What are Adsense experiments and how you can learn from them?

We all love to experiment new things, right?

I have good news for you, if you agree with that above. You can also experiment with Adsense. That sounds fun, right?

So what exactly are Adsense experiments?

Maybe you were picturing yourself mixing substances in a lab, or something like that… Sorry to disappoint!

With Adsense experiments, you test one version of an ad against another, and then you can choose to keep the winner.

For example, you could test one colour vs another. Or enabling certain categories/interests. Borders vs no borders, etc.

You can find the Experiments tab under Optimization.

Inside you will see your current experiments, and how they are doing.

If you click on one experiment, you will see how the original ad was doing, and how the variation is doing (you will see impressions and revenue). If you are convinced that the new version is better, you can choose to keep it. If you think it’s worse, then obviously you should keep the original.

Sometimes Google will suggest you some experiments to try. Recently, they suggested me to try 2 things (for 2 different sites):

  • Apply same style to borders and background for ads
  • Allow/block ads/categories for people over 18

After you allow the experiment to run for a certain amount of time (obviously, you need enough data to be significant), Google will give you the following parameters for each ad:

  • RPM (revenue per thousand impressions)
  • Quality Score
  • Overall change

Plus the overall number of impressions, days the experiment has been running and confidence (ideally you want to have over 95% confidence to be almost sure that you are picking the real winner).

You will see data for both the original ad and the new experiment, so you can then choose to keep the original and the variation.

So that’s it! I suggest you give it a try and have some fun. Bear in mind that you will need some traffic before you can make a decission, so make sure to use this feature in sites that receive some traffic.

Go have some fun 🙂

How (and why) to block categories in Adsense

If you were to manually add ads to your website (banners, text ads, etc), you would have full control over all the ads that would appear, since you would be creating all the ads manually.

The thing with Adsense is that you have no choice over the ads that will appear on your website… or do you?

Well, while you cannot manually pick which ads will appear on your website, you can certainly block some of them.

The way Adsense works is the following (simplifying a little bit): Google will read your page, determine what it is about, and then show ads related to those keywords/niches/topics.

However, there might be a certain ad that you don’t like in your site (might have some sensitive content). Or you discover that certain categories give you high earnings, while others don’t. In that case, you might want to block certain ads or categories.

To do that, you need to log into your Adsense account, and click on Allow & block ads in the sidebar (under My ads).

Once you are there, you will see several options

Advertiser URLs

You can decide to block all ads linking to, for example, amazon.com. Or microsoft.com. To do that, simply enter the urls and no more ads linking to that website will be shown.

Make sure to read the print in that page, saying you are not allowed to click on your own ads to find out the destination url.

General categories

Here you can block specific categories (or subcategories). For example, you could block all Health related ads. Or just Pharmacy inside health.

The great thing is that Google shows you how many ad impressions and earnings per category you are making. So if certain category is being shown pretty often, but you are not making much revenue from it, you could try blocking it. This won’t always lead to higher revenue, but it’s definitely worth trying.

Sensitive categories

There are certain categories that you might not like in your website (for numerous reasons). The current list is as follows:

  • Black Magic, Astrology & Esoteric
  • Cosmetic Procedures & Body Modification
  • Dating
  • Drugs & Supplements
  • Get Rich Quick
  • Politics
  • References to Sex & Sexuality
  • Religion
  • Ringtones & Downloadables
  • Sexual & Reproductive Health
  • Social Casino Games
  • Video Games (Casual & Online)
  • Weight Loss

So if you don’t want some of them appearing in your site, just make sure you block the categories you don’t like for your site. There are not so many ads in these categories generally speaking, so the goal of this is most of the times not to “spook” your visitors, more than making more money.

There is also what Google calls “Restricted Categories”, which are blocked by default. This will depend on the country you are in; in my case I can see “Gambling & Betting (18+)”. You will have to enable this manually if you want related ads to appear.

