Adsense Custom and URL Channels can double your income

Adsense Channels explained

Adsense Channels is a way to keep track of how individual ad units are performing on your site or blog. This tracking of individual ad units is extremely important in Adsense Optimization simply because unless you know what is performing and how, how will you improve the performance? Adsense Channels for content come in two varieties.
  1. Adsense Custom Channels - These are used to track performance of individual Adsense ad units.
  2. Adsense URL Channels - These are used to track performance of a single page of your site or blog.
There are also Channels for Custom Search and Feeds which will be discussed in the post below.

Both these Channel concepts are discussed in detail below. If you feel your Adsense income is not that great, then spare a few minutes to read this article. Using Channels to Optimize could double or even triple your Adsense Income in a couple of days.

Adsense Custom Channels

You can think of Adsense Custom Channel as a label which you can attach to one or more Adsense Ad units. The benefit of attaching these 'labels' or channels is that later on you can view Adsense earnings reports for particular labels and that lets you understand how individual Ad units are performing. You can attach multiple (up to 5) channels to a single Ad units and you can also attach a given Adsense Custom Channel to multiple Ad units. This allows you great flexibility to test your Adsense performance. The best way to learn about Adsense Channels is to start by creating one. Creating Adsense Custom Channels is easy. Whenever you create a new Ad unit, or try to edit an existing Ad unit, Adsense will eventually take you to a page which looks like the following.
Creating Custom ChannelsNow, to attach a Custom Channel to this Ad unit, simply select from the list of Channels that is displayed. If you have not created any Custom Channel yet, or would like to create a new channel, click on Add new Channel to create a new Custom Channel. It is advisable to choose a name which will tell you more about what that Channel describes. For example, my GA-RectPostTop above is a Channel which I have attached to the top left rectangle on this page.

Adsense URL Channels

URL Channels don't track individual ad units, but they tell you how a particular page of set of pages is doing. Creating URL Channels is even easier. Simply do the following.
  • Click on Adsense Setup
  • Click on Channels
  • Under Adsense for Content you will see Custom Channels and URL Channels. Click on URL Channels.
  • Click on Add new URL Channels. You will be on a page which looks something like the image below.
  • Then simply copy paste the URL for which you want to create URL Channel.
URL ChannelsRemarks: Adsense URL Channels can be created not just for single pages but also for domains. For example, in the above image you will notice that I have a URL channel This URL channel lets me keep track of earnings on all pages which are in my blog Similarly However the third URL channel is for a particular single page. Get the idea? if not, ask in a comment.

How I use Adsense Channels?

Take a look at my sample page on Web hosting for example. Every page on my main blog has three ad units.
  1. Wide rectangle on the top left.
  2. Wide Skyscraper on the right.
  3. Wide rectangle on the post bottom.
I have created one Custom Channel for each of the above Adsense Unit. I can easily go to Advanced Reports Tab in my Adsense account and run a report to see performance of these Ad units. (click image to enlarge report).
Adsense Channels ReportEarlier I have tried even more type of ad units, and after a lot of experimenting with them by using Channels, I have found that this combination works best for me. I have also found that text ads work best for me than image ads. Coming to this conclusions would have been impossible without the use of Custom Channels to test each Adsense unit thoroughly one-by-one. I also use Adsense URL channels to see how some of my individual articles are doing and that helps me understand which articles are best in terms of revenue etc.

Adsense Channels for Custom Search and Feeds

You can also create Adsense channels for your Custom Search units or for the RSS feeds that you have monetized. Usually one does not deal with several custom search units or several feeds. So managing channels for these is rarely necessary. If in case the need arises, go to Adsense Setup -> Channels. Then click on Adsense for Feeds or Adsense for Search.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

3 SEO secrets - Keyword Density, Links & guess what...

Search Engine Optimization for you !

Almost every article among the past 250 to 300 articles I have written on my main blog, I have tried to use almost all textbook tips and tricks of Search Engine Optimization. Some tips worked. Most of them didn't. This post is a summary of my experience. It contains a list of three simple SEO Tips (or secrets?) which I think are sure-fire way to your success to achieving more traffic for your website or Blog.

