Posted:
Welcome to the final part of our World Cup series. Today we’ll share some AdSense-specific tips and tricks to help grow your revenue potential. We'll cover some old but steadfast recommendations plus more advanced seasonal optimisation tips to help ensure you’re well prepared for the World Cup.

1. Increase ad coverage: Place up to three ad units, plus three link units per page. This can help increase the click rates and views on your site, and potentially boost your earnings. It’s important to remember that a good balance between content and ads is essential. Placing too many ads on a page may cause a high bounce rate and loss in revenue.

2. Use the best performing ad formats: Wider ad formats usually perform better compared to others. Some ad formats also have more advertiser demand. Typically ad formats like the 728x90 Leaderboard, the 336x280 Large rectangle, the 300x250 Medium Rectangle, and the 300x600 Large Skyscraper are the most popular formats among the advertisers and more effective in terms of potentially increasing revenue. During big sporting events, advertisers are often focusing on viral engagement. Enabling expandable ads will help you capture this opportunity.

3. Be careful with blocking controls: Review which ad categories you’re currently blocking and why you’re blocking them. Overblocking can lead to a decline in your earnings potential, especially in times of increased traffic to your site and bigger advertiser spend on categories such as CPG, Auto, Entertainment Food and Beverage and Travel.  

4. Ensure optimal ad position: Choosing the best locations to insert the ads can be challenging.  Use Google Analytics to get a heatmap on where your users are clicking. You’ll also find more new resources on the AdSense Help Center regarding the best performing ad placements for each website category. Recently we have new articles about ad placement specific to sports and travel.

That wraps up our World Cup blog series. We hope you’ve gained some new insights, inspiration and ideas on getting your site ready for the World Cup. Check back here in a two weeks when we’ll be sharing news of a fantastic Google initiative around World Cup insights.

Posted by Marta Lysiak - Inside AdSense Team
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Posted:
Mobile empowers users to access your site at anytime and from anywhere. Is your site ready for them? Your mobile site should allow users to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for without sacrificing richness of content. While there are a lot of expert opinions about how to do this, very few are based on actual data and research. So we partnered with AnswerLab to study more than 100 mobile users as they completed conversion-focused tasks across a diverse group of sites. From this research, we developed 25 principles of mobile site design to help you develop a mobile site that both delights your users and drives engagement.

Let’s take a closer look at three findings from the research:

Primacy of site search
Study participants with a specific need, especially those visiting retail sites, turned to site search to find what they were looking for. Participants were quick to abandon sites that returned irrelevant search results or a large set of results that they were unable to narrow.

Key takeaway: Ensure site search is visible on the homepage via an open text field, returns relevant results, and is equipped with advanced features, like auto-complete and filters, to get users what they want quickly.

Mobile site misconceptions
If presented a choice, study participants would often tap on the link to visit the “full site” due to a perception that they’d be missing out on something by staying on the mobile site. Choosing the “mobile site” implied to them that they were not getting the “full” experience, when in reality, the mobile site offered most, if not all of the functionality in an easier-to-view format.

Key takeaway: If your mobile site provides the same content and functionality as your desktop site in an easier-to-use format, then there is no need to provide a link to the desktop site. If you do decide to provide users with a link to the desktop site, then use terms like “desktop site” instead of “full site” to be clear that both sites offer a complete experience.

Sites with a mix of mobile optimized and desktop pages provide a poor user experience
Unsurprisingly, it was easier for participants to navigate mobile-optimized sites on their mobile devices than desktop sites on their mobile devices. However, sites that included a mix of desktop and mobile-optimized pages were actually harder for participants to use than sites with all-desktop pages.

Key takeaway: To improve user experience, task completion and conversion rates, go all in and optimize your entire site for mobile. If launching in phases, then make sure users don’t have to traverse between desktop pages and mobile optimized pages to complete their tasks.

To review our complete findings, download the Principles of Mobile Site Design from Think Multi-Screen. Use the principles to review the effectiveness of your existing site or to guide the creation of your first mobile-optimized site.

Posted by Jenny Gove, User Experience Researcher, Google
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Posted:
Google Analytics can be an incredibly valuable source of information for AdSense publishers,  and today we’re announcing a new way for you to use those insights to improve your site’s performance. Google Analytics has created a data sharing setting to give you the option to let our optimization specialists proactively analyze your Analytics account data to find new ways for you to grow your business online. We’ll help you understand how people find your site, how they navigate through it, and how they become loyal users - and we’ll help you take advantage of Analytics features like Content Experiments to help you determine the most optimal layout for your site.

