You're the kind of person who doesn't just settle for "good enough." In fact, your ears twitch, just a little, if anyone within a 10 mile radius mentions the word "optimized". We know, it's OK. You're in a safe place with like-minded people. Now if you also know your way around a Google AdSense dashboard then this is the post for you.
1. Fix Invalid Traffic
Since 2015, Google began to include a line in your monthly revenue report. The "Invalid Traffic – AdSense for Content" line that lowers your income. Sometimes it's a negligible sum. And sometimes it can be significant chunk of your revenue stream.
If you keep getting invalid traffic, you'll keep losing money. And if there's too much of it, your account might be suspended. Even if you don't know where the heck these invalid clicks are coming from.
So what can you do?
- More content! Google will penalize you if your page has more ads than content. Make sure you balance the two as this can also affect your audience of returning users.
- Keep an eye on social media traffic – AdSense just doesn't like it. Google prefers viewers that come from its search engine (gee, wonder why) or from pages they reached through it. They especially dislike paid traffic that is not paid through the platform it's coming from (like paid posts in massive Facebook groups or paid twitter by bots).
- Last but not least – Contact Google. If you're not doing anything wrong, and the traffic you're getting is real, legit and really clicking? You might be the victim of click-bombing from your competitors.
2. Category Blocking
Blocking or unblocking categories in AdSense can have an effect on revenue. How much of an effect and how? That's a bit more complicated ..
Some categories have higher CPCs, while others have higher CTRs. The main question is – how do you maximize RPMs with category blocking / unblocking?
Look at the reports under "Allow & Blocks Ads" to check which categories are performing badly. Categories with a lot of impressions but low revenues are the ones that you should try blocking, at least temporarily.
True, it will lower the competition over your ad placements, but it will stir your way the right ads and advertisers.
3. Hacking Smart Pricing for Higher CPCs
Many publishers seemed to be petrified of the Google AdSense Smart Pricing algorithm. This algorithm tries to ensure advertisers get their money's' worth when advertising on the publisher network.
So make Google's Smart Pricing work for you instead of against you. Block unprofitable categories. Place ads in places where they cannot be accidentally clicked and do your best to bring traffic that will convert. Not just cheap views that don't turn into clients.
But how do I know what traffic will convert?
You need to "reverse engineer" the classical customer journey and provide content that can be used as part of that journey.
Think how your websites can fit into a customer journey and tailor your content to match.
4. Custom Channels
To attract savvy advertisers and granular track ad unit performance, you want to use custom channels, if you aren't yet.
Custom channels let you create groups of ads or single placements advertisers can target directly. By giving advertisers this ability, you're increasing competition for your ad space.
If you have yet to set up custom channels in your AdSense account, we have a guide to walk you through it. If you're not sure it's worth the time investment – you still want to read this guide. It'll probably convince you to create those custom channels in your AdSense account.
5. Anchor & In-flow Ads
Every website monetization newbie knows – above the fold is gold. But it's fools' gold. Here's why.
The over-the-fold ad is often one of the first things the visitor sees when they land on your page. Ads are made to be appealing. But the viewer did not come to your page to look at ads, and you can't afford to forget that.
How do you solve this?
Anchor (also known as hovering, sticky and floating) ads and in-flow ads. The right combination of ads that follow the users as they scroll, and in-flow ads that give them "exit points" in the content is the way to higher RPMs. You can read more about it in our post about ways to put that extra squeeze on AdSense for higher revenue.
6. Optimize for Size
If you got a dollar for every time someone told you that it's crucial you optimize for mobile? You probably wouldn't even need to monetize your content anymore. Or work. Ever. But that's not exactly what we're saying here.
Depending on the theme or setup of your website, you can create different layouts for different devices. Responsive pages will always put ads in the wrong places, so you want to get on top of that to maximize mobile revenue.
So what you can do instead is hide the ads that bring less performance on mobile when the device is a tablet or a smartphone. Then add a mobile-only ad unit that displays only on mobile devices and are optimized for the mobile layout.
7. Advanced Geo-Targeting
Some countries and locales have higher CPCs than others. For example, UK, US, Canada and Australia bring much higher CPCs than Africa or India.
If you have a blog in Italian or German – you might want to consider adding an English section for higher CPC views. And you'll have to look for high-priced niches in your locale.
Assuming your content site is in English, you want to do your best to bring in traffic from the countries that pay most. This means that your audience acquisition efforts should focus there and appeal to the interests of people in the region.
How do you check which countries pay more? Check the Countries in your performance reports on AdSense. And bring more traffic from the locales with the highest CPC you can see.
8. Use Asynchronous AdSense Code
Back in 2015, Google introduced the asynchronous ad code to help publishers reduce the load time of their pages with ad units in them.
Our last advice, is to always be testing. From our experience monetizing various niches, if there's one optimization to take away it's to always be testing. In fact, we took this a step further, and created the a Testing eco-system to make the whole process of optimizing AdSense CTR easy and fast.