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Google Advertising Tools

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the google-google-google dept.

40

Trent Lucier writes "Google depends on new content constantly being added to the web. No Google initiative has done a better job at encouraging new content than the AdSense/AdWords programs. Google Advertising Tools by Harold Davis is a book that teaches you to use these tools effectively." Read the rest of Trent's review.

For those wondering how Google made $6 billion last year without every charging you so much as a penny for all your searching, AdWords and AdSense are a big part of the answer. AdSense is the program that lets webmasters post targeted advertisements on their websites. When a visitor clicks the ad, both the webmaster and Google get some money. AdWords is the other side of the equation. It is the program by which merchants submit their ads and bid on ad rates. Google tries - and generally succeeds - at matching ads with the most relevant websites (that's the "target" in "targeted ads").

I have sympathy for anyone who has to write technical literature. Sometimes, the process can be like living in an M.C. Escher painting where you don't know which part of the stairs should come first. Davis must have felt this way too, since he provides a lot of background information before getting to the goods on Google. Before one can discuss AdSense, search engine optimization should be learned...but before that, driving traffic to a website is useful...but before that, you have to understand what makes riveting content. Perhaps this is why the chapters on AdWords and AdSense don't begin until page 141.

My interest is primarily in AdSense, and this book has some great tips for improving the relevancy of the ads that run on your site.

For example, META keywords always seemed useless to me, tossed into the dustbin of irrelevance by spammers. Davis, however, argues that keywords are worth using if your site doesn't contain a lot of text content. He provides an example of a site that is mostly made of images, and shows how the META keywords appear as the page's description in Google search results. This is good stuff if you run a tool-based site with little text-content and are having trouble teaching Google what your site is about.

Davis spends a lot of time explaining the AdSense and AdWords statistics and screens (the book does get a little pedantic with screenshot after screenshot). The almighty CTR (Click-Through Rate) is one of the most important statistics, representing what proportion of your visitors clicked on ads. I previously had no idea what was a good or bad CTR. Davis says that a good rate is 0.5% to 2% (with the latter being a homerun). "If your CTR is consistently below 0.5%...your traffic is going to waste."

That's a good tip, and it gives readers a concrete way to measure progress.

Webalizer and other tools are also briefly explained in terms of how the information they provide can be used with AdSense. For example, it is important to know the top exit pages for your site, because if users are ready to leave, they are more likely to click an ad.

Click-fraud gets half a page, but I would have liked more information. The section ends with the eyebrow-raising statement: "A recent study shows that less than 6% of all advertisers regard [click fraud] as a problem."

Really? What study was that? I also wondered how click-fraud is usually committed. Davis says that detecting it is primarily a statistical matter.

Non-Google advertising also takes up a large part of the book. In fact, the first 140 pages are almost Google-free. Search engine optimization, driving traffic to your site, affiliate programs... all are discussed at length. The affiliate program section is quite good, although it did have one questionable piece of advice: "You should test that each affiliate link on your site works by buying something and making sure the sales commission shows up when you check the tracking software."
He must be working with some really nice merchants, because this violates practically every terms-of-service agreement that I've seen.

Right before you get to the Google section, Davis devotes an entire chapter to adult sites.

In truth, the adult sites section is informative and practical. If you ever wondered how to privately create an adult site and profit from it, Davis pretty much gives you all the info you need to get started. He even provides links to some real adult sites and tools for hosting content. (One of his tips on obtaining adult content: "Create content yourself." Uh, no thanks.)

But the chapter on adult content leads to the biggest "Huh?" moment in the book: "Although Google will not accept adult-content sites into its AdSense content network, it will accept ads into the AdWords program that direct traffic to adult sites."

Let me get this straight: Google refuses to run ads on adult sites, but it has no problem driving traffic to adult sites via ads? Does this strike anyone else as backwards? Sadly, the book has no further explanation of what the quoted sentence means, or how to use AdSense/AdWords if you are providing borderline adult-content.

The last part of the book describes how to use the AdWords API. For advertisers whose needs are too massive to create individual ads through the AdWords GUI, the API can be used to programmatically interact with the AdWords servers. Examples using C# and PHP are provided.

The book was published in January of 2006, and I found it to be as timely as can be expected from a computer/internet book. A few of the screens look a little different (the AdSense color-scheme chooser has changed), but none of the info seems to be harmfully wrong. Perhaps the biggest sins are those of omission. The AdSense API is not mentioned, and the AdSense Calendar did not make the cut, either. However, as I write this review, these new features are only a few weeks old, so Davis can hardly be blamed.

