Friday, 19 October 2012

Adsense for Search as a Blog Revenue Stream

It's not just placing ads on your site that allows you to earn money from AdSense. There is also AdSense for search. For this you place a code snippet, provided by Google that enables in individually-coded search panel for your blog or site.

Basically, AdSense for Search places a search box on your blog or site that allows your visitors to find information posted on your site, or on related sites. This then calls up a page of results with ads and you earn money from clicks and purchases on those ads. It's an additional revenue stream that you get just for putting a small code snippet on your pages. What's not to love?

Implementing 'Adsense for Search' on Your Site:

1. Ensure that the search panel is easy to find. Top right of every page is the recommended location.
2. Put a search box at the top and at the bottom of your pages. This ensures that there is more chance of one being used.
3. If you can, integrate the results pages into your own site. That way, the users stay longer on your pages.
4. For the results pages, arrange the ads at the top of the page (particularly if you're putting the results in your own content).
5. Customise the search results page so that it matches with the colours of your site. If you have a header or banner, add this to the search results page.

How to Get the Code

This can be a little fiddly to implement, so I have gone through all the stages on this blog for you. The steps below are based on how I implemented the code for this site.

First log in to our Adsense account then click on 'Adsense for Search'. This will bring up a page that has the following parameters:

Search type — this allows you to select your own site and any other sites of interest, or you can choose the entire web. For me, the option you chose depends on the maturity of your site and how much content you have. It also depends on how many sites you have. But if you are just starting out on your blog, use the default of the 'entire web'. You can always go back and adjust the settings later.

Optional Keywords — these keywords affect the precise niche in which the search results come back in. This is important if you use the 'entire web' option above. For example, is you run a food blog and you want people to search for pots, then without keywords you may get back cooking pots, but you will also get plant pots. But if you use the keywords 'cookery, recipes, food, chefs' for example, they you only get back results for cooking pots. This provides your site's users with a much better experience as the search results are geared exactly for what they're searching for.

Set Site Language and Country

Set a Channel — with any ad-based system, particularly in Google, it's always good to add a custom channel. That way, when you later change your search system you can compare what you had and what you've changed to see which system works best for you.

Look and Feel — Customize the search box and the results page to fit in with the look and feel of your blog or site. Always make sure that the search box itself is as long as practical to allow for complex queries.

Where the Results Page Opens — If at all possible, open the results within your own site, as this means that visitors stay for longer on your site. Now it's not possible to do this by default on Blogger and if you want to do this you need to set up one of the 'pages' in blogger to accept the results. This is quite complicated and beyond the scope of this article, but it can be done. However, to keep things simple, if you are using the Blogger platform open the search results on Google instead (don't worry, you can still monetize the results).

If you have chosen the option to open the results in your own page, go to your blog or website and create a blank page where the header and sidebars are populated, but the body is open. If possible use a standalone page, but if you cannot, create a blank post page and give it a title like 'Recipes Google Search'. Anything that is related to your site will be fine.

Publish the page, but keep it open.

For Blogger users, you can either create a stand-alone page or you can open in Google.

Look and Feel of the Search Results — There is a huge array of ways that you can customize the search results. Indeed, there is a palette of over 200 colours to choose from. Play around with these until the search results look exactly as you want them to.

If you are publishing directly to Google you will also be asked if you want to add a custom logo to the search results page.

Almost Finished

Now click on the box to agree to Google's terms and conditions, name your search (you need a different name for each one) then click on 'submit and get code'. If you are not publishing to Google you will also need to paste in the URL for your results page.

You will get a small snippet of code divided into two pieces. The first piece of the code defines the search box and the second snippet of code defines the results page.

Now paste the search box code into your Blog or Website template. Top right for the first search box and bottom for the second are the best places.

After this paste the second piece of code into your search results page and save this. Publish everything and your search system should be good to go.

If you are using Blogger and you want to show your results in Google, then you will just get a single piece of code. This needs to be pasted into your Blogger template code.

Go into your blog’s layout page and ‘add a gadget’.

Choose the ‘HTML/JavaScript’ gadget.

Add this where you want the search panel to appear on your blog (we said the top right hand is the best place for it to be).

Paste the code you copied from the AdSense for Search page into the ‘content’ space of your HTML/Javascript gadget and save this.

You now have a fully-functional search system enabled for your blog or site and the search results are linked to your AdSense account. You now have another way to monetize your blog or website.

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