Chasing The Google Adsense Carrot

Google Egg BasketGoogle Adsense for many online marketers can almost be considered free money. It is the golden egg of revenue on the net. All you have to do is have a decent site that has content related to high paying keywords and you can make money with Google Adsense. And once you find those high paying Adsense keywords, you can just duplicate your efforts 10 or 20 times over and you too can soon be making millions on the internet.

If it were only that simple…

The problem with Adsense, or nearly any affiliate program, is that it usually isn’t a static way to make money. The dynamic way niches come and go, the way Google adjusts landing page guidelines (this does affect your earnings per click), the way your sites get ranked in the search engines and many other factors, require that you tweak your web sites on a fairly regular basis. Google dangles the Adsense carrot in front of you, but they constantly adjust the distance you must go to get the prize. And the horse you’re riding to fetch the carrot? It must be fed, watered, brushed, walked and see the vet a couple times a year.

In my last installment of Lessons In Perseverance I expressed some of my frustration working with Adsense because of this constantly changing face of Google and doing business as an affiliate marketer. And as you may have read or commented on in my March affiliate earnings report I do fairly well with Adsense, earning an average of $1,200 to $1,300 per month. But what you may not know is that the niches and sites that earned me money with Adsense this month are about 50% different than they were last year at this time. And even the sites that are the same have gone through many changes to be able to maintain those earnings since last year.

Probably one of the hardest things to get used to is watching your Adsense earnings fluctuate, even on a day to day basis. I’ve had days where earnings were $60 to $70 one day and then come in at $25 or so only 24 hours later. You also have to get used to watching one site start to rise in earnings and anticipate living life a little larger, only to watch another site tank because Google happened to make some sort of a tweak or an algorithm adjustment and whatever adjustment they made, your site happened to be in the cross-hairs.

A good example of this is, only a week or so after my best day ever in Adsense earnings I watched a high ranking travel blog go from getting 100 Google search visitors a day to only 5 per day. A site that was earning $15 to $20 per day was now earnings me $2 to $3 per day. What had I done to deserve this treatment. As far as I can tell all I did was update it after not posting for 3 months and the hammer came down. Did I freak out? No, not at all, because I’m so used to seeing this, it was just another day at the home office.

The packaging in the Adsense egg basket is not quite as soft and cushy as I would like. This is about as good a reason as any to diversify your income streams on the Internet.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Tags: , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

10 Responses to “Chasing The Google Adsense Carrot”

  1. Thanks for the great post Alan. I’m going try creating some adsense revenue generating websites myself (my experience with which I’m documenting on my blog), so I found your post extremely interesting, as well as a little scary. With whatever niches I choose, I was already planning on trying to find some affiliate programs to go with them. Apparently, this is more important than I even realized, given Google’s mood swings. Thanks again!

    – Dave

  2. I am using adsense since 2 years but no luck for me.
    Hardly makes $20 per month. :(

  3. I know exactly what you mean. I had a site that was doing well in December, and then I got busy and haven’t updated it again since. It went from 100-150 daily visitors to 2-3 per day. I’ve been very busy and haven’t been back to that site to update, in fact I kind of forgot about it.

    About a month ago it started getting 200-300 hits per day out of the blue. I racked my brain trying to figure out why this happenned, and remembered I made a few digital point posts with that link my sig. It’s been getting that many hits since.

    I like the comment in your post “what I have done” regarding your site that went from 100 per day to zilch. While I think many things google does are unfair I play devil’s advocate a lot. Look how many sites raped the google index raking in adsense profits from 2002-2006 before these policies and spam algorithms were in place? In addition, in just the last 18 months the google index has been indexing fresh content quickly within 24 hours (just google “minty fresh index”). So on the one hand sometimes it’s not fair (when things like this happen to honest bloggers like us), but in some ways it’s “more fair” because if they weren’t doing it we wouldn’t have a chance at all (because spam and splogs would dominate the first 10 pages for all results).

    To illustrate that point, I do have “affiliate sites” like yours with original content and adsense ads that I occasionally have issues with like the one you encountered. But on the other hand, when I write new posts I can (and have) gotten first page #1 google listings for keywords in less than 24 hours without even trying. It’s all give and take.

  4. I use adsense with no luck, I might make $10 a month at this point.

  5. Futon-Matt,

    I do that over a network of several sites. It’s very hard to do on a single site. I noticed you have a lot of non related ads on your Futon Blog. It might help your clickthrough rate on Adsense if you removed anything that’s not related to furniture from your blog.

  6. That is so true, I’ve been experimenting with local sites, the CTR’s are all over the place and traffic varies wildly, but some days it’s exciting, others pretty bland.

  7. Woah! You make a lot of money each month from adsense. Can I ask how many sites you have?

  8. Nate,

    Read this post:


  9. The fluctuation is definitely something I have trouble accepting – but on the flip side it does promote hunger and innovation to find ways around it, or roll with the punches.

    I really want to get my adsense foundation built, but it’s hard to bite the bullet and get the sites up – there never seems to be enough time in the day.

    Would you suggest using quality PLR, combined with keyword research and some rewriting to populate content driven adsense sites?

  10. Elijah,

    I try to stay away from anything that isn’t 100% original. I have used PLR article packs in the past but there’s usually hundreds to thousands of people using the same articles and in the time it takes me to rewrite an article, I could have written an original one.

    If I’m going to pay for articles I’d rather get someone to write them for me at Elance.com:

Leave a Reply