Thursday, November 17, 2005

AdSense Dreams

I ran across this site today. It's built like many, many others that tout you can make megabucks by following some steps.

Here are the steps outlined:

1. Find a niche market using Overture or Word Tracker and luck (in this case the webmaster uses the word "instinct").
2. Find keywords.
3. Find highest paying AdSense keywords.
4. Get the AdSense on your new pages.
5. Make more money with AdSense, i.e. duplicate your efforts above.

Why won't this business model work?

Let's take it step-by-step:

First, we find a niche market. Here, I agree. Find something you are passionate about and create a site around it. Yes, it really helps if your passion happens to also be a high-paying keyword. So, we find a small niche.

Secondly, we're asked to find keywords. These are words the people may use to find your niche site in addition to the niche name. This person suggests using keywords in your Meta tags. Of course, we all know Google no longer uses anything within the Keyword Meta tags. The suggestion is also made to make sure your context and titles are well saturated with your niche keywords. That can help.

Third point; find the highest paying AdSense keywords. These are not public knowledge. We can guess based on what some people say they pay for AdWords placement. But why do we even care? Shouldn't this be the first point?

Certainly high paying keywords are not small niches. And breaking down high paying keywords to smaller niches usually end up in lower paying keywords. But that's not the worst part.

Fourth point is to click his link to get you to sign up with an AdSense account. Google is paying $100.00 for each approved new AdSense account. I am quite sure the whole crux of the site is to convince you that if you have AdSense, you can easily create a nice residual income.

Point five is just make more niche websites and more money will come pouring in. However, the author left off one big point - how to drive traffic to your site. The fallacy is, "if I build it, they will come". But even if you do get listed by the search engines - with a halfway decent keyword, where will "you" end up? And why would anyone click your page when there are a few hundred pages in front of you?

All this to say the majority of these sites, and the ones advertised using AdWords (who appear as the AdSense on this blog) are bogus. They offer misinformation and are of little value.

AdSense can be quite profitable, but you just can't fling a site up and hope people come. But if you're a subscriber here and have read through past posts, you already know that. There is a formula which takes time and effort.

The payoff can be big. Just make sure it is big for both you... and your reader.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Google Analytics Overload

Holy cow, I'm back into overload!

On a trip to Rio de Janeiro a few years ago, I wanted so bad to Boogie Board the awesome waves of the Atlantic that broke right in front of the Sheraton, that I planned everything to work like clockwork.

But, to make a long story short, I was in way over my head as far as my abilities, and I would crash off the top of these 15 foot monsters and be thrown 30 yards up the beach. The local kids would laugh as my board shorts almost left me as well. They were pros - down here every day - I was a Gringo, wanting desperately to catch a wave and look (and feel) cool.

But I wasn't ready. I had to do more homework.

Just like the dynamics of those waves, there are more things Google Analytics analyzes than you can shake a stick at. And the screenshots all look nice and snazzy, and at first glance, you can see how long someone stayed on your page - and how many people came from where - but what do I really need to know?

Grab me one of those caffeinated chews.

The help manual behind Google Analytics is huge. So here is my plan: spend the time I need to understand how this all can work in my best interest. (And report on it here so we can discuss it.)

For instance - what I really want to know is how to track my AdSense ads. Another good read would be - how to set up AdWords ads to track with Google Analytics. I clicked on "Link your AdWords account to Google Analytics", but now I learn that "linking" doesn't mean the ads get linked to the analysis. It just means that you can access the Google Analytics page from your AdWords screen as a tab running across the top.

Do I need to enter a special URL, like index.html?mustseeaua ? Or can I just leave them as they are?

Okay, where's my day planner? Dennis sent me a cool site to create todo lists. This challenge will require some quiet time and some serious thinking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Best Web Stats Analyzer - Google Analytics

If you have been searching for something to analyze your visitors and the ads being displayed, it has arrived, for FREE, from Google.
It's called Google Analytics and it is the former Urchin web statistical program with more features. It will track your visitors, keywords, URL, pictures, almost all data to and from your pages.

Yes, it is free, and some suggest that it really isn't free since Google now has all of your analytical data for your websites. But I look at this differently.

Whenever you have a win-win situation, you get very intense data - they find out what is working for you, things flourish. In fact, so many people are already signed up for Google Analytics that the initial data has not been returned to view as of this post. It's a good thing.

Yes, they now have access to your webstats, but in turn, they show you what is working for you and you get that for free.

Understand that Google is in business to make money, as well, and this information will help them develop bigger and better products for the marketplace.

Remember in the movie, A Beautiful Mind, John Nash and friends sat in a bar and in walked a beautiful girl. His friends said something to the effect - guys, remember Adam Smith - (father of modern economics), each man to himself! But it was at this point that Nash came up with his new theory, the Nash Equilibrium - where instead of competition, every man for himself - they would work together to solve a problem so everyone wins. Nash, in the movie, says to forget Smith - his theory is wrong. If we cooperate, we all win - referring to the girl's friends who had entered behind her in the bar.

All this to say that through cooperation bigger things are accomplished. You don't have to sign up for a Google Analytical account, but if you do, know that Google is your teammate.

