A beginners guide to Adsense. Everything you need to know to get started with Google Adsense.

What is Google Adsense and how does it work? Can you make a living out of Adsense or is it another myth? Read our guide for beginners to Google Adsense and learn how you can start using Adsense on your website or blog.

I’ve been an AdSense publisher for more than 15 years and in this post, I’ll explain how to get started with AdSense and give you an overview of what it takes to make money using the AdSense platform.

The following topics will be covered:

What is Google Adsense?

Google AdSense is an advertising platform that helps website owners earn money from their websites by displaying contextually relevant ads. Adsense publishers receive 68% of the click cost and Google 32%.

What you should know about AdSense?

It is owned by Google and it generates a large part of Google’s income.

Adsense ads are shown on the websites that participate in the Google Adsense program (these are called the Adsense Publishers).

Adsense is a platform for publishers i.e. those people that have a website and want to show Google Ads. The system for advertisers i.e those who want to advertise their products or services in Google is Google Ads.

Adsense ads are shown on all devices including desktop, mobile, and tablet.

Adsense works with EPC (earnings per click) and CPC (cost per click). Publishers will get paid for clicks on ads appearing on their websites.

Currently (December 2019), Adsense publishers receive 68% of the click cost and Google 32%. This means that if an advertiser pays $1 for each click on his ads, the AdSense publisher will get $0.68 and Google $0.32

Anybody (above 18) with a website that meets the Google Adsense guidelines can participate in the program.

Adsense has strict rules that should not be violated for any reason. It is your responsibility as an AdSense publisher to know and follow the rules.

Adsense has a number of products suited for desktop websites, videos, games, mobile apps and more.

Adsense ads can have a number of formats and sizes including text and images.

Adsense publishers get paid monthly by Google.

How does Google Adsense work?

Now that you have a better idea of what is AdSense, let’s see how to get started with AdSense. The process has two steps: Create an AdSense account, start displaying ads on your website and get paid for clicks on your ads.

How to Create an AdSense Account

Step 1 – Create an Account with Google AdSense

The first step is to go to the Google AdSense website and create an account. Your AdSense account is associated with a Google Account like the one you use to login to Gmail, youtube, etc.

Step 2 – Add Adsense ads to your website

Before being accepted to the program, Google needs to check that your website adheres to the AdSense guidelines. To pass this step, you need to add AdSense code to your site so that the Google crawler can access your website’s content.

This is a very important step because as we will see below there are cases that your application may not be accepted.

During this step and until you are fully approved, AdSense ads are not shown to your website but they are hidden by default. If your application is accepted, ads will start to show and you will get paid for the clicks.

Have in mind that this is a once-off process since after you are accepted as an AdSense publisher, you can run AdSense on any website you want (provided of course that it is not violating any AdSense rules).

Step 3 – Set up your payment information

The next and final process in the application process is to add your payment information so that you receive payment and the end of the month and once you passed the minimum threshold of $100.

Please note that before receiving any money from Adsense, Google will verify your postal address by sending you an envelope with a confirmation code so make sure that the details you provide for your postal address are correct.

Start Displaying Ads on your Site

Once you are accepted into the program, the next step is to add the AdSense code to your website. This is the same step as above but now that your account is verified, you can choose where you want the ads to appear.

You have two options: Let Google decide when and where to show ads or choose the exact places where the ads will be shown.

Let Google Place Ads for You (Auto Ads)

If you go with this option, all you have to do is add the AdSense code to your website (once) and Google will automatically show ads in the best possible places. This is currently the recommended method to add ads to your website.Google AdSense Auto Ads

Click Get Code and copy the given script in the <HEAD> tags on the pages you want to show Google Ads.

Create Custom Ad Units

If you don’t want to go with Auto Ads, the other option is to create custom ad units and add the code in the exact places you want the ads to appear on your site.

Click by ad unit, and select what kind of ad units to create.