If you’ve linked your AdSense account with Analytics, opt in to the Account specialists data sharing setting under the Account Settings tab. Then we’ll be able to build targeted recommendations to help you improve the user experience on your site and monetize with AdSense more effectively.

Additionally, if you want to help make our other products work better for content publishers like yourself, you can opt in to the existing With other Google products setting under the same Account Settings tab. Sharing your Analytics data with other Google products can help us create new publisher solutions to achieve your website goals. For example, AdWords could recommend more effective keywords based on an understanding of how users behave on your site or AdSense could suggest more effective ad placements.

You can find full instructions for updating your Analytics settings in the Analytics Help Center.

Update your Analytics settings

Your website data will not be used for any purposes other than those that you specify in your settings, which you may change at any time. If you haven’t linked your AdSense account with Analytics, you can learn more about using Analytics with AdSense in our Help Center.

Finally, to receive more targeted optimization tips, make sure you’re opted into Performance Suggestions in your AdSense email preferences. We look forward to helping you grow your site!

Posted by Anitra Appa - AdSense Optimization Specialist
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Posted:
Throughout your journey as a publisher, we occasionally get in touch to provide information related to your participation in AdSense, such as account and product updates. Our goal is to ensure that this type of information, in addition to other types of messages you can enable like optimization tips, reaches you in a timely fashion so that you can review it and take action. However, sometimes we’re not able to reach you because we have incorrect contact information.

We’ve all been there - we receive too many pieces of information, so we provide a different, less frequently checked email address for an online site we’re signing up for. Or we move, change email addresses, and forget to update contact details for different services. It’s a common occurrence, so we wanted to take this opportunity to ask you to review your contact information in your AdSense account to ensure we have your preferred information. We use the contact details entered in your account to reach you, so it’s important that they’re accurate. As always, Google will only collect and use the information that you provide in accordance with its Privacy Policy

To update your contact information, log in to your account and visit the Account settings page under the Home tab. Under Personal settings, click “edit” and enter the desired data in the contact name, contact email and contact phone fields, then press “Save”. If you have multiple users for your account, we encourage each user to check their contact information.

Review contact information now

Thanks for helping us continue our partnership with you.

Posted by Jamie Firkus - Inside AdSense Team

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Posted:
Last week we covered some oldie-but-goodie optimization tips. Today, we’ll focus on some advanced tips to help you bring your AdSense strategy to the next level. We encourage you to review the full list and check off items as you complete them.
  1. Ensure your site has a positive user experience: User experience (UX) can make or break your site’s success. With many other sites offering similar services, it’s important to differentiate your site in the eyes of your users by providing a better experience. Because a user’s attention is limited, you'll only have a few seconds to provide a good experience and quickly guide the user to what they’re looking for. Read these three blog posts to learn our top five UX tips.
  2. Make your first ad unit count: AdSense loads the highest paying ad on a page first, so to improve your revenue make sure that your best performing ad unit is the first in your HTML code. Make the changes by following these steps.
  3. Fix crawler errors: Ensure that our AdSense crawler can accurately crawl your site so that your ads are as relevant and useful as possible. Visit the Account settings section of your account to see if you have crawler errors and read this blog post for details on the steps to take.
  4. Go mobile: It’s clear that mobile is growing rapidly. Ensure you have a mobile strategy for your site, and use our tips and tools to help you along the way.
  5. Create a Google+ page to connect with your users: Google+ offers a number of tools to help you reach audiences in new ways. On your +page, you can share your articles, photos, YouTube videos, and even host live broadcasts. Your +page will also include a +1 button that users can click to recommend you. Think about your Google+ page as a way to complement your site, allowing you to grow and measure user engagement before directing users back to your pages for more of your great content. Get started today by reading our Social Fridays blog post series. 
  6. Use DoubleClick For Publishers (DFP) Small Business: As your online advertising business continues to grow, you may have started working with other ad networks or doing deals directly with advertisers. DFP Small Business is a free, Google-hosted solution to help streamline how ads are served on your site when you’re working with AdSense alongside other ad partners. With DFP Small Business, you have a vast array of features that give you more control over when, where, and how your ads serve.
That concludes our two-part optimization checklist series. Please visit our AdSense +page to let us know your experience with these optimization tips.

