By Evan Carmichael on July 15th, 2009
In my first two posts in this series I discussed the AdSense formula $ = V x CTR x CPC and how to increase your V through search engine optimization, Twitter, and getting others to write content for you. Today I’m going to assume we’ve solved the “How do I get traffic?” problem and move on to the next part in the formula – the Click Through Rate (CTR).
Now we’re worried about getting the people who are coming to our site clicking through on our AdSense ads. All the traffic in the world won’t help you if they don’t click through on your ads.
“It might make sense logically to put it at the top because that’s where everyone else is putting it but it’s exactly that reason why you should choose a different location.”
Location, Location, Location
You’ve heard that in real estate the location of your property is the key to getting a high sale price. The same principle applies to websites and Google AdSense – the location of your ads can make a big difference in how much money goes into your wallet every month. Most people who get started with AdSense end up putting the ads in the low value areas which result in poor earnings.
Because Google only earns money through AdSense when you earn money they have provided a number of tools to help you be more successful. One of the most important ones is their Heat Map. According to Google:
“Certain locations tend to be more successful than others. This “heat map” illustrates the ideal placing on a sample page layout. The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance).”
Note that the banner spots at the top of the page, bottom of the page and right side of the page are not high paying locations. This is where most websites owners who are new to AdSense will put their ad units and it might make sense logically to put ads at the top because that’s where everyone else is putting them but it’s exactly that reason why you should choose a different location.
People have “banner blindness” and are used to seeing ads at the top, for example, so they ignore it and move downwards to where they think the content will be. You can see from the Heat Map that the highest payout area is in the middle of the page within the primary content of the page – not where you would expect ads to be which is exactly the point. According to Google:
“All other things being equal, ads located above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page. ”
What If I Run Forums?
For all you website owners with forums, Google hasn’t forgotten about you and they launched a different Heat Map specifically for you. Here is what Google has to say and what the Heat Map looks like:
“Because forum regulars tend to skip the header and go straight to the meat of the thread, placing your ad unit above or below the first post can be more effective than ads next to the logo. Place a leaderboard immediately after the last post. This provides users who make it to the end of a thread with a ‘next step’ when the content ends. Try to avoid placing it after the footer, though, as your readers will likely move to the next thread without seeing the ad. ”
What If I Have A Blog?
Finally, if you are a blogger and want to make money from AdSense, Google has two suggested layouts to choose from. See which one works best for you. Here are Google’s comments and the layouts:
“In general, wider ad formats tend to be more reader-friendly. Placing an ad unit after the first post will likely catch your readers’ attention. Take a look at our sample implementations to get some ideas. Also, consider placing a Skyscraper (120×600) or vertical link unit on the right side of your blog. ”
One of the greatest parts about running a business through AdSense is that you can quickly test different variables and see what generates the best results. Whether you have a website, forum, or blog, use these layouts as general templates to help figure out starting points for where to put your AdSense ads. Keep testing until you find the location that works best for you. Changing my ad locations was the first thing I did to optimize my AdSense and helped move me from having a website to having an online business.
In Part 4 of this series I will continue to look at how you can increase the click through rates of the AdSense units on your pages.
As always I look forward to your comments. What experience have you had with changing the location of your AdSense ad units?
Tags: Banner blindness, banner spots, Click Through Rate, colors, cpc, dark orange, formula v, Google, Google AdSense, Google Heat Map, how much money, How To Make Money, location location location, might make sense, page bottom, page layout, performance note, poor earnings, principle, real estate, search engine optimization, SEO, traffic problem, Twitter, value areas, wallet