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Triple Your AdSense CTR In Three Easy Steps Version II

By Jonathan Leger jonathanleger@adsensegold.com Creator Of http://www.adsensegold.com/

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Table of Contents
Chapter Page

Forward …………………………………………………………………………………. 3 The Goal: Make Your Ads Look Less Like Ads …………………………………….. 5 Step 1. Use the Best Ad Format ……………………………………………………… 6 Step 2. Position the Ad Blocks Properly ……………………………………………… 8 Step 3. Choose the Best Colors for Your Ad Blocks ……………………………….. 10 Doing It Right: Screenshot of a Good AdSense Page ……………………………… 14 Facts and Figures: Statistics of Note ………………………………………………… 17 Best Overall Ad Formats ………………………………………………………………. 18 Link Color Performance ………………………………………………………………… 19 Top 10 Url Colors ……………………………………………………………………….. 20 Top 10 Border Colors …………………………………………………………………… 21 Top 10 Background Colors ……………………………………………………………. 21 Top 5 Text Colors ………………………………………………………………………. 22 Average CTR By Weekday…………………………………………………………….. 22 Average CTR By Search Engine ……………………………………………………… 23 Why You Need to Install and Use AdSense Tracker ……………………………….. 25 I’d Love To Hear What You Think …………………………………………………….. 26 P.S. Don’t waste your time with WebSearch ………………………………………… 27

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Forward

This updated version of the Triple Your AdSense CTR ebook is long overdue. It adds information regarding WebSearch and AdLinks, discussing more tips and tricks on how to maximize your AdSense revenue. The statistics of the original ebook have been preserved, since they are still as relevant as they ever were.

This is not a long document, nor does it need to be. I’m not going to go on and on just to fill space so you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth out of this ebook. Far too many authors have been guilty of that, and I’d rather not add to the list. If you follow the steps outlined in the chapters that follow, you are going to get your money’s worth many, many times over if you are not already using these techniques. In fact, if you read nothing else, read the text that begins with “Bottom Line:” Those sections will tell you all that you really need to know.

Although I cannot guarantee that you that you will receive the same results that I have by taking the steps outlined in this ebook, I can tell you that these steps have been tested across over one hundred websites that have generated almost 10 million page views and 1.3 million clicks over the past year and a half of my using AdSense. So these figures and this information is based on a lot of data, study and analysis.

The websites cover almost every imaginable industry, from travel to search engine optimization to music downloads to accident attorneys. Almost any sector you

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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can name, I’ve built and tested websites on. All of these sites have proven to me that using the few techniques presented in this book work for every possible sector.

This makes sense, because people are people regardless of whether they are travel agents or search engine marketers, whether they are teenagers interested in downloading songs or injured persons in search of a good attorney. People behave in the same basic ways, and are influenced by the same basic principles. That includes what they look at on a web page, and what motivates them to click an ad.

To gather and analyze all of this data, I use my own creation, the AdSense Tracker, which is part of the AdSense Gold package that this ebook came with. If you have not installed it yet, you must do so. If you don’t, you are missing out on a wealth of data that will help you know exactly where your money is coming from, and where to concentrate your site building efforts.

Ok, enough chit-chat, lets move on to the good stuff.

To your success, Jonathan Leger jonathanleger@adsensegold.com

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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The Goal: Make Your Ads Look Less Like Ads
The basic goal of this document is to make your AdSense ads look less like ads, and more like content on your page. It has the second goal of putting the ads exactly where they need to be to draw the most clicks.

“Wait a minute,” you might say, “isn’t that a little shifty?”

No, it’s not. The AdSense publisher’s problem is that the typical Internet surfer is plagued by “banner blindness”. People automatically overlook anything that looks like an advertisement because of being bombarded with ads all the time. It’s not that they aren’t interested in what the advertiser has to offer. With AdSense you know that they are interested most of the time, since the ads shown are related to the content of the page. The fact that the visitor clicks on the ad is an expression of their interest in whatever that ad has to offer.