If you are new to SEO, then grab an easy chair and invest a couple of minutes reading this article on Search Engine Optimization. The SEO tips and explanations mentioned below may work wonders for your Blog or Website traffic.
SEO Tips

3 effective SEO tips

I like to think of Search Engine Optimization as the art of writing an article in order to achieve the following three goals.
  • SEO TIP 1: Impress the Search Engine Crawlers - When a web crawler visits your blog or website, it scans your post to find out what it is about. Some of the important things that are analyzed are - (a) Your Page Title (b) The keywords appearing on your page (c)The links appearing on your page (both internal and external). Scroll down for details on how to master these three factors.
  • SEO TIP 2: Impress the Web Community - Whenever your article or page is found useful by other bloggers or webmasters, it often receives links, sometimes called backlinks. Details of backlinks discussed below.
  • SEO TIP 3: Impress your Site Visitors - Although this is mentioned as the third goal, this is increasingly becoming the most important factor in Search Engine Optimization. Search Engines like Google have a number of parameters of indicators which actually show whether users find your website or blog useful. It is very important to pay attention to these parameters discussed below.
Below is a step by step explanation of the terms appearing in the above mentioned SEO tips.

Title, Keyword Density, Links

Here are some quick SEO tips related to these three factors. The tips are self explanatory.
  1. Before writing an article try to think of main keywords about which this article is going to be about. Try to think of keywords which people might actually use while they perform a Google search. The following websites are extremely helpful in getting keyword ideas : Google Adwords Traffic Tool, Google Adwords keywords ideas, Google Insights for Search.
  2. Use two to five most important keywords in your title. Avoid unnecessary repetitions or over-stuffing of keywords though. Also try to make the title attractive and something which will arouse curiosity.
  3. Tastefully sprinkle the main keywords throughout your post. Repetition is very important but so is taking care not to irritate your users or make it sound artificial. Overdoing it may cause your article to be considered as a Spam. This skill of achieving the right keyword density is achieved by practice and experience and it is hard to acquire it overnight.
  4. Link to your own previous articles as much as you can. I would say minimum 3 to 6 links to your own posts plus preferably 2 or 3 external highly related links (not necessarily links discussing the exact keyword, but a related one).
  5. When you display images on your post (try to put at least one image if possible), make sure you alter the Alt and title tags of that image. The tags must use one of the main keywords your article is about.

Backlinks and Page Rank

In the early days, search engines used to give a lot of importance to backlinks, i.e. the number of links which link to your page. Also important factors about backlinks were

1. Type of backlink - whether it is a one-way-link or a two way link exchange. One way links are more valuable.
2. The relevance and importance of the page that links to you. For a e.g. a link from BBC would be more important than a link from a blog which is two days old.
3. The anchor text which is used to link to your page. If the anchor text uses one of the keywords (rather than just something like 'click here' or 'this page'), then it counts more.

All the above data about backlinks to your page can be simplified and summarized in one single number called the Page Rank. You can read more about it on What is Google Page Rank. However there are some warnings I must state.

1. Backlinks are vulnerable to abuse. You can easily pay cash to get some. Thus Search Engines are playing lesser and lesser importance on backlinks these days. Indeed, if you engage in some unethical practices you might even be penalized by Google.
2. Backlinks is something which you need not worry about while writing the article. If you write a good content rich article, backlinks will follow automatically.
3. There is increasing evidence that Page Rank has less and less to do with actual Search Engine ranking. For example, the page rank of my main blog once suddenly dropped from 3 to zero. However my traffic did not decrease. On the contrary it was on the rise. So don't stress yourself too much thinking about improving your Page Rank. It is important for some other purposes which will be discussed in a later post.

