Google Advertising Tools: Cashing in with AdSense and Adwords, 2ed. is one of those books where you take lots of notes. I have been involved with AdWords and AdSense, on a surface level, for a couple of years. So I knew my way around these services. I would say that a third of this book is devoted to screen shots and help with navigation. Which is good, but wasn’t helpful to me. If you are newer to these services then you will love these sections as they are very well pulled together. This also means that a full two-thirds of the book was helpful to me.
The author does talk about staying reader-focused and the need for consistently creative and unique content, but most of the ink is spent on the reason/need for sitemaps, tips for good page layouts, techniques, etc. He does a good job explaining the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ all of these things.
I really like the layout of the book which is in three sections:
- Making money with a website
- Cashing in with Adsense
- Working with Adwords
These allow the author to really setup strategies apart from the tools to execute the strategies. In the first section he even talks about non-Google related “affiliate programs” and some Adsense-competitor networks. All in an effort to show you that Google is not the only way. Which I appreciated. It allows for honest context and back of the napkin type metrics. This is something that a lot of these types of books are lacking. It is these real world tips, based on actual data, that can help you build your site and network. I am talking about tips such as:
- A daily blog post should have 250-300 words. On average, this gives an optimal mix of human-friendly words and keyword saturation (search engine-friendly words).
- If your post/page is over 300 words or if your readers are spending more than a minute on that post/page, then you might want to consider breaking it up which could help with readability and add another chance to display revenue-generating elements.
- A good Click-Through-Rate for ads is 1.5% or better. The author recommends troubleshooting anything lower. He also offers tips on how to troubleshoot and tweak page layouts.
I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a solid introduction to the “how” part of monetizing a website. Advanced folks should look elsewhere. If you’re a developer, you’ll be disappointed in the lack of code. In all honesty, if you follow the right blogs and do a few key Google searches you could probably dig a lot of this up on your own. But it’s nice that I didn’t have to spend my weekend digging and learning. I could just spend it learning. I give this book a solid 3 out of 5 stars and have already recommended to two people.