Sunday Motivation: The Space Race and your Online Marketing success Race

The other day a friend came to visit, and he told me a story that I’m beginning to doubt it’s 100% accurate (I’ve tried googling to no avail), but hey, let’s assume it’s true since I really enjoyed it and I think it’s a great story anyway 😉

Apparently, in the space race, the United States and the Soviet Union worked using a different strategy.

On one hand, the engineers from the Soviet Union, wanted to get every single number and calculation right. They spent lots and lots of time going through formulas, papers and all sorts of numbers, before getting into action.

On the other hand, the USA worked through a “trial and error” approach. They tested something, put it into action, and if it didn’t work at all, they would try something different.

And we all know who were the first to get to the moon, right? (unless you believe some conspiracy theory, of course).

Even if this story is not 100% accurate (I’ve also recently discovered that Mark Twain probably never said this, my life is really shaking), I think it describes perfectly the “Ready, Fire, Aim” philosophy, that I think is crucial in all aspects of life, including Online Marketing.

So by now you have most likely got the metaphor: it’s always better to keep moving and testing things than to wait to have all the information. Don’t get stuck!

Where to find good (and free) information about Google Adsense

In the past, I’ve talked about great courses about Google Adsense.

However, since most of them are paid (aside from Optimizing Adsense, which is 100% free) and we all like free, here are some great resources where you can learn some tricks and you don’t even need to pull out your credit card:

The Official Adsense Blog (Inside Adsense)

Yes, it’s official, and it’s from Google, so it’s great information about what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing.

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Youtube Adsense official Channel

Here you’ll find a few videos that can give you some useful insights.

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Google Adsense Page at Google Plus

There is not so much happening at Google+ (they arrived into the social world a bit too late), but this particular page has over 2 million followers. There must be something happening there.

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Digital Point Adsense Forum

This is a great forum, with thousands of posts to read. The only trouble is telling the good information aside from the not-so-good.

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RaĂșl Mellado’s blog

Yepp, yours truly has written a lot of content about Adsense. Feel free to leave a comment on any article and I’ll do my best to reply.

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Monetize Pros

This blog post called “101 ways to make money with Adsense” is filled with great information.

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Another interesting post at Fat Stacks Entrepreneur

It’s from december 2014, but still pretty much up to date information

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The Niche Site Duel series by Pat Flynn

What happened here is the following: Pat decided to have a challenge with other niche site experts where they would build, rankd and monetize a site, documenting everything along the way. Since it describes every single step along the way, there is a ton of information to learn.

Go to this post and scroll to the bottom to find a link to the other articles.

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Spencer Haws Blog (Niche Pursuits)

Not everything is Adsense here (in fact, most of the information is not directly related to Adsense), however since he is focused on teaching how to build Niche Sites, you will find most of the information (blog posts and podcast) useful.

This blog post is particularly useful.

Link

 

So that’s everything I could think of, if you know of more free resources, please let me know and I’ll include them in this guide.

How to spy on your “Adsense” competition (and avoid being spied on)

Maybe you think that spying is something for the movies, but trust me, it’s something we all do in the Online Marketing world.

And spying does  not necessarily mean being a “copycat”, ie, copying/duplicating something you see from your competition.

I prefer the word “inspiration”. You can check WHAT others are doing, learn WHY they are doing it, and then improve.

So here is how you would do some “007 Adsense spying”:

Let’s say you come to a site with Adsense ads, and you would like to find more sites that the same user owns (again, not to copy, but just to check what’s working, etc).

First, you view the source code and look for his/her Adsense Publisher id. To do this, look for the Adsense ad code and extract just the part that starts with pub-

It could be something like this:

google_ad_client = “ca-pub-1234567890123”;

With that, you now go to spyonweb.com and enter the publisher id. Then you just click Go! and you will get other sites owned by the same person.

For example, when I entered a specific publisher id (not revealing it here for privacy reasons):

I found out that this person has other 4 domains. So if I know that he/she is successful in building Adsense sites, I can assume that other sites might be profitable too, so I could check at many things like:

  • Keywords
  • Theme being used
  • Ads placing strategy
  • Backlinking strategy
  • Content strategy

etc.

You can also spy using Analytics Code. For that you need the code that starts with UA, for example: UA-12345678-1 (just a made up example)

If you enter this code at spyonweb.com you will find other sites with the same Analytics Account.

Obviously, not all sites are in the database, so you will not 100% of the results, but you will get a lot of information using this tool.

 

So after learning how to spy, what can you do to protect your business?

Here  are a couple of suggestions:

Separate your public site (ie, your blog) from your money sites.

Do not use the same Analytics account on your public blog/homepage and in your niche/Adsense sites. Otherwise people can just go to your main, public site, get the Analytics code, and spy on you.

Also, if you are very paranoid, you can use another analytics solution like Piwik.

Same thing but with Adsense.

Ideally, do not put Adsense on your blog (unless it makes you a ton of money)

Common sense

Be a bit private with your business. Do not reveal the urls of your websites in your blog, etc. Now I know it’s great to share information (and you can see I share as much information as I can with my readers), but some things should remain private. You never know who is listening.

 

So that’s it, hope this was useful and entertaining. You just got your Adsense spy badge 🙂

How to avoid spam in your WordPress Site

Spammers, spammers, we all hate them.

They will register in your website, add comments with ugly links…

But hey, they are just doing their job, right?

Now it’s your job to stop them! Here are some tips to avoid all kinds of spam in your blog.

Disable user registration (if it’s not a need).

Go to Settings > General and make sure the box “Anyone can register” is not checked.

Obviously, if you have a community where people need to register, you should leave it on.

