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FAQ: How to Use Adsense

Here's information and tips on how to use Adsense.

In early November, I set up Adsense on four pages at I manage Adwords for my clients, so I thought I would learn about Adsense and see if this could be useful for them. I expected I'd earn a few dollars and maybe it'd pay for my ISP hosting fees. 60 days later, I had $260 in clicks. That's $2 per page per day. I have over 600 pages at So I added Adsense to the rest of my website.

What Is Adsense?

Adsense is a service from Google. You place Google's Adsense code on your webpage, the Adsense code displays ads on your webpage; the ads are relevant to your webpage's content; someone clicks on the ad, and you get paid.

It's free to sign up for Adsense. It's free to use. Whenever you have more than $100 in your Adsense account, Google mails you a check at the end of the month.

For many Adsense users, this is a modest amount of money. However, some Adsense users create webpages on high-value topics and earn substantial amounts of money. There are Adsense users who earn over $100,000 per year or more.

Google has a very good FAQ on Adsense that describes how this works.

Layout Tips for Adsense

Here's what brings the best results:

  • The ad should appear to be part of your website. Study the ads that appear in Google's page results.
  • The format that brings the most clicks is 160x600 Wide Skyscraper.
  • Use web-standard blue for the heading and link.
  • Use black text for the ad body.
  • In your website layout, place the ads at the left side, upper corner of the page.
  • If you have long pages, place a tall ad at the upper left and a wide ad at the bottom.

Is There an Example of this Layout?

Yes, see

To Change the Adsense Layout

  1. Log into Adsense.
  2. Click the Ad Settings tab.
  3. Select the ad format under Ad Settings | Ad Layout Code.
  4. To create your own color palette, click Ad Colors. Make the changes (see above) and save your palette. Go back to Ad Settings | Ad Layout Code and select the palette.
  5. Copy the code and insert it into your website.

More Tips for Adsense

  • If you know how to use includes, place the ad block in an include and call it from your webpage. This lets you update the ad code across your entire website by modifying one file.
  • You can have up to three ad blocks on one page.
  • Ads can be delivered in many languages. Google figures out your webpage's language and displays ads in that language.

But My Competitors Are Advertising on My Website!

Well, yes, of course! What did you expect? They're using Adwords too.

You can block your competitors from your website's ad displays. Look at your website, collect the URLs for competitors, log into Adsense, and add those URLs to Ad Settings | URL Filter. You can block up to 200 URLs.

Does This Always Work?

Adsense has no sense of humor or irony. It reads a page's text and places ads according to those words.

  • Sometimes, the results are funny. I have a webpage that is a parody of cat books and computer manuals. But Adsense thinks this is about a real computer, so it places computer ads on the page. See The Cat User Manual and look at the ads.
  • Sometimes, the results are the opposite of what the user intended. There are political websites that attack opponents. They describe what those opponents will do. And they have Adsense on their website, so of course, if the opponent uses Adwords, the opponent's ads appear on the website.

Can I Decide Which Ads Will Appear?

Not directly. Google's computers place the ads. However, you can influence the ads. The ads are context-relevant to your webpage. If the page is about lions, the ads are about lions. If the page is about mountain lions, the ads are about mountain lions. And if the page is about the mountain lions of Palo Alto, then the ads are about mountain lions in Palo Alto. The more specific your page, the more specific the ads will be.

This means you can create informative, expert webpages on topics that have high value, and then add Adsense. These keywords will have high bids. You will make money from those pages.

For example, mesothelioma is a disease caused by asbestos. The asbestos class action lawsuits are in the billions of dollars. Law firms pay $160 or more per click to find people to join the class action. The law firm will earn hundreds of millions. The same for keywords that have to do with legal services for large companies, corporate banking and financing, home loans, and so on.

What Happens If I Click on My Ads?

If you click more than several times on your own ads, Google's computer will notice. They will close your Adsense account and blacklist your URL. So don't do that.

If you spam all your friends and family and ask them to click on your ad, Google's computer will notice the surge in clicks. They'll cancel those clicks and they may cancel your account.

Can I Put Adsense in a Blog?

Yes, Adsense can be added to a blog. However... a blog may have ten different topics, and that would confuse the Google computer, because it wouldn't have a single subject for the blog. so the ads would be random.

If every entry in the blog is about aquariums, then the Google software would read that, see that it's all on one subject, and it would display ads that have to do with aquariums.

Yet More Adsense Tips

If you have a Search box in your website, use the Google search box. When people use Search and click on the ads, you get part of the click fee.

  • Log into Adsense and click Search Settings tab. Just as with Adsense, you can modify the layout. This produces the code and you place that into your website.

To Sign Up for Adsense

To sign up, click the following button. Fill out the application. After a few days, you'll be approved and you can set up your Adsense account. Click the following button to sign up:

Further Reading: The Adwords FAQ

  • See the page about PPC.


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