Overall, Google Advertising Tools is a good book to get if you are an AdSense or AdWords user. There is a little bit of fluff, but keep your eyes open and you'll find some gems. Whether your ads are currently making money or not, this book might pay for itself in short order if you use it wisely.

Trent Lucier is a software engineer. His latest pet project is ChessUp.


You can purchase Google Advertising Tools from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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To clear up any confusion... (3, Informative)

remove office (871398) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676087)

"But the chapter on adult content leads to the biggest "Huh?" moment in the book: "Although Google will not accept adult-content sites into its AdSense content network, it will accept ads into the AdWords program that direct traffic to adult sites."

They won't put adsense ads on porn websites- they specifically state this in their TOS. However, they do not proof the copy of every advertisement in their adwords advertising program, and allow adult sites to advertise their sites through it. Just do a test: google for "fucking" [google.com] and you'll find XXX sites advertising in the sponsored links section to the right of the search results. However no adult sites display Google adsense advertisements.

Re:To clear up any confusion... (2, Insightful)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676429)

Another thing that's strictly forbidden in adwords (I actually read the TOS when I was signing up for it) is advertising any form of prostitution. However, people have got around it if you search for pay sex [google.co.uk] you get loads of ads, some fairly innocent like dating sites and others advertising escort services. You're also not meant to use trademarks but there's loads who use the Firefox [google.co.uk] name for ads. The reason so many do that is because with Google adsense you get $1 if an IE user downloads Firefox with the Google toolbar, it costs less than $1 for the keyword 'Firefox' and so they make a profit when people go to thier site and click the banner (but only if the person clicking it is an IE user, otherwise they get nothing).

Re:To clear up any confusion... (2, Insightful)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676479)

Actually come to think of it the ads that display on a Google search vary from country to country, so what they allow and don't allow may be more strictly enforced in some countries than others.

Re:To clear up any confusion... (3, Informative)

dumbfounder (770681) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678191)

That's because their advertisers don't want to be associated with porn, Google doesn't really care either way. Think about it, would disney want their ads to show up on a porn site by accident? It is very possible given that a large portion of Adsense ads are determined algorithmically. They are just covering their butts.

Effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16676175)

No Google initiative has done a better job at encouraging new content than the AdSense/AdWords programs.

That may or may not be true, I am however convinced that nothing has caused more junk websites to be created than Adsense. IMHO the signal to noise ratio has gone down due to Adsense. Of course this also plays into the hands of Google since they offer the tools for finding the signal in the sea of noise.

This isn't the scam book? (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676249)

My friend was reading an adSense book that consisted, essentially, of "here's how to build a click farming portal that looks like an actual website". The author even said get your old papers & homework from high school if you need "content"

ah, found it (0)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676333)

Re:ah, found it (1)

soundvessel (899042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678275)

Stay the hell away from this book: http://www.amazon.com/AdSense-Code-Google-Making-M [amazon.com] oney/dp/1933596708/sr=8-2/qid=1162405831/ref=pd_bb s_2/002-3621573-4586425?ie=UTF8&s=books
Why should we stay away from it, besides the stigma of creating such a site? Was it unsuccessful at telling you how to do it?

Re:ah, found it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16678485)

He's trying to make you curious so that you click on the link with his referral id and hopefully buy the book which earns him a commission.

Re:ah, found it (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16679665)

weird, 'cause as hard as I try I can't find my referral id in that link... This is the same as any make-tons-of-money scam. If the person really knew how to scam up tons of money, heshe would do that instead of selling books/videos/whatev for a living.

Re:ah, found it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16680325)

I don't know if you're stupid, ignorant or lying, but this is what a clean Amazon link to the book with ISBN (international standard book number) 1933596708 looks like:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933596708 [amazon.com]

The string between the last / and the ? in your URL is an Amazon associate ID.

Re:ah, found it (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16680793)

well, the link was copied from amazon's search results page, so if it has an associate ID in it then that associate is a lucky son of a bitch.

Re:This isn't the scam book? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676361)

The author even said get your old papers & homework from high school if you need "content".

You definitely want everyone to [still/always] know what you did during your last summer before going to college and whether the man with the ice pick was truly dead the first, second or third time.

Sex money in, no sex money out (2, Interesting)

tigre (178245) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676309)

I guess Google's theory is it's not "evil" to take money from adult sites (even in exchange for directing traffic to them), but they'll be darned if they pay money to adult sites.

