f you are a website owner that regularly produces original and unique content, you have no doubt toyed with the idea of using Google AdSense.
And the more traffic you have on your website, the more participating in Google AdSense’s program makes sense as this means more people seeing and clicking on those ads.
Blogs, forums, and websites offering any kind of free tools all have great potential for generating revenues with AdSense as they are generally high-traffic websites that are free to use, which means that users won’t mind seeing an ad or two.
However, as we will see below, Google AdSense has some requirements that you must comply with to get your application approved and keep your account in good standing.
What is Google AdSense?
If you have ever visited a website and seen ads for third-party websites and products, chances are they have been generated by Google AdSense.
This program allows website owners to monetize their platforms by allowing advertisers to bid for space on their page. Google then delivers targeted and relevant ads to your audience and, in return, you get compensated based on the number of people that engage with or view those ads.
Here is an example from Real Simple’s website, a high-traffic lifestyle magazine. That ad for Microsoft Azure that is placed in the header would have been generated by AdSense.
And here is an example from the website PDF2GO, a tool that allows users to convert files to PDF format free of charge. In exchange, visitors are served with ads, like the one in the header from Squarespace.
AdSense is fairly easy to set up, one must simply have a Google account, add a piece of code to their website, choose where they would like the ads to appear (ad placements) and Google takes care of the rest.
How Much Can You Earn From Google AdSense?
It all depends on the ad, as they are paid for by the advertisers themselves who bid for the ad space.
You will be paid on a pay-per-click or on a pay-per-impression basis, depending on the type of ad. For that reason, this amount will vary significantly depending on how much traffic you get on your website, how many ads appear on your page, the type of content that you share, and, of course, your users, their behavior, and where they are located.
You can strategically select ad placements to maximize the number of impressions and clicks and, thus, your earnings.
Bloggers will often place AdSense ads within a piece of content, as the user has to scroll past it to continue reading the article.
As seen above in our examples, a website header is also a popular place for banner ads as is the footer. Another common ad placement is in the white space, on the sides of a page; this allows for bigger, vertical ads.
Linguee, a free translation tool, maximizes the white space on both sides of its tool by allowing ad placements:
Google AdSense Requirements
Like most platforms, Google AdSense requires users to agree and comply with its terms and conditions when signing up to use the service.
The exact terms and conditions vary depending on the country where your billing address is located – this is an excerpt from the terms applicable for a United States billing address.
Section 3 of the AdSense Online Terms of Service specifies that a website owner must comply with these terms as well as with any applicable laws in order to be allowed to use AdSense.
Specifically, when required by law, the website owner must use “commercially reasonable efforts” to ensure that consent was given by the user in regards to storing and accessing their cookies, device-specific information, location, or other information on their device.
Indeed, as mentioned earlier, Google places and stores a cookie on a user’s browser when they click on or visit a page that includes ad tags or displays Google ads (and anytime an activity results in a call to their servers).
These cookies allow Google to serve users with personalized and more relevant ads and to avoid showing someone the same ads over and over again.
EEA and UK Website Visitors
As websites generally do not exclude people from specific countries from visiting their page, there is a chance that you will have users from the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom, so you should keep this in mind.
Here is a screenshot of the EU User Consent Policy which aims to ensure compliance with the GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive:
To comply with this policy, you must also retain records of their consent and make it easy for your users to revoke it by providing them with instructions on how to do so. You must also clearly identify each party with whom data will be shared.
This is in line with applicable European data privacy laws, notably the GDPR, which are known as the strictest on the planet.
However, Google does provide some guidance to website owners when it comes to what should be included in their privacy policies, all the while reminding them that applicable laws vary from one country to the other.
If you are allowing Google to serve ads from third-party vendors or ad networks that place cookies on your website you will need to notify your users and name those third-party vendors as well as links to their websites where your users can manage cookies.
At a minimum, you should direct your users to the internetcookies.com website for information on how to manage cookies.
Major British online fashion retailer Asos has an extensive section on its website that addresses privacy and cookies.
It is a great example of a website owner using clear, user-friendly language and taking into account that Asos’ target demographic is between the ages of 18 and 34 years old – they even have a short 53 seconds video to better engage with their users.
This page is long, but here is a screenshot from the “how we use your information” section:
It also addresses how and with which third parties Asos shares users’ information:
Another good example is the information and entertainment network CBS. The company has a whole section dedicated to privacy on its website, including a page that specifically addresses personalized advertising and how to limit or disable it:
This will allow you to ensure that you have a lawful basis to process their data under article 6(1)(a) of the GDPR and retain a record of that consent (the text, options, and the date and time when the user consented).
Cookie banners appear on most websites nowadays – they are usually placed at the bottom of a page and pop-up to ask you to click and register your consent before you can proceed to navigate a website.
Here is the cookie banner that appears when you visit AirBnB’s website:
Another example is Shell’s website; when a user lands on the homepage a full-screen pop-up appears:
These are just examples and the guidelines provided by Google are just that, guidelines.
Google actively monitors websites that use AdSense from a user’s perspective to ensure that they remain compliant with their Program Policies, which includes the EU User Content Policy, when applicable.
If you are found to be non-compliant and thus violating their terms of service, Google can disable or suspend your account by not serving ads to your website – effectively removing a source of passive income for your business and potentially preventing you from further participating in Google’s AdSense program.