyword tool.
Now, depending on the content on your site, the ads might display ads that target the Midget Thong keyword or it might not. If it displays the right ads, then the CPC is generally accurate. But there are a lot of factors.
1. Is the ad actually targeting the keyword or displaying another keyword ad
2. Is the traffic geo (i.e. adsense often displays different ads to people from different locations)
3. The awords bid fluctuates from day to day
4. There are no bidders for that keyword
5. The page the ad is displayed on is not focused on the keyword you are targeting and thus the ad is not the keyword CPC you are targeting
These are only some of the factors. So basically what I’m trying to say is that CPC is only a rough guestimate. I talk a bit more about this on my forum.
Adsense Myth 4: Google is just waiting to BAN your ASS if you slap adsense onto your site
Fact: Only if you produce shit
No, despite the fear people seem to have, Google is not waiting with a big stick to bash people who monetize with adsense. The thing is, there are really two teams out there: the Search Team and the Adsense Team. Both seem to have contradictory views. Adsense wants to increase revenues for google while the Search Team wants to ensure the search results are as high quality as possible. Sometimes, what’s good for one is NOT good for the other.
That means while you 500 one page xfactor mini sites might make Google 100 bucks a day, it also fills the index with 500 pages of pure crap that pisses off the searcher and lowers the brand value of Google. Not good.
So what’s to be done? If you want to make stable money with adsense, you need to really build up your sites. It’s not necessarily HOW much content you have on your site, but it’s more about the presentation of your content (though you need to have a certain amount of content on your site, of course). If you are tricking users into clicking on ads or offering the user nowhere to click but ads, that’s bad. If your site is so fucking ugly that your reader’s eyes scream in agony, that’s bad. And if your site is bare bones, that’s fucking bad.
Just build sites that offer easy navigation to the user. Sites that answer the user’s questions. Sites that link to relevant authority sites about the topic, sites that don’t have a crazy amount of ads.
I know there has been a few automated messages from google telling people to put more ads on your sites, but don’t take this as gospel to make your site an adspam site. If you can use the maximum 4 ads in a friendly, non spammy way, go for it. If your 4 ads are all above the fold and invasive to the user experience, don’t.
Adsense Myth 5: It’s easy to get your adsense account banned
Fact:Yes and No
no, it’s actually not. If adsense went around banning everyone who used it, they’d be filing Chapter 13 very soon. But there are a few easy ways to get your adsense banned:
- Clicking on your ads regularly
- Having someone click on your ads regularly
- Breaking the TOS in some way (having gambling, porn, or other “naughty” content on with adsense
- Delivering non-converting traffic
It’s #4 that I want to address here, since it may be news to a lot of you. Let’s talk a bit about it. Adsense is a CPC model. That means it’s a cost per click for the advertizer. You click, the advertizer pays for that click. Now, the advertizer is expected a certain return for a certain number of people who click. Just like you expect a certain number of people to click on an ad per set of people. Despite the seemingly random nature of the whole process, there actually is a very defined “ratio” of conversions. Now you can mess with this ratio with your site layout, the number of ads you have, how focused your content is to the topic, the desperation of the people searching, etc.
Now when a certain number of people click on an advertizer’s ad, they expect results. The could be a sale for every 10 people deliver via adwords, a lead generation, etc. When they pay for traffic but get no conversions from that traffic, they naturally get pissed. And they bid on less adwords or stop altogether. And google loses customers. This is bad folks.
If any of you work with lead generation, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You might be able to induce targeted traffic to fill out leads for an advertizer, but if those leads don’t end up converting for the company paying for the leads, they will cut your ass from the program.
The same goes for google. If your sites (or some of your sites) REGULARLY deliver ad click traffic that does not convert for the advertizer, you risk having your account banned.
Now the question is, HOW DO YOU DELIVER NON CONVERTING AD TRAFFIC
Adsense is generally pretty good at delivering converting traffic. It’s highly targeted for the most part. BUT this is where the layout of your site is VERY important. If you throw ads that masquerade as a navigation bar (vertical or horizontal), you are playing a dangerous game. Folks, you don’t want people to click on an ad thinking they are navigating to a page on your site. They won’t convert for the advertizer. Get enough of this non-converting traffic and you put your account at risk of a ban.
Simple, right? That’s why it’s much preferable to have a clean website layout where only the people who actually WANT to click on the ad will click on it. Integrate that ads rather than have them shout out from above the fold. Those kinds of layouts have higher CTR, but the traffic is often less converting for the advertizer.
Xfactor style themes and other so called “adsense” themes are created by idiots who don’t really understand the simple concept: don’t fucking bit off the fingers from the hand that feeds you.
Adsense Myth 6: Good Content = Higher Adsense CPC
Fact: The opposite actually
The sad reality is that crap content almost always has a better adsense CTR than does good content. I’m sure a lot of you folks who work with adsense have already realized this. But for those who don’t know, here’s why.
When you write an article that really engages the reader and does a pretty damn good job of answering all the questions, the reader won’t be as inclined to click on an ad and will spend more time reading your article.
