AdSense Requires You To Have a Privacy Policy Now

Google AdSense

If you’re a Google AdSense publisher, you’ve noticed that a few weeks ago the Terms and Conditions for this service have been updated.

Quite a few things changed, but one of the most important updates is that you are required now to have a privacy policy on each website of yours which uses Google AdSense.

From Inside AdSense blog:

We’ve also added some specific requirements that make it necessary for publishers to post and abide by a transparent privacy policy that users see. According to this policy, publishers must notify their users of the use of cookies and/or web beacons to collect data in the ad serving process. This change relates to advertisers’ use of innovative products and features like Gadget Ads and other offerings in the future.

To make your life easier, I’m going to share a useful tip: you don’t have to invent a policy yourself, cause it’s already done. In fact, there’s a WordPress plugin which creates a simple privacy policy you can then insert into any of your blog pages: Synclastic Privacy Policy Plugin.

Once you download the plugin, simply activate it and create a new WordPress page. Just insert this tag wherever you want your policy to appear:

<!– privacy-policy –>

That’s it! Really simple. Great plugin.

I’ve just done this here on PerfectBlogger, so my privacy policy is found under http://www.perfectblogger.com/privacy page.

See also:

Adsense Notifier extension finally fixed!

Adsense Notifier

Just when I have almost given up on the broken Adsense Notifier script, it got updated and fixed! You can download the latest version here: Adsense Notifier.

The current version is 0.9.6, and it once again shows all the Adsense earnings in the toolbar of my Firefox.

Adsense Notifier is one of the most useful extensions for me, because it saves me the effort of regularly checking the status of my Adsense account (which is a very bad habit – wastes a lot of time). Simply configure the settings to your likings, and all your vital Adsense stats will be automatically downloaded and delivered to your statusbar. Incredibly useful!

New AdSense feature: Manage Ads

Last week saw the appearance of new AdSense feature I’ve been waiting for: it’s now possible to manage ads!
The idea behind ads management is that most of parameters will now be stored on AdSense servers, not in ad code on your website. This means changing any parameter will be much easier, cause you simply edit it from your AdSense panel, without having to regenerate the ad unit code and integrating it into your website.

Manage new ads

Any AdSense units you’re going to create are automatically added to the list of managed ones, so by going to the AdSense Setup -> Manage Ads menu of your AdSense control panel you’ll be able to access the list of such ads. You can click and edit any one of them.

Manage old ads

Any existing ads of yours will continue to work, but if you want to simplify their management, you’ll have to convert them. Again, you do this once, and then enjoy the benefits every time you’re changing something about your ads.

See also:

AdSense Wisdom From ProBlogger

Darren Rowse (ProBlogger) has posted two great articles summarizing some of the best reasons to use or not to use Google AdSense:

Google buys FeedBurner for $100m

FeedBurner

For all of us FeedBurner users, exciting times are coming: looks like Google indeed buys FeedBurner for $100m!

I think the following things are going to happen rather soon:

  • feed stats will be improved and extended
  • Google Analytics users will probably see FeedBurner stats integrated
  • more monetization options will arrive: Adsense for Feeds will get a rework and will become part of standard FeedBurner services
  • more feed optimization options will become available

Speedlinking – 21/10/2006

It's Saturday again, and this means I have a few articles I'd like to share with you. I'm sure you will find them useful.

 

Darren Rowse has created a list of all the RSS advertising options available to you at this moment. As always, he adds his own opinion and short description which is the most valuable feature of his posts. Thanks, Darren! I think as soon as I gain enough readership for my feeds, I'll be definitely considering one of the options he listed.

Joe Hauckes from Working at Home on the Internet shares his thoughs on overly aggressive ads placement with blogs in his How To Lose A Visitor Before They Become A Reader article:

This particular Blog had an ad in every Hot Spot and a few of the Cooler Spots, and even some of the Spots that were Below Freezing. I understand the need to use advertisements for income and support of the site, but at least allow people to see the Name of the Blog without being slammed in the face by Flashing Banners.

 

I absolutely agree. You've probably noticed me using AdSense as well, but I try and not make it block the actual content. I strongly believe that any online project should provide tons of useful content before making any attempt to financially benefit from it through ads.