Posted by Jamie Firkus - Inside AdSense Team

Posted:
With a fresh start to the year, now is a great time to review your AdSense strategy to ensure you’re making the most out of your ads. With that in mind, we’re kicking off a two-part optimization checklist series to help you increase your earning potential. In this first post, we’ll review some oldie-but-goodie tips; take a look, check off the items that you’ve already covered, and see if there’s anything you may have missed.
  1. Increase ad coverage: Placing additional ad units on your site can have a big impact on your earnings. You can put up to three standard AdSense for content ad units (note only one 300x600), three link units and two AdSense for search boxes on each page of your site. Sometimes publishers find it difficult to decide whether an additional ad unit makes sense for their site. Watch this short video to help you make sure you're following best practices, as outlined on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, when placing new ad units on your site. As always, it’s important to consider the amount of ads in relation to the quality content on your site. 
  2. Use recommended ad sizes: As a rule of thumb, wider ad sizes tend to outperform their taller counterparts, due to their reader-friendly format. If positioned well, wide ad sizes can increase your earnings significantly. The sizes we've found to be the most effective are the 728X90 Leaderboard, the 336x280 Large Rectangle, the 300x250 Medium Rectangle, and the 160x600 Wide Skyscraper. Keep in mind that while these ad sizes typically perform well, you should use the size that best complements your pages.
  3. Show both text and image ads: Image ads compete in the same auction for your ad space that text ads do. So, choosing to display both text and image ads increases the competition for ads to appear on your site, and may help you earn more. Check this case study to see how displaying both text and image ads helped one publisher. You can also find instructions how to enable image ads in our Help Center.
  4. Experiment with ad color combinations: Choosing the right ad styles can mean the difference between ads your users will notice -- and click -- and ads they'll skip right over. There are three techniques you can use to design ad styles that will be successful for your site: blend, compliment and contrast.  Experiment with ad color combinations to find the best fit for your site. See this Help Center article for additional information. 
  5. Ensure optimal ad placement: The placement of your ads plays a big role in revenue earning potential and user experience. While we often recommend placing an ad above the fold, it’s also important that users can easily find the content they are looking for. Check out this resource for more tips on ad placement, and see our heat map for even more information. 
  6. Add a search box (or two): As mentioned in #1, you can put up two AdSense for search boxes (along with three standard AdSense for content ad units and three link units) on each page of your site.  AdSense for search is a free product that lets you place a Custom Search Engine on your site to provide users with web search. You'll also earn revenue from relevant ads on the search results page.
We hope you find these tips useful. If you have additional tips to share, or would like to let us know about your experience with using an optimization tip, leave a comment on our AdSense +page. Stay tuned for our second part of the series, where we’ll cover some advanced optimization tips.

Posted by Jamie Firkus - Inside AdSense Team

Posted:
Every Friday, we’re posting Google+ tips to help publishers make the most of all of the features and resources available. Be sure to check back each week for the latest in our educational Social Fridays series!

A few weeks ago, we talked about the possibilities around using Google+ Hangouts on Air to hold live broadcasts. This free feature allows you to live stream a conversation between 10 participants, directly from your Google+ page, your YouTube channel, and even your website, for a global audience to view.

The New York Times has been hosting frequent Hangouts on Air to engage with their audience, with topics ranging from foreign affairs to professional baseball to voter concerns. Since setting up the +New York Times page in November 2011, the Times has aimed to create a hub for their online readers to not only discover news, but to also participate in discussion.

Recently, the Times used Hangouts on Air to cover a breaking news story and reach a wide online audience. Just hours after the the Supreme Court’s monumental decision to uphold President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act, the Times became the first major media outlet to discuss the news via live web video. The Hangout video was broadcasted live on the +New York Times page as well as on the NYTimes Opinion page, allowing the discussion and analysis to be shared with a wider audience.


The Times team prepared for a smooth Hangout by securing guest participants for their live broadcast a week in advance. When the date of the decision arrived, the Times added a graphic placeholder to the NYTimes Opinion page and published a post to their +page to publicize the upcoming Hangout. Once the Hangout started, they embedded the video directly into the Opinion page and also added a homepage promotion to their site to drive awareness. After the Hangout was completed, the Times team quickly edited the video footage on YouTube and uploaded it to the front page of NYTimes.com for additional visibility.

For more information, read the full case study. If you’re ready to start broadcasting, be sure to review our tips and then get started with your own Hangout on Air. If you have any advice of your own to share about Hangouts, feel free to post them to our AdSense +page!

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team

Posted:
This is the final post of a three-part series highlighting five user experience principles to keep in mind when designing your site. Using these principles will help provide a great experience for users on your site. To see these principles applied to an AdSense publisher’s site, we'll host a live Google+ Hangout on October 9th at 10:30am PT with an AdSense publisher. We will be applying these very principles to help improve their site! Go to the Google AdSense G+ page on the 9th to see it live!

