6 minute read
Content is everything we consume online. Users arrive on a site to be educated, entertained, inspired, or complete a task.
Content is how you win new site visitors, and how you entice them to return. So it’s important to remember that, though ads are driving revenue, content should be the focal point of every page.
With that in mind, part three of our series for new publishers focuses on how to plan, write, and promote great content. If you missed part one (AdSense 101) or part two (AdSense best practices), then check them out and get caught up.
The keys to engaging, shareable content
Be targeted, consistent, and frequent: Take the time to figure out who is reading your content and which topics they engage with most (we’ll get into the mechanics of this later on). Update your site as often as possible with fresh content, tailored to your audience.
Use video where possible: People crave video, users from around the world are now watching a billion hours of YouTube’s incredible content every single day! Video personalizes your brand and can boost the amount of time user’s spend on your site. Be readable: Successful online content is scannable and snappy; follow these best practices to make sure your articles look enticing to viewers:
- Don’t use more than 7 sentences per paragraph
- Keep your column width between 700 and 800 pixels
- Organize your content with headers and subheaders.
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to link Google Analytics and AdSense. Otherwise, the following recommendations will not be applicable for you.
The Landing Page report in Google Analytics helps you understand where users landed on your site, and where they left from. This will give you insights into the type of content that draws visitors from external sites, and may highlight content that should be re-worked due to poor metrics.
To get the most value from the Landing Page report, track the following:
- Look for pages with high bounce rates. If you find that one or two areas of your site drive your users towards the exit, then ask yourself what you could do to improve them.
- If you’ve got quality content that’s not attracting new visitors, then play with the headline or experiment with different primary images to promote it.
- Analyze page speed. 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. If some of your pages are slower than others, then it’s likely they contain bloated elements. Consider compressing images or getting rid of animated files. Check out the tactical recommendations to increase page speed in part two of this series.
Plan ahead with your audience in mind
Use the Demographics and Interests tab in your Google Analytics account to understand who’s reading your content, and what their interests are (you’ll need to enable this feature before getting started).
The Demographics report will give you insights into the age and gender of your audience, and allows you to segment these groups to see how different people react to your content.
Use the Interest report to shape your content to your audience’s interests, and identify upcoming events they may be interested in. For example, if fans of your digital marketing blog are also interested in new technology and gadgets, you could mention these learnings across your social channels to increase your following.
At this point, you’ll have accumulated data from content grouping, as well as the Landing Page, Demographics, and Insights reports. Use it all to paint a picture of your average user, what they enjoy, what they dislike – then use those insights to build a content calendar.
A content calendar will allow you to plan a content strategy that’s focused on the topics you know your audience enjoys. Be sure to research seasonal events related to your industry or product, so you can discuss them while they’re still relevant.
Build an audience on social
Growing an audience on social media can provide publishers with a consistent source of referral traffic to their sites. As with content, the best way to compel users to follow your social accounts is to provide them with consistent value.
Here’s some tips to help you set up and maintain a strong social presence:
- Don’t be too self-promotional. You’ll want to link back to your content, but if that’s all you focus on, potential followers will lose interest.
- Use your content calendar to prepare posts around upcoming events in advance. Users care less about an Oscars tweet a week after the ceremony.
- Create relationships with influencers. Retweet them, mention them in a favorable way, and link to their content. These relationships can lead to guest-blogging opportunities or retweets from an account with a large audience. This tactic can help you break through your current organic reach to access new users.
- Build relationships with your users. Answer their questions promptly, engage with them in conversations. If your audience feels valued, they’ll be much more likely to help you promote your content.
- Use Google Trends to discover trending topics on a daily basis, and tie in posts with popular conversations.
For a list of helpful tools to help you manage your social accounts and build your audience, read our ‘Amplify your content with social’ blog post.
And make sure to check in next week, when our series for new publishers continues with a post on improving performance to potentially maximize profits.
If you think AdSense is a fit for your site, then sign up now and get started.
‘Til next time.
7 minutes to read
In part two of our series for new publishers to turn their #PassionIntoProfit, we’ll cover three steps you can take to set up you up for success. Following these insights won’t guarantee success, however it will give more opportunities for your ads to perform, while making sure they complement your site’s user experience.