Google AdSense: How To Show Search Results On Your Own Page

While opening Google AdSense search results  within your own site is definitely not new, I haven't seen any quick review explaining how it all works and what's required to set it up. Working on enabling this AdSense feature for my Personal Development blog, I figured someone else could find this post useful.

 

Introduction

Why would you want to show Google search results on your own page? To make sure your visitors enjoy the same interface the rest of your website has, of course. To ensure the design integration makes visitors feel as if they're browsing just another one of your pages.

Everyone who had used Google AdSense for search feature in the past, must remember that you had only an option to change some basic colors for the results block, and it would be opened from Google's website and usually look very different from the rest of your website.

Well, now we have an option to change this.

 

How it works 

The idea behind showing your Google search results on your own site is pretty simple. You've got to set up a designated search results page on your site. You're free to change any design feature of this page to make sure it looks as good as any other page of your website, but space for the Google search results must be reserved.

Instead of one piece of Google AdSense code, you're going to get two. The first piece of code is the one creating a Google search form for your website. Something which will look like this:

 

Google AdSense search form

 

 

The second piece of code is for your results page. Just copy & paste the search results code from your Google Adsense to your search results page,  and you're done. If you open such a page manually, without being called by Google AdSense search form, you will see no search results, but if the page is shown as the result of an actual search using the Google search form on your website, you will see a neat page with all the results found and nicely integrated in your design.

 

Step-by-step instructions

I don't intend this page to be a full manual on the Google AdSense search results integration by any means, but all the steps shown before will hopefully show you how easy the whole procedure is. 

 

1) Google AdSense account – you must have a valid AdSense account to begin with. If you still haven't got one, it's not too late to get one – you will find all the details in my Getting Started with Google AdSense article.

 

2) Find out the URL of your future results page 

You need to know where you results page is going to be found, because you will be asked for this URL in during AdSense for search setup.

For WordPress-based blog, it is fairly simple to specify the exact name of your page and therefore know the full URL for this page without even creating it (you can't created it yet, read on to find out why)

 

3) AdSense for search setup 

Log into your AdSense account, open the AdSense Setup tab,  click the AdSense for search, and configure your Google AdSense search in a way similar to this:

  • Search Type section – this is where you decide what kind of search you would like to provide your visitors with. Most likely, you will opt for a Google WebSearch + SiteSearch, as it allows both global and local (your domain-specific) searches.

    Click the radio button for the desired option, and if you opted for the SiteSearch option, type your website's URL in the form provided.

  • Search box style section – this dialog allows you configure the way your Google search form will look on your website
  • More options section is the one where you need to choose the preferred way of  Opening of search results page. If you click the  Open results within my own site radio button there, you will be prompted for a URL of your search results page from Step 2 of this how-to.

Complete all the rest options like you normally would, and the last step of your AdSense for search setup will be the two pieces of code I have mentioned before, ready for you to copy and paste into your website pages. 

 

4) Create a designated search results page for your website

Now that you have the necessary pieces of code in your AdSense setup window, would be a good time to create the results page of yours.

If you're a blogger, then you need to create a static page of some kind and make it look the same way you'd like it to be, leaving space to be populated with search results. 

If your blog is WordPress-based, you will need to create a page template, and then create a new page based on this template. You can find all the necessary information on working with Pages in WordPress on the Pages section of official WordPress documentation site. 

Essentially, a page template in WordPress is nothing but an PHP/HTML file you create in your WordPress theme directory. Take one of the existing page templates to start off, and make sure you paste the second piece of AdSense search code  into this page template where you would like to see your search results.

 

5) Update your website to include the latest AdSense code for the search form. This is where you decide what page of your website (or pages if it's your blog – cause many bloggers put search forms in the sidebar code, so that the search form is shown on practically every page of their blog.

 

That's all, you're done. Enjoy your new Google AdSense search results page!

If you're looking for a working example, please visit my Personal Development blog, and use the search form found on the right  sidebar. If you want to compare my search results page to the same page opened manually, you can always open the search results page yourself (like I mentioned before, you will obviously see no results in this case).