In our first and second posts in this series we discussed how to identify your user’s goals, the structure of your site, how to help guide users through your site and a few tips for a better experience on mobile. In this post we’ll provide our fifth and final user experience tip and lay out some strategies for converting a casual user into a loyal one.

5. Turn casual visitors into loyal users

So far we’ve discussed ways to make sure you understand what your users are looking for and how to present it to them. But you may be wondering how do you keep users coming back again and again? After all, repeat business is the lifeblood of businesses both online and offline. To get users to return, you need to do more than just answer their questions; you need to give them reasons to return to your site.

Tips:
Below are a few ways you can turn one-time visitors into repeat visitors:
  • New content: First and foremost, make sure to constantly provide new, high-quality content. Next, make sure you are showcasing new content on your top landing pages.
  • Related content: Show users similar content elsewhere on your site. Create a section that links users to popular content on the same subject. This will drive more engagement.
  • Social: Make it easy for users to connect with you via their favorite social networks. All major social networks have widgets that you can put on your site to allow users to follow you. Once you have them make sure you push out your most popular content to drive return visits.
  • Email: Make sure you have a way for users to subscribe to your email list for updates and/or a newsletter.
  • User engagement: Make it easy for users to interact with your content, through forums, a rating system or recommendations.
Example:
If you have a deal site where users can search for deals, you can first prompt them to sign up to be notified via email when new offers that match their interests are added to the site. You can also showcase how many people recommend a deal so users see which deals are popular. 

We hope you enjoyed this three part series on user experience and we welcome your comments below!

Thinking about implementing some of these changes? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know what you changed in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out the User Experience Google+ Event Page on October 9th at 10:30am PST/1:30pm EST to join a Hangout On Air and see a real AdSense publisher put these principles in action!

Posted by David Richards - Google AdSense

Resources:Get a Google+ Page  - http://www.google.com/+/business/
Allow users to subscribe to your updates via Google+.

Posted:
This is the second of a three-part series highlighting five user experience principles to keep in mind when designing your site. Using these principles will help provide a great experience for users on your site. After the next post we’ll host a live Google+ Hangout on October 9th at 10:30am PT with an AdSense publisher. We will be applying these principles to help improve their site! Visit the AdSense Google+ page on the 9th to see it live!

In our last post about user experience, we provided two tips to help you identify some goals for your site and your users.

In this post we’ll share another two tips; you’ll learn how to steer users around your site and how different use cases (desktop or mobile) require different setups.

3. Ensure that users know what action to take on your site


Users should always know what action to take next on your site. When a user lands on your page it should be very clear what they should pay attention to first, second, and so on. There should also be a clear next action for them to take whether it's clicking “buy” to make a purchase or reading a related article.

Tips:
Consider these points when creating meaningful calls to action:
  • Emphasis: Give emphasis to the call to action by its size, color, contrast and/or use of white space.
  • Simple: Don’t clutter your page with too many different actions. Really think about what you want your users to do and prioritize those actions in your design.
  • Incentive: Give an incentive to take action. This can be seen in discounts, gifts, raffle entry or access to more content
  • Proximity: Make sure your call to action is in a logical placement on the page. For example, if the page features an article, you may want to put the call to action below the article.
  • Consistency: Have your call to action show throughout the site and keep its appearance consistent. 

4. Tailor your experience to your users’ situation

Your site needs to provide a great experience to users whenever and wherever they need it. It’s important to put some thought into how your users use your site differently in different situations. Be sure to consider their time constraints and whether they are on a mobile device or a computer.

Tips:
Use these tips to help you think about the use cases your users might experience:
  • Situation: What situation is the user in that caused them to seek out information on your site?
  • Limit features: The mobile version of your site should only include the core features of your site that will help your users find the information they’re looking for. Save the other advanced features for your desktop site where your users have a little bit more time.
  • Speed: Users only have a couple of seconds so make sure your site loads lightning fast. Google’s Page Speed tool can help you optimize your load time.
  • Forgiveness: Users make mistakes, especially on mobile. Let them easily undo and return to where they were, without having to use the back button.

Example:
Suppose you’re a restaurant review site. How does a mobile user’s behavior differ from that of a desktop user? First off, mobile users are probably on the move; they could even be walking down the street as they browse your site. They won’t have time to navigate through several pages of restaurants like they do on the desktop site. They expect your site to use the phone’s GPS to locate them and show them popular restaurants nearby based on their search. Your site can even optimize the review experience for mobile by showing the most popular short reviews since users don’t have time to read long reviews.