To get started, we’ll discuss three topics:
- Optimal ad placement
- Mobile optimization
- How to avoid policy violations
If you’re looking for an introductory overview of AdSense, check out the first part of this series where we cover the basics of AdSense.
Make the most of your ad placement
It’s important to keep the user in mind when deciding where to place ads. You want your ads to perform well, but adding too many can clutter your page for users.
Before you decide where to place ads, ask these 4 questions:
- How do your users engage with your site?
- Where is their attention going to be focused?
- How can you place ads in focus areas without getting in the way of your content?
- How can you keep all of your pages easy to navigate?
It’s a best practice to place ads next to the content your visitors are most likely to focus on, but take the time to make sure ads are clearly separate and identifiable from your content. Remember that ads that confuse or mislead visitors violate the AdSense program policies and are not allowed. Other ad placement actions that can lead to policy violations include:
- Mirroring or rewriting content from other sources without adding value
- Pages with more advertising than publisher content
- Using automatically generated content
- Hosted ad pages or pages with no content
- Sites that don’t follow our Webmaster Guidelines
Here are a few ad placement best practices that may improve the viewability of your ads.
- For mobile sites, place a 320×100 ad above the fold, where it will be visible to everyone who lands on your page.
- For desktop sites, use vertical ad units, which remain visible as users move around a page. The 300×600 layout is one of the fastest growing ad sizes, and is popular with advertisers who want to increase brand awareness.
- Try to lay out your content in a way that holds your visitor’s attention and entices them to continue reading.
Optimize for mobile
Today, there are now more searches on mobile than on desktop. This increase in mobile traffic has increased user expectations of mobile site performance. Meeting the expectations of mobile users continues to be a challenge for publishers. 53% of mobile users will abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load, with that number rising to 74% for pages that take longer than 5 seconds.
Despite this heavy shift towards mobile, a recent study by Think With Google found that the average time it takes to load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds.
Publishers who don’t adapt to mobile user needs are less likely to retain new visitors. This reduces their ability to convert site visits into ad revenue.
To get your mobile site up to speed, keep these insights in mind:
- Dedicate time to discover current issues on your mobile site: Tools like PageSpeed Insights, Mobile-Friendly Test, and Web Page Test will highlight the areas of your site that need attention.
- Monitor your progress: Run regular A/B tests to audit performance and remove anything that lowers speed or harms user experience. Whenever you update your analytics data, evaluate your requests and remove outdated collection pixels.
Once you’ve got your fast mobile site running smoothly on small-screens, take these additional steps to maximize your profits and ensure that you’re compliant with the AdSense program policies.
- Help prevent accidental clicks by moving ad units 150 pixels away from your content.
- Use responsive ad units, which automatically adapt your ad sizes to fit any screen.
- Use the 320×100 ad size instead of the 320×50 where possible. By using the 320×100 ad unit, you allow the 320×50 ad to compete as well, doubling the fill-rate competition.
- Place a 320×100 ad unit just above the fold.
- Be as consistent as possible across screens – make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for regardless of the device they’re using.
Keep AdSense safe for everyone
After signing up for an AdSense account, you’ll need to make sure your website is policy-compliant before getting approved.
While AdSense will work behind the scenes to maximize your performance, it’s your responsibility to make sure your content and placements adhere to AdSense policies.
Violation of AdSense policies can lead to your account being suspended or your website removed from the network. To keep your account in good standing, follow these best practices:
- Don’t click your own ads, or ask others to click them. These clicks won’t count toward revenue and may lead to an account suspension. Even if you’re interested in an ad or looking for its destination URL, clicking on your own ads is considered an invalid click and is prohibited.
- Maximize content, not ads per page. It’s important that original, regularly updated content remains the focal point of your website.
- Don’t use deceptive layouts. If the line between your content and your ads becomes blurred to your readers, those ads will be flagged as a violation.
- Take responsibility for your traffic. Use Google Analytics to quickly identify and resolve unusual traffic patterns. If you’re unsure of what counts as invalid traffic, then watch this short video.
- Always follow the Code Implementation Guide and don’t try to modify your AdSense code.