Let me know if you need help with getting this AdSense feature working on your website – just a leave a comment for this post, and I'll be sure to contact you using the email provided.

Also, I think you would benefit from reading the official AdSense support article on the same topic: How do I implement Adsense for search results on my own page?
 

5 Reasons Why AdSense Link Units Work So Well

I've recently discovered link units for myself, and having tried them out on a couple of my blogs, I highly recommend you give them a try. If you still don't know what link units are, please visit this page: https://www.google.com/adsense/adformats.

In fact, now that I look back at the half a year of my AdSense experiments, I don't understand how I could start with something else and not link units – they're so simple to add and integrate into your blog design, yet so effective that they're bound to make any page with a decent content earn you some money!

 

Imagine yourself as your website visitor 

The reason I never tried link units originally is because I couldn't understand why someone would want to click them. As all the webmasters and usability experts say, you've got to look at your website with the eyes of a visitor. Not only you should do this, but it is also recommended to imagine yourself both a random and a targeted visitor – cause they really are two quite different flows of traffic for your website.

So doing such an analysis and trying out all kinds of visitors in my imagination, I just could not understand why I would like clicking the link units. It would make so much more sense to me to click a text ad which shows you the URL and gives you a short description of the website you're about to get to. So it made no sense to me, and having spent few hours over the course of a week or two thinking about link units, I did eventually give the idea up.

Few months later though, having tried few other AdSense formats, I've decided to give link units another go simply out of interest. I was pretty amazed to see that quite a number of my visitors DID click link units and not only that, but also followed up and clicked some of the links provided by Google when you click on a keyword in a link unit.

Now I believe I've finally figured out why link units work. This is because of the number of factors:

 

  1. Link units look promising
    Indeed, most of link units look like some kind of a menu. Some websites integrate them so well, that they completely blend in with the rest of menus – so that visitors click link units as easily as they click any other menu item.

    It had been noticed that using a Link Unit closer to the top page makes it look like a menu bar so much that it greatly improves the click rate, while if you were to place the same Link Unit closer to the middle of your page, it may have no impact and attract no clicks at all.

  2. Link units are neat and compact

    Link units are probably the easiest AdSense ads to integrate into your website design. There's quite a number of formats for these units, so make up your mind and start experimenting

  3. Link units deliver results

    Essentially, link units are keywords – the most relevant ones to the current content, according to Google. And clicking on any of these keywords will bring you to more relevant results to click on. Visitors see the keywords and they immediately get an idea of what kinds of links they're going to get when they click link units.

  4. Link units are not overloaded with URL descriptions

    This is probably one of the most important things to understand about AdSense link units. I believe I haven't tried link units before exactly because of this reason. I did not understand why visitors would click on some keywords that they might have an idea about but no exact knowledge of what results they're going to get. But then I had realised that this also serves as an additional attraction – visitors click on link units EXACTLY because they don't know how good or bad results they're going to get. In contrast, when they see a full-scale text ad, they read the description of a link, and they may immediately decide not to follow the link because they don't want to visit a particular site. But with link units, they have to click to get the list of URLs with their descriptions

  5. Link units are different

    When users click link units, they get a page with relevant ads in a form of Google search results. This list of URLs does not look like an ad at all – it's in a form of a list of potentially useful resources which your visitor might find helpful. I believe there's something psychological behind this representation of ads, because users seem to be more willingly clicking such ads compared to how standard AdSense ads perform.

 

That's all for today. Good luck with your AdSense experiments, and be sure to let me know how you progress!

Simple Ways To Get Out of Google Sandbox

Everyone faces this problem when starting a new website: how to get your website indexed by search engines as quickly as possible? This post will show you a quick way to get out of Google Sandbox with minimum efforts on your part.

 

Two Months To Fully Index Your Content

My access logs show that it took Google just about 2 months to fully reveal the contents of one of my newly created blogs. This obviously takes the usual lag of a few days  it takes Google bots to index the most recent content.

Impressively enough, Google bots start indexing your new website in a matter of just few days. My blog was indexed for the first time when it was only 3 days old! Bear in mind though, I've pointed Google to it using its website submission form.