Monday, November 14, 2005

How to Use AdWords to Increase Your AdSense

Lately I've been experimenting buying low paying keywords with my Google AdWords account and directing the traffic to my YPN paying pages. So far the results have been spectacular.

Am I saddened however, to learn that with the latest Jagger 3 update that I've totally lost my Page Rank. But that's okay. Page Rank is nice and as we've discussed here, isn't everything, but it is important. I'm resolved to make the loss into a project where we can build back to where it was, a 5, and maybe more - who knows!

Okay, back to AdWords and YPN.

Well, to make this work, you have to have both. If you don't have a YPN account, you can do this will AdSense, but the return won't be as much. My feeling is that this is because there is more volume of ads with AdSense, and YPN is in Beta - not as many to choose from, so the pricing is a tad higher.

When I first started using AdWords ads to direct people to my YPN sites I used a broad keyword match. This means I chose the word "widgets" as a keyword with no quotes. So if you searched for Widgets in America or Pictures of Widgets, my ad would appear. Why is that a bad thing?

Initially, you may think, that's not so bad. We get everyone looking for widget-anything. But here's the whole key to using your AdWords account: You must use keywords that will bring to your site people who will take action with your content - not just people browsing to see what you're doing.

Please get this point because you'll save thousands of dollars over the long term on click that did not convert to anything.

I'm advertising with AdWords, and the YPN ads being displayed on that site are asking you to check out widgets at such and such store, better widgets, etc. Now the first search above - "Widgets in America" - who might type that in? Somebody interested in the widgets there, no?

And the site tells them about the very best widgets in America and what quality they may find there. "If" they are looking for widgets - and this is the secret of using AdWords - "if" they are looking for widgets, then they are most likely a candidate for the ads running on that page. But why is that? Do you see the magic, yet?

If they are checking widgets, they are most likely wanting to learn more about that industry. And if they are interested in that industry, you can bet they are thinking of related products and services. When they arrive at the page and see pictures of the widgets, and read about how they are so spectacular, they will also see the Yahoo! ads that ask that they check out orange widgets or low cost widget boxes. Certainly they will at least be curious.

Now stay with me on this, because you can think that - okay, we got them to the page and our job here is done. That was just with the person who searched for "Widgets in America". What about the person who searches for "Pictures of Widgets"? My AdWords ad will match that because remember I am using a "broad" match - which means when they type in the word "widgets", my ad shows up on that page.

But what of this person searching for "Pictures of Widgets"? Why are they searching? Do you suppose they are wanting to buy some? Do they need cheap boxes for them or great, new designs of them? Odds are they are looking for some beautiful pictures and that's about it.

So what are the chances they will click on the YPN ads displaying orange widgets and cheap boxes? Almost zero - there is no interest in that for them.

Unfortunately for me, I paid the same amount of money for them to go to my page as I did the more qualified person who will probably want to know how "low" is low cost boxes - will click on the YPN ads and I will make some money.

See what is happening? You want to ask for the people who will most likely click on an ad on your site. So target those keywords. Don't use a broad match. For the widget site, I use (and this is just like a search engine, you add the quotes), "widgets in america", "american widgets", "orange american widgets" (another good chance they are thinking about the latest colors), "low cost american widgets", etc. You get the idea.

I don't want people who are looking for pictures, looking for widget news, widget history, etc. And that leads us to the next point - important as well - can you make money doing this AdWords/AdSense or AdWords/YPN thing?

The answer is yes! The reason is in keyword targeting. The keyword - widgets - in a broad match is more expensive than most targeted matches. But not always. Sometimes you will find that "florida widgets" is more expensive than just - widgets. (Exchange your keywords for mine.) This especially happens when the keyword is a high paying one, take for example "green widgets".

But, listen - when you target, you may pay a little more per keyword - but it is still "much" cheaper than a broad keyword match, where everybody and their brother will be searching for items not even in the same ballpark as your AdSense or YPN ads. If you find that you are spending too much for your AdWords, then set the daily limit back.

Another great tip I can pass along to you is to try to keep your ads appearing in the top 4 positions on the Google Search page. I see the best return on my keyword when I'm at the 4 - 6 position. Anything greater than a 6 and your ad will appear down the page (I'm talking about the text ads that appear when you do a search with Google, along the right hand column), too far to be seen - in other words, off the page unless you scroll down. People don't normally scroll down.

So keep your AdWords position around 4 or 5. If you go any higher, you're probably spending too much for that keyword to make a profit on your AdSense or YPN ads - when people go to your site and click them. This is key, so learn this and make sure you don't pass higher than a 4, unless your AdWords ad is the only one showing up.

And finally, if the keywords you selected in AdWords don't get at least a 0.5% click through rate (CTR), after 1000 impressions of your ad on the search pages, Google will most likely disqualify it and you'll need to increase your bid. Watch your keywords at least four times a day and increase as necessary until you are in the 4 or 5 position.

Let me know how you do. This is a great way to make great money with AdWords (advertising) and Google AdSense or Yahoo! Publisher Network. I will try to answer any questions you might have.