What I’ll focus on in this document is not hiding the fact that the links are ads, but putting the ads on the page in such a way that they are not overlooked by the visitor. Google makes it very clear that the links are ads by placing their “Ads by Google” link in the ad block.

Bottom Line: To get more clicks, you’ve got to get your visitors to notice the ads by putting them in the right place and making them look less like “traditional” web advertising.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Step 1: Use the Best Ad Format

Average CTR by Ad Format Format 336 x 280 300 x 250 728 x 90 120 x 240 160 x 600 120 x 600 468 x 60 CTR 7.46% 5.58% 3.16% 2.99% 2.44% 1.33% 0.53%

The above table makes it very clear which ad format you should be using. The 336 x 280 large rectangle receives the highest click through rate by far. It is followed by the 300 x 250 small rectangle, and then the CTR really starts to drop off from there.

The reason that these two formats do better than the others depends on which format you compare them to. The 468 x 60 banner clearly is the worst victim of banner blindness. Again, “banner blindness” is the fact that most Internet users today are so used to seeing advertisements that anything appearing in the shape of “tradditional” web advertising on a page is subconsciously ignored. The 728 x 90 suffers less from this phenomenon, but it suffers just the same.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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The thin and tall formats (120 x 240, 160 x 600 and 120 x 600) get a lower CTR because they usually don’t fit well anywhere except on the right or left sides of a page. But the right and left sides of a web page are usually reserved for navigation and smaller advertisements. The real meat of any web page is in the center of the page. So while these formats are not bad in themselves, the typical positioning of them gives them a lower CTR.

Bottom Line: You should be using the 336 x 280 large rectangle format, or if you don’t have room for that, use the 300 x 250.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Step 2. Choose the Best Colors For Your Ad Blocks

Most new AdSense publishers have read that making the border color and the background of your AdSense ad blocks match the web page on which the ads will appear will improve your CTR. This is generally true (but not always, as the “Facts and Figures” section reveals). As a general rule of thumb you will see an increase in CTR by making your ad background and border colors the same as the background of your web page.

So, for example, if the background of your pages is white, make the border and background of your AdSense ads white as well. If your page background is green, make the border and background of your AdSense ads green. The reason for this is that it blends the ads in with your site so they don’t scream “Advertisement!” If ads scream out that they are ads, people will not look at them out of banner blindness. But if you blend the ads with the page, people will look at them, be interested, and click.

Two additions to the above which you may not already be aware of: 1) The statistics show that using the “standard” blue link color works best, with one exception that is covered in the “Facts and Figures” section, and 2) You should make the color of the advertiser’s url a color that does not stand out on the page (that’s the small domain name or url that appears below the ad text–not the link url). Both of these steps make your ads look less like ads, thereby increasing your CTR.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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One last tip that will really increase your CTR is to make all of the links in the content portion of your page except the AdSense ad links a color that is 1) not the traditional blue link color and 2) that is not as bright and noticeable as the traditional blue (dark green is a good one).

If you do this you will notice that the AdSense links are very, very easily noticed on the page, so they catch the attention of your visitors right away. Placed in the appropriate position on the page, it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to see why this makes the ads get clicked a lot more.

However, keep your navigation links the same color as your AdSense ad links, because you want your AdLinks to blend in and look like site navigation.

Don’t worry if this is a lot to try and visualize–I’ll show you an example page of exactly how to make everything look a little further in the ebook. Base your page layout on that example and you can’t lose.

Bottom Line: Make the border and background colors of your ads match the background color of the web page on which the ads will appear, make the link color the standard “blue”, and make the advertiser url a color that does not stand out. Finally, make the other links on your page a color that is not the traditional link color (such as dark green).

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Step 3. Position the Ad Blocks Properly

The location of the AdSense ads drastically effects the CTR. You don’t want your ads on the right or left sides of the page (a location often used by new AdSense publishers). You want them as close to the top and middle of the page as possible.

