John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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Top Eight AdSense Mistakes Webmasters Make

I just read one of the many “Top Ten” lists telling people how to make money with AdSense, and how to avoid getting banned by Google. I was inspired to make my own “Top Eight AdSense Mistakes Webmasters Make”.

1. Don’t do anything that won’t make Google richer.

Google is greedy. It’s all about the revenue, and that revenue comes from your web site visitors. So if you want to remain in the good graces of the Almighty Google, do everything in your power to send your traffic over to the Google advertisers a.s.a.p. You can hide the Google ads inside your content, making them look just like real links. You can lower the quality of the content on your page so there is no reason to stay on your site, and offer Google ads right in the middle were they become the only thing worth clicking. No matter how you do it, be sure and send all of your QUALITY traffic to Google.

2. Don’t do anything to remind your visitors that they are being monetized.

So don’t talk about the ads, don’t suggest people click on them, and if you couldn’t successfully bury them in your content (see the above item) then at least avoid talking about click thru rates or ad revenue. Google wants all that stuff kept secret. Like the brain surgeon that drives a volkswagon while he saves up for his early retirement to the French Riviera, best not to remind people someone’s making gobs of money off of them.

3. Don’t violate the Google TOS

That’s the “Terms of Service”. The Google Contract. The Final Arbiter of AdSense Success. The Source of The Ban. Yes, the Google TOS is your bible for success with AdSense, so follow it exactly. Don’t do anythng that violates it. Oh, and since it is a living document that can be changed at any time, be sure to read it every morning and again every afternoon. And, since it refers to another document called the “Google Guidelines” you need to keep up on that one, too. Don’t do anything against the Google guidelines. Oh, and since that guideline itself may be adjusted by Google at any time, be sure to read it every few hours as well.

4. Don’t Talk about Fight Club

The First Rule of Fight Club is… yeah you got it. Don’t tell anyone about your AdSense earnings. Google wants that secret, ok? I suppose legal proceedings like subpoenas would be exceptions to the rule, but I am not sure. Since you risk complete and total financial shutdown with no questions asked and no opportunity for rebuttal every time you violate one of the Google Rules, you should probably just refuse to comply with such things until your lawyer can chat with Google. That might take a while to set up, so I recommend every AdSense pubisher have a safe house ready just in case. A secret room in grandma’s house would be perfect, as long as it has an active Internet connection so you can check your stats. Nobody will find you there so you will be safe from outstanding warrants until you hear back from Google.

5. Avoid Excessive keyword Stuffing

Oh sure keyword stuff much, much more than you would on a regular page meant for humans, but don’t over do it. Remember, Google wants money, so the more search engine referral traffic you can get to a dead-end web page with minimal content and tons of AdSense ads, the better. Google feeds on profits and we all know that a big, fat, satiated Google is much nicer than a lean, hungry Google monster. You get SE traffic by ranking in the SERPs. And you rank in the SERPs by keyword stuffing, plain and simple. (Warning: this only applies to pages heavily laced with AdSense ads. If you don’t expect to place AdSense ads allover your site, do NOT keyword stuff. Your page will get dropped from the SERPs. I repeat: Only get keyword spammy with made for AdSense pages. Everybody else buy AdWords).

6. Don’t Rat out AdSense Publishers

This one is not hard fact, but it sure seems wise given the evidence I have seen. Never, ever rat on a publisher who monetizes with AdSense. On a related note, it’s seems to be “SEO Best Practice” these days to rat out everyone above you in the SERPs by reporting them to Google for even the most minor quality issues (see the item above about the Quality Guidelines that can change at any time… a great source of grey-area material to report as spam). So rat on everyone who ranks, *except* avoid the MFA sites because, well, Google likes money and if you’re really looking to get a share of that AdSense kitty, don’t rock the boat, right?

7. Don’t Bank on Your AdSense Bank

This is a big one, and the subject of more than one “SEO Secret“. You see those “earnings” in your AdSense report page? Well, tecnically they are not yours yet. They won’t be until a few days after you physically deposit the Google check in your bank accunt, and it clears. That’s at last 30-45 days from now, depending on your situation. Oh, and with all of the click fraud and related lawsuits, it might not stay yours. Can it be taken back? Sure it can. Unlike the RIAA which looks for a few grand from each person they target, Google gets rich taking nickels and dimes away from individual people, one coin at a time. It’s covered in hthe TOS as well. My suggestion? Multiple layers of corporations, some of them offshore, with a few rotated out via backruptcy and dissolution every 6 months or so. Better safe than sorry.

8. The Legs Feed The Wolf, Gentleman

Or something like that.If you have a site that earns something like $4 per day with AdSense, don’t try too hard to boost that. The Legs Feed The Wolf, and the little guys are making the Big Boys rich. As a LittleBoy, you represent a steady stream of revenue for the BigBoys as they skim their share off the advertising revenues. How many incentives are there to impose “Smart Pricing” on your site so you get peanuts for showing ads? Plenty. Somebody has to get the low-paying ads. How many incentives are there to actually hand you a lion’s share of those “earnings”? I can’t think of any. So be happy with your pennies and shut up, ok? You can make another 2,000 of those sites and make serious coin, right? That’s $8000.00 per day, for a mere 2000 times your hosting costs. Oh sure that sounds like a break even (at $4 per month hosting costs) but you can find a way to trim that. I know you can. And so does Google.

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5 Responses to “Top Eight AdSense Mistakes Webmasters Make”

  1. Peter Says:

    Oh no!

    You’ve broken Rule 2 - look out for the Google Hit Squad :)

  2. John Andrews Says:

    Hmmm… that can’t be, Peter. This is a blog about Competitive Webmastering, online marketing, and SEO, including a heavy dose of AdSense and related. It’s one thing to highlight the ads on your page to get them attention, and quite another to talk about AdSense on a page with AdSense ads, right?

  3. Justin Says:

    Herb Brooks explained what he meant when he said “the legs feed the wolf” like this: everyone sees that the wolf has sharp teeth and sharp eyes which enable him to dominate his prey. However, without using his legs to roam, find that prey, and chase it down, he will starve. Even with lesser eyesight and dull teeth, if he can run down the prey he will feed. Thus it is the legs, which give the wolf his dominant position in the field. The legs feed the wolf.

    I like how you alluded to it here: great content, audience, etc. don’t feed the wolf. They feed Google and you get the scraps. Your sarcasm is elusive but good: we need to find a way to use our legs to feed instad of just taking the pennies from Google. Right on.

  4. John Andrews Says:

    Sorry for the delay, Justin.

    That’s right. INNOVATION in the seo world is the “legs”.

  5. top9 Says:

    Thanks for the tips

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