Webmaster X has a page that ranks well for Mesothelioma, which has a bid price of…woo-hoo…$50 – or whatever it is today – per click! So, Webmaster X slaps Adsense on his page, and hopes that Google pays a fair percentage of $50 per click. 50%, maybe? 76%, even? Webmaster X will soon be rich!
Actually, no. Webmaster X is missing half the picture, for a few reasons:
1) Some advertisers will not be distributing their ads to the content network at all.
2) The bid price on the search network may not be the same amount as what the advertiser is paying on the content network.
Google implemented Smart Pricing in 2004. Smart pricing “normalizes” the bid price, which means that Google factors in a quality score and pays based on what they think the click is worth. How do Google determine what a click is worth?
Google won’t tell you.
Google uses a variety of factors, which remain a secret. Google are looking to protect their advertisers and encourage them to syndicate their advertising on the content network. If the ROI is good for the advertiser, the advertiser will keep advertising. BTW: Jensense has a good article covering smart pricing as it relates to Adsense publishing.
While we don’t have the smart pricing secret sauce, we can probably hazard a fairly good guess as to how to maximise Adsense income.
Here are my tips:
Given that Google must encourage advertisers, Google must work to ensure advertisers see a return. A return for an advertiser may be a conversion, in which case your page should attempt to funnel the visitor towards the sale stage of the purchase cycle.
For example, an Adsense page that compares two Televisions, and declares Television A one to be the best buy, may get a higher Adsense return because that page is pushing the buyer towards a measureable transaction. An Adsense page that discusses the history of television may get a lesser return, as the visitor is probably not looking to buy anything. At very least, they’re just browsing, so not as high value to the advertiser.
A return may also be measured in terms of visitor interest. If an Adsense page sends traffic that stays around long enough on the advertisers site, that visit will be deemed valuable. Visitors who click back immediately are less so.
Remember, these are just guesses, however the commonality for all successful advertising systems is the provision of advertiser value. Provide the advertiser with more value, and Google should, in turn, pass on more value to you. Google need valuable advertising space, so, if you have it, it would benefit Google to have a system in place that encourages more valuable advertising space be devoted to them, not competing advertising networks.
Makes sense, eh.
So, are keyword lists useless? No, but treat them as ballpark figures. They can show you areas you may not have thought about before, and you can watch which areas are surging in terms of demand. These are good areas to be in, especially if supply is short.