This may be common knowledge to some of you, especially those with a background in SEO, however it is a key piece of information those new to Adsense need to know:
Choose your keyword topic based on supply and demand.
In order to succeed with Adsense, you need to have some idea of the potential traffic levels and bid pricing. While your status as world authority on Medieval Knitting may win kudos at the Medieval Knitting Society, unfortunately such a topic is unlikely to generate much Adsense income 🙂 Obviously, topics that are commercial in nature will attract more advertisers, so bid prices tend to be higher. Also, reasonable traffic levels are required in order to produce a sufficient number of clicks.
Approximate traffic and competition levels can be found using keyword research software. I like Wordtracker, which is a paid service. Free tools include the Overture keyword tool, and Google’s keyword tool. Aaron provides an excellent overview of a variety of keyword research tools. This is a good article for those new to keyword selection. In short, you’re trying to determine if there are existing traffic streams for a given topic, how big those traffic streams are, and how competitive a topic might be.
In order to find out bid prices, you can use the Google Adwords tool. There are also various third party software applications and keyword reports available.
Adsense nirvana is finding the following sceanrio: high bid prices + high traffic levels + low competition. Obviously, this scenario isn’t common, however you don’t require all these variables in order to make money. So long as there is demand in terms of search traffic, and supply in terms of advertisers, your topic area will have the potential to make money.