This is true because the center of a web page is where Internet users have been conditioned to look for the content. The majority of informational sites layout their pages with their header across the top of the page, the navigation down the left, the content in the center and perhaps more navigation or advertising down the right. Anything located outside of the content box is often overlooked or ignored (there are a few exceptions, which will be discussed in the AdLinks section a little further down).

This is especially true of people who found the page by using a search engine for a specific set of keywords. They want the answer to their question or a solution to their problem only, and are not interested in browsing or anything else.

You want to place one large rectangle ad block just above your content, be that the top of the center column or on the top of the left hand side of the page. So, for example, if you have an information website about “widgets”, and you have an article reviewing the latest “blue widget”, then put one large rectangle ad block just above the start of the article text (but below the article title).

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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That is one small change in this version of the ebook that can make a big, big difference. Putting one large rectangle block below the content title on the page helps draw the visitor into clicking the ad. Once they’ve read the title of the article, the next thing they see are the ads, which they immediately associate with the content and are thereby induced to click–which is exactly what you want!

I was getting great CTR rates before by putting the ads above the title, but after switching the ads below the title, my CTR rose by 26%! That means that for ever $100 a month I was earning before, I was now earning $126. Not bad for a simple change like that, is it?

Google now allows you to show 3 ad blocks, and you want to take advantage of that. The other place you must put an ad block is at the end of the content, right after the article. If you can get it in above the author’s “About Box” (if there is one), that’s perfect. The reason is that if the visitor has read the article completely, it is very likely that they will be interested in ads pertaining to that article. This is especially true of content which is a review of a product or service. (Just be sure that the article usage guidelines allow you to put your ads above the author’s About Box if it’s not your own article).

So the top ad block catches those who are interested in products and services now, and the bottom ad catches those were wanting some education but are now convinced that it’s time to look further.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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But you get a third ad block to use, and if you aren’t afraid of cluttering your page with ads (and that is a valid concern for some), you want to take advantage of it. If your content is long enough, put the third ad block inside the content, and make your content wrap around it. This way you catch the visitors who get bored with the article. Maybe at first it held their attention, but they read all they care to read or were convinced early on and are ready to move on now. Put your ad block about half way into the text of the content so that you can give those visitors a place to “click away” from your site, a place that will make you money.

Finally, there’s the AdLink ads. In addition to the three ad blocks, you can place one set of AdLinks on your page. If your navigation is in the left hand column of your site, put the 5-link AdLinks block above your navigation in whatever size makes it fit in well (200 x 90, 180 x 90, 160 x 90 or 120 x 90). That way the AdLinks links actually look like navigation on your site, and it induces people to click. If your navigation goes across the top of your page, use the wide AdLinks (728 x 15 or 468 x 15).

Once users are done with the content, if they haven’t already clicked away on one of your rectangle ad blocks, chances are they are looking for more information, and so they turn to the navigation on your site to see what else you have to offer. Provide navigation in the form of Ad Links and you will see your CTR rise. I improved my overall CTR by 6.5% by using this method. That means that for every $100 dollars a month I was earning, I was now earning $106.50. Multiply that over many thousands of dollars, and it’s a real revenue boost. A simple change can make that happen for you as well.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Bottom Line: Place one large rectangle ad block just below the title of your content on the page, and (if the content is long enough) one large ad block about halfway down the page (blended with the content), and a final ad block at the bottom of content, just before the “About the Author” box is there is one. Finally, put AdLinks on the page so that they look like navigational links.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Doing It Right: Screenshots of Good AdSense Pages
Putting it all together, your pages will get the best CTR if they are similar in layout to the example below. Part I of the page–Navigation and the first rectangle ad block.

Notice that my navigation links look exactly like the AdLinks. Can’t tell the difference
between mine and Google’s, can you? Also, notice how Google is testing showing two high
Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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paying ads in the first ad block instead of showing four ads. They have been doing this for a few days, and I must say it has increased my eCPM by 70%! I like that about Google, they are always experimenting to try and make the most money, and in doing that for themselves, they benefit us as AdSense publishers.