Our Webmaster Guidelines provides detailed notes on how to avoid spammy content and our all-in-one compliance guide is a resource for you to reduce the possibility of receiving a policy violation.
If you have any other questions about AdSense policy check out our Help Center to learn more, or join an #AskAdSense session Thursdays at 9:30am PT to speak directly with a support specialist.
Our beginner’s series will continue with ideas on how to plan and create content that sells.
If you think content monetization is right for your website, then try AdSense.
Posted by: Jay Castro from the AdSense team
From all around the world, over 2,000,000 small and large publishers use AdSense to earn money through advertising. Before you take that step for your own website and apply for a Google AdSense account, there’s plenty to consider: from where to place ads, to the type of products those ads sell, we realize the importance of keeping the content on your site relevant to your audience and keeping your audience happy.
With AdSense, you’re in complete control of the type of ads that appear on your site.
AdSense is packed full of features designed to help you quickly and easily display content that fits naturally within your website.
- Choose the ad formats you’d prefer (text, display, rich media etc.), then highlight where on your website you’d like them to display.
- Block specific categories of ads that you don’t want to display, so only products or businesses relevant to your content can bid on your inventory.
- Adapt the look and feel of text ads to match the style of your website.
- Performance reports provide key insights into how users engage with your content by measuring both your earnings and your performance across key engagement metrics.
- Leverage these insights with the Optimization page within your AdSense account. It’s a one-stop shop for improving your account performance, providing you with tailored recommendations and A/B experiments to help you make more informed decisions.
- For you, the AdSense mobile app provides you with an account overview, as well as access to detailed performance reports on all key metrics.
- For your users, AdSense has mobile-friendly ad formats like responsive ad units that automatically adapt to different screen sizes or page-level ads that are displayed at optimal times when they’re likely to perform well for you and provide a good experience for your users.
- Make sure you include an ‘About’ page, ‘Contact’ page, and a ‘Privacy’ page on your site.
- Include as much original content as possible; websites that post duplicate content will not be considered.
- Make sure you have full ownership of the website you’re submitting, or permission from the owner.
- Ensure that your site adheres to the AdSense program policies.
We’re back with another AdSense Global Spotlight to help you succeed as a publisher in Vietnam. The big takeaway here is that building content that takes advantage of seasonal and viral events is key to engaging with Vietnamese audiences.
Get into the minds, and hearts, of your target audience. What do they want and need in terms of relevant information, ideas, inspiration and entertainment? Remember, content that carries emotion is more likely to resonate with your audience and evoke a response.
Seasonal content can be based on events taking place locally, regionally, or even globally. In Vietnam, the Tet holiday season, Reunification Day, Mua Vu Lan, Independence Day and the wedding season are just a few of the feature dates that can generate timely content. While timely articles are great for generating instant buzz, having content that maintains its importance over time may yield higher traffic rates overall. Evergreen content is information that stays relevant no matter when it is consumed. Make sure to interlace trendier content with evergreen pieces every so often. For instance, evergreen topics for the upcoming wedding season could focus on key cultural wedding traditions, or the most unique wedding locations, or even the top ten destinations for newlyweds to spend their honeymoon.
Use the events listed above as a starting point for creating a content calendar, an essential tool for any publisher looking to harness online buzz precipitated by big events.
Alongside the traditional calendar, have a look at Google Trends to find which upcoming events can lend the most buzz and relevance to your site’s content. Big events that generate global interest – especially sporting events – can create huge surges in web traffic. Look closely and you can anticipate when the spikes are coming, then create the right content to capture that crowd. Squall Le, Head of Web at YAN, suggests focusing on images for the maximum effect.
|Providing a great example of a viral moment, Haynhucnhoi’s mascots Ms Nhuc and Mr Nhoi appeared in a cartoon showing how children behave when visitors visit during Tet. During the visit the kids, mind their own business. But as the visit draws to its end, they approach guests with puppy-dog eyes in the hope of receiving hong bao money. Inspired by this commonly shared experience, they created their own videos on the brand’s YouTube channel.|
By being unique and noteworthy, viral content creates a sensation and compels users to share it. The conventional way for a website to improve its search ranking is to publish content over time that attracts attention and interest. Viral content accelerates that process, by helping a site rack up inbound links in a hurry.
