What is Google AdSense?

It's a program where you get paid for displaying targeted Google ads on your website. 

Wow, that sounds really simple, is it really? Well, the short answer is yes. It really is that simple. You might struggle a bit with the ads layout and placing of the code, but Google makes it simple enough to do. 

Let's dig a little deeper into adsense.

I said that "it's a program where you display targeted ads on your website". Okay great, but how does it actually work? The ads don't magically appear on your website. 

Below are the steps you have to follow to place these ads on your website:

  • You have to register for Google's adsense program. Registration is free. Remember that you also need to have a website. See my page on creating your own website if you need info on how to do this.
  • You then choose your ad format from a list of options. You get text ads and image ads. Image ads are usually  banners that you place on your website. You can customize the ads look and feel. 
  • After that you generate the code and copy and paste it somewhere on your website. After a while you will see ads from adsense appear where you placed the code.

So, how do you make money from adsense ads? 

When you registered for you account, you will receive an id. It's a number that is embedded in the code that you get from Google when you created the ad layout. When someone selects an ad, it's registered at Google and you get paid.  

The amount of money you get depends on what the advertiser is willing to pay for a click. You might be a bit confused by all the jargon. Adsense, advertiser, adwords and what not.

What's the difference between adsense and adwords?

Let's discuss this jargon a little before we go on the adsense. It's important to understand these terms so you know what is involved with advertising.

Where does the money come from when someone selects one of the adsense ads? This is where Google's adwords program comes in. Adwords is a program from Google where you can advertise you product or service. 

This is also known as, paid for advertising. When you register with Google adwords you effectively become an advertiser. This means that you are willing to pay for your ads to be displayed using Google's adsense program. 

So, someone creates an ad in adwords, specify's the amount that he's willing to pay for clicks, and you display the ads on your website using adsense.

So, adwords is where you advertise your product and adsense is where you display the ads and get money for when someone selects the ad.

It's all about the traffic

Easy money, you think. Well, in principle it sounds fairly straight forward, but you actually need people to click on these ads so you can make some money.

Don't think you just create a website, place some ads and become rich. You first need to generate traffic to your site. You need people to visit your site so you can make some money.

There are many books and blogs written on the subject. There are thousands of people that will tell you what to do to get traffic. In the end it's mother Google that decides who will visit your site. 

Don't feel discouraged. You are not the only one that will scratch your head to get traffic. Even seasoned internet marketers find it difficult to get traffic to their sites or blogs. You can say what you want, but Google is the biggest search engine out there and it's this rhino that you have to please.

I have a webpage on how to create a website. If you follow some of the basic guidelines, then you already have a head start when you create your website. In my opinion the biggest driver for traffic to your website is content. Nothing beats quality content and lots of it. You might have heard the term, content is king. This is indeed true.

This is why it so difficult to get your feet in the internet riches door. Mother Google is not stupid. Google employs some of the brightest programmers in the world. They know what they are doing so don't try and trick Google with underground search engine optimization techniques.

Follow the rules and keep it real. Over time your site will be seen and you will rank well with the engines.

Creating an ad with adsense.

What would a page called, "What is Google adsense" be without a practical example. So, let me show you a little example on how to generate and place an adsense ad.

After you register with adsense and logged in, you will be presented with the home page. Keep in mind that your registration must first be approved by Google. If your application is successful, then you'll receive your login details. Use this link to register with adsense. This page will show your earnings and some other information. 

From here, click on the "My ads" tab at the top menu bar. Below is a screen shot of the "My ads" tab.

What is Google adsense - Create new ad unit

This will open a tab where all your ads are displayed. From here you can add or edit your ads. Let's create a new ad. Select the "New ad unit" option in the My ads tab. I have circled the option in red in the picture below.

What is Google adsense - new add unit option

Next you will be presented with the "Create new ad" dialog. Below is a picture of the new ad dialog.

What is Google adsense - new ad unit options

Click image to enlarge

Let's have a look at the options. First you give your ad unit a name. Use a nice descriptive name. I always include the ad size and name of my webpage in my names. Make it easy for yourself if you ever need to edit or change the ad.

As an example, let's say my webpage name is what-is-my-computer.com. I will place this add on the top of each page with a size of 728x90. So I will name my unit, wimc-top-728x90. I have abbreviated my domain name to wimc instead of using the whole domain name.

