Thursday, November 12, 2009

A milestone to celebrate

This week I reached a small milestone – 1 million page impression served by (as measured by Google Adsense). It took me over 3.5 years to get to this number so, not a very spectacular result but… any excuse to celebrate is good enough for me! Especially considering I only have a handful of pages and not all carry Adsense ads. Not to mention that I practically do not advertise the site at all – so it is mostly just from organic traffic.

You probably wonder what this translates to in terms of revenue… Let me just say, it is enough for a long haul, first class overseas trip I look forward to so much! Again, considering that I get even as low as $0.01 per click on some ads, it is surprising how those cents quickly accumulate… And it appears not hugely out of line, comparing to what other publisher are able to get for their stock with comparable volume of visitors.

Speaking about Adsense advertising program. My biggest problem is to get relevant ads on my site. Serving weight loss ads on pages dealing with emergencies around the world or bushfires is not going to get me a good return! Generally, I have only limited text content so, Adsense automated choice of ads is less than optimal. I understand that Google tries to match keywords from the page with highest paying ad options. Seems logical and it probably works fine for pages with lots of text but this approach is a major limitation for sites like mine. For example, I had to remove any references to “fire” and “bushfire” from the front page because I was only getting ads on fire training and fire extinguishers… Probably best payout options for the page keywords but click through rate was appalling! By the way, it still does not explain why those weight loss ads are showing up on pages dealing with bushfires… Using tag does not help much either.

My site is about maps so Adsense ads are mainly about maps but again, this is less than ideal. Travel related information, in the broadest term, would be more relevant for my visitors but there is no way, at least not that I know of, to “force” specific ad content with Adsense program. I can understand why many publishers get frustrated with Google and try alternatives. My next big challenge will be to find those alternatives or maybe even to start my own advertising program. I dipped my toe in the “affiliate pool of money” earlier this year but so far the results are even worse than with Adsense…