Party II of the page–A 300x250 rectangle in the middle of the content:

See how the ads flow in with the text? A great way for them to really catch some attention.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Part III of the page–the final ad block at the bottom of the content:

If the visitor makes it this far, his next step (before reaching the author’s site link) is quite likely a click on your ad. Notice how the link colors both for his site link and the email link at the bottom of the page do not stand out–the ad links do. This is what you want.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Facts and Figures: Statistics of Note

Some web sites may find that their content just doesn’t support the ad layouts shown in the example on the previous pages. For those webmasters, and as interesting and informative study material for the rest of us, I’ve gathered some performance statistics on the various aspects of AdSense layout.

These statistics reveal some very important information about how the typical web surfer responds to color, as well as what search engines generate the best CTRs, and which days of the week tend to be better.

On the next few pages are the compiled statistics for the following:

1. Best Overall Ad Formats 2. Link Color Performance 3. Top 10 Url Colors 4. Top 10 Border Colors 5. Top 10 Background Colors 6. Top 5 Text Colors 7. Average CTR By Weekday

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Best Overall Ad Formats

The conventional AdSense wisdom says that you background and border colors should be the same (essentially, that there should be no border). That is true in 6 of the top 10 ad formats, but it is not always the case. One important thing that we learn from these statistics is simply: do not use the default layout! Bottom Line: Do not use Google AdSense default layout!

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Link Color Performance

I have to say that I was rather surprised that the standard “blue” link color did not receive the highest CTR. A darker shade of blue (#000080), close to navy blue, attracted more attention.

I can’t conclude that links suffer from a kind of “link blindness” similar to banner blindness, since the other non-standard link colors performed worse than the standard blue. So what is it about navy blue that draws attention? Hard to say, but it seems to work!

The dark blue, of course, works best on a white background.

Bottom Line: With the exception of navy blue, avoid non-standard link colors.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Top 10 Url Colors

It’s hard to draw any real meaning from the url color statistics. It appears that the dark gray works best, but it’s hard to say why. It does mask the advertiser url, but then the light grays do that even better yet do not perform as well. Standard blue and somewhat darker blue do very well.

That said, pairing the gray with the 336 x 280 format and center positioning is your best bet, as that combination of factors always outperforms the others in my data.

Bottom Line: Use a dark gray url color and avoid unconventional colors.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Top 10 Border Colors

Bottom Line: The border stats show pretty clearly that if you’re going to have a border, make it a subtle one.

Top 10 Background Colors

Bottom Line: As with borders, if you’re going to use a background different from your page background, make it a subtle one. In the case of the odd pinkish color in the top spot, the pages were actually the same color, so it blended well.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Top 5 Text Colors

Bottom Line: Stick to the blacks with your text color.

Average CTR By Weekday

Although there’s not much that can be done to alter your CTR by weekday, I thought I’d throw this table in just because it’s interesting. Sunday seems to be the best performing day, with Friday on the bottom. Why? And why is Tuesday better than Saturday?

I have a theory–and that’s all it is, a theory, so take it with a grain of salt. Friday is low because more people are preparing for their weekend trips and activities, and so they have less time to surf the web. Saturday is low because those same people aren’t home! Sunday is high because they’re back from their activities and want to hang out at home. And what are we doing more and more for recreation at home? Web surfing! ☺
Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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Average CTR By Search Engine

Search Engine

CTR (%)

Froogle - froogle.google.com 10.74 MSN - search.msn.com 10.64 Dog Pile - www.dogpile.com 9.99 Yahoo! - search.yahoo.com 9.95 My Web Search - www.mywebsearch.com 9.62 Earthlink - search.earthlink.net 8.64 My Search My Way - kd.mysearch.myway.com 8.33 AOL Search - aolsearch.aol.com 7.83 Google - www.google.com 6.49 Google Spain - www.google.es 5.84 Google Canada - www.google.ca 5.55 Google UK - www.google.co.uk 5.51 Google Netherlands - www.google.nl 4.72 Google Australia - www.google.com.au 4.63 Google France - www.google.fr 4.35 Google Italy - www.google.it 4.34 Google Germany - www.google.de 4.25

Talk about your valuable statistics! Traffic from different search engines most certainly yields different CTR. The reason Froogle is the highest is pretty obvious– people searching Froogle are actively in search of buying a product.