Remember, it’s all about thinking about the situation that the user is in when they reach your site and tailoring the user experience to match.

Check in tomorrow and we’ll talk about generating return visits to your site and creating customer loyalty through a great UX.

Posted by David Richards - Google AdSense

Resources:
Google Analytics Events  - http://www.google.com/analytics/
Measure the impact of design changes and monitoring the continued usage of your site will keep you updated on how your users are interacting with your site, and how their usage can shift, change or evolve over time. Google Analytics Events will help you measure these changes by measuring clicks on pre-defined elements of the page.

Site Speed Tool - https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/
Google has provided some great tools to helping improve your site speed.

How to GoMo - http://www.howtogomo.com/
Google has created a quick tool to see how your website looks on a mobile phone. It also provides some great resources to help build your mobile site.

DUDA mobile - http://gomo.dudamobile.com/
Duda Mobile is a partner with Google GoMo and allows you to create your mobile site in minutes. 

Posted:
This is the first of a three-part series highlighting five user experience principles to keep in mind when designing your site. Applying these principles will help provide a great experience for users on your site. After the series we’ll host a live Google+ Hangout On Air on October 9th at 10:30am PT, when we'll put these principles in action by helping an AdSense publisher make UX improvements to their site. Visit the AdSense Google+ page on the 9th to see it live!

User experience can make or break your site’s success. With many other sites offering similar services, it’s important to differentiate your site in the eyes of your users by providing a better experience. Because a user’s attention is limited, you'll only have a few seconds to provide a good experience and quickly guide the user to what they’re looking for.

Today, we've provided our first two important design tips and techniques to help you identify goals for both your site and its users.

1. Focus on your users’ goals


Step back and first ask yourself, “How can I give my users what they want while getting what I want?” The first step in answering this is to figure out what your users’ goals are, what your goals are and how they work together. You’ll need to think about what your site’s core offerings and strengths are. We recommend keeping this to one or two strengths. Though your site may be good at many things, you should focus on what it’s great at.

Tips:
Some questions to ask yourself when starting out are:
  • How are your users finding your site?
  • What are they looking for?
  • Do you give them what they want?
  • What do you want from your users?
  • How do you get a desired response from them?

Example:
You’re a tech news site and after considering each of the questions above, you determine that:
  • Most of your users come from search engines and land on the article page
  • Your user is looking for the content of the article they searched for
  • You show them a full page article on the landing page
  • Your goal is to keep the user engaged, so that they stay longer and see more content
  • The answer to here is the real challenge. You need to prove to the user that there’s other valuable content on your site and encourage them to read more. This can be accomplished by including some related or popular articles at the bottom of each article.

2.  Employ a clear structure to guide users

No matter what page a user lands on, you only have a few seconds on that first screen with the space above the fold to get their attention and show them what you’re all about. Employing a simple hierarchy will give your page a clear structure that will guide users and highlight what you want them to see.

Another thing to keep in mind is the information architecture of your site. Users are able to recognize familiar pages from unfamiliar based on the consistent way you organize and display information on your site. If your website’s structure is not logical or what they expect, users will be lost and not sure where to go next. This adds to overall frustration and can lead to users leaving your site.
Tips:
Use these simple design tips to create a structure for your page:
  • Contrast: Using color, saturation, or opacity to juxtapose elements on the page.
  • Size: Size is one of the easiest design levers to guide your users. Don’t be afraid to use BIG and BOLD elements to draw users’ attention to the most important information on the page.
  • Alignment: Elements that share a common axis appear related.
  • Whitespace: Drawing attention to specific elements by leaving empty space around them. It also makes your design more appealing to the eye.
  • Grid: Using a simple grid to layout elements on your page will create a sense of order and structure.

Example:
Newspaper sites usually do a great job creating structure through hierarchy. The breaking story or most important piece of news dominates the screen. This ensures it’s the first thing you see. Major headlines from other sections are also big and bold so a user that’s browsing can quickly and easily pick them out. The size and contrast of photos and headlines helps to guide users through the page.

Thanks for reading and check back tomorrow for our second installment of Publisher Insights!

Posted by: David Richards - Google AdSense

Resources:   
Google Analytics: Google’s free tool to help you measure your traffic and how users are currently using your site. Additionally, it can help you test how changes to your site affect performance.
Webmaster Guidelines: Creating a clear hierarchy and sitemap will help Google crawlers find and rank content on your site.