How I Went From $0 to $2,000 per Month in Adsense Revenue (and How You Can Too)


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Back in the mid-2000s, the holy grail of making money online was Adsense. There were online “courses” galore on how to automate the production of blogs, slap some Adsense ads on them, and wait for the checks to roll in.

Well, the profile of Adsense has died down in recent years, but placing ads on your site is still the most “passive” form of Internet marketing. It’s a pretty straightforward process:

  1. Put up a website
  2. Add content
  3. Start getting traffic
  4. Place Adsense ads on your site in a way that encourages visitors to click on them
  5. Google sends you a check once a month!

If you get a decent amount of organic (free) searches to your site and place your Adsense ads in the right places, you can generate a good income hands-free. Combine that with sales of your own products and affiliate products, and you’ve got a pretty good online income!

I know this from experience. My sites have gone from generating $300 per month in Adsense revenue six months ago to generating $2,000 per month recently.

Here’s a screenshot of my September 2010 earnings:

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PLEASE don’t think I’m bragging by showing you that screenshot. I’m not here to brag – my point in showing you this screenshot is to prove that it IS possible to earn a decent income from ads, even if you don’t get a huge amount of traffic to your site. I want to inspire those of you who are just starting out!

So, here’s what I’m going to cover in this post:

·  What exactly is Adsense, and how is it different from Adwords?

·  How I went from making $0 to $2,000 per month in Adsense earning

·  3 steps to setting up a profitable Adsense site (good tips for newbies)

What Exactly is Adsense?

Adsense is the name of Google’s advertising program for website owners. Basically, it’s the program that allows website owners to place ads on their site, and make money every time someone clicks on the ad.

If you’ve ever seen the words “Ads by Google” on a website, you’ve seen Adsense. Here are two examples of sites that make use of Adsense ads (I’ve put a red box around the Adsense ads):

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Placing Adsense ads on your site is very easy. Here are the general steps:

1.      Sign up for an Adsense account

2.      Choose the size and type of Adsense ads you want to display on your website(s)

3.      Copy and paste the Adsense code onto your site

4.      Within 5 minutes Google will start showing ads on your site

Note that Google has some rules that you need to abide by when applying to Adsense.

Here are Google’s Adsense rules. You need to:

·   Own a website (duh!)

·  Be over 18 years old

·  Own a site that complies with Google’s Adsense policies (e.g. your site can’t contain certain kinds of content, like porn, gambling, etc; you can’t click on your own ads; etc.)

· Have owned your site for at least 6 months (NOTE: this only applies if you live in countries like India or China. If you live in a Western country, you’re probably okay.)

How Ads Are Placed on Adsense Sites

So how does Google decide which ads to show on your site? By scanning the content on your web pages and matching the theme of your content with the ads it has in its inventory.

For example, you can see in the screenshot above that one of the ads says “Hotels in Anguilla”. Google would place that ad on the page after scanning the page’s content and determining that “Anguilla hotels” is a good fit for the content. All of this is done automatically by Google’s algorithms, for every single page on every website that displays its ads.

How Google Pays Adsense Advertisers

The Adsense revenue model is based on “cost-per-click”. In other words, whenever a visitor clicks on an ad on your site, the advertiser who has placed that ad (through Google) has to pay Google a specific amount (more on that in a second). Google keeps part of that amount, and passes the rest on to the owner of the site that hosts the ad.

How much of the ad revenue does Google pass along to the site owner? For a long time Google wouldn’t tell anyone, but in May of 2010 a post on the Inside Adsense blog revealed the share that they give to website owners: 68%.

If you’re planning to make Adsense a major part of your online income, this is a good number to know – because it allows you to predict how much revenue you can generate from given keywords (see 3 Steps to Setting Up a Profitable Adsense Site below).

How is Adsense Related to Adwords?

The flip side of Adsense is Google’s advertising program called Adwords.

When you sign up for Adsense, Google pays you every time someone clicks on an ad on your site. When you sign up for Adwords, you pay Google every time someone clicks on an ad that you’ve placed online.

Here’s how you would use Adwords for the first time:

1.      Sign up for an Adwords account.

2.      When signing up for the account, Google is going to ask you to do the following:

a.      Choose keywords to advertise on. The keywords you choose will tell Google which search engine pages and websites they should place your ads

b.      Write your ad copy (i.e. the text of your ad)

c.      Assign a “landing page”. This is the page on your site that people will land on when they click your Google ad

d.      Register your credit card details. (Google charges your account every time a dollar threshold is reached in your account)

The Adwords program allows site owners to advertise in a couple of ways:

– On Google Search. Google Search is basically the page that comes up when you do a search on (or your country’s equivalent).

If you’ve never noticed it before, do a search on Google and look at the top and right side of the results page. When you advertise under Google Search, that’s where your ads will show up (under the words “Sponsored Links”).

Here’s an example of what comes up when I do a search for “buy surfboard”:

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In the screenshot above, I’ve put a red box around the Adwords ads. If you owned a website that sells surfboards, you could choose the keyword “buy surfboard” in your Adwords account, and whenever someone searched “buy surfboard” on Google, your ad would appear. And when people clicked on your ad they would be taken to the page on your site that you specified in your Adwords account.

– On Google’s display network. This used to be called the “content network”, and consists of thousands of sites that have signed up for Google’s Adsense program (there you go – we’ve come full circle!)

When you advertise on the display network, you can also choose keywords to advertise on (just like on Google Search). The difference is that Google matches the keywords you’ve specified with individual web pages in the display network. They display your ad on pages that they feel are closely related to the keywords you’ve specified in your Adwords account.