Ad Networks

Here you can block specific ad networks from appearing in your site.

Ad Serving

Here you can find different functions that you might want to enable/disable, like personalized ads, third party ads, enhanced text/display ads, etc. I can’t give you any specific suggestions, since I haven’t tested everything, so if you are interested in this area, just do some testing.


(Ah, I forgot to mention: you can disable ads for all sites, or just a specific site)


So the question is, now that you know how to do it, should you block categories/ads, etc?

In my (humble) opinion, your time is best spent creating new (and great) content, or testing placement, ad types, etc., but if you are a test freak, by all means, do some testing and see if your revenue goes up!

Where to find good (and free) information about Google Adsense

In the past, I’ve talked about great courses about Google Adsense.

However, since most of them are paid (aside from Optimizing Adsense, which is 100% free) and we all like free, here are some great resources where you can learn some tricks and you don’t even need to pull out your credit card:

The Official Adsense Blog (Inside Adsense)

Yes, it’s official, and it’s from Google, so it’s great information about what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing.


Youtube Adsense official Channel

Here you’ll find a few videos that can give you some useful insights.


Google Adsense Page at Google Plus

There is not so much happening at Google+ (they arrived into the social world a bit too late), but this particular page has over 2 million followers. There must be something happening there.


Digital Point Adsense Forum

This is a great forum, with thousands of posts to read. The only trouble is telling the good information aside from the not-so-good.


RaĂșl Mellado’s blog

Yepp, yours truly has written a lot of content about Adsense. Feel free to leave a comment on any article and I’ll do my best to reply.


Monetize Pros

This blog post called “101 ways to make money with Adsense” is filled with great information.


Another interesting post at Fat Stacks Entrepreneur

It’s from december 2014, but still pretty much up to date information


The Niche Site Duel series by Pat Flynn

What happened here is the following: Pat decided to have a challenge with other niche site experts where they would build, rankd and monetize a site, documenting everything along the way. Since it describes every single step along the way, there is a ton of information to learn.

Go to this post and scroll to the bottom to find a link to the other articles.


Spencer Haws Blog (Niche Pursuits)

Not everything is Adsense here (in fact, most of the information is not directly related to Adsense), however since he is focused on teaching how to build Niche Sites, you will find most of the information (blog posts and podcast) useful.

This blog post is particularly useful.



So that’s everything I could think of, if you know of more free resources, please let me know and I’ll include them in this guide.

How to spy on your “Adsense” competition (and avoid being spied on)

Maybe you think that spying is something for the movies, but trust me, it’s something we all do in the Online Marketing world.

And spying does  not necessarily mean being a “copycat”, ie, copying/duplicating something you see from your competition.

I prefer the word “inspiration”. You can check WHAT others are doing, learn WHY they are doing it, and then improve.

So here is how you would do some “007 Adsense spying”:

Let’s say you come to a site with Adsense ads, and you would like to find more sites that the same user owns (again, not to copy, but just to check what’s working, etc).

First, you view the source code and look for his/her Adsense Publisher id. To do this, look for the Adsense ad code and extract just the part that starts with pub-

It could be something like this:

google_ad_client = “ca-pub-1234567890123”;

With that, you now go to spyonweb.com and enter the publisher id. Then you just click Go! and you will get other sites owned by the same person.

For example, when I entered a specific publisher id (not revealing it here for privacy reasons):

I found out that this person has other 4 domains. So if I know that he/she is successful in building Adsense sites, I can assume that other sites might be profitable too, so I could check at many things like:

  • Keywords
  • Theme being used
  • Ads placing strategy
  • Backlinking strategy
  • Content strategy


You can also spy using Analytics Code. For that you need the code that starts with UA, for example: UA-12345678-1 (just a made up example)

If you enter this code at spyonweb.com you will find other sites with the same Analytics Account.

Obviously, not all sites are in the database, so you will not 100% of the results, but you will get a lot of information using this tool.