Knowing what will make a piece of content go viral is a whole science in itself. Successful viral content often features a few key characteristics, tending towards topics that are newsworthy, surprising, positive, and simple to share and understand. Not surprisingly, broad areas of interest typically have broader appeal than anything too niche.
Of course, some of the most successful viral news comes from sporadic incidents that can’t be predicted. There are ways you can keep abreast of these trends though. Take for example the use of the phrase Tha Thu by Vietnamese singer Son Tung MT-P. Depending on pronunciation, it can mean both “tattoo” and “tolerate.” An online social movement quickly sprang up around this phase through viral clips, photos and memes. Simply paying attention to what’s making a sensation can lend inspiration to your viral content creation efforts. Follow the topic as it develops from the convenience of your inbox with Google Alerts, and consider establishing your own unique hashtag to propel the conversation.
According to the team at Haynhucnhoi, a rising Vietnamese social site, spending time on social media is a vital way to source potentially viral stories and understand how to capitalize on them. For example, when Euro 2016 was a trending topic, they created memes based on the hottest football clips. If a musical artist is making headlines, they’ll mine music for fans to listen to. If something funny has happened in the news, they’ll produce funny videos that tie in with the event or situation.
They’ve gone even further by creating their own characters and using them to illustrate seasonal sentiment. Even conventional dates – such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or the traditional Vietnamese calendar – provide inspiration for sharable cartoons. With this approach, Haynhucnhoi is able to produce new content every 15 to 20 minutes!
In light of inspiring examples like these, it seems there’s never been a better time for publishers to serve user demand for great content in Vietnam. With 68 million native Vietnamese speakers in the world,(1) offering localized content provides a great way to extend your user numbers. And don’t forget that monetizing that content is straightforward when you sign up with AdSense.
(1) Simons, Gary F. and Charles D. Fennig (eds.). 2017. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Twentieth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Online version: www.ethnologue.com
As a publisher, you can drive discussion and increase reader engagement by using user comments. At their best, comments enable your readers to share their perspectives and learn from each others’ experiences. By creating a community of conversation around your articles, your readers become more engaged and find your site more relevant and beneficial.
Alas, not every commenter is well-intentioned or well-informed. Consequently, comment sections can devolve into a place where social norms are tossed aside to further an agenda or to air a grievance. These negative, rude, or abusive comments take away from the article and ultimately harm your brand. Comments that violate Google policies can also cause your site to no longer be eligible to show Google ads.
So, as a publisher, how can you keep comments — or, more generally, user-generated content (UGC) — policy compliant so that your site can continue to monetize with Google??
First, understand that as a publisher, you are responsible for ensuring that all comments on your site or app comply with all of our applicable program policies on all of the pages where Google ad code appears. This includes comments that are added to your pages by users, which can sometimes contain hate speech or explicit text.
Knowing this, please read Strategies for managing user-generated content. Make sure you understand how to mitigate risk before you enable comments or other forms of user-generated content. Managing comments on your site pages is your responsibility, so make sure you know what you’re getting into. For example, you’ll need to ensure you review and moderate comments consistently so as to ensure policy compliance so that Google ads can run.. We published an infographic in 2016 which offers a quick all-in-one glance at policy compliance.
If you are unable to put into place strong and responsive controls over your comments, we strongly encourage you to make a simple design change: put comments on their own page, and don’t run ads on that page. Otherwise, unreviewed and unmoderated offensive or inappropriate user comments can show right next to your publisher content. This can damage your brand, offend your users, and cause you to violate Google policies.
Here’s one way to separate comments and content:
At the end of your content, place a call to action, such as: “User Comments” or “View Comments” which lets users open the comments in a new page. On that new page, make sure not to place any Google ad tags, so that no ads serve next to those comments…
At Google, we believe in fostering an environment where users, advertisers, and publishers can all thrive in a healthy digital advertising ecosystem. By valuing each party equally, we help ensure the sustainability of our industry. We publish Help Center materials, write blog posts, speak at industry events, provide publisher forums and host events at our offices to help our publishers succeed in an ever changing environment.