The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... | 31 March 2006 - Vol 6 Issue #3  

In this issue...

Top 10 AdSense Tricks To Boost Your Commission

FAQ1: How does Google rank search results?

FAQ2: Which is the best Google Sitemap creator to use?

FAQ 3: Why has my site been kicked out of Google?

FAQ 4: Which of these dynamic URLs are more acceptable to Google?

FAQ 5: Why does my site show different results for searches with and without www?

Top 10 AdSense Tricks To Boost Your Commission

By Kalena Jordan
Google AdSense is fast becoming the preferred way for people to earn an income online. Forget eBay and multiple affiliate programs. Whether you are a work-at-home mom trying to make a little extra cash or an Internet entrepreneur with hundreds of monetized websites, AdSense is truly the easiest way to earn money.
Simply sign up for a free account, grab your ad code and paste it in your site. But here's the amazing thing - no matter how much money AdSense is making for you right now, a few simple tweaks can increase that amount considerably. And I should know, after learning about these tricks, I more than doubled my AdSense commissions!
The self-proclaimed AdSense gurus and experts are sharing this insider knowledge, for a fee. You can learn all these secrets from them, as long as you buy their e-book, sign up for their seminar or purchase their newsletter. But I'm going to share all their AdSense tricks for free. Here they are:
1) Color code your ads to match your web site palette *exactly*. Don't use frames around your ads. Instead, in the AdSense code generation interface, make sure you choose the same color as your page background for the ad frame and the ad background.
When choosing the ad heading colors, match them to the *exact* color of your page headings. Use the exact same ad background shade as your page background. Use the exact same ad text font and color as the text on your pages. You can see an example of this color-matching on my Search Engine Advice Blog - notice the 4 link ad unit and skyscraper text ad unit on the left hand side under the headings Ads by Google as you scroll down the page? The link and text colors are identical to the color palette used throughout the rest of the page.
Near enough is NOT good enough. If you can't quite get the color matching right, use Google's built in color palette together with the RGB to HEX or vice versa color converter on this page. That handy little tool was a life saver for me.
This is probably the one single tweak that made the most difference to my commission levels.
2) Try not to use the traditional horizontal banner style or leaderboard image ads because people are blind to them.
3) Use Google's own AdSense optimization tips and visual heat map to assist you in deciding where on your page to place your AdSense ad code.
4) Research competitive keywords using a keyword research tool such as Keyword Discovery or grab a list of the most popular keywords from various sources and use them in your web site pages where relevant. This article is a good source of frequently searched keywords. Targeting popular keywords should trigger AdSense ads on your pages that utilize those keywords. The more popular the keyword or phrase, the higher AdWords advertisers are generally willing to pay per click for it so the higher your commission on those clicks.
5) Incorporate the AdSense code into your page so that the ads look like a regular part of your site. You can see an example on this Internet Dating Stories site where link ads are incorporated within the regular left hand navigation of the site under the heading "Feature Links".
6) Use Google's new 4 and 5 link ad units wherever possible. They seem to have a much higher Click Through Rate (CTR) than regular ad styles. You can view all the AdSense ad formats here.
7) Place images next to your ads to attract the eyes. You can see this in place on the search engine article library page at the bottom where 3 images draw your attention to the bottom of the page. But be careful here - the use of arrows or symbols enticing viewers to click are NOT allowed by Google and publishers may NOT label the Google ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements".
8) Use the full allowance of multiple AdSense ads on each of your pages - 3 regular AdSense ads, plus 1 link unit. Use careful placement of these ads so they blend into your site and don't distract from your content. Clever use of this allowance can be seen on this page about bad Internet dating stories where you see:

- 1 horizontal 4 link ad unit towards the top of the page under the first paragraph
- 1 vertical skyscraper text ad unit about halfway down the left hand side under "Sponsor Links"
- 1 vertical skyscraper image ad unit down the left hand side under "Sponsor Links"
- 1 horizontal text banner unit at the bottom of the page with images above each ad to draw attention to them.
You can also include 1 AdSense referral button in addition to the 3 other units.
9) Tailor your page content to a particular niche or focus. Page content that is tailored towards a specific theme is more likely to trigger AdWords ads that closely match the content and are therefore more likely to interest your visitors and inspire them to click. Don't create pages merely for the sake of placing AdSense ads. Visitors (and search engines) can see through this ruse in an instant.
10) Use custom Ad Channels for each of your ad placements, for example, "Top 5 Link Unit Blue Palette" or "Left Side Navigation Image Skyscraper" etc. Tweak, track and measure the success of each of these custom channels so you know what gives you the highest CTR. Some ad formats and colors will work better than others, but you won't know which until you test, test and test some more!

The above article may be re-published as long as the following paragraph is included at the end of the article and as long as you link to the URL mentioned below:
Article by Kalena Jordan, one of the first search engine optimization experts in Australia, who is well known and respected in the industry, particularly in the U.S. As well as running her own SEO business, Kalena manages Search Engine College, an online training institution offering instructor-led short courses and downloadable self-study courses in Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing subjects.

Enter our Funny Photo Caption Competition
Got a funny caption for the photo above? Submit the funniest and win a self study course of your choice from Search Engine College. Here are some examples:
"Superman kept walking, completely unaware that the shark had torn half his costume off."
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"Marsha, does my bum look big in this?"

Winners announced next month. For your chance to win, submit your own caption entry by midnight on April 29.

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The Problem:
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The Solution:
Our step-by-step online SEO courses will show you how to avoid penalties and attain a higher search ranking for your site by following the webmaster guidelines set down by the search engines themselves.
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   Greetings Readers!