Re:Sex money in, no sex money out (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676633)

What is evil about adult content if it's all done with consent?

It's just one way for people to make money.

Re:Sex money in, no sex money out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16677629)

The "evil" is in Google's hypocrisy. Read the grandparent post again, slowly.

Re:Sex money in, no sex money out (1)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678033)

The "evil" is in Google's hypocrisy. Read the grandparent post again, slowly.

There is nothing evil about Google's actions here, they've just made a commercial decision, if they did allow adsense ads on porn sites they'd make more money. For whatever reason they chose not to. It's not exactly evil.

Hey Neat (1)

Pike (52876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676399)

I personally found this to be a very good review. Now I know a good way to create chess diagrams online! I've always wondered about that, and now it'll be a cinch. Thanks.

Small typo (1)

franksands (938435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676451)

For those wondering how Google made $6 billion last year without ever charging you

Click fraud (2, Informative)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676463)

Does the book address how to budget for a large percentage of your money being wasted by fraud? [businessweek.com]

Click fraud is so rampant at this point, that I wouldn't consider using AdWords until they have a real solution to this.

Re:Click fraud (2, Interesting)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676581)

The best thing to do when using adwords if you're worried about click fraud is to specify that the ads appear only on Google's site and not the 'content network' (basically anyones adsense sites) or partner search pages. That means no one except Google will make anything out of the site therefore reducing the incentive of click fraud

Re:Click fraud (1)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16685087)

You reduce click fraud but pay more for your ads and narrow their distribution.

It also still leaves you exposed to click fraud from competitors who want to empty your Google ad budget - this is particularly nasty if it happens because it is targetted at the advertiser. It is also a lot harder for Google to do anything about.

Re:Click fraud (2, Informative)

David Off (101038) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676865)

> Click fraud is so rampant at this point, that I wouldn't consider using AdWords until they have a real solution to this.

The figure I hear for click fraud is around 20% but this isn't a problem unless your advertising budget is bringing in less than you spend. Most advertisers report good success with AdWords despite the fraud. Unlike an ad in BusinessWeek you can monitor every click coming through to your site with CTA to see if it makes a sale. You could say budget a couple of hundred dollars and see exactly what they makes for you. If it doesn't work stop using CTA.

In short click fraud is only a problem if you are not seeing a return from your ad budget and this you can monitor much more easily with CTA then with other forms of advertising.

Hyperbole (1)

David Off (101038) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676659)

> Google depends on new content constantly being added to the web.

This is hyperbole. Google depends on people using their search engine in preference to Live.com or Yahoo! and then rather than clicking on the free results, clicking on the sponsored ones. Google depends on knowing how to get the mix between relevant free and paid for results right. It also in part depends on a netword of websites taking up its AdSense programme and for its AdSense adverts to be more appealing than any internal link or bouncing out of the site.

Re:Hyperbole (1)

in2mind (988476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16676765)

Above all,Google depends on webmasters agreeing to use ad-sense on their website.

mod do3n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16676835)

Sins of omission...? (1)

Justus (18814) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677079)

The book was published in January of 2006, and I found it to be as timely as can be expected from a computer/internet book. A few of the screens look a little different (the AdSense color-scheme chooser has changed), but none of the info seems to be harmfully wrong. Perhaps the biggest sins are those of omission. The AdSense API is not mentioned, and the AdSense Calendar did not make the cut, either. However, as I write this review, these new features are only a few weeks old, so Davis can hardly be blamed.

Being that the book was published in January 2006, as stated, why even mention the fact that it doesn't include features that you yourself admit are only a few weeks old now, in November? Did you expect the author to look into the future and write about features that didn't exist yet? This paragraph seems pretty much like filler to me...

Re:Sins of omission...? (1)

black88 (559855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677153)

ok,

does anyone else notice that google has been redirected to yahoo?

Re:Sins of omission...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16681267)

Hello, I am the author of this book review. Thank you for your comment. First, I should say that this review was actually submitted back in the spring (when the Adsense API really WAS just a few weeks old). Second, my intent with that sentence was to simply let people know that they shouldn't expect anything about the Adsense API in the book. I don't blame the author, since clearly they have to deliver a book at some point. I was just letting people know what the cutoff was.

Encouraging CRAP content (2, Insightful)

Slimtreeshadow (1009225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16677691)

Phooey!

No Google initiative has done a better job at encouraging new content than the AdSense/AdWords programs.

Correction: no Google initiate has done a better job at encouraging crap content [led-digest.com] than the AdSense/AdWords programs. And Google doesn't care [led-digest.com] about spammy arbitrage blackhats, either.

