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How To Make Money With Adsense - The Ultimate Guide To Passive Income

If you are a webmaster and have been scratching your head wondering how to make money with Adsense, then rest assured you are not alone. Thousands of bloggers with visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads have signed up for the Google Adsense program in the hope of earning big money as visitors madly click their ads. they log into their account twenty times a day, hoping to see those dollars rolling in. In most cases this hope quickly changes to disillusionment as instead of dollars they see pennies, or in many cases nothing at all. Frustrated, they move onto other forms of monetization, declaring Adsense dead as a way to make money.

So, are they right? Is Adsense really dead? Far from it. However, the early days when webmasters could slap up hundreds of keyword stuffed MFA (Made for Adsense) sites are over. Those lucky ones who got on the gravy train early likely made out like bandits, but Google has tightened up the rules over the years, making it much tougher to make money with Adsense without putting in the work. They have a duty and a vested business interest in protecting their advertisers. Their advertisers pay out a lot of money for those clicks, and they want targeted traffic that is going to convert for them. As a result, webmasters are finding that they need to put in some real work in order to reach the same income levels from years past, filling their site with quality, relevant content that matches up well with advertisers in their chosen niche.

Though it may not sound like (Work is of course the nastiest four letter word) it this is actually a good thing. Remember a few years ago when you'd search for a particular topic and had to wade through a dozen keyword stuff MFA sites before you found one that contained real information. Search engines, including Google have gotten exponentially better at returning relevant information for queries, and filtering out the crap that is of value to nobody. They've taken the additional step of banning the Adsense accounts of those who try and churn out this kind of content, discouraging others from taking up the practice. Have they been 100% successful? No, but they are getting much closer.

So, how is this a good thing for you, the webmaster? Well, it has actually made it easier for you to rank well in the SERPs. No longer do you need to worry about outranking people who use blackhat techniques to dominate the search engines. Sure, their tactics might allow them to soar to the top of the rankings for a short period, but they quickly get slapped down. Now, you merely need to focus on creating quality, relevant content in your chosen niche over the long haul and you will see your reward in higher search engine placement.

Now, this of course is easier said than done. We all like to see immediate returns when we start working. It requires a lot of mental fortitude to continue putting in long hours day after day, with little to no remuneration, in the hope that one day far in the future that work will pay dividends. However, in most cases, if you want to make some decent passive income with Adsense that is actually the path you are going to have to take. If this sounds unappealing to you then you might want to look into other revenue streams like affiliate marketing or CPA (cost per action) offers. However, if you believe you are one of the few that has that mental fortitude to put in the work upfront with little reward then read on to see how you can maximize the returns on the work invested.

Getting approved for an Adsense account - Before you can put the techniques I'm about to discuss into practice first you need to actually get yourself an Adsense account. This used to be fairly simple, but recently Google has started to get a whole lot choosier about who they let into their program. Again, this comes down to protecting their advertisers, so you have to show that you have the ability to send their advertisers targeted traffic. The easiest way to do this is to start a Blogger blog. You've probably seen these sites all over the internet. They are in the format of keywordphrase.blogspot.com. It is a free blogging platform, so you don't have to put out any money to start, and you don't have to worry about signing up for hosting, purchasing a domain name, and learning how to install and operate a blogging platform like Wordpress. Also, Google owns Blogger, and Adsense is integrated right into the blog format, so it will make it dead simple to get your feet wet with monetizing a website. However, that doesn't mean you get to bypass the qualifying process.

First, pick a topic that you are particularly knowledgeable and passionate about. This makes it easier to create quality content. Try to choose a topic that is relatively popular. It can be a niche interest, but make sure that more than you and your three closest friends know about it. Go to Google's keyword tool and punch in your niche to get keyword ideas. If you are writing about European travel then punch that in and see how many results come back. In the right hand column change the Match Type to exact in order to see how many people are searching for a specific keyword phrase. I won't delve into the keyword tool too deeply at this point. This is essentially just a test site to get your Adsense application approved. Choose a topic with a decently high number of monthly searches, preferably in the thousands. Next, register your Blogger blog. Try to get the exact match of your chosen keyword phrase for your Blogger blog URL. For example if you've chosen European travel, try Europeantravel.blogspot.com. Odds are that phrase will be taken and you'll have to get a bit more creative in order to work your chosen keyword phrase into the title. Try putting dashes between words, or adding prefixes or suffixes to your keyword phrase until you find an available address. Complete the registration process and you are away to the races.