To make this a little more concrete, let me explain how I use Adsense and Adwords, and how I’ve managed to dramatically increase my Adsense earnings in the past six months.

How I Went From $0 to $2,000 per Month in Adsense Earnings

My path from no Adsense earnings in October 2008 to $2,053.70 in September of 2010 was not an easy one. As you can see from the table below, it took quite a while for me to get to $1,000 per month, but since then my Adsense earnings have increased rapidly. I’m on track to match September’s earnings in October, and I expect those earnings to only increase in coming months.

Here’s how the numbers break down monthly:

Month Adsense Earnings

Oct 2008                    $0.72
Nov 2008                   $67.72
Dec 2008                   $34.89
Jan 2009                    $66.77
Feb 2009                   $146.79
March 2009               $237.59
April 2009                  $335.38
May 2009                   $226.03
June 2009                  $139.81
July 2009                    $174.08
August 2009              $177.74
Sept 2009                  $279.62
Oct 2009                    $314.93
Nov 2009                   $373.28
Dec 2009                   $307.43
Jan 2010                    $427.68
Feb 2010                   $280.92
March 2010               $373.8
April 2010                  $612.81
May 2010                   $907.51
June 2010                  $1664.57
July 2010                    $1308.47
Aug 2010                   $1524.64
Sept 2010                  $2053.7

So how did I achieve these earnings?

I started three years ago with one website. I was determined at the time to build a solid “authority” website (i.e. a site that covers all angles of a topic), so I added over 100 pages of content to the site.

At the time I built the site, I wasn’t even aware of Adsense, and decided to wait until I had some decent traffic before learning how to display ads.

BIG mistake #1! Waiting too long to put ads on my site. I think that everyone should put Adsense on their site as soon as their site is indexed.

(Note that I said “as soon as the site is indexed”. I’ve heard that slapping the Adsense code on your site before your site is indexed can cause a delay in Google showing ads on your site. I’m not sure if this is true or not, but I prefer to play it safe with Google. To know when your site has been indexed by Google, sign up for a Google Webmaster Tools account.)

In retrospect, I know I missed out on hundreds of dollars of revenue by not slapping Adsense code on my pages sooner.

So, after launching my first site I just let it sit there for a while, and then moved on to something else (learning about affiliate marketing).

BIG Mistake #2! I spent a lot of time building a site thinking that the dollars would just start “flying into my pockets in my sleep”, as those cheesy make-money-online sales letters say. Then I got bored, tired, and disappointed, and moved on to another way to make money online.

Lesson learned: getting organic (free) traffic takes time (see “My Top 6 Tips for Maximizing Adsense Revenue” below), and placing Adsense ads on your site is no guarantee that people will click on them!

My Adsense revenue started to increase only after a couple of things happened:

  • I was getting a good amount of consistent traffic to my sites
  • I started positioning Adsense ads “strategically” on my sites
  • I started “arbitraging” my PPC traffic

As well, it didn’t hurt that I added more sites to my portfolio, which meant more traffic.

But let me get back to that “arbitraging” thing. It’s a pretty intriguing concept – one that some people have implemented very successfully.

Adwords to Adsense Arbitrage: Trading Quarters for Dollars

Some people (myself included) use Adwords in conjunction with Adsense to “trade quarters for dollars”. Allow me to explain what that means by telling you about a man named Sunny Hills.

Sunny owns a “positive thoughts” website that’s been around for a number of years. At the very top of his site’s homepage, Sunny has a prominent email opt-in box – so his site’s main objective is to get visitors to sign up for his daily newsletter.

Once people sign up for Sunny’s newsletter he sends them regular emails

directing them back to pages on his website. And what do you think figures prominently on those web page? Adsense ads!

But here’s the thing that’s a little unusual about Sunny’s system: he advertises on Adwords to get people to his homepage in the first place. So, he’s basically playing a game of arbitrage with Adwords.

Here’s how Sunny is making money by using Adwords and Adsense together:

  • Someone searches Google on a keyword like “positive affirmations”
  • They see Sunny’s ad on the Google results page, and click on the ad
  • They land on Sunny’s homepage, see the big email opt-in box, and opt in
  • Sunny sends them regular emails via his autoresponder, informing them that a new “daily affirmation” is available on his website

In his “thank you for signing up” email, Sunny says:

“Each Day, I’ll send YOU a Link to one of my special PRIVATE web pages.”

I’ll bet you will, Sunny! And that page will be filled with Adsense ads!

Here’s what one of Sunny’s web pages looks like (notice the Adsense blocks, which I’ve put a red box around):

Click image to enlarge

The key with this strategy, though, is that to make money you either have to have (1) really cheap Adwords cost-per-click, or (2) other ways to monetise the Adwords traffic that you are paying for.

I use strategy #2: I get people onto my list by paying for traffic through Adwords (and Yahoo! Search Marketing), then once a person is on my list I send them regular emails directing them back to my website.

Note: I don’t “spam” people on my lists by continuously trying to get them to buy something from me or click an Adsense ad. Most of the web pages I send my subscribers to have useful content that they want to read (for example, related to a health condition). But by strategically placing Adsense on pages full of useful content, you can guarantee that a certain percentage of people who visit that page will click on an ad.

What percentage of visitors can you expect to click on an ad? Well, that varies dramatically from site to site, but across all of my sites I average a 7% clickthrough rate. In other words, if one of my web pages is viewed 100 times, 7 ads on that page will be clicked.

