The Foundational Phase to Building an Income with Adsense

By Guest Author

Up until recently I have always viewed making money with Adsense as a game of pennies and cents, but lately there has been a resurgence where many internet marketers have begun building multiple sites and monetizing these sites with Adsense. It was hard for me not to notice the many threads on IM forums that dealt with people who are making 4-5 figure monthly incomes from Adsense alone.

I inevitably took the plunge and built my first Adsense site and after 3 months I am now earning $300 a month from that single site. It isn’t a lot of money but can you imagine the possibilities if I were to build 10 or 20 more of these Adsense monetized sites? Yes, the possibilities are endless and I am planning to build more sites because I am now an Adsense addict.

In this post I am going to discuss the exact steps I have taken to reach $300 a month from my site and I hope this will be a guide for you to start making money with Adsense. Diversifying your income streams is the key to creating wealth online!

This post forms part of a two-part series and it covers the initial research stage which is critical as it lays the foundation that will help your Adsense income grow over time. I also reveal a “new tool” that has recently been launched by Google that will ensure your research is more precise and this will ultimately reduce the risks.

Let’s get started:

Keyword Research

When you begin your keyword research you should target keywords that have 3000+ exact match search volume, and you should also ensure you add 10-15 related keywords that form part of your main keyword. The related keywords should have a search volume of at least 500+ exact searches each month. When choosing your related keywords I suggest you take a look at the “related searches” that Google displays in the SERP’s when you type in your main keyword. This will help ensure your entire website is tightly themed and highly relevant which will force Google to reward your site with higher rankings.

Read this post: Keyword Analysis – A Short Guide

The “related search” terms can be found at the bottom of the results page as depicted in the screenshot below:

Note: A large number of Adsense courses and ebooks inform Adsense marketers to build many sites (50-200) where each site targets one main keyword that has a minimum of 1000 exact match search volume. This methodology has worked for many people but the risks are extremely high, the model isn’t sustainable and the workload is incredibly intensive which will result in high maintenance costs and the inability to extract the highest ROI from each site.

Would you rather own the large Walmart store in your city or would you prefer to run 50 different smaller stores across the city?

Ultimately what you will want is to have a combined keyword list that has a minimum of 5000 exact searches each month (the more the better). You should also ensure that the main keyword you target is not ultra-competitive. Competition analysis is critical because you will not want to enter a market that cannot be penetrated. Ideally, you will want your site to be positioned within the top 3 spots for your main keyword.

A rule of thumb for me personally is to look for a keyword where the top site has less than 500 backlinks, not more than 30 pages of content, and the page that is ranking should be a PR3 or less. Some may feel this sort of competition is too high but I personally like the challenge. You can of course enter markets with less competition, in fact, it will be advisable for you to start of in a low competitive market and as you gain experience you can tackle more competitive markets.

Actual CPC Analysis

CPC stands for cost-per-click and it is the amount that an advertiser is charged by Google for a click on an advertisement. You should target a keyword that has a minimum of $1.00 CPC. I would like to go into detail explaining to you how to find the actual CPC that Adwords advertisers are paying for ads on the Display Network (your website and Google partner networks):

Typically what many adsense focused internet marketers do to determine the CPC is to look at the “approximate CPC” that is displayed in Google’s Keyword Tool (GWT). They then make the assumption that they will receive 68% of that specific amount because Google pays 68% of the CPC to publishers, but this is the wrong approach. The figure in GWT is the approximate bid price that is paid by Advertisers for ads that appear in the search results and not the display network.

There is however a more accurate tool that has recently been introduced by Google that is called the “contextual targeting tool” and it can be found inside the Adwords interface. Here is a screenshot of the tool:

As you can see from the screenshot above I have inserted the keyword “insurance quotes online” and the tool then provides a group of related keywords with a suggested bid which happens to be $3.05.

The suggested bid of $3.05 is the maximum bid that Google advises advertisers to pay for ads that appear on the display network and it is a more realistic figure that can help you determine your potential earnings for each click ($3.05 x 68%) for a specific keyword. However there are many other variables that will affect your earnings and they are:

  • Clicks on ad units that appear first in your website HTML code will generate a higher CPC
  • Some advertisers will bid more and others will bid less and this will affect the CPC
  • Visitors to your site from foreign countries will be served ads that are associated with their country and CPC for each country varies
  • Competitive and quality factors influence how much an advertiser pays for a click

Determining the accuracy of the CPC is a pertinent step in the initial research stage as the data will allow you to assess the potential earnings you can achieve.

Domain Name Selection

When selecting your domain name you will want to ensure the exact match domain (EMD) is available for your main keyword. EMD’s are powerful because they help your site rank faster and higher in the SERP’s, but of course, there are many other variables to take into account with regard to search engine optimization.

If the EMD isn’t available you can add a suffix or prefix to the domain name as this will also give you the SEO advantage that an EMD provides, albeit, slightly less. Ideally, you should get the exact match domain if it is available.

EMD example:

Domain with prefix:

Domain with suffix:

Must Read: How To Choose Clever Blog Names

Okay, that wraps up the first and most integral part of my guide on how to make money online with Adsense.

In the next part I will discuss content creation, ad placement, as well as on-page and off-page optimization variables. I will also reveal a powerful tip that will help you enter competitive markets with relative ease. I am currently ranking number one for a competitive 2 word key-phrase and I achieved this in less than 3 months. You wouldn’t want to miss this juicy piece of information.

Your comments and questions are welcome!

Ashley is an avid internet marketer and professional freelance writer. He writes for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, who provide information on paralegal degrees and paralegal certificates.

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  1. Tech Crates says:

    Great post Ashley…

    Truly awesome tips to build a steady income with GA

    BTW I’m unable to find a link to “contextual targeting tool” in the tools section. Could you please let me know !! :-)

  2. Suraj @Smartfatblogger says:

    Very nice.
    Thanks for sharing this article!

  3. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Great post.I got adsense approval last month.So by using your tips I can earn more in coming months from adsense.Thanks for sharing.

  4. Avinash says:

    Thanks a lot, After the Panda Update .. There are many things like this many beginners are waiting to learn.I will try following this method.

    • Hi Avinash,

      That’s fantastic to hear… it is all about taking action and you seem to have the right mindset. Saksham has a great guide on keyword analysis… soak up that information and learn as much as you can, because selecting the right keywords is pivotal to your success. Good luck!

  5. Limestone Tiles says:

    yes i agree with you thanks for posting such good blog

  6. Bjorn @ says:

    Great tips you got here! Thanks for that, trying to build up my adsense income again…

  7. Jasjotbains says:

    Wonderful :)
    Is the contextual targeting tool still around in adwords ?

    • As far as I know, yes :)

      • Jasjotbains says:

        Ok :)
        I know its off the topic, but you had mentioned that you earned from affiliate networks as well. I have a steady adsense income (25k+/month) and wanted affiliate networks for more $$$ plus fill up empty spaces. Any network you will personally recommend (tried and tested of-course ;) ) ?


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