If you have your own website or a YouTube account, you might be interested to know that Google is willing to pay you for posting their advertising links on your content. When someone clicks on one of these links, Google will pay you money. The amount you make with each click can vary from a few cents to a couple dollars depending on how much the advertiser is paying Google.
Making money as a website publisher is done through Google AdSense. This is a legitimate income stream used by millions of websites. It shouldn't be confused with spam you may have received advertising "link posting jobs free" or "make money posting links on Google."
Making Money With Google AdSense
AdSense is Google's advertising network that allows anyone with a website or a YouTube account to make money by posting ads. The ads include text, images or videos with links going to the advertiser's content. Google uses complex algorithms to match ads to your content whenever possible. If you post cooking videos on YouTube, most of the ads should be about cooking appliances, utensils, food, cookbooks, etc. If you blog about cars, most of the ads should be related to cars.
Advertisers buy ads from Google Ads, specify the kinds of content with which they want them matched and pay Google each time someone clicks an ad. This is called cost-per-click advertising. In turn, Google pays you, the publisher, a portion of the money it gets, which can range from a few cents to a couple dollars per click.
Google does all the work for you. All you have to do is select the size and format of the types of ads you want to publish, and Google will fill them for you. Google also tracks the clicks, collects money from the advertisers, shows you how much you make each day and tells you which of your pages are getting the best advertising results.
How Much Money Can You Make?
The amount of money you can make depends on how much content you produce and how many people view your content. Someone with a blog updated weekly with a few hundred viewers each month may only make a few dollars a month at best. However, someone with millions of views each week could make a couple thousand dollars each month quite easily.
If this is something you want to turn into a good income, expect to put a lot of time and energy into creating great original content that gathers good traffic. Because some ads will pay more than others, one thing to consider is Google Trends. This tool tells you for what people are searching the most.
Another thing you need to strongly consider is what advertisers are seeking. AdSense matches advertisers with the content on your web page. If you write a blog about fashion, you'll likely get better high-paying ads from clothing companies than if you're writing about a variety of unrelated topics, or you're writing fiction or poetry.
When Posting Google Links Is a Bad Idea
If you sell your own products on your website or YouTube channel, distracting people with Google ads is almost always a bad idea. Imagine owning a store and your big-box competitor on the other side of town offers you $500 a month to put a sign on your door saying "great deals five minutes away". What do you think that would do to your business?
The only reason people pay for ads month after month is to make money. From their profits, they can afford to pay Google a small percentage of their revenue, of which you get an even smaller percentage. The couple of dollars you may get for every click represents someone walking away from you to go look at someone else's products and buy something from them instead of giving money to you.
Getting Started With Google AdSense
It can take up to a day for your application to be approved. While you're waiting for approval, take some time to carefully review the terms of service. AdSense is a serious money maker for Google, and the company expects you to take these terms as seriously as it does. Most of the terms could fall under a broad umbrella called "be a decent person".
You can't post hate messages, for example, or abuse threatened animal species. You also can't rig your website in a way that tricks people into clicking ads by mistake. Of course, you can't pay or encourage people to click links.
Creating Your First AdSense Ad
Once your AdSense account is approved, log in to AdSense and click the "My Ads" tab to get started.
1. Click the "New Ad" button and create your first ad unit.
2. Select the type of ad unit you want to create first. You can choose from:
- Text and display ads: great for sidebars or at the top or bottom of pages
- In-feed ads: good for placing inside lists of page links or products
- In-article ads: ideal for placing between paragraphs in blog posts or articles
3. Select font styles and colors that will integrate well with your web page.
4. Enter a name for this ad unit. This name is for your use only so you can quickly distinguish between different ad units when you're putting them on your website.
5. Choose an ad size. Google will recommend some sizes over others only because advertisers prefer them, which means you will likely be able to earn more with them compared to other sizes due to higher demand.
6. Select an ad type. In most cases, both text and display ads will give you more ads than choosing only one type over the other.
7. Use the custom channels option once you have some experience with AdSense. It will give you the ability to track ad performance. For example, if you have three different websites, you can create a channel for each.
8. Select an option for when no ads are currently available. This is only used when there are no advertisers for your type of content for the ad type and size you selected.
9. Save the ad unit. Google will give you the ad code.
10. Copy the ad code and paste it into the code of your website. If you're using WordPress, for example, you can create a new custom HTML widget in the sidebar and then paste the code there.
That's it; your first ad has been published. Wait a few minutes after saving your web page and then visit that page to see your ad. If no ad appears, make sure that you have pasted the code correctly and try again later. In the meantime, you can make additional ad units for other pages on your website.
Using AdSense in YouTube
If you have a YouTube account, you can ask Google to post ads on your original videos through your AdSense account. Before you can get started, you will need to be approved for the YouTube Partner Program. To apply, you need to:
- Live in a country where this program is available
- Have at least 4,000 valid watch hours in the last year
- Have over 1,000 subscribers
- Have an AdSense account
Your account will be reviewed periodically to ensure that you meet YouTube's community guidelines, that you are posting new content and that your viewership and subscriber levels stay above the required thresholds.
- Google Support: Sign Up For AdSense
- WPBeginner: How to Properly Add Google AdSense to Your WordPress Site
- Google Support: How to Earn Money on YouTube
- Google Support: YouTube Partner Program Overview & Eligibility
- Google Trends: Home
- Google AdSense: AdSense Online Terms of Service
- Google AdSense Help: Required Content
A published author, David Weedmark has advised businesses on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years and used to teach computer science at Algonquin College. He is currently the owner of Mad Hat Labs, a web design and media consultancy business. David has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and websites including American Express, Samsung, Re/Max and the New York Times' About.com.