If your monthly AdSense earnings are not counting up to what you expected, we can understand you’re perplexed. You’ve no control over the quality of ads. With so many digital marketing DIY guides out there promising to make you rich within a few months, many enterprising and adventurous web users like you find themselves in deep waters pretty soon, with no practical advice insight.
We’ll congratulate you first up, on deciding to focus on the CPC (Cost Per Click) component of your AdSense campaign.
If your blog gets decent traffic, and you already have a decent CTR (Click Through Rate), you can literally multiply your monthly AdSense revenues manifolds by even a marginal real dollar value increase in CPC.
For all you hobbyist readers out there, CPC is the cost that Google pays to you for each click on the advertisements they place on your blog.
CTR is the percentage of visitors who click on an advertisement. The logic is simple, higher the CPC and CTR, higher your AdSense revenues.
In this post, we’ll tell you some surefire was to increase your CPC.
Targeted traffic is a pre-requisite to high CPC
Most bloggers who are focused on AdSense as a way of blog monetization start with a focused plan. However, soon, the focus moves from getting ‘relevant traffic’ to merely getting ‘traffic’. Let’s see how it benefits your CPC if you keep your content, SEO, and marketing actions aligned to getting relevant traffic.
Though Google puts advertisements that are relevant for your blog’s niche and target audience, it keeps a close eye on your blog’s CTR.
Without targeted traffic, CTR is bound to drop, as most readers will find the advertisements irrelevant. And, a dipping CTR will push Google into keeping high CPC ads out of the equation for your blog.
Google also tracks the percentage of clicks on advertisements that don’t lead to a sale. With irrelevant traffic, it’s certain that whatever clicks you manage to get will not lead to a sale. Over a period, this could jeopardize your blog’s relevance for Google, and will even put it at the risk of the AdSense account being blocked.
Among the more reliable means to get quality traffic for your blog are:
- Focus on content quality and SEO.
- Independently focus on each social media channel for blog promotion.
- Contribute your opinion to non-competing blogs from the same niche, leaving backlinks to your blog.
- Contribute guest posts.
- Market your content on article directories.
- Update your blog content regularly.
- Create top lists, FAQs, curated lists, e-books, and other giveaways.
- Organize the odd contest to create some buzz.
Use some high CPC keywords into the mix
It’s no secret that Google’s advertisement placement depends a lot on keywords. What’s surprising is that not many bloggers take advantage of this known fact.
- Keep a hawk-eye on your AdSense keywords performance. Bring in high CPC keywords, and let the low CPC ones make way.
- Look for opportunities to add high CPC keywords from other niches to your blog content by being creative, without compromising the content quality.
- Also target some of the high paying phrases or long tail keywords, and smartly throw them in your content.
A lot of the most lucrative keywords are tied to pretty techno-legal niches. However, you can easily adopt a few of them, weave them into a lawyer story, and add contextually into your content. Among the highest paying categories of keywords are:
A word of caution: this is more of a hack rather than a strategy. It’s obvious, even If you land a few high CPC advertisements from Google by using this hack, it’s unlikely they’ll be clicked on. Here are a couple of criteria you might want to put a tick against before you adopt this tactic:
- Your blog enjoys high CTR.
- The high paying keywords are at least ‘related’ to your niche, and don’t look totally irrelevant.
Get the basics of content SEO right
It’s never too late to optimize your blog content for SEO, especially if you’ve changed your keyword strategy, and are trying to align it with higher CPCs for your niche. Unless you outsource your blog’s SEO to a specialist (who’d already been taking care of what we’re about to tell), here are some basics to keep in mind –
- The Title tag and meta description of your page must include the targeted keyword.
- Add the target keyword in the H1 tag, and at least one of the H2 tags.
- Include the keyword in one of the image alt tags on the page.
- Align your post content semantically with the target keyword.
Also, consider using SCHEMA markup to optimize your blog for local SEO. These traditional content-optimization tactics work amazingly well when you’re targeting getting high CPC ads from Google.
Rethink your ad sizing tactics
Ad sizing is a key aspect of your AdSense campaigns, as its impact on your CTR and hence your CPC is well known. There are sizes and placement options that are likelier to get you clicks than others. Google clearly explains the ad sizes that, according to it, work best. The ad size you choose needs to be a smart decision you make, based on facts related to layouts, languages, and platforms. A smart approach is to begin in line with Google’s suggestion of appropriate ad sizes, and experiment with a few ads to see if something else works better for you.
Google’s recommended ad sizes are:
- 336 x 280 rectangle (large)
- 300 x 250 rectangle (medium)
- 728 x 90 leaderboard
- 300 x 600 half page
- 320 x 100 large banner for mobile ads
Here are some other advanced ad sizing and related tips you’d do well to keep in mind:
- Use Google’s Adsense code it now provides the code access) and make the advertisements responsive so that they adjust to appropriate sizes as per device screen size.
