Day 59 Making Sense of Google Adsense – Finding Your Way Through The Maze of Information

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[Disclaimer – this image is merely to illustrate this post and is in no way intended to imply the
contents are endorsed by or sourced from Google Adsense].

 

Have a quick nose around this site and you will see (at time of writing) there are no Google Adsense Ads…yet.

As an option to generate revenue from your website, it is one of the simplest and quickest ways of monetising your site.

However, just because it is simple and quick, doesn’t mean it is necessarily easy.

What I shall do in this post is give you some pointers on how to find your way through the mass of information if you, like me, are in the process of applying for an Adsense Account.

At the end is a simple 5 step action plan that will help you understand Adsense more and help increase the probability of you successfully applying for an account.

What is Adsense?

As part of the advice I am receiving to build my online business, it was recommended that I sign up for an Adsense account and begin placing ads around my site.

If you are new to this particular Google product, it is a way that you can place adverts on your site and then get paid a small commission every time someone clicks on one of the Ads.  The owner of the Ad (the “Advertiser”) pays Google each time one of their ads are clicked (by a “User”) and in return they get a qualified lead to their site.  As “Publisher” of the ad, you get the commission.

So in essence everyone wins – Google generates income and maintains the user experience, the advertiser gets leads to their site and the publisher also generates revenue by presenting relevant ads to their visitors as part of the user experience.

It might be useful at this stage to understand Google’s mission when it comes to Adsense:

To keep the content and search networks safe and clean for advertiser, user and publisher

It is useful to keep this in mind because when you do it will be far more likely that you will stay on the right side of the line when applying for and maintaining your Adsense Account.

There are text based ads and image based ads and so you might see something like this on a website (though this is an old screenshot):

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How Do You Get An Adsense Account?

Well first of all, even though I am writing about Adsense here, I suggest you seek to get your best Google Adsense advice direct from Google themselves.  Any website, even this one, can never be as current as Google itself and so I would always recommend that you go back to the source for the current advice and guidance.  What posts like this one can do , is draw your attention to some of the latest issues (at time of writing of course) and point you in the direction of where to go to find out more.

However before you begin seeking out the information to get you started, it is worth understanding that without the proper consideration, there are many potential perils and pitfalls that could prevent you from getting an account quickly or even at all.

The first thing I would suggest you do is head over to the Google Adsense Forum.  screenshot-2016-09-27-15-49-42

This is a great resource for 2 reasons:

Reason 1: You can get a pretty quick answer to any question you have about Adsense from fellow publishers. Usually there will be at least 1 “Expert Reply” to your question very quickly.

Reason 2: You can get a flavour of the mistakes people make when applying for their Adsense accounts.  These range from simple errors and omissions to just downright flagrant disregard for the programme’s policies.

Now that you have an idea of what NOT to do, it will certainly help you in preparing your site better.

Applying For An Adsense Account

Whoa….!

Take it easy and rather than run headlong into the application process, I am going to recommend you do a bit of research first to find out exactly what you need to do.  Now you might find yourself at a screen that looks like this at some point:

 

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If you do and you haven’t done your research then you might be heading into a few problems.

So here is what I suggest you do first.

Read Google Adsense Terms and Conditions

Yup…. I know….this recommendation sucks.

But this will help you understand your commitments and your responsibilities. If making money online was easy EVERYONE would be doing it.  Some of those who try and fail are those that didn’t understand the perils and pitfalls and made simple, easily averted mistakes – some of which cold have been avoided with a little research.

Now you can find the T&Cs here:  Google Adsense Terms and Conditions.  Make sure you select your country of business registration at the top when you read them as they do differ sightly depending upon where you are in the world.

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You will need to read these yourself, but here are the key points that jumped out for me when I read them (and yes it does suck doing so but I figured the downside of not was enough of a motivation):

  • You can only have one Adsense account – so it pays to set it up and maintain it properly
  • You are paid by the end of the month following the month the ads on your site were clicked by users and only if your account balance exceeds the minimum payment threshold
  • You need to have a privacy policy that provides relevant information about cookies and other information gathered.
  • You must keep your website’s Adsense performance data (but not revenue generated) confidential.

Understand the Google Adsense Programme Policies

There are two main sources of information you can go to in order to understand the policies better.

The first is on the very helpful Adsense Help Centre Article.

The second is by watching a 45 minute Google Hangout Webinar recording that summarises the policies perfectly.

I think watching this video will save you a ton of time by helping you understand some of the core principles behind what Google are trying to achieve with Adsense.  When you get under their skin and appreciate their intentions, it will help guide your actions better and will probably help you avoid costly mistakes.

When I saw it was 45 minutes long (it’s actually an hour but the Q & A at the end doesn’t really add much more to what has already been covered) I thought “Oh no!”  But having watched it, I am glad I did.  I have put a link to it here so you can watch it now.

It will give you the foundations of what you need.

In it, one of the team from Google Adsense takes you through the following:

  • Understanding The Adsense Eco-System
  • Adsense Programme Policies In A Nutshell
  • The Causes of Common Violations And What To Do About Them
  • How Violations are Enforced
  • How Appeal if You Are Charged With A Violation And What To Do To Correct It
  • How to Stay Compliant

Perhaps the best piece of advice from this video is about the quality of content on your site.  Most of the violations are for inappropriate content.  There is a list of these in the Help Centre but to summarise it very nicely, the video suggests that if you could happily sit with your 7 year old niece and read the content with her, then it is likely to be ok.

The video is very useful as it ads some much needed context to some of the more narrowly expressed guidelines.

The Google Adsense Help Centre

Now you might be wondering why I didn’t send you to the Google Adsense Help Centre first?

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Well the reason is that it is very easy to get overwhelmed with so much information available to you.

What I have done is share with you the route I personally took to understand Google Adsense in preparation for my application to the programme. I found this way much easier because initially I was very much overwhelmed by it all, not certain what was important and what wasn’t.

But by digging around and discovering these resources, I realised I could cut through to the chase by specifically targeting the most useful resources to get me up and running.

So when you get to this stage, you can have a look round and deepen your understanding.  Much of the information on these pages will help you once you have your account up and running which isn’t that useful to us right at this moment.

Get Your Site Ready

And so finally you need to get your site up and ready to receive the ok from the Adsense team once you have made the application.

You will discover for yourself once you have been through the resources I have shared with you, in the order I have suggested but here as a minimum are some of the basics that need to be in place:

  • Good quality user friendly content that adheres to the content policy
  • Easy to navigate site
  • Compliant privacy policy
  • Careful Ad placement in accordance with the guidelines

A good browse of the Adsense forum will show you plenty of sites that fail to meet these criteria when their owners complain why they haven’t been accepted and so you can learn from them

Your 5 Step Action Plan To Being Better Prepared When Applying For Your Google Adsense Account

Step 1 – Visit the Google Adsense Forum to see the many things NOT to do when applying for your account

Step 2 – Read The Google Adsense Terms and Conditions

Step 3 – Watch the Very helpful Google Adsense Programme Policies Webinar Recording

Step 4 – Give a thorough good reading to the Google Adsense Help Centre

Step 5 – Get your site ready and submit

And so I shall now submit this site to Google Adsense and will let you know what happens.

 

 

 

 

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