AdSense is celebrating its tenth anniversary with lots of free tips, training classes and even a dashboard upgrade. Google says they want to take care of the “heavy lifting” so you can concentrate on great content. And that’s not just PR speak.
Google keeps tweaking their search engine to weed out spammy sites and reward those that are genuinely informative or entertaining. The days when you could make thousands on a two-page niche site are rapidly fading but there’s still plenty of money to be made on the web. You just have to be a little more strategic.
If you need a refresher, check out AdSense 10 Tips for 10 Years - a brief slideshow that’s great for beginners. If you have the time, sign up for the free AdSense 10 Challenge. This is a 10 week course on Google+ that will teach you how to make the most of your websites.
For a quick hit, log on to your AdSense account and see how you stack up using the new AdSense Scorecard.
You’ll find this section in the bottom right hand corner of your dashboard, right above the Quick Report links. There are three areas that can be expanded to see the subsections.
First is Revenue Optimization. The Rating explaination box says they’re awarding stars. Alas, all I got were these round, blue dots. The more dots you have, the better off you are. Green checks are also good. But if you see a red or yellow dot, then you have a problem. A yellow in the Recommended ad formats category is pretty common. Mainly because it suggests you put a large banner or a 250 square box under your blog posts and above your comments. Most blogs aren’t wide enough for the big banner and the box looks ugly which is why most of us go with a small banner.
Google swears I’ll see a rise in AdSense dollars if I convert to larger ads, so I’m trying it. I don’t like how it looks, but if it performs, it’ll stay.
Next there’s Site Health. The only drop down under this, for me, was Site Speed.
We’ve analyzed the performance of your pages with the highest number of ad requests. Improving the performance of your site can lead to an improved experience for your users and increased traffic.
Beneath that was the URL for my busiest post and I got a green check, so I’m all good.
The area where I fall down is the final one – Google+. I have a yellow exclamation mark there with this explanation.
Adding the +1 button allows users to share your content on Google+. Users can choose who to share with and start a conversation about your content, potentially expanding your audience, while still recommending your content on search. Get the +1 button
So, if I want a perfect score, I need to add Google+ share buttons on all my sites. I use a social media widget that offers Google + as an option but apparently this isn’t good enough.
In their announcement blog post, Google says they won’t be penalizing publishers with a low score. This scorecard is just another helpful tool for content producers. And while that’s true, it’s not hurting Google any, is it? The push for the Google+ button . . . ? The push for bigger ad sizes.
Not that I’m complaining about their efforts. They make more money when I make more money so we’re all in this together.
Now it’s your turn? Will you add Google+ buttons just to make your check-mark turn green? You know you want to.