I am not going to go into how to set up and lay out your Blogger blog. It is a fairly straightforward process and there are plenty of tutorials available online if you are having problems. Make sure it is easy to navigate and is categorized in a straightforward manner. Once you've got it figured out you need to create some content. Try and write a detailed post each day for a month on a topic in your chosen niche. Go back to Google's keyword tool and look for keyword phrases to get article ideas on phrases people are searching for. Strive to make each post 500-1000 words in length, or even longer if you are inclined. The more quality content you have the better your chances of are getting approved. After a month your site will have plenty of content, and you can go ahead and submit your application. Google will review your blog, and providing you've followed the steps outlined above you should be approved with relative ease.

Making money with Adsense - Okay, so now you've got your Adsense account, you want to start making some money. That was the whole point of the whole exercise right? Well, there are a number of options available to you. First of all, edit the layout of the Blogger blog you created and add Adsense to it. It can serve as not only a test blog to get your account approved, but can also serve as a platform for experimentation for getting the best results with Adsense. Try moving the Adsense blocks around, experiment with different color schemes etc. This will help you get an idea of what produces the highest CTR (click through rate) before you start building more sites. Also, if you've got thirty or so high quality posts on your blog you'll probably already be starting to get some decent targetted traffic. That targetted traffic should get you some clicks, and your first Adsense money should start coming in pretty quickly.

At this point you want to branch out. You can create more Blogger blogs. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. They are free and easy to set up, so there is little risk (besides your time) involved in going this route. However, there are some negatives associated with going this route rather than registering your own domain names:

You don't own the website. You are at the mercy of Google. If they decide to delete your site two or three years down the road, or if they decide to abandon the Blogger platform altogether (unlikely, but anything's possible) then all of your hard work could vanish overnight. If you comply with their terms of service and make your site a valuable information source for searchers then this outcome is unlikely, but there is always a risk.

Also, because you don't own the website you don't have the option of selling it down the road. If you have your own domain and build your website to the point where you are getting thousands of visitors a day then you will be sitting on a virtual real estate goldmine. Put it up for auction on a site like Flippa.com and you'll have no shortage of bidders willing to pay you big dollars to take it off your hands. This is not an option with a Blogger blog.

Also, don't forget about branding. If you want your website to spread by word of mouth then you absolutely need a top level domain name. yourdomainname.com is a lot easier to remember than yourdomainname.blogspot.com. Also, in my opinion (and this is only my opinion) people are more likely to click on search results from top level domain names than Blogger blogs.

Okay, so assuming you want to have your own websites, and you've signed up for hosting what are your options? Adsense Niche Sites - Probably the quickest way to start making money is with small niche sites. These sites will revolve around topics or products with relatively few competing sites in the same niche. Again, you can visit Google's keyword tool or use a product like Micro Niche Finder in order to find these gems. When trying to find a potentially lucrative niche you want to choose something with a relatively high number of monthly searches and a moderate to high CPC (cost per click) - this is how much advertisers are paying for clicks on Google's Adwords network. Once you've found something that meets both criteria go to Google and type in the keyword phrase of your niche in quotes and make note of how many results come back. If there are a million other sites then forget about that niche. However if you only get a couple of thousand results back then you've got a likely winner. Be sure to check out the right hand side where the sponsored results show up. If this area is blank then advertisers aren't bidding on this keyword phrase. Time to try something else. Check out the sites sitting in the top 10 spots in the SERPs. Do they have your keyword phrase in their domain name? Visit the sites and see how much content is there. Check their Alexa ranking and their page rank. Analyze their backlinks and see how many sites are linking to them. This will give you an idea of how much work will be necessary to eventually overtake them in the SERPs. If you don't think you can break into the top 5 results then move on.