Regardless of the clickthrough rate, you want to make sure that you’re getting the highest click price. This is something that I’ve only really focused on lately. A 7% CTR is good if you’re making $0.50 per click. But it’s GREAT if you’re making $5.00 per click!

So where do you get started in finding these $5.00 clicks? In the next section, I’ll describe that step-by-step, based on what I’ve learned about Adsense over the past couple of years.

3 Steps to Setting Up a Profitable Adsense Site

If you’ve downloaded my free niche research report, you know that I recommend newbies concentrate on serving the needs of a niche audience, insteadof starting out by picking products to promote.


Because products are too unpredictable – they can get pulled off the market, become uncompetitive, etc. But niche audiences will never go away. Once you’ve chosen the niche audience you want to serve, you can test dozens of products that fill their range of needs.

So once you find a profitable niche, how do you know which keywords to focus on to maximize your potential return?

If you’re thinking about setting up niche Adsense sites, you’ve probably encountered the #1 question that newbies ask: “How do I find high-paying Adsense niches?” After all, if you’re going to put effort into setting up niche websites, you don’t want all of your clicks to pay $0.03! (Like one of my sites 🙁

In this section I’ll show you the steps I follow in setting up websites with Adsense, including finding high-paying Adsense keywords. The steps fall into these categories:

  • Keyword research
  • Competition analysis
  • Setting up your website

And at the end of the section I’ll give you 6 tips for maximizing your Adsense earnings, based on my own experience.

Step #1: Keyword Research

Proper keyword selection is essential to high Adsense earnings, because the keywords you choose will determine (a) how much you’re paid per click, and (b) how quickly your web pages rank in the search engines (so you can start getting free traffic).

In an ideal world, you would find keywords that have a combination of high cost-per-click (CPC) and high search volume. This would result in a river of cash flowing into your Adsense account each month.

But there’s one small problem with high CPC/high search volume keywords: everyone wants to rank for them! So, you might have to settle for keywords with a lower CPC, and less search volume.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up a little and start at the beginning.

Step #1a: Choose Your Niche Terms

If you already know the audience that you’ll be targeting, along with the problems they face in their lives, start by writing down the broad terms that describe those problems.

For this example, I’m going to focus on my primary target audience (overweight, middle-aged males). To find a list of such problems, I Googled the phrase “health problems of middle aged men”, and found a useful list on this site (coincidentally, this site is also a great Adsense case study. Notice how the site blends Adsense ads seamlessly with its content? I’ll bet the clickthrough rate on the ads is through the roof!)

So here’s a preliminary list of health problems suffered by middle-aged men:

·                           Manopause

·                           Andropause

·                           Testosterone therapy

·                           Coronary heart disease

·                           Enlarge prostrate

For the purposes of this example, I’m going to limit my list to 5 terms. But when doing this exercise for your own site(s), you’ll want to build a large list of terms (dozens or hundreds).

Step #1b: Use Google’s Keyword Tool to Expand Your Terms

Now that you have your “seed list” of niche terms, you’ll want to expand that list using Google’s keyword tool.

In the screenshot below you can see that I’ve typed in one of the terms from my list (“testosterone therapy”), and checked the box where it says “Only show ideas containing my search terms”. This is important: if I had not checked that box, Google would return a bunch of broad terms that it thinks are related to “menopause”, NOT keywords that include the term “menopause” itself. We want to keep things simple now.

Click image to enlarge

Here’s what comes up when I click the “search” button:

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Note that I have done two things to modify the search results:

(1) I clicked on the text “Global Monthly searches”, so the keywords would be sorted from highest to lowest search volume. This is important, because we want to get a sense of how much volume the most popular keywords have.

(2) I chose to display the cost-per-click for each keyword. I did this by clicking on the “Columns” button above Local Search Trends, and choosing “Estimated Average CPC” from the list.

I wouldn’t consider this to be a great term, for two reasons:

– It has poor distribution of search volume. I like to see terms that have a large number of high-volume keywords. In this case, only the keyword “testosterone therapy” has decent search volume (18,100 global searches per month). The rest of the keywords – the “long tail” ones – get no more than 1,000 global searches per month.

– The cost-per-click is relatively low. If advertisers are paying $2.82 for the term “testosterone therapy”, that means you’ll get $1.92 (68% x $2.82) every time someone clicks a testosterone therapy ad on your site. That’s not bad, but I’ve seen better (on one of my weight loss sites I’ve had payouts as high as $5.00 per click).

But let’s move on with the example. The next thing I would do is to download this list of keywords (by clicking on the “Download” button just above the Keyword column), and save it on my desktop as an Excel file.

OPTIONAL: Step #1c: Find High-Paying Keywords Through Adsense Databases

With the flourishing of the “Made for Adsense” industry, LOTS of websites have emerged that provide a list of the highest-paying Adsense keywords.

Although this is a “bass-ackwards” way of building an online business (in my opinion), I know that some people just want to cut to the chase and find the highest-paying keywords, no matter what the niche.

So, here are a couple of websites that I’ve come across that list the top Adsense keywords (note: I’m not endorsing these sites):

Web Design Hot

Orange Copper

Here are a few examples of the insanely high-paying keywords from the first site:

Keyword Cost per Click

Purchase Structured Settlements                                        $53.48

Mesothelioma Lawyers San Diego                                       $51.47

Secured Loan Calculator                                                         $51.35

Structured Settlement Investments                                    $50.45

Endowment Selling                                                                     $50.35

That’s right – $53.48 PER CLICK.