Google AdSense Custom Ads

When creating an ad unit you will select the size (for example responsive ads, 336×280), type (text and display ads, matched content, in-article ads, in-feed ads), style (text and border colors) and then you will be given a code (javascript) to add in your website where you want the particular ad to appear.

In the space provided Google may decide to show 1 or more ads.

How many AdSense ads can you show per page?

In the past, you were allowed to show up to 3 AdSense units per page but this rule is no longer valid. You can show as many ads you have per page, provided that they do not interfere with the user experience.

Where should I place my ads?

The general rule is to place the ads where they can be seen by your visitors but without violating any AdSense or google webmaster quality guidelines.

You can use these simple rules:

  • Place 1 ad unit above the fold in the main content of the website (not in the sidebar)
  • Place 1 ad unit in the sidebar. The 160×600 is very good for placing in the sidebar
  • Place 1 ad unit at the end of your page or article (preferably in the main content area)

Adsense Guidelines on Ad Placement

How does Google decide what kind of ads to show on my website?

That’s not an easy question to answer since there are many factors taken into account before an ad is shown. You can assume that Google will try to show ads that are relevant to your content and interesting for your users.

In case you want to block an ad (or group of ads) from showing, you can do so by visiting “Allow and Block Ads” in your AdSense account.

How much money can you make with Adsense?

This is a very common question and I have already provided a detailed answer in my previous posts, How much does Adsense pay and Can you still make money with Adsense.

In summary how much money you will make from AdSense depends on:

  • The amount of traffic your website receives
  • The type of traffic
  • The number of advertisers in your niche
  • The type of content you have on your website
  • The position of your AdSense ads

How to increase your AdSense revenue?

Once you have AdSense running, there are a number of things you can do to maximize your earnings.

You can read more details in my post 10 tips for maximizing your AdSense earnings, but have in mind that asking your friends to click on your ads is NOT one of them.

How to increase your chances of being accepted by AdSense?

If you take a look at the Adsense forum, there are many people complaining that their applications for joining the Adsense program were rejected.

The most common reasons are:

  • The website was violating Adsense guidelines
  • The website has little content
  • The website had no original content
  • The website had only duplicate content
  • Domain was new

To increase your chances of being accepted to AdSense follow these simple rules:

  • Make sure that your website has a lot of content (a number of pages indexed by Google)
  • Make sure that your content is unique and original (not copied from other websites)
  • Make sure that your pages do have the text content (not only images and videos)
  • Make sure that you placed the test AdSense code in all your pages and that you have ad units above the fold
  • Don’t apply for an AdSense account if your website is less than 3 months old (that’s not an official rule of Adsense, it’s my recommendation). For some countries (India, Pakistan, Middle east) you may have to wait for your domain to get at least 6 months old before being accepted to Adsense.

Can you make a living out of Adsense?

If you take a look at the success stories provided by Adsense, you will see people (Website owners) that live exclusively from Adsense. So the answer to the question is Yes, you can make a living out of Adsense BUT my 15+ years of experience of working online tells me not to count on this.

The reason is not that it is not a reliable platform but because you need a lot of traffic to make money from AdSense and this cannot in any way be guaranteed.

You may receive a lot of traffic from Google now but after a change to their ranking algorithm, your traffic drops and you lose a large portion of your income.

The above can happen not because you are trying to violate any rules and trick Google but because the competition online is so big that you cannot be 100% sure that your current rankings will remain forever in the same positions.

Conclusion and Final thoughts

Adsense is a great way to make money online. It’s easy to use, it’s reliable and it works better than any other platform. Adsense works by giving you the opportunity to create ad units of different types and sizes and add those to your website. Google fills that space with ads that are related to your content and audience using a complex algorithm.

When someone clicks on ads appearing on your website,  you get a large portion of the revenue. While it’s easy to set up and use, there are a number of things you can do to increase your revenue by tweaking your ad positions and settings.

If you don’t have an AdSense account, the first step is to apply and get accepted to the program and then hope that someday you will also be featured in the Google Adsense success stories!

Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions on how AdSense works.

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