Once you've found a niche that has a decent number of monthly searches, a moderate CPC, has advertisers bidding on the keyword phrase and has relatively weak competition. It is time to register a domain. Your domain name must have your keyword phrase in it. I can't stress this enough. Yes, you can rank without it, but a domain name with your keyword phrase in it gives you an immediate advantage in the SERPs. Why not take every advantage you can? Ideally you want the URL to be yourexactkeywordphrase.com, but again you might have to resort to dashes, or adding prefixes or suffixes to get it. If you can't find anything under .com then try .org or .net and see what you can come up with. Providing you've done your homework and have chosen a niche with relatively low competition then finding a good domain name shouldn't prove too difficult.

Once you've got your domain registered you will need to build your site. You can build it from scratch or use a tool like XSitePro. Personally, I like to set up sites on the Wordpress platform. Though it is primarily a blogging platform, it is very customizable and you can choose themes that look like static websites rather than blogs. There are tons of plugins available to help with onsite SEO as well, and Google seems to love sites built on this particular platform. Ultimately it comes down to whatever tool you feel most comfortable using.

Once you've got your template then it will all come down to content. With narrowly targeted niche sites you don't need to write hundreds of articles. The more the better of course, providing you don't compromise quality. Again, target specific keyword phrases related to your niche that people are searching for. Name your page titles with the exact keyword phrase to maximize its relevancy in the SERPs. Include the keyword phrase again in the first paragraph of your page, and perhaps once more throughout the body of the article. Don't overdo it. Google's algorithm is improving every day, and you want an article that is going to sound natural to a human reader. Obviously, the longer the article is the more opportunity you will have to work your keyword phrase in without impacting the article negatively. When relevant link to your other pages with targeted keyword phrase anchor text. This will also help Google in determining the relevancy of your site.

If you choose to go with Adsense niche sites as your strategy then you are basically looking at a rinse and repeat formula. You don't want to spend a ton of time on each site. Ultimately, each site is likely only going to make you a few dollars a day, so the idea is to build a lot of them. It is a numbers game. Four or five dollars each day might not sound like a lot, but when you've got a hundred sites each earning that amount it translates into a pretty healthy income.

Adsense Authority Sites - At the opposite end of the spectrum from niche sites you've got the authority site. This type of site is more broad in scope, covering a wide range of topics (though often still within a large niche). It will contain hundreds or even thousands of articles and will be much harder to rank than a niche site will. However, if you can put in the work required to get one of these monster sites off the ground and ranking well in the SERPs the rewards can be huge.

As with niche sites keyword research is still crucial if you want to make money with Adsense on this type of site. Make sure all your articles are written with a specific keyword phrase in the title that has a good number of monthly searches. Interlink your articles whenever it is relevant and natural to do so. Writing long articles will be especially beneficial as you have more opportunity to work in additional keyword phrases and your article will also come up in listings for keyword combinations that you might not even have intended.

Starting an authority site is not an endeavor to be taken lightly. Many of the highest ranking authority sites in the SERPs have been around for years, and outranking them will be all but impossible. Most people will give up long before they start to see the fruits of their labors, so if you are considering this type of site be prepared to be in for the long haul.

Adsense revenue sharing sites - Like Blogger blogs there is another alternative to building your own hosted websites. Adsense revenue sharing sites are starting to become increasingly popular. These are sites (generally authority sites) where authors can post their articles and receive a share of the Google adsense earnings those articles earn. Infobarrel is an example of this type of site. They pay you 75% of the Adsense revenue that your articles earn. Hubpages is another popular example of this type of site. There you earn 60% of the revenue from your articles.

So why would you settle for 75% or a measly 60% when you could start your own website and have the whole enchilada? Well, because you won't have the benefit of authority and trust that these websites have built. When you first start a website Google doesn't know you from a hole in the ground. Thus your article on how to get a mortgage with bad credit isn't going to show up in the SERPs anywhere near the top of the rankings. If you publish that same article on Infobarrel, Hubpages or Ezinearticles it will benefit from the high page rank, authority and trust that these sites enjoy and will show up much higher in the SERPs, thus giving bringing in far more traffic than you would see if you published the article on your own site. Would you rather have 75% of the revenue that 100 visitors generate, or 100% of the revenue from 0 visitors? As you can see there is a symbiotic relationship at work here. These sites share their trust and authority in exchange for the content that helps make them so popular.

