In the early days of making money on the web there were really only two ways. Direct sales and banner advertising. With banner advertising, you would create some type of content, sign up with a banner advertising company, place their code in your web pages and banner ads would be served to your site. The problem with these advertisements is that they were blind advertisements and almost never had anything to do with your site content. Thus, while your site focused on “new technological trends” the banner ads were related to “italian shoes.” This would likely result in click through rates that were very low, resulting in diminished revenues for you, the advertiser and the banner ad company. Google Adsense changed all of that.
Google Adsense is a contextual advertising platform, meaning Google sends its robots to scan your site in order to determine what the content is focused on and then matches that content up to advertisements available within their ad inventory. So, if you have a web site devoted to “tattoos”, Google will search its inventory of advertisements and serve up the most relative ads related to “tattoos” on your page. The result is the ads are more appealing to your target audience and they are more likely to click on them. As such, your click through rate will be higher, resulting in more traffic to the advertisers site and more revenue to you.
There were two ways to earn money through Adsense. One was through a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis and the other through Cost Per Impression (CPM). In essence Google would total up the number of times an advertisement appeared on a page, determine the pert age of times users click on the ad in the page and then multiply that ratio by the amount that the advertiser offer to pay for the ads to be displayed. When all of the pages one your site were totalled up, this would account for the earnings from the site. Google would then take their cut and provide you with your cut. Seems easy enough… But it’s Google, so it can’t be that easy and straightforward.
Because the ads offered by Adsense were based on the content on your page, they were more easily targeted to you readers, provided a higher click through rate and thus generated much higher earning. For instance, one of the ties we created is blackinventor.com. One year during the month of February (Black History Month in the United States) the site earned around $2000.00. The next year after I switched to Adsense, the site earning around $16,000.00 for February, eight time what it earned the year before.
Everything was great. Content, it seemed, really was king and there was gold in those pages.So, to generate more money I contracted new sites and added content to existing sites. The more content I provide, the more traffic I would get and the more money I was able to put into my coffers or into reinvesting into the sites. Makes sense, right
Google, whose motto was “Do No Evil” shrouded the Adsense program in secrecy. Not only were you not allowed to discuss your click through rate (important if you want to know how your site is performing compared to others) they also refused to reveal how the percentage breakdown worked in the payment system. Did you receive 60% or 80%? You didn’t know and Google would only say “Trust Us. It’s Fair.” That in itself is unnerving to a business person, but sometimes when you’re making money hand over first, you don’t get bogged down in the details.
The real problem started when Goole attempted to create satisfaction on the part of their advertisers by cutting down on fraudulent click on the ads. You were already limited in the number of ads you could have on a page as well as the position of those ads. Now Google forbade you from positioning certain images near the ads which might trick the reader into thinking that the image displayed and the ad were tied together. This made a lot of sense as do most rinks with Google, but making sense logically and the implementation of necessary changes are two different birds.
As the top search engine on the Internet, Google had web content creators vying for the top spot in is listing (ranking). The higher your site was in the Google rankings, the higher the probability that someone was going to click on the link and take them to your site, thus offering you a bonanza from an earnings stand point. As stated previously, the quality of your content was what would help you to move to the head of the rankings, but this is very subjective. Google tried to make the quality decision an objective standard by implementing computer algorithms make judgments about site quality.
First they site their algorithms to search through each page for specific keywords, which they indexed. They would then display a list of the pages which echoed those search terms the best.
This prompted people to load the first paragraph of their pages with “rich keywords.” This was part of what we call Search Engine Optimization or SEO) Under this scenario, a famous person (let’s use Halle Berry for example). Let’s say that Halle has her own website where she interacts with her fans, telling what she is doing every day. Now let’s imagine a content creator who build a tribute site to Halle Berry and stuffs it to the gils with rich keywords. That guy could conceivably outrank Ms. Berry in this Google ranking. It’s like having a Kiss tribute band headlining and the real group Kiss being the opening act.
So Google learned and adapted. Instead of putting such an emphasis on SEO, Google instead said that the sites that should be highest in the rankings are those that have the trust of other site, making them authorities. Google just changed their algorithm (each time without warning publishers) to search the web and determine how many sites linked to a particular page. The more links to your page, the more you were considered an authority. So what do you think happened in turn, people decided to create ways of getting links to point to their content. For some it was as was as easy as paying someone to to link to their site. Others would instead create blog posts or submit arcticles to other sites with links back to their site. This form of gaming that system is called Black Hat SEO. Google hates Black Hat SEO so it looked to punish these (*************), ands they again changed their algorithm, discounting many sites and (**********) the links pointing their content. The problem is that the algorithm often could not determine which links were valid and whack were Black Hat.
The bad part of this is that a vast number of sites that were not involved in Black Hat SEO were knocked of of their original perches as the top ranked sites for their search term which was gained organically. Once knocked off the perch they became buried under the tidal wave of Black Hat SEOers who were punished. One of our sites that got caught up in this mess saw its traffic decline from 10,000 page views per day to slightly more than three hundred, and that while having expanded the site’s content by 200%.
It’s like driving through main street and being in front. Then the city opens up the left lane for fast traffic and everybody gets in the fast lane and creates a mess. Then the city penalizes people in the left lane and opens the right lane up for fast traffic. A while later they penalize that who moved to the right lane. The problem is, I was driving at a reasonable pace in the middle lane and now I’m way in back of every else.
As Charles Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities:
These words sum up user experiences with Google contextual advertising service “Adsense.”