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How To Qualify For Google AdSense Contextual Advertising

by Mike Banks Valentine

Recently I wrote an article about Google AdSense contextual advertising innovation that was introduced by the popular search engine to allow 'Content' websites to profit from advertising. Suddenly it has become possible for those who have an intense interest in nearly any focused subject to gather information, resources and commentary to publish a profitable website.

How? Well, that's the new buzz. Just what is content and what will Google approve for the AdSense program? I can't speak for Google, but after my recent article on the popular new AdSense program ran in several high traffic web venues, I've received a string of notes from webmasters who have been turned down by Google for pariticipation in contextual advertising programs.

I'm curious, what constitutes unacceptable content for AdSense? So I visited dozens of domains owned by those that had sent me those emails to see if I could tell, A) Why Google turned away a site that believed they qualified and, B) Whether I agreed with Google's assessment.

Without fail I found that those sites that had been turned down by Google for participation in AdSense simply had no content! Since the key to contextual advertising is having content within which to place advertising in context, what constitutes content?

Here's the definition of 'Content': Subject matter of a written work, as a book or magazine.

That definition puts website content in context for me. If you see your website as an online written work that's like a print magazine or book, then you have a content website. Emphasis on the first syllable. CONtent.

Again and again I looked at those sites that Google had turned down for AdSense and see either sites entirely self focused and promoting their own products, services and subscriptions, or sites that were entirely outwardly focused and promoting and linking to other sites without writing anything or having anything to say about those sites.

First a word about self focused sites. Those sites that exist for sales of their own product or service absolutely SHOULD NOT participate in AdSense contextual advertising because their site content will always show AdSense advertising for competitors!

While Google has a filtering method that allows those showing AdSense ads to keep direct competitors advertisements from appearing on their site, that method would filter most of those advertisements and leave those sites with no ads at all! When all of your content is about what you sell, you should probably keep your attention focused on those sales and off of contextual ads.

Who should participate in Google AdSense then? Content sites, that is, those that see themselves as sort of online magazine that discusses, analyzes, comments, reviews or editorializes. Those who have extensive CONtent, not those who are conTENT.

A client contacted me recently after hearing of the Google AdSense program. He has about three articles on his website that discuss and analyze issues of interest to those who might buy his products. He'd done his homework by reviewing his site visitor statistics and had discovered that those articles were responsible for the majority of referrals to his site from the search engines. I basked in the warm glow of his praise as he excitedly told me how these pages (that I had recommended he add to his site) were drawing fully a third of his website traffic!

It always pleases me when clients see the positive results of implementing strategies that I've recommended to them. These pages increased traffic and sales of his products.

This client then leapt to the conclusion that if those articles were drawing most of his search engine traffic, then we should place the Google AdSense code on those pages and capitalize on that traffic with contextual advertising! I had to let him down easily, explaining that three articles don't constitute significant content. When he asked me what WOULD constitute substantial enough content to qualify for the AdSense program, it made me stop and think.

My answer to him is likely to dismay many website owners who believe their site might qualify for contextual advertising. After a brief pause, I responded that I thought it would take about fifty articles of 500 words or more to qualify for AdSense advertising.

As he silently digested that admittedly daunting number, it was suddenly crystal clear to me why so many website owners that don't write, don't qualify for Google AdSense. website owners that do write their own articles, opinions and analysis on subject matter that is important to them will have that much content on their site already. My client had struggled for weeks to research, distill and edit his thoughts into those three articles on his site.

During that pregnant pause, I digested the ramifications of my own words, my client gave up immediately and said simply, "I can never write that many articles, so I'll never qualify for contextual advertising on my website.

Oh, you may not write, but you are wrong about qualifying for contextual advertising—if you really want to. And, by the way, your search engine ranking will go through the roof if you reproduce 50 articles on that topic on your website. On top of that, your website traffic will increase dramatically, your sales will go up and you will qualify easily for Google AdSense.

He paused as if I had spoken to him in a foreign language and said, "If I don't write those articles to put on my site, who will?"

I immediately responded with my favorite sources for free web content, one of which I've operated myself for nearly 4 years.

There are also literally hundreds of websites that collect and distribute articles. Their policies and practices vary widely so I'll leave it to you to find those appropriate to your site subject matter, but here a few that immediately come to mind.

Web publishers and authors regularly join these lists to exchange content on popular topics. Writers make their articles available to e-zine, newsletter and website publishers in exchange for that publisher running a small bio at the end of their article with a link to the authors website. This exchange offers value to both parties. The publisher gains content, the writer gains a web link and that link increases her visibility and her website search engine ranking goes up due to link popularity.

The content is out there, you simply need to gather it, publish it and then apply to Google AdSense for contextual advertising. You are benefitting those authors by linking to them, your search engine ranking by increasing your own site content and relevance, and finally your bankbook by qualifying for contextual advertising and making all of that content pay.

Don't be conTENT, have CONtent! Then apply for Google AdSense.

Mike Banks Valentine is a Search Engine Optimizer specializing in ethical small business SEO. Visit his website Search Engine Optimism for more articles on SEO.


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