However, don't count on trust to give you a magic boost to the top of the SERPs. You must still do keyword research and target high search/low competition in order to rank well quickly. In addition you must build backlinks to your content if you want to maintain a high ranking in the search results, which brings me to my next point:

Building backlinks to supercharge your Adsense earnings - Backlink building is the bane of any webmaster's existence, yet it is a necessary evil because of the way the Google algorithm works. Though onsite factors (most importantly the quality of your content) play a large role in determining your search engine ranking there are external factors that have a huge impact as well. Part of the way that Google determines your site's importance in your chosen niche is by the number and the quality of backlinks pointing to your website and/or content. The more strong backlinks you have (preferably from sites in a related niche) the more important you must be. It is a good concept in theory, but in practice it is quite flawed.

Google's intent in including this in their algorithm is thus: You create content of such incredible quality, that is so unique, interesting and informative that other webmasters feel compelled to link to it to provide quality information for their own readers. The more fantastic content you create, the more links you get, and Google rewards you by placing you higher in the SERPs as you are obviously an authority on your subject. Now, to be fair, this does happen in rare cases, but for small webmasters, building niche sites, most of the backlinks pointing to their sites are those they've built manually themselves. Whether through social bookmarking, article marketing, directory submissions, link exchanges with other webmasters in their niche, or blog commenting, they manage to push their website up the SERPs by going through this tedious practice. Unfortunately if you want to rank well you are going to have to do the same.

Social bookmarking for backlinks - Social bookmarking and making money with Adsense don't exactly go hand in hand. People who click on Adsense ads tend to be those looking to solve a problem or buy something, while people hanging out on social bookmarking sites are just looking to kill time. They are usually net savvy and are rarely inclined to click on any sort of ads, so these are not the types of people you want to target. Having a large influx of such traffic will dramatically decrease your CTR and may even get your account smart-priced. However, many of these sites are of high page rank and authority so backlink juice from them is an important piece of the puzzle for ranking high in the SERPs. Ideally, you want to build these social bookmark backlinks before you put Adsense on your site in order to avoid this conflict.

If you really want to build backlinks with social bookmarking try and write a flagship or a linkbait article for your blog (again, before adding Adsense). Not only will you get the backlinks from the social bookmarking sites you submit to like Digg and Reddit, but other webmasters who stumble across your article may link to it as well. If your article goes viral you can start soaring up the SERPs in a hurry as you rake in hundreds of backlinks from all over the net.

Blog commenting for backlinks - This is a popular practice, but not one I am very fond of, and one that I believe has limited effectiveness at improving your ranking. In 99% of cases this is tantamount to spam. Those who defend the practice will tell you to make sure you leave a relevant comment, but even so the underlying motive is the same, and odds are once you've got your DoFollow backlink you'll never return.

If you want to avoid getting painted with this brush become an active participant on a blog. Establish a relationship with the webmaster and the other readers by returning on a regular basis and engaging in ongoing discussions. Even still, I don't recommend using anchor text links. You are going to have a hard time building relationships with a handle like "Get Discount Rates on Student Loans". Use your own name, or an alias with your website linked. No, it won't have the power of an anchor text link, but it also won't get deleted as spam.

Article marketing for backlinks - This is one of the most natural, effective ways of building backlinks to your site. Contributing articles to Ezinearticles, Hubpages, Infobarrel, or Squidoo with quality information and a link to your site with your keyword phrase in the anchor text can help you build authority quickly and relatively easily. Not only will you get the backlink juice from these high PR sites, but you will also get additional backlinks when other webmasters republish content from these sites with your resource box (with anchor text website link) at the bottom. This is especially helpful in getting links from sites in similar niches to your own.