Step #2: Competition Analysis

As I mentioned in the previous section, one of the challenges of finding good Adsense keywords is the fact that many high volume/high CPC keywords also have a TON of competition.

When doing competition analysis, your goal is therefore to find keywords that satisfy this formula:

High Search Volume + High CPC + Low Competition

What do I mean by “low competition”? Put simply, it means the number of pages on other sites that are optimized for a specific keyword term.

A web page is “optimized” for a keyword term if it meets these criteria:

– The keyword is used in the page’s title tag

– The keyword is used in the page’s URL

– The keyword is used (naturally) several times through the body of the page

This is just a partial list. For the full-meal-deal, check out this awesome post on the SEO Moz blog entitled “Perfecting Keyword Targeting & On-Page Optimization”.

Steps to Doing Competition Analysis

So we’ve established that you want to find keywords that have good search volume, high CPC, and low competition.

From the work we did in Step #1a, we already have a list of keywords with volume and CPC estimates. Now we need to analyze those keywords to determine how competitive they are.

There are a couple of ways you can do this: the painful way, and the not-so-painful way.

The Painful Way to Do Competition Analysis

The manual way to figure out the competition for your keywords is to do what’s called an “allintitle” search on Google.

“Allintitle” (“all in title”) refers to the number of web pages ranked in Google that have a target keyword in the page’s “title tag”. The title tag is where you place the “title” of your web page, and it’s the text that you see at the top of a web page when you load it in your browser. Here’s an example from the website, which ranks first for the term “testosterone therapy”:

Click image to enlarge

If that’s hard for you to see, the page title says “Testosterone therapy: Key to Male Vitality?”.

The important thing to note here is that has included the keyword “testosterone therapy” in their page title and, more importantly, included it at the beginning of their page title (this is especially important for optimizing the title tag).

So when you analyze your Adsense competition by doing an “allintitle” search on Google, you’re checking to see how many other web pages Google finds with the keyword in the page title.

Here’s how you do an “allintitle” search:

1.      Type your target keyword in Google, making sure to enclose the keyword in quotation marks (so instead of just typing in testosterone therapy, you would type in “testosterone therapy”).

2.      On the results page, look directly below the search box and make a note of how many results were returned.

Here’s the result I got on Google:

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The keyword “testosterone therapy” has 181,000 results, which means that 181,000 web pages use that term in the page title.

Now, before you think this is hopeless and start looking for a government job, let me say this: 181,000 results is not the worst I’ve seen. And I currently rank on the first page of Google for keywords that have just as much competition, AND get higher search volume. It just takes more time and effort to rank for such terms. But when you’re starting out, you’ll want to target keywords that have less competition.

So competition analysis is pretty simple, huh? Just two steps. But when you have hundreds (or thousands) of keywords, this process can become pretty arduous. That leads us to a discussion of the less painful way to do competition analysis.

The Less Painful Way to Do Competition Analysis

If you want to do competition analysis on a lot more keywords, you need to automate the process. One of the best tools for doing this is Market Samurai.

A full demo of Market Samurai is beyond the scope of this post, so if you’d like to learn more, I recommend you download a free trial of Market Samurai, and view the tutorial videos that come with the free trial.

Tip: if you want to free your time even more, hire a freelancer to do competition analysis using Market Samurai. That’s what I do – one of the people I employ in the Philippines uses Market Samurai, among other tools, to guide the SEO strategy for my sites.

If you’d like to try out a freelancer, I highly recommend the freelance website I’ve tried all of the major freelance sites (Elance,, RentaCoder, etc.) and in my experience Scriptlance has the best combination of competent and reasonably-priced freelancers.

Step #3: Setting Up Your Adsense Website

Instead of blathering on in this section (I’ve already done that enough in this post!) I encourage you to download Joel Comm’s free Adsense Secrets e-book. It’s an awesome resource on how to set up an Adsense website, and it’s completely free.

And here are a few points about setting up a site with Adsense, based on my experience:

§         Build your website(s) on WordPress. WordPress is free software that lets you set up a website relatively quickly and easily. Running a website that is built on WordPress doesn’t require any technical knowledge (like knowing HTML), and if you get a hosting account through a company like Bluehost (which is the company I use), you can install WordPress on a domain in less than a minute with the click of a couple of buttons.

Here are two great WordPress “themes” that can help get you ranked in the search engines quicker:

Ø      Socrates WordPress theme. I recently started using this theme on a number of my niche websites. It’s a great theme for easily implementing Adsense ads and Clickbank affiliate products. It’s a WordPress theme (which means it’s optimized for the search engines), and if you’re technically challenged like me, it’s an awesome way to get started.

Ø      Thesis theme. I use this WordPress theme on my blog. The biggest downside with Thesis theme is that if you want to customize the look of it, you need to have some technical knowledge (I outsource that work). But it’s great for getting ranked quickly.

§         Test different positions for your Adsense ads. This is an extremely important point covered in detail in Joel Comm’s e-book. Where you place your ads on your web pages can make a HUGE difference in clickthrough rates.

Tip: the best placement I’ve seen yet is directly beneath the title of a web page’s article (also called the “H1 tag”). Here’s an example:

§         Use original content on your site(s)! I know that most people wouldn’t consider copying content from others, but for those who are trying to build out a bunch of sites quickly, the temptation might be to “cut corners”.

