So a while ago I was hit by the infamous Google AdSense smart pricing, which I quickly learned to hate. I thought everything was going really well with my websites, heck I was making a lot of money from AdSense and it only got better over time. So, my mind was now set on increasing the amount of traffic I got to my websites, no matter what (I didn’t buy traffic). So I started signing up for social bookmarking sites and everything you could imagine, and it really exploded my traffic. But one day, when I woke up to check how much I had earned over the week I got a chock, the earnings had dropped by 80%, and it stayed that way for at least a month until I found the problem. Here is how I “cured” my website from smart pricing.
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What is Google AdSense smart pricing?
So first of all you might be wondering what smart pricing is. After all, you are most likely reading this after searching for AdSense smart pricing on Google or similar. Google AdSense smart pricing is an automatic system that Google has set up to help their advertisers that are using AdWords to get a better ROI. ROI means return of investment.
So to help the advertisers Google though it would be a great idea to automatically sort out all the AdSense users that were not generating website sign-ups, newsletter sign-ups, sales, phone calls etc for the advertisers. Because the advertisers are paying for quality traffic, and each click on their ads costs them money, so why wouldn’t they want a better ROI?
To measure this they take in to account many different factors, some of them include what keywords or concepts that triggered the ad and what type of website it was clicked on. For example, if you’re running a website about making money online, like me, then you will probably not generate a good ROI for an advertiser selling cameras.
The downside of AdSense smart pricing.
Right now you might be thinking something like this “well, smart pricing sounds pretty fair to be honest”. And I have to agree, it is fair, at least for the advertiser. If you are a publisher that is using AdSense you will have to walk a fine line not to be hit by smart pricing. In fact, there are a lof of people being hit by smart pticing every day without even knowing what happend.
I wanted the world to read my articles, so I submitted them to bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpOn and Digg. By doing that I was able to generate thousands of visitors from each article over a short time. This contributed to a much lower CTR since the traffic from those websites was not that targeted. And since the traffic from those sites were not targeted, the advertisers didn’t get a good ROI from my website. Hence I got smart priced.
Another thing is that if one of your website gets hit by smart pricing, your whole AdSense account get hit. So even if you’re delivering super targeted, high-converting mega extreme profit generating visitors for your advertisers on one site, your whole account will still be smart priced for owning a low-converting site as well. Sounds fair, right? I don’t think so.
So anyway, I think it’s time to tell you all how I got out of the smart pricing. Or, well I never know if I truly “get out” of it, but my earnings are almost back to normal.
1. Stop using social bookmarking.
Well, you can still use it, but use it with care. Social bookmarking sites brings seriously low converting traffic. Some of the worst sites are Stumbleupon.com and Digg.com according to me. They can bring in tens of thousands of visitors that only stays for a second on your website and maybe clicks an ad just to check it out. Before I used these sites my cost per click (CPC) was above $2, after I used them my CPC went down below $0.1. Amazing huh? I promise you, you don’t want this to happen to you as well, it will break your heart.
2. Post quality content.
As you may have heard “content is king”. This only applies to quality content though. By quality content I mean that it should be keyword researched and written in a way so that it attracts targeted visitors. It doesn’t really matter if it’s super well written or if the articles are 3000 word long, as long as you are able to deliver what your visitors are looking for. Because visitors that are looking for something will convert for your advertisers once they click one of your AdSense ads. This is why niche websites are doing so well compared to general websites. The niche websites attracts targeted visitors.
3. Work on SEO, a lot!
So, you now know that social bookmarking and other ways that generate really low quality traffic is a big NO. So how will you get traffic then? Well, the only solution is to work on your search engine optimization. Build backlinks, write targeted content, establish your website as an authority site that can be trusted. SEO is a slow process and you might get tempted to submit your site to social bookmarking websites for those traffic bursts, but trust me, if you want to earn money it’s not worth it!
4. Limit the amount of ads.
Even if Google says that your click though rate (CTR) of your ads does not play a part of being smart priced, I still do. I didn’t get smart priced until my CTR went below 0.5%. And at the time I had two ads on the front page and three ads in ever article. Now I have limited it to zero ads on the front page and only two ads inside the articles. I also worked a lot on improving the color of the ads and their ad position for the maximum amount of clicks.
I tested almost every ads possible, vertical ones, towers, boxes, link unit and so on. I also tested about 15 different color combinations, only to find out that the default Google colors worked best, doh! I learned a lot and right now by CTR is higher than ever before (can’t tell you stats because that would break the AdSense terms, sorry!).
5. Delete ads from “bad” sites.
I was a member of a few websites, especially a very low converting picture uploading website. On that website my pictures could receive thousands of visitors per week with barely any clicks and I also doubt they had a good ROI for advertisers. If your ads are located anywhere on a website that is not niche targeted, then take them off. General websites does not perform good with AdSense and you might run a risk of getting smart priced.
6. Build a trustworthy website.
So you got good content, mostly search engine traffic and you have a decent CTR. Now you should start focusing on making your website trustworthy. By having a trustworthy website advertisers will feel safe having their ads at your website. There are a few ways to do this.
- Add contact forms.
- Let it age. (Old is gold according to Google). A 3 year old website is very good.
- Link out to high authority websites that are related to your niche.
- Get high authority websites to link back to you.
- Add an “about” page and maybe something else explaining about your website.
Those are some ways to get a better trust rank from Google. Now according to what I have learned, AdSense will update its smart pricing once every week. So if you wholeheartedly tries to better your website and strip down on the bad traffic then you will be seeing new results once ever week. Within a few weeks or months you might be back on your feet again, but don’t stop fighting!
It might even be wise to hire a SEO professional to help you get targeted traffic. This is only if you got the money of course.
The AdSense smart pricing system can be a pain in the butt, even though it was made with a good intention. Try to stay out of it by getting quality visitors to a niche targeted website. Stay away from general websites and focus on SEO instead of social networking/bookmarking.
You should also know that even Google loses money by implementing the smart pricing system, so it’s a win-win situation if you just learn how to avoid it. Now, this article may not include all ways you can get out of the AdSense smart pricing system, but it will at least give you a direction. When I was hit I didn’t even know that there was a smart pricing system, so hopefully I have also saved you some time by writing this.
Now have a great day and never stop improving your earnings.
It may seem like all hope is gone, but one day you will start making money again, I promise!