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AdSense Publisher Scorecard: Best Tips & Practices

After an interesting Hangout with AdSense Folks on 18th June at Google+, Susan Wojcicki announced about an interesting new feature called ...

Adsense Scorecard optimization tipsAfter an interesting Hangout with AdSense Folks on 18th June at Google+, Susan Wojcicki announced about an interesting new feature called Publisher Scorecard that has been added to all AdSense accounts and the scorecard summary chart can be seen under the Home Tab. Scorecard is a tool that gives greater insights to Publishers to compare how well their Ad settings, Website load time and content is performing compared to other Publishers using AdSense as the contextual Ad network. It displays a summary of three important categories which includes Revenue Optimization, Site Health and Google+ button Integration. Each category is scored on a scale of 1-5 blue dots that indicate your performance rank or level. In today's tutorial we will learn every basic detail of this great scoring tool and will learn how to optimize our websites and blogs to increase the overall AdSense earning. Lets jump straight to this fun ride and make better money with AdSense!

What are the Scorecard Categories?

Adsense scorecard categories
Above is a screenshot of my AdSense Account. You can clearly see the three important bolded categories which are further divided into sub categories:
1. Revenue Optimization:
By Revenue Optimization we mean improving anything that increases your overall Page CTR and RPM value and boost your earning. We received two 2/5 blue dots here and a yellow icon that indicates that this section needs improvement. It can be optimized by making three major improvements and that are:
 
(a) Using Recommended Ad formats
These recommended formats are often 336x280, 300x250, 728x90 or 160x600. If you are running any Ad formats other than these then please upgrade them immediately.
 
How to Improve it?
To improve this section use recommended ad formats that I mentioned above and you must keep your Ads above the fold. I would suggest to keep a 336X280 Text/Image Ad just below Blog Post tiles and a 728x90 big banner just below your blog header. Add a 160X600 skyscraper to your Sidebar.
Please make sure to keep your web design such that these ads may appear above the fold. The visitor must see the ads when your site loads without having to scroll down. Use the following App by Google to test if your ads are above the fold or not:
Adsense best Ad Locations
We recently developed a Plugin called AdSense Booster to add AdSense ads just above the excerpt/read more tag. This plugin was developed for blogger blogs. But you can get the same functionality even in wordpress by installing Quick AdSense Plugin.  I must tell you that our earnings increased by 40% after we installed this simple plugin which is now available to even blogger users and we are using the same plugin to  show a 468 X 60 Ad just below the opening paragraph. You can see it live in this post just below the first paragraph.
 
 
(b) Enabling both Text and Image Ads on this formats.
I would suggest that you must enable this if you haven't already done. AdSense bot knows best when to display Text or Media Ad based on the content on your site. If you are choosing just text ads or image ads then you are loosing the opportunity of an optimized Click through Rate.
 
How to Improve it?
Go To My Ads Tab inside your AdSense account and then click the "Edit ad Type" link below your Content Ad units. Choose the option Text & image/rich media ads as shown below:
 

text and image ads in adsense
Do this for all your AdSense for content Ad zones.

(c) Reduce Crawler Errors

This is one major section which people often underestimate and this returns in low earning. I always strongly recommend our clients to do a through validation of both their site HTML structure and robots.txt file. You must let the AdSense bot to crawl and scan your content the easiest way possible and don't block its way with Messy Fancy Scripts.
If you check our scorecard we received a green Tick which shows an  Excellent Score. To reduce crawler errors first make sure all Jquery scripts that you use are placed within the <head> and </head> tags. Clean up your site HTML structure and remove  any script that is increasing your site speed and causing the browser to crash.
Google has a list of crawlers for different tasks such as for detecting images, videos, smart phones or AdSense Ads. In order to make sure you allow AdSense Googlebot to crawl your site you must give it rights to do so by adding the following line in your robots.txt file:
 
User-agent: Mediapartners-Google
Disallow:


 



 



See our robots.txt file as an example.


Note: Blogger users have this added by default. Wordpress users may manually add this.




2.  Site Health


Here as usual Google expects you to improve your Page speed Performance. Matt Cutts did announce on April 2010  that Page Load time would be a deciding factor for websites to rank higher on SERPs. They went so far that they even introduced PageSpeed tools last year which helps you to reduce load time of your webpages. An interesting and complete tutorial is linked below:




Yes we score too bad here as we received a red alert. Which of course is justified because I love the blog to look professional and stand apart. Here we have never listened to Google because we tried our level best to reduce the load time but Google never seemed like getting satisfied! :p I guess we would need to remove some further widgets and images to cut down the Page Load time.

How to Improve it?


Here are some quick and proper ways to reduce load time:





  • Use CSS3 features to  create backgrounds, gradients, drop shadows and don't use Images. Create elements using CSS3 as much as you can.


  • Use small image patterns for backgrounds and scroll them vertically or horizontally instead of using large and big images


  • Use CSS Sprites to reduce http requests. You will find severa


  • Place all Javascript in one place and one file


  • Place all stylesheets in one linked file


  • Remove useless Plugins and Widgets


  • Never compress CSS nor JavaScript! Even I used to recommend this before but when we talk of site maintenance you will get confused figuring out the compressed code. So please never make a mess out of your code. Keep it well indented and structured.



3. Integrate Google+ Button on your sites


Well how can Google forget promoting their Social network. So yes you must make sure to add Google+ buttons on your site to ensure you get maximum number of +1 recommendations because believe it or not social sharing votes does count a lot.


How to Improve it?


Simply add a GooglePlus button inside your posts and your sidebar. Also create a Google+ Fan Page. Read the following delicious tutorial to get things going.







Scorecard Symbols and Indicators



Following are some interesting details about the various symbols used in your scorecard chart. You can find more help and details on scorecard at Google Groups





1. Following are the three important Scores symbols and their description




























Score   Description
excellent scorecard Excellent! No need to make any changes to this category.
improvements needed - scorecard Improvements suggested. You are advised to make some further improvements to this item.
needs improvement - scorecard Needs improvement! You must or may take quick action to optimize this item




2. Following are some symbols that would appear after you make the suggested changes.


































      Symbol

Meaning
increase in blue dots - scorecard This category’s score has increased by one or more blue dots up to four blue dots.
decrease in blue dots - scorecard This category’s score has drop down by one or more blue dots down to three blue dots.
item score improvement This item’s score has gone up from “Needs improvement” to “Improvements suggested”.
item score gone down This item’s score has gone down from “Improvements suggested” to “Needs improvement”.





Need Help?



I guess we covered every single tip and almost all best practices used to make sure you monetize your sites well and improve your CTR and RPM value. If there is anything we emphasize a lot to our clients after SEO then it's the site Design and then Monetization. Please give extra care to how appealing your site design is. You have the right to make it eye-catching by using all Fancy Jquery effects but please be assured that sometimes you need to sacrifice for the sake of a bigger gain. This is one reason why Wikipedia is so ugly yet so powerful.


It's time for some home work, we will do ours, you do yours!. Let me know for any help needed. Peace and blessings buddies. :)

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Experience Lab - Online business creation and development guide for bloggers and startups: AdSense Publisher Scorecard: Best Tips & Practices
AdSense Publisher Scorecard: Best Tips & Practices
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Experience Lab - Online business creation and development guide for bloggers and startups
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