You can use whatever format you like. This works for me cause I have more than one website and I like to keep track of what units goes where.

Next is the ad type and ad size. Here you select what type of format your ad will take. What's nice is that there's a example link that will show you examples of the sizes and look. Select the "View examples of ad types and sizes" link to see what Google offers.

Below is a screen shot of what text ads look like.

What is Google adsense - text ads

Click image to enlarge

These are what the image or banners look like.

What is Google adsense - Image ads
Click image to enlarge

I only showed you some of the example sizes. There's quite a lot, so make sure you have a look at all of them.

Here you have a choice between text, image and both types of ads. So you can decide whether you want to display banner type or text type ads on your webpage. I usually select both. So both types will be displayed in my ad unit. If there are no text ads then image ads will be displayed. Again it's up to you. Play around with this and see which works best for you.

See my links below to get more info on types of ads and ad placement. This in itself is a science on it's own.

Next you choose the backup ads. These are ads you want to display when Google does not have targeted ads available to display in the unit. You can choose blank space, fill with a color or display ads from another URL. I usually just keep it blank. If you have a different color than white for the background, then it might be a good idea to fill it with a color.

Next is custom channels. This is basically used if you want to track how your ads are performing. For example, say you want to see how the adds on all websites are doing at the top of the page. You basically group ads together in a channel to see how they're performing.

You can create a channel and call it toppage, for example. You then place the ads from this channel on the top of the page. In your Google adsense home page, the top channels option gives you this info.

This will give you an idea of how well your ads at the top of the page are performing. This could be very valuable data over a period of time.

Next is the style. Here you customize what the add unit will look like on your webpage. You can select a whole host of settings so the unit blends in nicely with the look and feel of your site.

At the right, a preview of your unit is displayed. When you change something, the preview changes.

When you are finished click on "Save and get code". Then you will get a dialog box with the code. You need to copy and paste your code somewhere on your site. Below is an example of the dialog box with code.

What is Google adsense - copy code

All you have to do is click inside the code box. This will highlight the text in the box. Then right click your mouse and select "copy". This will copy the code to your clipboard.

You now need to decide where you want to place your add and paste the code in your page. How you do it depends on what type of webdesign package you use. I use Yola. Yola has a Google adsense widget that you drag on your page and copy your code in it.

The code is basically just javascript code. Most web servers supports javascript. You just have to copy the code somewhere in your webpage where you want to display the ad unit. I will use Yola's Google adsense widget to demonstrate this.

Yola widget
Yola really makes it easy to place ads on your webpage. All you do is click on the widget and drag it to where you want the ad to be displayed.

Once that's done, it will open a dialog where it asks you to paste the code in the box and save.

When this is done, you're set. Just wait a minute or two for Google's spiders to crawl your site and the ads will start to appear.

Below is an example of how the code is pasted in the widget.

What is Google adsense - paste code in widget

That's all there is to it.

There are some rules that you have to follow in order for your ad units to display successfully. Below I've listed some of these rules. Always check Google's adsense page for the most updated information.
  • No more than 3 ad units per page.
If you do have more than 3, then it's possible that Google will not fill all the units. The same applies to link units. You may also have up to 2 search boxes per page.
  • Don't click on your own ads.
This is a big no, no. Never click on your own ads. Google will suspend your account if you do. Like I said earlier, Google employs some of best programmers in the industry, they can track whether you are clicking on your own ads.
  • Don't encourage visitors to click your ads.
This could also cause your account to be suspended. The selection of ads must be a natural process. It's must be up to the user to select an ad or not.
  • Don't tamper with the code
Don't even try to do this. Just use the code as it is. Google uses check sums to check their code. You don't need to edit anything anyway. If you want to edit the unit then go to the adsense page and edit the ads from there.

There are lot's of stuff you can play with to make your units perform better. Placement, colors, sizes etc all has to do with better ad results. I have some links below that could help you more with these questions.

For now, just understand what is Google adsense and how to create ad units and paste them on your webpage. Get the basics right then delve deeper on placement and colors.

Google has the most comprehensive help available for adsense and how it works. They have countless help pages and forums. After all, it's Google adsense.

Topics that might interest you
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