- Mobile AdSense partners can use Mobile Anchor Ads that stick to the bottom of a page even as users scroll up or down.
- Vertically longer advertisements work well, purely because they remain visible on the screen for a larger duration, as users scroll down.
Get the ad placement right
Just like ad sizing, ad placement is another important decision, with a significant bearing on your AdSense CPC. Split testing continues to be the best option for most bloggers. If you’re blogging in a popular niche, you might want to check out of a fellow blogger who has shared his AdSense experiences in terms of which ad placement tactics work. Here are some options worth trying:
- One ad block versus two. Single ad blocks invariably get higher CPC ads
- Single header ad versus a block of four ads
- Text ad versus video ad
- Header ad versus footer ad: Most AdSense campaigners suggest going for footer ads, because header ads are ignored, as they divert the user from the information he/she is actively seeking.
Also check out Adsense’s Head Map tool to understand the best positions for ad placements without interfering with the user’s page reading experience.
Once you have tested a few options out, it’s time to analyze the results and see what’s working. If header ads are faring well, it suggests you can increase your average CPC by just having a single ad on top of a page. If users seem to be clicking more internal ads, it means they like to read your content before trying the advertisement out.
AdSense’s Experiments feature is a godsend for those who’re keen to experiential with different ad placements, formats, advertisers, ad networks, advertisement colors and fonts, and what not. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule here; the key is to keep experimenting, making sense of the results, and optimizing ads based on that.
Use the AdSense ad review center
The AdSense Ad Review Center is a storehouse of actionable information that can help you optimize the average CPC for your ads. Go to the Allow/Block tab, and check out the Ad Review Center option. Here, you will find valuable information about the average CPC you are getting from specific categories, such as tech tips, real estate, gardening, DIY, etc.
The key here is to identify the low CPC advertisements and blocking those categories, to push up the average CPC of your advertisements. However, we’d suggest you block only the 3 lowest paying categories, and work with the refreshed settings for a couple of months before doing another cleanup.
Remember, a lot of bloggers keep suffering from low CPC purely because they fail to leverage all the tools and tricks provided by Google to optimize their AdSense campaigns. By using the Ad Review Center, you can avoid this mistake.
Target the right geographies
Did you know – several geographies have been identified, for which the average CPC is significantly higher? If you can align your blog and its content for these geographies (without diluting the quality and focus of your content), you have a lot of potential to tap.
If your blog has intentional relevance, there’s all the more reason for you to explore this option of geographical targeting. Among the known geographies that account for high CPC ads are Norway, Japan. Sweden, and the Netherlands. Consider the option of purchasing local domain names, and localizing your content for these geographies.
There are several small businesses with highly targeted audiences (specific cities and neighborhoods). By being relevant for these ads, you can increase your website’s average CPC. Advanced audience segmentation works well for this approach, as you can shoot highly targeted content based on locations of the level of cities and states, rather than countries and regions. The moment you are able to identify high paying advertisements targeted for a city, you can adjust your content strategy to be relevant for these ads.
Advanced content matching for enhancing activity around high revenue-generating content
Recommended posts are an integral part of how bloggers increase readership and the time readers spend on their blogs. Tools like Outbrain and Taboola have been the conventional choices for content recommendations, adopted by bloggers worldwide. Most of them continue to use tag-based post suggestion tactics to increase readership. However, large content distributors get ‘Matched Content’ units in their AdSense, which they can use to leverage Google’s algorithm for suggesting relevant and high revenue potential posts, rather than their blog’s own mechanism. Since Google will always have a better understanding of your visitors than you, this can significantly increase readership, which translates to more CTR and hence, higher CPC in the long run.
Connect your analytics account with AdSense
Though Google AdSense gives you a lot of high value information that you can act upon to improve your AdSense campaign, it doesn’t match up to the sophistication of Google Analytics. So, waste no time in creating your Google Analytics account, and linking your blog(s) to it. You can get to know vital information such as the origins of your high CPC traffic, and the locations it’s coming from, so that you can channelize your efforts in the right direction.
More tips and tricks
Though Google suggests you need to write posts with word counts in excess of 300 words, we’d advise you to pack a lot of information into your posts. People love posts that are comprehensive and highly informational.
This post is 2000+ words; it would have been easy enough to pack all this info in 500 words, without actually taking you through the specifics, though it would not have helped you much.
Then, consider checking the site performance stats from your AdSense dashboard, and invest some time in getting things right on those fronts.
Also, any action you take to improve your site’s CTR will also help you get a better average CPC over the long run.
To round it off
We’ll reiterate the importance of continuously striving to improve your site content, developing high-quality and relevant traffic, and experiencing options such as ad placement, ad size, etc. to optimize your AdSense campaign in terms of CPC.