So after learning how to spy, what can you do to protect your business?

Here  are a couple of suggestions:

Separate your public site (ie, your blog) from your money sites.

Do not use the same Analytics account on your public blog/homepage and in your niche/Adsense sites. Otherwise people can just go to your main, public site, get the Analytics code, and spy on you.

Also, if you are very paranoid, you can use another analytics solution like Piwik.

Same thing but with Adsense.

Ideally, do not put Adsense on your blog (unless it makes you a ton of money)

Common sense

Be a bit private with your business. Do not reveal the urls of your websites in your blog, etc. Now I know it’s great to share information (and you can see I share as much information as I can with my readers), but some things should remain private. You never know who is listening.


So that’s it, hope this was useful and entertaining. You just got your Adsense spy badge 🙂

Why Adsense is not dead

I’ve been hearing it for years “Google Adsense is dead”.

And the reason people say that is this: a few years back, it was so easy to set up a new site, throw a bunch of poorly written articles, get a few backlinks, and rank it in a matter of days.

Then you just added some Adsense ads, make a few dollars a day, then rinse and repeat.

But then Google got a bit more picky, and nowadays it is not so easy to rank for many keywords. You usually need more time and definitely better content.

But this does not mean you cannot make some money (or a ton) from Google Adsense. It just means you have to be smarter.

If you are ready to work smart (and sometimes hard), there is plenty of unexplored keywords, niches, topics where you can add your content, get visitors and earn a living using Adsense.

Plus, you have other methods for driving traffic, like Facebook, Twitter…

And don’t forget about smartphones. Most traffic these days (and rising) comes from mobile devices. There is an unexplored world out there 🙂

Also, you can use Adsense just as one of the methods to monetize a site. You can complement it with Amazon links, other affiliate links, etc.

Even when it might not be so popular these days, it’s still alive and kicking.

The best Adsense courses

When it comes to Adsense, there are not so many courses around (at least, not too many good ones).

It was a much more popular topic in the past, but since interest has moved over to other aspect of Online Marketing (Social Media, etc), the information about Adsense has diminished.

Here are some guides where you can find information about Google Adsense

Google Adsense Secrets, by Joel Comm

This is the Adsense Guide. I purchased version 5.0, which is a PDF with 293 pages. Version 6.0, newer and updated is out. This version is an ebook for Kindle.

The author goes in deep into detail of how to do proper keyword research, how to set up your site, and some strategies to maximize your Adsense earnings.

Format: Mobi (for Kindle)

Price: $4.49


Long Tail University, by Spencer Haws

This is not an Adsense course per se. It is more focused on building niche sites, starting with proper keyword research, do competition research, content strategies and SEO.

The word “Adsense” is not mentioned anywhere in the sales page, however, aside from Ad placement, strategies, etc, you are getting all the information you need.

Plus, it comes from a very reputable author

Format: Video

Price: $197


Niche Site Course, by Chris Lee

This is an up-to-date course on how to set up a niche site from scratch.

It will teach you how to do proper niche and keyword research, how to do SEO (on page and off page), and how to maximize Adsense earnings.

Format: Video

Price: $297


Optimizing Adsense, by Google

This is a free course put together by the Google Adsense people. It has 18 short videos, focused on all the things you need to know for a successful Adsense strategy. It’s not very long so I really recommend you watch it if you are into Adsense

Format: Video

Price: Free


Madsense Reborn

I wouldn’t say this is a great course, but it has a fresh idea: using Facebook to get cheap traffic to your site (as opposed to doing SEO).

Honestly, I think SEO trafic is a hundred times better quality than social (at least when it comes to Adsense), but this course shows you how to get tons of visitors fast.

Format: Video

Price: $47


How many Adsense Ad Units can I add to my site? (2017 edition)

In the past, there was a limit on the number of ads you could place on a single page:

  • 3 ads for content units
  • 3 ads for link units

However, in august 2016, Google updated their policy (read about it here).