If you’re working a full-time job, or just don’t have the time to write articles yourself, I strongly encourage you to hire a writer from a freelance site. You can hire a writer for as little as $3 per 500-word article (I pay $5, on average) from countries like India and the Philippines. Both of those countries have masses of people who are unemployed and speak/write English well, so by you’ll be getting a good deal while also providing someone with much-needed employment.

My Top 6 Tips for Maximizing Adsense Revenue

I’ve learned a lot about Adsense in the past two years, and there are a few lessons I would pass along to new internet marketers to shorten their path to Adsense income:

1.      Target head terms and long-tail terms. When figuring out which keywords you want to target on your site, make sure that you have a good mix of high-volume “head” keywords, and lower-volume “long-tail” keywords.


Because long-tail keywords are often less competitive than head keywords, which means you can get ranked quicker for long-tails and start getting traffic (and Adsense clicks) quicker.

The very first website I put up (around three years ago) now gets ~5,000 organic visits from the search engines per month. What’s astounding is the number of distinct keywords that people type into the search engines to make it to my site.

Here’s a pic showing that in the past month, the search engines sent 4,968 visits to my site. To get to the site, visitors typed in 3,341 different keywords. That’s the power of long-tail keywords!

Click image to enlarge

2.      Start building a list. If you have a website, put an opt-in box on it immediately, to start collecting email addresses (my favourite email marketing company,, has some great templates that you can use).

To get your visitors to give you their email address, write up a short report (or 7-day e-course) answering some questions that you know is on their mind. (For example, on my health websites I have a 7-day e-course on “naturals treatments for X health problem”)

As soon as you start getting people on your email list, start adding email messages to your autoresponder, driving people back to new articles on your site that have….Adsense ads on them (along with useful content, of course)!

3.      Link Adsense with your Google Analytics account. By linking Adsense to Google Analytics, you’ll be able to tell exactly which pages are bringing in your Adsense revenue, and which are not. Then you can make changes to the pages that are not bringing in revenue, to see if that gets your visitors clicking more often.

In the screenshot below you can see the Adsense section of my Google Analytics report, which shows the total revenue that one particular site has earned in Adsense this month, which specific web pages brought in the most revenue (under “Top Adsense Content”), etc. This is crucial information for increasing your Adsense revenue.

Click image to enlarge

4.      Diversify. One of the keys to growing your Adsense income is diversification – because it’s impossible to predict with any certainty which of your sites are going to rank quickly, and you also don’t know exactly which sites will have the highest cost-per-click (CPC). Also, in my experience, the CPC you get on your ads will vary from day to day. (For example, on one of my sites I’ve seen payouts vary from $0.03 to $2.00 per click!)

I currently have about a dozen websites that make money (with about two dozen more in the process of being built by my outsource team). But not all of those sites make money equally – some make MUCH more through Adsense than others.

Here’s the distribution of earnings on my top five Adsense sites:

Site (Ranked by Adsense Earnings) % of Total Monthly Adsense Income

1                                                                                                         58%

2                                                                                                        33%

3                                                                                                         2%

4                                                                                                         2%

5                                                                                                        1.5%

As you can see, the vast majority of my income comes from two sites. But there’s a “long tail” of other sites that contribute a small amount of Adsense revenue each month – and the revenue is growing every month.

So here’s my suggestion: once you have a site set up solidly (i.e. 10-20 pages of good-quality content, a good amount of backlinks pointing at the site), move on to setting up your next site.

5.      Read the free Adsense Secrets e-book. As I mentioned in the previous section, this is a 200-page e-book that used to cost $97, but is now free. The author (Joel Comm) is a master at Adsense, and while the e-book is a little dated (it was published in 2008), there are some absolute nuggets of gold in it, including case studies of websites with clever ad placement. If you’re serious about Adsense, this book is a must-read. And did I mention it’s free? J

6.      HAVE PATIENCE. One of the biggest mistakes I see newbies making is giving up too early. They put up a site, and if it doesn’t start getting traffic and Adsense clicks within a week, they abandon the site and move on to something else.

In my experience, it takes at least 3 months of building backlinks to a site to get it ranked well in Google (that’s after setting up the site, and adding 10-20 pages of content to it).

Note: it takes me 3 months to get a site ranked that has medium-competition keywords. It’s possible to rank for low competition keywords in a matter of days (or a couple of weeks).

Summing Up

Adsense is the ultimate passive income – it doesn’t require your site visitors to take out their credit card or download anything, and you don’t have to provide customer support. You just paste some code onto your site, and Google mails you a check once a month!

But maximizing Adsense revenue, to a point where it’s a full-time income, takes planning upfront, and analysis as you go along.

I hope the lessons in this post have encouraged you to look at Adsense in a new light, and consider using it as a nice complement to other online income streams.

As always, please post your comments or questions below.

If you’d like to download this post as a PDF, please click here.

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  1. jack foster says

    Your articles are very interesting very well written and appreciated. I am working on creating a web site for internet marketing as an affiliate. This information is right on the mark for me.

  2. says

    Great article, I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read Joel’s free ebook but I actually live pretty close to him here in Colorado. Thanks for the info well worth the time it took to read it.

    Sean Mathes

    • moe says

      Thanks for your feedback on the article, Sean!

      I took a look at your blog, and we have something in common – I also invest in real estate.


  3. Jimmy says

    I had heard of Adsense and Adwords a long time ago, but because they were not well explained, I just ‘clicked off’ to another website. Your explanation is so clear! That’s one psychological barrier removed! I just might give these a try.

    Speaking of psychological barriers, I am sure that many newbies, like myself, have encountered them while trying out several techniques – including yours. I do not wish to preempt you, but I was hoping – if it’s alright with you – if you could write about some psychological barriers we or you had to face; and how you have overcome them.