I’ve found that a higher bounce rate almost always means a higher adsense CTR. This is why it can be so hard for those used to earning adsense money with crap content and spammy themes. If you switch to reader-friendly themes and fill out your sites with good content, your CTR may tank by 50 to 75 percent.
Now, this does not mean I’m advocating producing shitty sites to make money with adsense. I’m just saying it’s a lot easier to make money with adsense by producing shit. But it’s not a stable way to earn money. I’ll take the loss in CTR in trade for a site that stays indexed.
Adsense Myth 7: Adsense is the Best Way to Make Money Online
Fact: Adsense is in fact only good for certain niches
If at all possible, it’s better to try to convert your traffic with affiliate sales or lead generation over adsense. Almost always, you can make more money per same amount of traffic. The fact is that adsense is the lazy man’s way to make money. But it’s not necessary the most profitable way to make money.
Adsense is the middle man. Cutting it out gives more of the revenue chunk to YOU.
When internet marketing, keep one thing in mind: the monetization method that requires the LEAST commitment from the user will convert the best. But not all conversions are equal.
- CPC (Cost Per Click, aka adsense ) requires the least commitment by the reader. They click and that’s all.
- CPA (Cost Per Action, aka lead generation) requires a bit of commitment by the reader. They click and commit some sort of action, one that usually does not involve spending money.
- CPS (Cost Per Sale, aka clickbank, commision juncion, amazon, etc) requires the most commitment: the reader must spend money.
But just because the CPC can generate the highest CTR, doesn’t mean that you will earn the most money.
Think of it this way: if 1000 visitors have a 5% CTR with adsense with an average CPC of .30, that’s going to be $15 dollars earned from that 1000 visitors.
Now say you replace adsense with a link that sends users to a form they can fill out (a lead). You have a 2% conversion and 4 dollars per lead. That’s 20 people who fill out the form and a total of $80 dollars earned.
For CPC, you might have a 1% CTR on a product that’s earns you 30 dollars a sale. 1000 visitors might net you $300 dollars! Hell even if it’s something like 5 dollars earned per sale, that’s still $50 dollars!
So as you see, adsense is often the montetization method that earns you the LEAST amount of money per given number of visitors.
So Ben, tell me exactly what to do here! Sorry, won’t do that. You are going to have to figure this out yourself. Now here’s a few rules of thumbs you can follow that I’ll toss out there for you. Even better, I won’t send you to a spammy sales page and charge you $37 dollars in WSO fees for it.
- Rule of Thumb 1: For traffic with a need that does not convert with sales, lead generation (less commitment) usually does well.
- Rule of Thumb 2: For target commercial traffic (product searches, health problems, etc) , CPS almost always earns you more money as the traffic will open up their wallets.
- Rule of Thumb 3: For everything else, Adsense works best
In case you didn’t understand what the fuck I was talking about, here it is in plain man’s English: Monetizing ONLY with adsense is often the way to make the least amount of money. So make sure you experiment with OTHER revenue streams for your niches. You might find you can double your earnings (or more) just by switching to some other revenue method.
So there we go, 7 Adsense Myths that I’ve seen floating around the web that, in my opinion, are (mostly) wrong.
Another Rant About Mini Sites
Now there were a few BIG changes to the Google algorithm a few months ago (MAYDAY as some people call it). There were, in fact, two updates – one that happened around the end up May and one that happened June 3rd. There were a few major changes last month too that rocked the boat. Google is really starting to crack down on exact domain names — so if using exacts is your sole strategy for ranking, you better change that.
Mayday was designed to cut the crap from the index; it specifically targeted micro niche sites that have been developed a certain way. Oh, I know that’s not exactly what Google official said, but in reality, a lot of people saw their entire mini site empire crumble. From what I’ve seen, a lot of micro sites lost anywhere between 40-50 percent of all long tail traffic, due to sharp drops in rankings. I have one friend who lost 80 percent of all traffic.
I’m not positive exactly what sort of criteria G man used to knock sites back, but here’s a couple things I’ve noticed that may have been “looked for” by Google when targeting sites:
- Sites with less than 10 pages of content
- Sites that had the same theme (especially that Xcrapter theme that pretty much ruined the mini site model for everyone)
- Titles scrapped just from keyword tool
- Very few backlinks (less than 100)
- Individual pages lacking backlinks
- Backlinks from the same sources
- Exact keyword domains
- No outgoing links (to authority sites)
Yep, that describes about 95% of the mini sites out there. There are some crapo mini sites that did escape the update/s and are still kicking around. Probably not for long and certainly not if they leave a big wide footprint of sorts.
Where does this leave you? As I’ve been saying the past few posts, focus on quality not quantity. It’s still important to cast your net wide in terms of the number of web properties, but you should really focus your efforts on a core of sites you can really build up. The days of the 10 page set-it-and-forget it mini site are coming to an end, folks. You might get away with ultra thin mini sites for a while, but you are always going to risk waking up in the morning to find your sites gone from the index.
