Keywords That Pay And Where To Place Them – Making Money With Google Adsense (Part 2 of 3)

September 27, 2013

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

  • Why aren't I making more money with AdSense?
  • I've got good paying ads, but no one is clicking. Huh?
  • My friend has the same amount of traffic, but makes a lot more than me. Why is that?

14_Keywords that Pay and Where to Place Them_72In Part 1 of our Guide to AdSense we spoke about how AdSense works. Understanding how it works is critical in using it as a monetization strategy.

While AdSense is largely a traffic / numbers game, what the ads pay is directly tied to the discernible themes of your webpages.

In other words, some pages of your website will pay much better than others.

We ended Part 1 with this forecast: “. . . in Part 2 we’re going to talk about what kinds of keywords pay better, how to determine what they pay and how to place them on your site so you can make more money.”

So, let's make that come true.

What Kinds of Keywords Pay Better?

Essentially, there are two kinds of keywords (for this conversation). There are commercial keywords and non-commercial keywords. Let's talk about the reason commercial keywords almost always pay better than non-commercial ones.

Non-commercial keywords

keywordsYou can consider a keyword non-commercial when you know the person searching does not have their wallet out in hopes of buying something. “Weather” is the perfect example.

When a person searches the term “weather” or “weather San Francisco” or “weather in New York in June” they aren't looking to buy something.

So, those keywords (key phrases) are non-commercial. They aren't directly leading to the sale of a product or service.

There are millions of searches that are non-commercial. Here are some more examples:

  • benefits of vitamin c
  • water temperature
  • rabbit
  • how to hang a porch swing
  • what makes Leslie Samuel so handsome
  • why do girls go to the bathroom in pairs
  • where is Mississippi
  • what rhymes with soup
  • when to inflate your tires
  • 7 letter word that starts c and ends with ing
  • fastest plane
  • 101 ideas for spring cleaning

When you search for a non-commercial keyword (see “how to change a light bulb” below) more often than not, there aren't any advertisers on the search results pages. And if there are, they are low quality click hunters. That's because companies who are buying ads know that can not make very much money bidding on those keywords. (For more on how that works, read Part 1)

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 3.17.14 PM

Commercial keywords

Keywords that lead to the purchase of a product or service are commercial. A good litmus test to determine whether a keyword is commercial or not is the Amazon test. Can you imagine typing “weather in Birmingham” into Amazon's search box? I suppose if that was the name of a book or movie. Otherwise, no.

When you're on Amazon you're there to spend money not research the weather in Birmingham.

Some examples of commercial keywords would be:

  • replacement Frigidaire water filter 12-384W
  • buy leiderhosen website
  • hotel Birmingham downtown June
  • Joyce Chalmers Rice Recipe book
  • flowers Nashville same day delivery
  • rocky mountains calendar 2013
  • buy leslie samuel chocolates
  • plumber nashville bbb
  • dyslexia tutor clarksville tennessee for hire

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 2.02.53 AM

If you recall from AdSense Part 1, companies buy advertising across Google's networks to drive traffic to their products and services. Since they know a person searching for weather in San Jose isn't in the mindset of buying a couch, they don't want their ads to show up for those keywords. If your company sold any of these products or services, do you see the value in advertising when people search these terms? I think so.

Since there are typically several companies bidding for spots on the commercial keywords, the prices of those ads are higher than non-commercial keywords. Thus if your site is all about the best products to buy on Amazon, the ads associated with those pages will pay higher than a site all about how to install lightbulbs.

How do we determine what a keyword pays?

You can actually know what a keyword pays before you start, during your keyword research and after your pages are live. You can predict, monitor and assess with a variety of tools. is a great website that monitors what ad networks are paying for particular keywords. It has both a paid and free model and can be a good tool in figuring out which pages to use AdSense for monetization. is a keyword research tool that tells you not only how many people are searching for a keyword but also how many people are competing for it. Along with that it has some bonus information. . . how much each keyword is paying through Adsense. Most of the major paid keyword suites offer that.

And don't forget Google. Both Google's Ad Planner and your AdSense Dashboard will tell you how much keywords are paying. In the AdSense Dashboard when you upload all the url's from your site, you can see exactly which pages are paying high, low and nothing. Knowing which pages have high paying ads and good click through rates should dictate at least one tweet per day. #moneymakingtip

How do we place Adsense on our site to make more money?

You've probably heard people say, “test. . . test. . . test. . .” Well, they're right. The problem is most people don't know how to test. So before we get to any technical testing, let's talk about some easy things you can change to see if you can improve your income.

  1. Load up your website with fresh eyes. Pay very strict attention to where your eyes go when you land on the page. That spot is the best place to monetize. For some people that's the slider or image in the top post. If that's the case, then look at the colors on your site to see if you can draw the eyes back to the Adsense locations.
  2. Click on a single post, the search page, and individual pages and do the same thing as above.
  3. Now, take it one step further. Instead of stopping at where you eyes land first determine what a reader does naturally. For instance if you can see the top half of an image on your single posts, doesn't that make you want to scroll down? When you do that does your monetization leave the screen?
  4. Finally, as you navigate your site, are your ads near things that get attention? The bottom of a post is where people's eyes look for the comment section. The sidebar is where they look for navigation. The nav bar is where they are clicking. Are your ads near those spots?

And without getting too technical, if you have your Adsense Dashboard and Google Analytics set up correctly, you can easily test ad positions to see which ones make you the most money. But we'll leave the “how to” on that for Part 3.

So does that leave you feeling more confident about what you're doing with Adsense? Think you might be able to increase your income without help (at least to start)?

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  • dani says:

    I already started a blog and my keywords are non-commercial. Is there still a way to blog and make money w/ Google Adsense? If not, what would you suggest as a great way to monetize a blog with non-commercial keywords.

    • danrmorris says:

      You can monetize with Google Adsense, but you’ll need massive traffic to really make a lot that way. Other ways to monetize outside Adsense include:

      Impression networks
      Affiliate Marketing
      Your own Products
      Zazzle and Cafe Press
      Private Ads
      Solo Emails
      Sponsored Posts
      Sponsored Site
      Joint Venture Partnerships
      Consulting and other services

    • danrmorris says:

      There are dozens and dozens of ad networks out there. Check them out. Find one whose advertisers match your audience

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