Welcome to another addition of The Search Light. A bit of housekeeping first up. Some of you are new to this newsletter and you may wonder why you're receiving it. You will ONLY receive this newsletter if you have:
1) subscribed directly via our email sign-up form.
2) downloaded our free SEO lesson.
3) submitted an online enquiry via Live Help or our online contact form.
4) submitted a free ranking report request.
For 2), 3) and 4) we make it pretty clear on the page that you are automatically subscribed to The Search Light, but you may have either overlooked this or simply forgotten. If you don't wish to receive any more of our newsletters, simply press the "SafeUnsubscribe" link at the bottom of this page. Just wanted to clear that up!
Still on the subject of subscribers, I want to say a special thank you to all of you who have voluntarily subscribed to this newsletter. Each month I receive a list of new subscribers and I am always surprised and delighted to see who has decided to pull up a chair and listen to me.
Your feedback and support have had a huge impact on me personally over the years, as well as on the directions in which I've taken our SEO business (Web Rank) and Search Engine College. Thank you - I couldn't have done it without you all!
I started this newsletter to help you understand search engines and use them to market your sites more effectively, so please get in touch if there are any topics you're confused about or would like to see covered in future issues. My email link is at the bottom of the page. This month's article is actually a mini-tutorial teaching you how you can double your Google AdSense commissions with a few simple tweaks to the way you place the code on your web pages.

Now get reading the rest of this issue and remember to visit the daily Search Engine Advice Column to check out my answers to frequently asked search engine questions or submit one of your own.
Till next time - wishing you high rankings...

  • FAQ1: How does Google rank search results?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I am very confused by Google. I don't understand why my site is not positioned highly for certain keywords when it is good quality and has a lot of traffic. How do they determine who ranks above whom?

    Dear Confused
    Google has a highly technical way of indexing and ranking pages. Just because you consider your site to be of high quality doesn't mean that Google thinks the same. Also, the amount of traffic your site gets does not necessarily impact how relevant Google finds it to be when matching it with search queries.
    To better understand how Google works, I suggest you read the tutorial How Does Google Collect and Rank Results? written by Google software engineer Matt Cutts.

  • FAQ2: Which is the best Google Sitemap creator to use?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I have been searching for an online tool that will create an XML sitemap for Google automatically and I've found quite a few. But they all seem quite complicated and some of them charge a fee.
    Do you have a favorite or can you recommend a good one to use, preferably a free one?
    thanks Akita

    Dear Akita
    Funny you should mention this. To create my Google Sitemaps, I had been using SiteMaps Pal, but I haven't been completely happy with it because it seemed to skip sub-directories and pages quite often.
    But just this week I came across the free XML Sitemaps Generator and I'm now a big fan. It not only trawls through ALL levels of your site, but it gives you a running count of pages, provides a text-based URL list and a HTML sitemap you can import straight into your site, plus it generates the XML file for you in both compressed and un-compressed versions.
    Sweet! If only the free version gave you the ability to manually edit page priority and index dates and re-generate the XML, I'd be an even bigger fan (hint hint!)
    There is also a low-cost script-based version for sites with thousands of pages. It can be set up to index your site on a regular basis and produce an updated XML file for automatic upload to your site via FTP. The XML Sitemaps Generator is also included in Google's List of 3rd Party Plugins for Sitemaps.

  • FAQ 3: Why has my site been kicked out of Google?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I was searching for reason of site to be out of google. And I landed up on this page.
    I am not a good site optimizer, but I am trying to built up the network of some sites. Everything was going fine. But one of my site was kicked out by google yesterday. It is not very old site but all of the sudden, all the pages of site are out of google. Please review the site and network sites.
    I need your valuable suggestions. That would be a big help for me.

    Dear Ankur
    I've checked and your site is indeed missing from Google. From my quick glance, your site appears to be using excessive keyword repetition and keyword-stuffed comment tags. Better compare your site with Google's Webmaster Guidelines, get rid of the dodgy tactics and submit a reinclusion request pronto.

  • FAQ 4: Which of these dynamic URLs are more acceptable to Google?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    For dynamic pages, can you comment on if either one of these URLs are more acceptable by Google? Or is anything beyond the ? treated the same way and it doesn't matter how many perimeters are after the "?"?

    M Fong

    Dear M Fong
    According to their Webmaster Guidelines, Google doesn't index URLs that include session ids after the query string:
    "Don't use "&id=" as a parameter in your URLs, as we don't include these pages in our index".
    As far as I understand, the more parameters your URLs include, the more chance you have that Google will not index that page. But that is more to do with Googlebot trying to restrict the excessive server load created when indexing an unknown quantity of dynamic content.
    To ensure your important content is always indexed, keep it within your top 2 directory levels, avoid session ids in your URLs and submit an XML sitemap to Google SiteMaps.

  • FAQ 5: Why does my site show different results for searches with and without www?
  •    Dear Kalena...
    I was trying to find out a little about some file requests on my log files when I found your blog. I tried my website using the site query thingy with and without the www. bit and got a different number on the results. I also got a few pages which say 300 Multiple Choices, they also end with the file extension .asp.
    I would be grateful for any light you could shed on this for me, my website has a great ranking and a great position on the search engines, I am a bit wary of changing anything just in case it disappears altogether.

    Dear Peter
    I'm not 100% sure what your question is but I'm assuming it's: "Why does my site show different results for searches with and without www?".
    I've checked your site and it looks like it's suffering from the Dupe Domain Indexing Dilemma. This can happen when your server is configured to show your site at both domain versions (with www and without). See the link above for how to fix this using a 301 redirect.
    Sometimes Google can logically work out which is the correct version of your site, even if it loads with or without www, but sometimes Google can't. See this post for more info. One way to tell for sure if you've got DDID and whether it's a problem, is to install the Google Toolbar and see if it shows different Toolbar PageRank for each version of your site. If so, then you most likely have a problem. That's what I did with your site. Hope this helps!

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