The reason for the other search engine CTRs is highly speculative, but I personally believe it has a lot to do with the sophistication of the searcher. MSN comes as the default page for Internet Explorer on all Windows browsers, and (in my opinion) people who leave their default page to MSN are probably not as savvy net surfers as those who do not.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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The big question for most reads might be, “Why is Google’s CTR so low?” I personally believe that the answer has two parts: 1. Adwords. Often the same AdWords ads that appear on search engine result pages for a set of keywords will appear on the pages that are in those results. This is true since the content is very similar (which is, after all, why they are in those results). If a searcher is going to click on one of those ads, he has a good chance of doing so on the search results page before he ever reaches your page. 2. Google searchers tend to be more net savvy than other searchers. Google is often hailed as the “Computer Geek Search Engine”, and those who pride themselves on being up on technology like to use it. Those who are not “Geeks” but still use Google do so because they have become net savvy enough to know that, at least for now, Google still offers the most relevant search results. These kinds of individuals are quicker to spot the difference between an on-page link and an advertisement.

Finally, the reason for the non-English Google search traffic not doing so well is quite likely the language barrier.

Bottom Line: Do not focus all of your search engine optimization efforts on Google. In fact, focus more on MSN and Yahoo, since they get a huge percentage of search traffic as well and they perform much better than Google does in generating ad clicks.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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You Need To Install and Use AdSense Tracker

As I stated earlier, all of the statistics shown in this ebook were gathered using the AdSense Tracker software that I created.

Thanks to the information that I gathered from AdSense Tracker, I’ve boosted my own monthly AdSense revenue by 30% just from the basic statistics, and by an untold amount by its showing me what content and traffic sources to focus on. As I add new features and delve even deeper, I expect to continue to boost my bottom line. If you haven’t already installed it and have it tracking your clicks (including your Yahoo Publisher Network clicks if you have a YPN account–yes, it tracks that too), you need to get it setup today. I can’t emphasize it enough.

The tracker will help you keep tabs on where your AdSense and YPN revenue is coming from. It shows you your CTR by domain, by page, by referrer, by search engine keywords and a whole lot more! Are you wasting money on that Pay-Per-Click campaign? Should you be focusing your optimization efforts on Google, Yahoo or MSN? Or are all three doing well? AdSense Tracker tells you all of this, and in great detail.

Again, I strongly recommend that you install and use it. It has done nothing but improve my monthly earnings.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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I’d Love To Hear What You Think

By now you should be armed with enough information to really start boosting your AdSense click through rates, and thereby, your bottom line. I would love to hear how it turns out for you. Please let me know by emailing me at:

jonathanleger@adsensegold.com

Here’s to your success!

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.

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P.S. Don’t Waste Your Time With WebSearch

I almost didn’t bother to say anything about AdSense WebSearch, but an ebook about AdSense just wouldn’t be complete without at least mentioning it. WebSearch lets you put a search box on your sites. When people search using the box, the search results appear on Google’s server, showing AdSense ads related to the search results above those results.

The earnings per click for WebSearch are horrible. Dismal. Terrible. Do not waste your precious visitors for the beans that Google will pay you in return for doing so. A better paying alternative is to setup your own search script that searches your site, and display regular AdSense ads on the search results page. You’ll get better paying ads that way.

Notice: None of the statistics shown herein were given me by Google’s AdSense Reports. Rather, they were collected from an independent third party tracking script, and thereby do not violate the AdSense Terms of Service.


				
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