Now you’ve seen me rant quite a bit about the whole mini site thing. And I still get people asking me the following: “Can You still make money with mini sites.” So for the last time, here is my answer: Yes, but it’s not worth it. Mini sites are coming under heavy fire from google these days (just do a search, read a post on my forum about it, or other forums — stories of mass site deindexes are cropping up everywhere). I have a friend of a friend who actually lost 1.5k a day in adsense with a mass deindex about a month ago. Bad times indeed for some.
The proof is in the pudding as some people would say: Google has taken a clear stance against these type of sites and by pursuing this path seriously means you are going to lose. In a Me Vs. Google battle, I’d put my money on the guy with 50 billion in play cash and thousands of PH.D’s to order around.
Now this leads to another question that’s on a lot of people’s minds: Should You Pursue Adsense as a valid Revenue Model
Answer: Yes, but it’s a bad idea to solely pursue Adsense as a revenue source. Adsense is the easiest way to make money because you can simply do:
- Basic Keyword Research
- Write Targeted Posts
- SEO your site to the front page
- Get clicks
Pretty easy when it comes down to it. You don’t have to mess around with learning how to write a good cover letter, learning the ins and outs of marketing to people, hunting and testing various affiliate programs, etc.
However, Adsense is not necessarily the “best way” to make money as I detailed in a previous section of this post. Folks there are a number of other revenue models out there to look at:
- CPA (lead generation)
- CPS (affiliate selling)
- Direct Stores (drop shipping, etc)
I see people so caught up in the Adsense thing they miss the trees from the forest. Guys, to survive in this game you need to diversify. If most of your money comes from one source (especially Adsense), I weep for you. Something bad is going to happen, eventually. Apply the same principal you apply to investing: DIVERSIFY. If you had all your money in a single stock, that wouldn’t be smart, would it? The same thing goes for putting all your passive income eggs in the basket called Adsense. Way too much risk, especially with what’s been going on. To most new comers, I would say it’s actually better to ignore adsense as a model until you make a full time income with affiliate selling first. Way safer.
I may, if I feel generous, talk about how to break into the CPA or CPS market as I’ve been doing a lot of experiments with these models the past 7 months. But I’ll have to be in a particularly good mood to do so.
Internet Marketing Software That’s Not Bullshit
Now here’s the recommendation part of the post where I try to convince you to sign up with my affiliate link for various services. Hey, for this much keyboard pushing, I deserve a few bucks. Despite the fact that I am attempting to make money by pushing IM products on you, I actually do use and abuse these programs myself.
The Best Spinner
Any internet marketer who’s serious about backlinking is going to need to get acquainted with spinning. I’ve recommended Magic Article Rewriter before, but the new kid on the block, The Best Spinner, is hands down, the-size-of-Texas better. It’s 70+ bucks a year, but worth every penny. My highest recommendation for it.
Forget about any of those other article directory submitters, rss bots, or profile link builders. Sick submitter is your all in one SOURCE for automated backlinks. It’s a bit complicated to use, but if you master it, you can be the Darth Vader of backlinks. Well, well worth the 21 bucks a month you pay. Get it and you have no need for bookmarking demon, article demon, magic article submitter, rssbot, dedicated profile builders, and any other stuff like that
UBOT is hands down my FAVORITE solution on the web to automating your workflow. If you are not a programmer type, don’t bother spending the 249 or so bucks to buy it. But if you are willing to spend a month or two learning HOW to create your own bots, you won’t have to buy another piece of internet marketing software again. Anything you can do in your browser can be automated. The kicker is YOU have to create the bots yourself to do it and that can take some time. But in the right hands, Ubot is deadly. If your interested, use my coupon code to knock of 50 bucks from the price: BUBU
If there is enough interest, I may create a recommendation thread for some of the better internet marketing programs. Such programs have their place and are useful, but they are not the end all, be all of backlinking. Not by far. It seems that most people don’t want to go the old fashioned way of building manual, quality backlinks. A pretty big mistake, in my opinion since these are the best backlinks you can get, better than hundreds of spam links by far. Still software can help a great deal, especially if you have many sites.
And On to Other Things..
Ok, that’s it for now folks. I was only going to do a 500 word post and it’s already topped in at almost 3500 words. I think I’ve opened my big mouth enough for the time being and my fingers hurt. So I’m going to go do something that makes me money now.
Make sure you check out the new forum, which I completely overhauled with updated software. I’m also going to soon change the layout of this site. No need to have an ugly theme on it now.
Oh yes, I’m heading off abroad in 3-5 months again, this time for a year of travel across south east asia, Europe, and Africa. I’m going to be creating a new website detailing my travels and internet marketing while abroad. Should be interesting to read, I hope. I’ll let you know when it goes live. A few other projects I might share about later too.
Next post, when I feel like writing it, is titled “Dirty SEO”. Have a Merry Christmas in case I don’t get around to posting before then. Should be interesting.
Go Make Money Online,