 

Easy Tips For The Best Results 

Below are just a few really easy tips for your website optimization which will help Google index your content as quickly as possible:

  • Use Permalinks
    Permalinks
    are definitely the first thing to do. There's been a lot of talking about it on various SEO sites, and the general knowledge I've gained is that Google is likely to pay attention at how people would access your pages.

    Important: make sure your permalinks structure is well-thought beforehand, as it will be hard to change it at a later time.

    If you're using a recent enough content management system or blog engine, you probably have no real directories with your articles and blog entries, but instead all the content is stored in a database, and nice URLs are made using permalinks. It's a simple enough concept: do some planning and make sure your URLs look the best.

    No dynamic URLs – it's really important that you have as less variables in your URLs as possible (none ideally). Again, because it is important that your URLs are simple and easy to read and follow.

  • Google Sitemaps
    Google Sitemaps are the easiest and quickest way to let Google know what pages your website has. Not only can you provide the list of all the pages you want indexed, but you can also specify the importance of each page so that Google bots pay more attention to it.

    Google Sitemaps is quite a flexible service, and since it's fairly popular too, there are already tons of freely available tools out there to suit all your needs. I really liked the SiteMap XML script in PHP – you specify a link to it in your Google Sitemaps account, and every time Google accesses this script, it automatically scans your website and provides a ready SiteMap in XML form. Very convenient and pretty easy to configure.

  • Have As Many Pages Of Real Content As Possible
    All I had was 10 articles to start with, because I didn't want to put too much content online just yet. I wanted to see if it's possible to get out of Google sandbox with such a small number of pages. And here's the answer: yes, it is quite possible!.

    What make your content real? Here are just a few things to keep in mind:

    • Write your articles yourself: DON'T grab texts from any online resources – this will not give you much weight in terms of Google search engine, as Google bots will be more interested in a fresh, original content
    • Be unique: you need to be as original as possible – because only really unique articles and ideas will get the most interest. This is mostly to do with human readers of your blog and not Google bots, but I still think it's a good advice.

  • Put Google AdSense ads on every page with the content
    Luckily I've had AdSense account activated beforehand using a rather popular project of mine, so it was not a problem at all for me to stick a square block of AdSense ads onto every page with useful content.

    There is an opinion that having AdSense on your pages urges Google bots to come and index your pages more quickly simply because Google really has to have your pages indexed before it can provide meaningful content-targeted ads.

    While it's not 100% accurate, because AdSense also is capable of scanning your pages on-the-fly and provide meaningful ads for the most obvious keywords in your content, I certainly see no harm in placing ads.

    My ads became meaningful in just a couple of days, but I had to wait for another 2 months before my pages got visible in Google search results.

  • Trackback to popular sites
    I've only trackbacked to one site again because I wanted to see if it would be enough. It sure was enough! I got only 10 visitors or so from that website, but the point was made – I've been visited through an external link. A trackback is a great and simple way to let others know about your content.

  • Link to other projects of yours
    There is definitely no harm in linking to other projects of yours, especially to the long-established and popular ones. If you have only a handful of projects (not hundreds), then it's also okay to link back to your project – it will not add much of a weight to your new project from the search engine point of view, but it would not look like you're trying to earn a better PageRank by linking from tons of your own projects neither.

 

As you can see, it's all been about letting Google know your site is out there and really has to be indexed fully at some stage. Sitemaps help Google find its way around your website, and AdSense could also be a useful hint to get your site indexed as Google cannot serve content-targeted ads without having indexed the content first.

But the best advice is to never stop experimenting! Some things might work for my projects, but will not for yours. Similarly, you can as easily come up with the most brilliant solutions to getting your site indexed in the least time possible. Just don't forget to share the knowledge! ;) 

AdSense Optimization Month

Inside AdSense blog is going to post even more optimization secrets on its pages this month, as they deem August to be their AdSense Optimization Month!

In case you missed it, they've updated their Optimization Tips Page  recently, although nothing really new had been added. Darren Rowse has a good post on ProBlogger about these changes: AdSense Updates Help Pages