    • moe says

      Hi Jimmy – many thanks for your kind words, and I’m glad I could remove one psychological barrier for you.

      The mental barriers that newbies face is a great idea for a post. Just off the top of my head, I know that there are a couple killer ones: fear of failure, and the paralysis that comes from information overload. I had to deal with these in my early days – just like everyone else does – but I found the key to overcoming these barriers is to continuously take steps forward, learn from one’s mistakes, and build confidence from small successes.


  4. Dennis says

    Great post, and very informative. A year ago, I set-up 3 different adsense blogs, struggled to update them regularly, didnt make a single dime in 3 months, and then got discouraged and abandoned the damn things. Now, after reading your report, I guess I’ll give the business another try in the hope that I’ll have better luck this time. Regards. Dennis

    • Moe says

      Hi Dennis – I went through the same stages with my very first site. Didn’t earn anything from it in the first YEAR, as a matter of fact (but that was because I didn’t bother to put ads on it!) Now that site is 3 years old, and makes a good income every month.

      Google seems to love aged sites, so if you have a few that are a year old, I’d definitely revisit them. Add some content to them, and sign up for Google’s Webmaster Tools, which will let you track the keywords that the site is ranking for. Then see what happens with your traffic over the next few months. I’d also make sure to have three Adsense blocks on each page (the max Google allows), and try different site templates, to see if it affects the clickthrough rates on your ads.

      Best of luck!


  5. says


    I just found your site after searching for ‘keyword research tips’ in Google (to see where my blog ranked LOL) and you beat me – damn you!

    What an epic post man!
    My adsense earnings are something like $2.00 a month atm, and there is no structure either, its like 7 sites randomly sharing the sales – one site with no SEO does better than one with a heap (go figure) so I dunno anymore.

    What I do know is that this post is really well timed for me, and bloody well written too!

    I just downloaded your ebook, signed up to your RSS and dived headfirst into this post.
    Incredible man.I really thankyou for coming onto my radar when you did, because I am at the 6 month point and things are not going how I thought they would.
    Your ebook has this line in it

    “You bounce around from model to model (should I be an affiliate marketer? Create my own product? Set up Adsense sites? Become a domainer? Buy and flip websites?). You spend a lot of time staring blankly at your computer screen.”

    and I just want to thank you because it made me quite literally LOL, becasue lately I find myself doing exactly that! (Overwhelmed much?!?!)

    I look forward to learning and growing from this awesome blog.


    • Moe says

      Alex, I love your enthusiasm. And I’m envious – your blog looks a lot nicer than mine! You certainly seem to put a lot of energy into it.

      Many thanks for your compliments on this post. I only recently started posting regularly, but with the kind words that have been coming in, I’m energized to keep it going!

      All the best in your Adsense adventures,


  6. says

    I recognize that beaches site from SiteSell and have taken note of the spaces between text and adsense box. I also took a look at Sunny’s site and I thought it was, well, ummm, hard to believe this would be a successful site. The Home page was messy and scattered, I did not find any articles easily, I clicked and was sent to what looked like the home page again, with big sign up here again, with the real article in small font. Page is full of different font colors, different sizes, different fonts, capitals, no capitals, not-uniform spacing, italics, etc. I probably would not sign up, doesn’t look professional or clean. Having said that, I am not a google millionaire either.

    • Moe says

      Hi Courtney – thanks for your comments. I agree that Sunny’s site doesn’t look professional, but in some niches that’s exactly what people are looking for.

      I know this from experience: I sell an e-book/MP3 package in a health niche, and have tested different sales pages. I started out with a really amateurish-looking sales page, had a decent conversion (sales) rate, and thought, “Gee, if I’m converting at X% now, imagine the conversion rate if I made a real slick-looking sales page!”. I had my designer put together a few “professional” sales pages, with nice graphics and pictures of handsome people. The result: my sales took a nosedive.

      What I learned from that exercise is that in some niches, people are looking to make a person-to-person connection with the owner of the website. That’s what my first, amateur homepage did. I suspect the same thing is happening with Sunny’s site.


  7. says

    Hi Moe
    Interesting post about Adsense on your site.
    I have considered putting Adsense on my site about German Shepherd Dogs, but have been told to concentrate on affiliate products which are more profitable?
    Having spent a very long time writing unique content and having pictures of our own dogs on each page, I need to start making an income from the site.
    I’m getting traffic now so is this the time to start putting Adsense on my site?

    • Moe says

      Hi Graham – I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but one of the keys to success in internet marketing is
      testing. Just because affiliate marketing works on one person’s site, it certainly doesn’t mean it will work on your German Shepherd site.

      I strongly recommend you test Adsense on your site, and see what kind of revenue it generates. You should also consider trying out Amazon and/or eBay ads. Basically, you want to monetize as many pixels of your pages as possible, without “going over the top” and making your site look gaudy. You’ll never know until you try things out.


  8. says

    Hi Moe
    Thanks for that, I will give Adsense a try and see what happens.
    I was also thinking of Amazon because one of my pages is getting more traffic than the others and this is dog collars and leads which is a physical product so I will have to look into that as well. Ebay? I hadn’t thought of that at all?
    Thanks for your advice
    Graham in UK

  9. says

    Hi Moe! Just want to point out an omission in your instructions regarding an allintitle search. You wrote …

    ” 1. Type your target keyword in Google, making sure to enclose the keyword in quotation marks (so instead of just typing in testosterone therapy, you would type in “testosterone therapy”).”