To sum up, if you don’t want to read too much, the new idea is this: “you can place any amount of ads on your page as you want, but don’t overdo”.

In more correct terms, they state that “Advertising and other paid promotional material added to your pages should not exceed your content

How should we interpret this?

The way I see it, they are saying “don’t have more ads than content”. Which makes sense, given that a page with more ads than content would not be so nice.

So don’t over do it, use your common sense, and you will be fine.

Ah, since they are not giving you a specific rule (like in the past, the maximum was 3, which is something really specific), keep your account safe, so when in doubt, have one less add than you would (you wouldn’t want the big G to ban your Adsense account).

For example, I wouldn’t have more than one unit visible on a mobile device (that can be interpreted as “more ads than content”. On a large desktop site, 2 or even 3 visible might be just fine (and I say might because you never know with those Google people).

The best tools for Keyword Research

When it comes to finding great keywords for your website (it does not matter if it’s going to be an Adsense website, Amazon… or even your own store), you need to do proper keyword research.

To do this, you will need to use a proper tool; some of them are free, others are paid. Here is a list of all the ones I’ve used in the past

Free Keyword Research Tools

Adwords Keyword Planner

To use it you need an Adwords account. The great thing is that it’s free, and gives you most of the information you need about search volume and estimated CPC. However, it does not give you any information about Keyword competitiveness (meaning how hard it would be to rank that specific keyword).

Price: free


Google Trends

It gives you information about what people are searching for right now, along with historical information. Very useful tool if you want to be up to date with recent searches/events and stay ahead of competition.

Price: free



It has some extra information that the Adwords Keyword Planner does not provide. You can search in Google Search, Images, Shopping, Youtube, News… Recently adquired by Neil Patel (currently, it reads: New free features coming soon)

Price: free


Keywords Everywhere

This is a browser addon (available for Chrome and Firefox) that gives you the ability to get better results from other websites (Ubersuggest, Soovle, Answer the Public, Majestic Anchors, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Keyword Shitter and Moz Open Site Explorer).

Price: free


Paid Keyword Research Tools


It helps you find  keyword variations, long tail keyword research, competitor analysis… Plus it will check for available domains, and other goodies like title generator (from your original keyword), trend reporting, etc.

Price: $67 (basic) – $97 (Pro)


Market Samurai

Until I found Long Tail Pro, it was my favourite tool. I have spent hours using it, and it’s still pretty good. You can use it to find related keywords, SEO competition (top 10 results in Google), etc. Plus, it has a monetization tab that allows you to search for products to promote based on your keyword.

It also has a rank tracking option, so you can check how your site ranks for specific keywords (very useful feature).

There is also a “promotion” tab where you can find websites where you can add a backlink to your website (not that useful in 2017, to be honest, but can give you some hints)

Price: $149 one time (there is a free trial)


Long Tail Pro

I left the best (at least in my humble opinion) for last. In many ways it’s similar to Market Samurai, but it’s the fastest tool out there.

If you are serious about keyword research you will love Long Tail Pro.

The best feature (aside from how fast it is) is what they all “Custom Keyword Difficulty”, which is a number that lets you know how competitive that keyword is (ie, how hard it would be rank it according to the top results in Google). This alone is priceless (as it will save you hours of research).

Price: $25/mo (starter), $45/mo (pro),  $98/mo (agency) (there is a 7 day free trial)



Final Veredict:

If you are just starting out or keyword research is not a big necessity for you, use the Adwords Keyword Planner (free). If you need something more serious, Long Tail Pro is your best friend.

Some of the Highest AdSense Earners websites worldwide

In case you are looking for some inspiration, here are some of the top revenue generating websites in the world.

I’m not writing this so you can copy everything they are doing: as always, look for inspiration but develop your unique approach.

