Adsense on Blog: Why I Will Never Do That Again

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A few years ago Adsense sites were the talk of the blogging community. Every Internet marketing forum was filled with tips and advice on how to set up the perfect Adsense site, how to scale your business and how to make a killing with keywords. Over the past couple of years Google’s various updates have changed the way Adsense ads work but they’re still a viable business option. However, I’ll never use Adsense on a blog again.

In the past, if you knew how to do keyword research it was easy to set up a money-making site. You looked for keywords that had a lot of searches, little competition and got a high cost per click. Then all you had to do was write some keyword-laden content and set up a minisite with five or six articles, sit back and watch the money roll in.

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And trust me, thousands of bloggers did just that. They each built dozens or even hundreds of Adsense minisites, sometimes setting up two or three sites a day. And they were raking in the money at an astronomical rate.

The whole purpose of these Adsense sites was to attract organic search traffic and give the visitors just enough information so they’d be tempted to click through on the ads. The system worked well for bloggers and for the advertisers running the ads and everything relied simply on keywords.

Then Google started changing the way Adsense ads appeared and sites started crumbling over night. Instead of the ads being triggered by keywords, now searchers would see relevant ads based on ads they’d previously clicked on. For example, they may be viewing a site about dog food, but if they’d previously clicked on an ad for financial planning, then they saw financial planning ads no matter what type of site they were on.

And each new update made it even worse. Minisites, that were typically built with the bare minimum of content, were de-indexed. Advertisers had to pay higher fees for placements which means a lot of them dropped out. If there’s no advertiser bidding on your keyword then your visitors are just shown… anything.

Is Adsense still a viable business model? Sure. But why take the chance? To build a site that derives its income solely from Adsense is almost certain suicide. You never know what Google’s going to go after with their next update and it never makes sense to put all of your eggs in one basket. Go ahead and use it on your site but use it as a supplemental source of income, not your main income.

If you’re successful with Adsense then that means you do a good job of using keywords and targeting your traffic. In which case, you can promote anything you want and you’d also be successful. Choose a great affiliate product or create your own and when Google does their next update you won’t have to worry about how it’s going to affect your Adsense income.

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  1. William Patton

    I actually do use adsense as my main form of income… I supplement that with some affiliate stuff but it never really makes much money. I choose good affiliate products that I then include in my content but it’s never really made much impact at all.

    You pointed out that I do a ‘good job of using keywords and targeting your traffic’ because I do well with adsense. So do you suggest I try to target the affiliate products as opposed to finding matching products for my content?

    1. Maybe you could try to take the opposite approach: picking which affiliate product you want to promote, then craft your content to compliment this product.

    2. William Patton

      Thanks for the tip. I’m going to try this, track my efforts and maybe write a case study on it.

      I’ll be sure to let you know the results :)

    3. Looking forward to it!

  2. Good points. I still use Adsense but as you mentioned, more of a supplement than the main source. There are unlimited items one can promote as a affiliate.

    1. The trick is to pick the right affiliate items for your audience.

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