    Typing in just “testosterone therapy” in Google is a phrase match, and will yield results for that phrase in the body text of the pages, not just the title. To get just the results with that phrase in the title, you have to use the “allintext” parameter in the google searchbox as: allintext:”testosterone therapy”

    Thanks for a great article.


  10. Robin says

    I really appreciate you sharing with all of us your experience and knowledge. Your information and steps are simple and straight to the point. I know I need the guidance I’m new, I started once many years ago I wish I stayed on track I would be a Wizard by now, ha-ha ?

  11. Rod says

    Hi Moe, great article and guide for a newbie like me. i will follow your advice and hope for the best. On a side note would you mind telling/giving us one of your websites URL for us to check out and get some ideas on how you set it up (webpage plagiarism?).

    • Moe says

      Hi Rod – thanks for your feedback. Most important is to get a few sites up, and when traffic starts coming in take note of what’s working (and what’s not). You can check out a site I put up recently here (note that I’m still testing out the Socrates theme, which is the WordPress template I’ve used on that site. It’s generating a decent clickthrough rate on Adsense ads, but traffic isn’t strong enough yet to decide if it’s good for affiliate sales).


  12. says

    I recently started a blog and am trying to figure out which way to take it. Your blog is helpful, i’m glad I stumbled upon it. I’ve experimented with information websites and never had any success with adsense or any other money making method. I was wondering if you see more potential in an actual website or a blog. I know they’re both websites, but which do you think works better.

    sorry for the newb question.

    • Moe says

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your question – and remember, there are no newbie questions! (Even experienced marketers don’t know a lot of things.)

      So you’re wondering if you should use a “blog” or “website” format – I think the most important considerations are the niche you’re in, and how you want to monetize the site.

      If the niche is one where people are looking for a personal connection with the site owner (such as in many heath niches, dating, etc), blogs can be more effective at building trust and rapport with your visitors. If it’s a less personal niche (e.g. car insurance), it might be best to use a “website”-type layout for your site.

      The other consideration is how you want to generate revenue. If you plan to launch your own info product, a blog would be a more personal way to sell it. Ditto with affiliate sales, particularly of products that require a personal touch. But if you’re focusing on Adsense, a “website” design might be better (this is actually the case for me – I generate much higher Adsense clickthroughs on my “corporate”-type sites than on ones that look like blogs).

      Hope that helps,


  13. says


    A really usefulpost that Ill read at least twice to gain from your experience.

    I find it particularly usefull to see the revenues it really helps people whom are following along to see how long it can take to make money really. To many people say its easy and there are fast bucks to be made. Its just not true. Unless luck comes into play.

    Thanks for sharing


    • Moe says

      And thanks for your comment, Steve.

      You’re right – one of the most common myths about IM is that it’s easy, and all you have to do to make lots of cash is buy one “make money online” product. It’s just not true. And when you think about it, there’s NO business or occupation that allows you to “get rich quick” (legal ones, anyway).


  14. says

    Sincerely thank you. I am a newbie in Internet Marketing, and your Adsense post is really helpful. Thank you very much for spending times to write such useful and precise tips for us. It’s easy to read and understand too 🙂

  15. Chip Hullender says

    Hi Moe,
    I just started researching IM 4 weeks ago. After a full week of dead ends and snake oil salesmen (some advice was good of course), I stubbled across one of your blogs on clickbank. I have to say you made the most sense of anyone! I really appreciate your honesty, candor and mentorship, it’s refreshing. I read your report and kept that in mind while taking care of other obligations and have just started “Moe’s IM School” by taking in all on your website. Looks like I’ll be here daily for the next few weeks Reading and rereading your work and all of those you admire before setting sail. LOL Looking forward to some hardwork and research! I’ll be sure to pay it forward!
    Thanks Moe!

    • Moe says


      And thanks to you for feedback on my report, and the blog! If you’ve been into IM for just four weeks, you’re very much a “newbie”. Make sure to take a realistic view of what you can achieve in the coming weeks and months, and take confidence in every success, no matter how small.

      All the best,


  16. jill says

    Hi. Great post. My understanding was that it isn’t ok to use ppc directed to adsense sites in an arbitrage form. Or is that wrong? But, I believe it is ok if you have a double optin newsletter to send people to your site within your newsletter for further information and clarifications. Is there a problem if there are spikes in earnings when you send out a newsletter? It seems that would happen but if it’s double optin then it is people who want to read the information. Is that your understanding?

    • Moe says

      @Jill – great question.

      According to Google’s Terms of Service, you’re not allowed to use PPC to send traffic to Adsense sites purely for “arbitrage”. They also don’t allow you to send PPC traffic to an email opt-in page – unless that opt-in page provides the information promised in the ad (i.e. has a lot of useful content on it).

      The strategy that currently works is to send PPC traffic to a content-rich landing page that also has an opt-in form on it. Whether or not you use double opt-in is irrelevant, in my experience (I only use single opt-in for my lists).

      In terms of problems with spikes in earnings, I haven’t encountered any problems – and my Adsense earnings definitely spike on the days that my autoresponder messages go out.


  17. says

    I have been an ardent student of adsense,reading almost everything from hoax to cool but I have never seen such an overtly simple ,truthful ,straight forward and concise article of from hundreds to thousands.Thanks a million.

  18. says

    Some great comments here. I am just starting my journey when it comes to internet marketing. I have but a blogger on my website and i am figuring out how to get adsense on there.