It's gotten so bad that using AdSense in a traditional manner actually degrades a site's credibility IMO. Yes, I use it too but more and more discreetly. That = lower CTR but higher professionalism hopefully.

mod dowYN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16677921)

Regarding Adult-content Sites (2, Interesting)

Duggeek (1015705) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678073)

Let me get this straight: Google refuses to run ads on adult sites, but it has no problem driving traffic to adult sites via ads? Does this strike anyone else as backwards?

Not backwards at all, but not entirely forthright either. We're talking about porn, here... hello-o?!

Lemme 'splain...
No... there is too much.
Lemme sum-up.

AdWords drives traffic based on contextual relevance; not to mention it annoys the heck out of me when I get on these sites; pausing my reading to pop-up a little ad. (keep... mouse... away...)

The contextual relevance part is academic; the adult-content sites will only get clicks from words on similar-content sites. You won't find words like "honey" on a cooking site directing you to "honeybearhouseofpleasure.com" or anything. There is a measure of relevance to the words that get "picked" as ad-links.

As for refusing to put adult-content sites in AdSense, I think that's just good business practice. As a click-generator, you don't want to get involved in what the visitors to adult sites are seeking. (or vice versa) Let them start a new window and Google the URL apart from the adult site.

I mean really, if you owned a business, how would that statistics page look to you? [It appears here we got 7% of traffic from labia-twaddlers.biz; now we know the perversion-ratio in our customer base! Yay!]

(I didn't think so.)

So, to end the confusion once and for all. Google seems to have taken a don't-ask-don't-tell stance on adult-content sites, while still taking advantage of—let's be honest here—a *proven* market. Hypocritical? Maybe. Wise move? I think so.

We're talking about a harmless, self-indulgent market share... unless they show-up on Dateline. [msn.com]

Present existing capitals as profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16678397)

It is a pyramid schema:
1) Start out with $x billion (from the other company that went down)
2) Use some of it to buy a good image (unlike the other company)
3) Present $x billion as profits from some hypothetical service
4) Make a shinny bubble that's in the news every day
5) Convince investors to invest 2*$x billion
6) Take the money and run

That's the truth people. A well-known scam from EVE online. Or you can sit and wait until they hire you after 60 years.

Oh, those kind of tools (1)

leamanc (961376) | more than 7 years ago | (#16678841)

I clicked the link in my RSS reader, thinking this article would be about the tools that run Google's advertising department. No dice, it's just another book report, er...review.

Not a bad book (1)

Pulszar (968478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16679121)

For $20, this book is worth buying. The reviewer was right about the first 140 pages or so; there's alot of general SEO information and other tips that, while not necessarily groundbreaking, are pretty helpful or atleast serve as a reminder of things you might not think of right away when creating a new site. I haven't read the entire book yet so I can't say that it will make you an overnight AdSense millionaire, but for the cost of the book and what I've read so far on content, site optimization, and advertising, it's worth picking up if you're in to this kind of thing.

Experiences with AdSense and Ajax applications? (1)

bryanbrunton (262081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16679751)

I'd be interested in hearing real world results that people get with AdSense and advertising, particularly if you have developed a web game. How much do you make from AdSense if you have it on a web game? I know little or nothing about web advertising.

I created an AdSense account just last week, in order to put up some ads on my web-game, called Grand Strategy, which is Risk clone. See here:

http://denizengames.com/grandstrategy/ [denizengames.com]

As it is an Ajax application, I can't make use of AdSense within the game (there are no page refreshes while playing). What advertising alternatives are there for Ajax apps?

Re:Experiences with AdSense and Ajax applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16680461)

erm. Use a timed ajax refresh on the content in the adsense div?
Cheques or money order to the usual address thanks.

Re:Experiences with AdSense and Ajax applications? (1)

bryanbrunton (262081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16681877)


I don't believe that it is legal per the AdSense policy to use a timed refresh. Or is it?

Re:Experiences with AdSense and Ajax applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16685873)

getting bought by yahoo

book isn't very good (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 7 years ago | (#16745569)

I bought the book based on this review, and it was a complete waste of money. It spends a lot of time on stuff that's totally unrelated to adsense, like an explanation of how to get your web page indexed on search engines. (Duh?) It also spends a lot of space on screenshots of trivial stuff like how to sign up for adsense. (Duh?) Useful information: basically zero. You can learn more just by reading the relevant wikipedia articles and following a few of the links.
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