Building backlinks with feeder sites - Probably the best method of building quality backlinks (but also the most time consuming) is to create your own websites and link to the content of your main site. Use the free blog platforms available such as Blogger or Wordpress. There are literally hundreds of options out there if you search for them. Take the time to build sites with plenty of information that will slowly gain authority of their own. Backlink to them with social bookmarking and article marketing. The more links they have to them the more authority and thus the higher amount of link juice they will pass on to your main site. This will give you better control of where your links come from, and though it is a tremendous amount of work, will pay huge dividends in the future.

Adsense placement - One of the main factors that impact your Adsense earnings is the placement of the ads on your site. Whether you build your site from scratch or use platforms Blogger or a self hosted Wordpress blog you have the flexibility to place your Adsense ads just about anywhere on the page. Constantly tweak and experiment with different placements, ad block sizes and color schemes. Try blending the ads and try having them stand out in stark contrast to the other content on your site. Eventually you will find a recipe that works for your particular site design and niche and you will see higher earnings as a result.

If you don't want to go to the trouble then I recommend a 336x280 block under the title of your pages/posts (on the left side) with the text of the article wrapped around the ads. This particular layout has worked very well for me, and I've seen it used by and recommended by hundreds of other webmasters.

Other Adsense tips - As you can see backlinking is a huge part of the strategy if you want to make money with Adsense, but it is also a huge pain in the butt. If you want to keep it to a minimum here is the best method I've found:

Write long, long articles of the very best quality of which you are capable. Not only are these high quality articles more likely to get naturally linked to by other webmasters, but you also have a better chance of ranking high in the SERPs for competitive keywords. A long, well written article is by its very nature authoritative and Google loves these kinds of posts and tends to reward them with a higher search engine ranking. Case in point is this article. How to make money with Adsense is a pretty competitive keyword phrase, so I knew that writing a piddly little 300 word article wasn't going to make a dent in the SERPs, despite Infobarrel's authority. However, with close to 5000 words on the subject the chances are much higher that this will be seen by Google as an authoritative post and thus rank it higher. It also has a better chance than a 300 word article would of having other webmasters link to it. Again, this is time consuming, but I far prefer spending my time writing to manually building backlinks. You might be the opposite.

Be prolific and dedicated. If you want to make money online you are going to have to work just as hard, if not harder than you would at a day job (at least in the beginning). Whether working on an authority site, dozens of niche sites, or building Hubpages or Infobarrels between writing content and building backlinks you are going to be up to your eyeballs in work for some time before you start seeing some real results. However, when the ball starts to roll and the money starts to pour in you'll find the investment of your time was well worth it. However, there is another option...

Outsourcing - Many people don't possess the necessary talent or the time to put in the work required to build websites, write content and build backlinks. However, there are no shortage of people out there willing to do these jobs for you. At places like Elance or the classifed section of the Warrior Forum you can find literally thousands of people with different skill sets who can take care of every aspect of creating a successful Adsense site. This requires some upfront capital, but if you have the money to spend this is an option definitely looking into. If you are making Adsense niche sites, for instance, once your first one starts making money you can use the proceeds to have a second one built and so on. There is potential for huge profit this way, providing you can find talented individuals to work with. This can be a challenge and you might throw away some money before you find a solution that is making you money.

Keyword Research - I can't stress enough how important keyword research is. No other aspect of your business will be as vital as this particular step. Learning how to find highly searched/high CPC/low competition niches is a challenge, but one you should dedicate yourself to. Everything can be found with Google's keyword tool, but if you can't get the information from it you want don't be reluctant to shell out for tools that will allow you to more effectively find those golden niches. Your initial investment will pay for itself many times over in the end.

That's all you really need to know. The next step is to stop reading and start doing. Yes, you'll probably have some failures along the way, but if you keep working at it, paying special attention to your keyword research you'll quickly start to see success.

Whether you do it yourself or hire other people to take care of the tedious tasks while you oversee your empire rest assured that Adsense is far from dead. You can still make money with Adsense, and if you follow the steps I've outlined, and are flexible enough to make changes to your business plan when conditions warrant this program will continue to be a lucrative income stream for you for some time to come.

By Dennis Lindsay - I am a passionate sports fan, with a particular devotion to hockey. I maintain a regular blog on the subject at http://www.hockeyhermit.com I am also an avid traveler and have created a website for myself...  



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