I would like to jump right into the content of this article-- some of the best tools around for getting the most out of Google's Adsense campaign. First, we'll start off with the tools in order of personal preference from less useful to most useful (since there is really no good way to compare a tool-- its all in how you use it anyway).
Contextual Ads Preview/Comparison Tool
This tool is helpful in comparing AdSense ads to those of other advertisement vendors (Chitika, Yahoo). You also have the ability to customize the colors and view what ads a certain URL would be likely to display. It's a pretty solid tool when planning what type of advertisements you want to put on your page (especially if you are trying to decide which vendor to sign up with).
The Blacklist basically gives you a list of AdWord publishers that have very low payouts. It is a fact that ad space is valuable-- I would rather fill my ad space with 3 publishers offering $0.50 per click than 3 publishers offering 1 or 2 cents. By providing a list of provider domains to avoid, you can filter your ads and have a greater chance of having high-paying publisher ads displayed on your site. According its website, Blacklist works by:
"...providing you with list of most commonly filtered websites whose webmasters use AdWords to attract visitors for low price click so they can convert it to high price click on their own MFA (Made for AdSense) site(s). In order to STOP these type of actions going on your sites, all you need to do is to paste our specially generated list to your AdSense Setup -> Competitive Ad Filter list. Your revenue should substantially increase."
This is one of my favorite tools-- it allows you to quickly calculate how much you can make given daily impressions, CTR, and CPC. Although it’s certainly easy to calculate the values yourself, this is a resource you can use to quickly get that info. It computes daily, monthly, and yearly data for both clicks and earnings.
From their website:
"It also serves as a tool that will allow Google AdSense users to take their current statistics and get an idea of how much they can expect to see daily, monthly and yearly. As well as those who are considering implementing AdSense on their site what results they are likely to see."
For those out there who like to speculate ("hmmm, if I had 3000 impressions and a CTR of 2% and average CPC of 30 cents, what could I make...?") this is THE tool for you-- quick, simple, and easy to use.
"This is a handy little utility if you would like to see what sort of Google AdSense ads are based on content or keywords. "
This tool lets you see LOTS of ads that Adsense may be displaying on a site. Why is this good? Simply put, you can look at ads that show up for your competitor's site. And why is THAT good? You can use it to help out your own ad campaign.
For example, I know Plenty of Fish (the free dating site with the ugly site design) makes a TON of money from ads. Since my site, UpHook, is in the same general category, I can look at what ads are showing up for them and see if those same sites show up on mine. If not, then I know I'm not really competing against them; and I also know that their ads are probably worth more per-click than my ads. In addition, this also gives me a list of what websites I may be competing against. And keeping an eye on one's competition is a smart move.
Adsense Preview Tool (explorer)
This tool is very similar to the Sandbox. The difference is that you can generate a preview of what ads may be displayed on a page much easier. Rather than visiting a website, you can bring up a pop-up window full of ad samples by right clicking and selecting the preview tool from the pop-up window.
The upside: It's easy to access and gives good information (see Tool #7)
The downside: It's for Internet Explorer
Adsense Notifier (firefox)
This is an invaluable too for OC people who check adsense stats every 5 minutes. Checking adsense habitually is a painful process—its like watching grass grow. But this handy little extension makes it less of a headache. The Notifier can sit in the bottom of your browser window and displays whatever stats you want-- total clicks, daily earnings, impressions, CTR, etc. Wondering if you made any more money yet? You can find out with a quick glance. It’s highly configurable and can save you bunch of time.
Competitive Ads Filter
Now we're getting to the heavy hitters. This tool is actually part of the Adsense setup manager, so you have to already have an AdSense account to use it. You can use the ad filter to block specific ads from appearing on your pages. Simply give the filter a list of URLs and they are effectively prevented from displaying on your site/blog. This can be useful for a few reasons:
1- You can prevent competition form advertising on your site. This could directly benefit from you by helping to ensure that people stay on your site and not jump on the first ad offering the same thing your site does. Due to the targeted-advertisement nature of AdSense, if you have a service site there is a good chance that your competition will have ads showing up on your site all the time. For example, all the ads that show up on my site (free personals, etc) are for other sites offering dating and personals and matchmaking, etc. For some people this is bad-- but for others it can be a good thing.
