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" web sites 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 web site. 

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 web site content in context for me. If
you see your web site as an online written work that's like
a print magazine or book, then you have a content web site.
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

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 a 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 web site
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 web site 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 web site 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 web site
owners that don't write, don't qualify for Google Adsense.
Web site 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 web site."

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
web site. On top of that, your web site 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
four years.

There are also literally hundreds of web sites 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 ezine, newsletter and web site
publishers in exchange for that publisher running a small
bio at the end of their article with a link to the authors
web site. 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 web site 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 bank book 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. 
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