However, nothing stops you from checking their ad placements, colors, keywords… You can be sure that those sites have spent time and money optimizing, so you can get an idea or two (obviously they also have millions of daily pageviews, which is harder to get).

Here are the sites (in no particular order, since earnings can vary over time):


Mashable is a blog focused on media, entertainment and technology.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $650.000 per month.

Digital Point Forum

Digital Point is a forum focused on SEO marketing (and in my humble opinion not very good looking). It was founded by Shawn D Hogan at the age of 19.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $550.000 per month

Plenty of Fish

This dating website combines Google Adsense with paid ads.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $350.000 per month


If you have been around the Internet for the past years, you have probably heard of digg. It is what it’s called an “aggregation website”, where people can share specific urls and people will comment (that’s the base idea, but it has grown to be much more).

Estimated Adsense earnings: $250.000 per month


EHow is a website about how to do things. Literally. It has how to guides for almost anything, with some nice Adsense ads along the way.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $240.000 per month


Techchrunch is one of the most popular technology blogs in the world.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $240.000 per month

Perez Hilton

Even when there are some websites that make more money monthly than Perez Hilton, I had to mention it. It really puzzles me that a website about celebrity gossip can make that much money. Really?

Estimated Adsense earnings: $150.000 per month

So what do these websites have in common?

I can see some common patterns here:

  • Tons of traffic (yes, you need traffic if you want to make big bucks)
  • Lots of content
  • Niche (or niches) with a lot of potential visitors (apparently there are many people interested in celebrity gossip)
  • Focus on the user/visitor (meaning, the sites are created to help the visitors)


Where to find writers for your site?


When it comes to adding content to your site, you have basically 4 options (well, actually 5, you could also copy/steal content, but that is probably going to take you nowhere):

  • Write your own content
  • Hire a writer
  • Use a content creation service
  • Have guest blogging

Let’s have a look at the options

1. Write your own content

If you are on a budget, this is the way to go. Start writing the content yourself and at the same time learn the process along the way.


  • If you are a reasonably good writer, you will have high quality content
  • No need to manage anyone
  • Save money


  • You are constrained by time (and this is a biggie)

2. Hire a writer

If you have some money to spend, you can also hire someone to write content for you.

Ideally, you want to find a native speaker, but those are usually more expensive, so if you are on a budget you can try to find someone with good language skills.

As usually with outsourcing, you’ll have to test 10 people to get 1 or 2 who are good (and sometimes you can’t even find a good writer out of 10).

These are some recommendations from my own experience:

  • Send people a test job. Ask them to write a couple of articles with different styles/lengths
  • Ask for samples (those can be faked though)
  • They way they communicate can give you feedback


  • Very escalable


  • It will take you some time until you find a good writer
  • Money investment
  • Sometimes people disapper without a trace, so you need to start over again

Here are some places where you can find writers



3. Use a content creation service

Instead of hiring a single person, some pages have a buffer of writers that you can use.

It’s  not as personal as having a dedicated person, but on the other hand if you have just one writer and he/she gets ill, or goes missing, your progress gets halted, whereas if you use a service like this you always have someone ready for the job.


  • Plenty of people ready to work


  • Usually more expensive than having a full (or part) time writer
  • Less personal communication
  • You can get a mixed quality depending on the particular writer

Some of these companies are:



4. Guest blogging

In case you never head the term, guest blogging is when somebody will write a unique article for your site, and instead of money, they will request a backlink to their site. It’s a way for them to get some extra traffic (and backlinks).

This can be a great strategy since you are basically getting content for free, but you will need a established blog before you can ask people to write for you for free.


  • Free


  • You need to have a certain amount of traffic before you can request a guest blogger to write on your site

There are 2 ways you can find guest bloggers

a. People will approach you and ask to write a guest post

b. You proactively find someone for it

When looking for someone, you can browse their personal sites or use a service like blogger link up or MyBlogGuest