2- You can prevent irrelevant ads from being displayed. I mentioned this in a previous blog post-- there are some cases where you want to get rid of ads that don't really correlate well with your site content. Remember, AdSense is just a software system-- it tries to determine what ads to serve up based on some site content. There is a chance that it can guess wrong. And when that happens, you can use the filter to help correct things. Have a site about dogs being cooler than cats but AdSense shows a bunch of ads about pro-cat books? Just chug the bogus cat sites into the filter and you'll be all set.
3- You can block publishers that have low-paying ads. This is helpful in making sure you get the best value for your space. Using the Blacklist tool to get a list of low-paying publishers and plugging their domains into your competitive ads filter can quite possibly earn you more money in the long run.
These are all good uses for the filter, however, there is a drawback to using this tool-- if you are trying to filter entire groups of content by using the filter, you will only see temporary results. As more sites pop up, you will likely have to keep updating the filter. This is why this tool is best suited for blocking sites that are in direct competition with yours.
I know some people who swear by this tool. Although you have to sign up to get unlimited access to the service, the trial will probably give provide enough useful information for you to enhance your AdSense experience. Word Tracker pretty much tells you how often people search for a specific keyword. It can also estimate how many competing sites use those keywords. This is probably the best tool to use before deciding what content to include on your page. If there are a lot of competitors, it may be better to target one of the less-searched-for words. Chances are, you will be able to get indexed higher in a search engine for those terms as opposed to going head-to-head with the competition for the popular words.
Obviously, this can drive traffic to your site. Users are more likely to visit matches that show up within the first 2 or 3 pages of a Google search than they are to visit matches on page 87. Why not opt for being indexed in the first 1-50 matches? Sure, you will get less searches overall, but you will be much more visible.
According to their website:
"Wordtracker helps website owners and search engine marketers identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to their or their client's business and most likely to be used as queries by search engine visitors."
This tool is can be used for things other than AdSense. However, it just so happens that popular search keywords are also popular AdSense keywords. Go figure.
Overture Bidding Tool
This tool gives you both suggested keywords AND sample bid amounts given a target word. Although Overture is NOT the same as AdSense, the keywords are almost the same as those suggested when signing up for an AdSense account. In addition, I've found that the bids listed are pretty darn close to those offered by AdWords publishers. Using this tool, it would be trivial to build a list of high-paying keywords that you would want to make sure you use in your content.
If you ensure that mostly high-paying ads are displayed on your site, you will be getting the most out of your ad space. Think about it-- a user isn’t going to know how much each ad is worth before they click it. They are likely to click on almost any ad that appeals to them. Why not make sure that those ads will pay the most money? Using the Overture bidding tool to get other suggested keywords is also useful-- however, be careful not to saturate your page content with a bunch of keywords. This can make your site/blog look tacky. A few here and there should be enough for the AdSense spider to throw up high-paying ads. Combined with the Blacklist, this is an excellent tool to use as an alternative to the AdWords Bidding Tool.
AdWords Bidding Tool/Traffic Estimator
This is probably the most useful tool out there. The only drawback is that you must have an AdWords account to get access to the information. I would suggest getting AdWords anyway, since it gives you a good idea of what publishers go through and what options they have when creating ads.
This bidding tool is THE resource for figuring out what keywords result in the highest paying AdSense ads. It's quite possible that all those pages and blogs that list the Top X-number of highest paying AdSense keywords use the bidding information found through AdWords or Overture. As a site/blog owner, its important to know what words you might want to emphasize in your content.
The traffic estimator will take a set of keywords and tell you the estimated average CPC based on current publisher bidding statistics. Knowing that the estimated CPC of my keywords can pull ads paying between $3 and $8 on average, I know that I am in a very good position to make money from my AdSense advertising. Although these CPCs are average values, and I'm sure Google will only show those ads on very well-performing sites, it at least lets me know what I have to look forward to when I start bringing in a larger amount of traffic.
The Heat Maps
Not really a tool. But for those people who don't know, this can increase your earnings substantially-- especially if you have ads in all the wrong places.
I don't really know much about this site, other than some people apparently bought the tool and use it to easily find the best keywords. I'm not big on buying stuff, so I wouldn't really use it. But if anybody is interested in trying (or has already tried) it and doesn't mind paying a few bucks, feel free to let me know if its worth the money. I’ve heard good things about it.
Getting the most out of AdSense hinges upon your ability to optimize. Using these tools can certainly help out. If you have (or plan to have) AdSense on your site/blog then I think its a very good idea to look at some of the tools out there and try to ensure that you are utilizing your ad space in a smart way.