  19. andy says

    Hi Moe,
    Great article on adsense strategy! It is really well articulated and makes a lot of good sense. I believe I am lucky to have come intact with your your blog. I signed up two days ago and got your free ebook on Finding a Niche to market to. I just finished reading it. The niche research approach in the ebook is simply genius!
    Guys/gals – listen to, and follow Moe’s strategies. I will. Period!
    Keep the good stuff coming!

    • Moe says

      Hi software patches (is that really your name?),

      I took a quick look at your site, and there’s a LOT you can do to increase your CTR. The first thing is to switch your sidebar from the right side to the left side of your site. I’d be stunned if that didn’t increase CTR straight away (because site visitors are conditioned to look at the left side of the page as soon as they arrive. With your sidebar currently on the right side of the screen, they’re probably not even looking at it).

      The second thing you should do is read Michael Campbells’ excellent free report, the “Ultimate Heatmap“.

      Do those two things, play around with ad placement, and watch your Adsense revenue skyrocket.


  20. says

    Hi Moe,
    I read your article with interest, there are some great points, however I was under the impression that adsense arbitrage was against their terms and conditions.
    Is it allowed now?

      • says

        I thought G never really liked affiliate marketing, which tends to make use of landing pages quite a lot. The link you provided shows an ecommerce site. Combining Adsense with affiliate marketing I was led to believe not a smart thing to do. What´s your take on that?

        • Moe says

          Sorry for the delay in responding to your comment, BPR – I missed it.

          I agree that combining Adsense with affiliate marketing is not smart if you’re paying for traffic. In that case, you want to focus your visitors on ONE action. (Having said that, Google is really cracking down these days, so they’re requiring advertisers to include a navigation menu and all sorts of other things that can distract users.)

          But if your traffic is organic (i.e. free), then you can afford to test out combinations: affiliate offer only, affiliate offer with Adsense, Adsense only, etc. It’s best to test to see what page elements result in the highest income for each web page.


  21. says

    hi this is shiva.iam fresher for i have 6 blogs,but iam getting only 100$per month.friend please give me suggetions,tips.i want to earn more money through adsence.and how can i get it.i want to launch website also .plz help me which website is good.

    thank you…

  22. Matt says

    Hi Moe,

    I noticed that this article was written around a year ago. How are you making out with adsense these days? Thanks.


    • Moe says

      Hi Matt – I’m still making money from Adsense! The earnings trajectory hasn’t been as steep as I’d like, though. Currently making ~$2,500 per month.


  23. Jesus says

    Hi Moe!
    Where do you get a 500-word article for 5 bucks??
    I´m asking you this because at they charge by hours.
    I´m very interested in this point because English is not my native language.

    THANKS in advance Moe

    • Moe says

      Hi Jesus – the way I get 500 word articles for $5 each is to hire a full-time writer (the price per article generally comes down if you’re willing to offer a writer more work, over a long time period). Otherwise, if you’re hiring writers on a “piecemeal” basis, you’ll probable have to pay more per article to get decent quality.


      • says

        Hi Moe and Jesus
        Try 🙂 the best are great the low quality writer are very poor so if you get one just reject the article.

        I use them every day and get great quality at these kinda prices 🙂


  24. says

    My pleasure. Just dont worry if the first article is poor, reject and try again hopefully it wont be. Inow have 3 great writers there that turn work around quickly. Its not shakespeare but its solid stuff.

  25. says

    Hopeful that i will also be a a blogger as you. Thanks for share your success. I have an blog site but not approved adsense application pls give me tips for this.

  26. Alwyn says

    Spellbinding, content rich article, Moe ! Just incredible the amount of information you can pack into one article. I’ve read it very carefully twice now and I’ve hardly broken the surface. This piece has made me super excited about getting on the Adsense train to passive income town.

  27. says


    The title suggests that you are earning $2000 per month. As I read the whole post I discovered somewhere that you started with one website containing 100 articles.

    I also want to make money with Adsense, but my porblem is as I also follow NichePursuits on a regularly base the following:

    Should I build a lot of niche websites (containing six pages) or should I build one authority website with 100 articles like you and earn $200..

    What do you perfer?

    • Moe says

      Hi John,

      I would strongly suggest that you build a lot of niche sites, and only put 4-6 pages on each – to start. Then, wait to see which sites rank the highest and are getting traffic. Then add more content to those sites – and ignore the losers.

      Concentrating on building one authority website is too risky, because you might put months of effort into it, and it might not end up getting any “Google love”.


  28. Fahad says

    Hello Moe,
    Plz tell me some tips about increasing my adsense revenue because I dont have money to paid for adwords, I use adsense since september 2012 and my earning is around 20$ only. I am using free domain site such as Is this a reason that I dont have domain site? or something else?
    Please reply me.

  29. Fahad says

    Sorry for wrong date posted. It not 2012 its September 2011. I also want to ask you that how many sites you have. Are you doing adsense on all sites? I have currently one blog.

  30. says

    Moe, first i like the theme of your blog and then i really get inspired when i see people showing me their earnings screenshot and today i have decided to sign up for an adsense account after reading your blog post. I have read most of your recent posts and they are really persuading me to try out adsense. If it works well for me then i have to thank you a lot.

    As you said patience is very important for an online marketer.. 🙂

  31. says

    A very interesting and detailed article. Is all the information still 100% relevant after the changes that Google has rolled out over the last few weeks/months I would hate to follow the strategy you laid out only to discover some of it has now changed.
    I am sure you would have posted a revision for us but want to be sure. Thanks for the information Moe


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