Bounce Rate and Visitor Experience

This is the third but nowadays, in my opinion, one of the most important factor in Search Engine Optimization. Don't forget that the ultimate goal of Search engines like Google is to make sure that pages that appear on its search are actually useful for the users or visitors. That is why its complex search engine algorithm, which already takes into account over 200 factors, is every evolving. For example if lot of visitors, after visiting your website immediately hit the "back Button" of their browser and perform the search again, then it will negatively affect your Search Engine Ranking no matter how much effort you put into selecting keywords and getting the right keyword density. A related number is Bounce Rate. This is the percentage of visitors which exit your site by viewing just one page to the total number of your site visitors. The lower the bounce rate, the better. Bounce rate of less than 40% is awesome and anything over 70% is worrying. Don't worry about bounce rate too much while actually writing your article. However Keep in mind the following goals when you write an article.
  1. Provide Actual Information or Content which is promised by the title of your article. Otherwise most visitors are sure to bounce off your site within the first few seconds.
  2. Provide other useful links (external and internal) so that if a visitor doesn't find what he/she is looking for on your page, he/she may find it on the links provided by you.
  3. Encourage your visitors to spend as much time on your web page as possible. This is extremely important.
Google always says that you should always indulge in only those SEO methods which are actually useful for your visitors. It has a lot of sense to it, not for being ethical or some such nonsense, but simply because it is Google. Some day they are going to find out if your post is useful and give it a Search engine ranking which it actually deserves.

SEO Softwares and Services

There are various paid SEO softwares and services available on the internet. Pretty much a lot of them typically will cost you hundreds of dollars on a monthly basis. The question is are SEO softwares and services really worth the money they charge? The answer depends on the service or software in question of course, but my advice to you is that don't spend money immediately on SEO Softwares and Search Engine Marketing services about which you do not know much. First try the simple 3 SEO tips mentioned above and see if it makes sense.

If you have already tried your hands on some Search Engine Optimization techniques, then don't forget to share your own valuable thoughts and experience in a comment.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How to Pay Income Tax on your Adsense Income in India?

When you receive your first check from Google Inc. prepare your heart to give away a hefty percentage of it in Income Tax. Yes, I know it hurts. I recently got a check of $3222 (Rs. 1.55 lac) and given the tax situation that I am in, I have to pay over $1000 (Rs. 50K) of it in taxes. Thats life ! In this post I will outline what I have found regarding paying your Income tax on Adsense Income, especially in India.

No matter where you are located, I think there are no clear tax rules specially meant for blogging income. You can either show it as an income from a profession or small business (in United States) or show it as a personal income from other sources. All I will say about paying taxes on Adsense income in United States is that making your blogging a 'small business' has tax advantages.

Ok, now back to the point. Income Tax on Adsense Income in India. Here is what you need to know.

  1. Income from Profession or Income from Other sources? You can either declare your Adsense income as an income from a profession (fill ITR-4 in this case) or income from other sources (fill ITR-2, unless you have to fill ITR-3 or ITR-4 for other reasons). I do not think of my blogging activities as a profession, so I am going to stick to ITR-2, although I have been told it is better to declare it as a profession. Better in what sense? I have no idea.
  2. Pay Advance taxes: Adsense income is not exactly predictable. However you will have to pay Advance taxes. You can pay them online. The deadlines for non-corporates to file advance taxes are as follows :

    On or before the 15th September Not less than 30% of your income tax.

    On or before the 15th December Not less than 60% of such advance tax, as reduced by the amount, if any, paid in the earlier installment.

    On or before the 15th March The whole amount of such advance tax as reduced by the amount or amounts, if any, paid in the earlier installment or installments:

    Depending on your preference, you may want to pay a little bit of more advance tax in order to avoid fines and interest or you may want to avoid paying excess tax and if required pay interest/fines on it.
  3. Auditing of Adsense Income : If you are earn over Rs. 10 lac in a year in Adsense and are showing it as a profession, you will have get an Audit done by a Charted Accountant. If you are showing it as income from other sources, I have no idea if Auditing is required. I am in the process of finding out and will update this post as soon as reliable information is available.
Good Luck with your Taxes !

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

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