Configure Discussion Settings

Under Settings > Discussion you should make sure these box are checked:

Before a comment appears:

– Comment author must have a previously approved comment

– Optionally, you can moderate all comments by hand. Depending on your traffic this might be a good idea (or not)

You can also insert certain trigger keywords under Comment Moderation / Blacklist

Use an antispam plugin

Here are my recommendations:

Akismet: This is a must have. I have it activated in every single website. You can get a free api key.

Spam FireWall, Anti-Spam by CleanTalk: Works great, but requires a paid key after the trial period

WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam: 100% free, works great too

Use a security plugin

The top two are:

Wordfence

Sucuri

You will just need one of them (since they mostly overlap in features), and they will give you some extra peace of mind.

 

That’s it! Do you have any other extra advice?

Why Adsense is not dead

I’ve been hearing it for years “Google Adsense is dead”.

And the reason people say that is this: a few years back, it was so easy to set up a new site, throw a bunch of poorly written articles, get a few backlinks, and rank it in a matter of days.

Then you just added some Adsense ads, make a few dollars a day, then rinse and repeat.

But then Google got a bit more picky, and nowadays it is not so easy to rank for many keywords. You usually need more time and definitely better content.

But this does not mean you cannot make some money (or a ton) from Google Adsense. It just means you have to be smarter.

If you are ready to work smart (and sometimes hard), there is plenty of unexplored keywords, niches, topics where you can add your content, get visitors and earn a living using Adsense.

Plus, you have other methods for driving traffic, like Facebook, Twitter…

And don’t forget about smartphones. Most traffic these days (and rising) comes from mobile devices. There is an unexplored world out there 🙂

Also, you can use Adsense just as one of the methods to monetize a site. You can complement it with Amazon links, other affiliate links, etc.

Even when it might not be so popular these days, it’s still alive and kicking.

The best Adsense courses

When it comes to Adsense, there are not so many courses around (at least, not too many good ones).

It was a much more popular topic in the past, but since interest has moved over to other aspect of Online Marketing (Social Media, etc), the information about Adsense has diminished.

Here are some guides where you can find information about Google Adsense

Google Adsense Secrets, by Joel Comm

This is the Adsense Guide. I purchased version 5.0, which is a PDF with 293 pages. Version 6.0, newer and updated is out. This version is an ebook for Kindle.

The author goes in deep into detail of how to do proper keyword research, how to set up your site, and some strategies to maximize your Adsense earnings.

Format: Mobi (for Kindle)

Price: $4.49

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Long Tail University, by Spencer Haws

This is not an Adsense course per se. It is more focused on building niche sites, starting with proper keyword research, do competition research, content strategies and SEO.

The word “Adsense” is not mentioned anywhere in the sales page, however, aside from Ad placement, strategies, etc, you are getting all the information you need.

Plus, it comes from a very reputable author

Format: Video

Price: $197

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Niche Site Course, by Chris Lee

This is an up-to-date course on how to set up a niche site from scratch.

It will teach you how to do proper niche and keyword research, how to do SEO (on page and off page), and how to maximize Adsense earnings.

Format: Video

Price: $297

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Optimizing Adsense, by Google

This is a free course put together by the Google Adsense people. It has 18 short videos, focused on all the things you need to know for a successful Adsense strategy. It’s not very long so I really recommend you watch it if you are into Adsense

Format: Video

Price: Free

Link

Madsense Reborn

I wouldn’t say this is a great course, but it has a fresh idea: using Facebook to get cheap traffic to your site (as opposed to doing SEO).

Honestly, I think SEO trafic is a hundred times better quality than social (at least when it comes to Adsense), but this course shows you how to get tons of visitors fast.

Format: Video

Price: $47

Link

How many Adsense Ad Units can I add to my site? (2017 edition)

In the past, there was a limit on the number of ads you could place on a single page:

  • 3 ads for content units
  • 3 ads for link units

However, in august 2016, Google updated their policy (read about it here).

To sum up, if you don’t want to read too much, the new idea is this: “you can place any amount of ads on your page as you want, but don’t overdo”.

In more correct terms, they state that “Advertising and other paid promotional material added to your pages should not exceed your content

How should we interpret this?

The way I see it, they are saying “don’t have more ads than content”. Which makes sense, given that a page with more ads than content would not be so nice.

So don’t over do it, use your common sense, and you will be fine.

Ah, since they are not giving you a specific rule (like in the past, the maximum was 3, which is something really specific), keep your account safe, so when in doubt, have one less add than you would (you wouldn’t want the big G to ban your Adsense account).

For example, I wouldn’t have more than one unit visible on a mobile device (that can be interpreted as “more ads than content”. On a large desktop site, 2 or even 3 visible might be just fine (and I say might because you never know with those Google people).

My favourite quote of all time

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

This pretty much sums up what I tend to think about life.

I have to admit I don’t live by it every single day. I waste time almost every day, however it has helped me accomplish multiple things.

So, ask yourself: what are you afraid to do today? Will you regret NOT doing it twenty years from now?

And go for it!

 

PS. I just found out this quote was probably never said by Mark Twain, but hey, that does not make it any less valuable.

The best tools for Keyword Research

When it comes to finding great keywords for your website (it does not matter if it’s going to be an Adsense website, Amazon… or even your own store), you need to do proper keyword research.

To do this, you will need to use a proper tool; some of them are free, others are paid. Here is a list of all the ones I’ve used in the past

Free Keyword Research Tools

Adwords Keyword Planner

To use it you need an Adwords account. The great thing is that it’s free, and gives you most of the information you need about search volume and estimated CPC. However, it does not give you any information about Keyword competitiveness (meaning how hard it would be to rank that specific keyword).

Price: free

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Google Trends

It gives you information about what people are searching for right now, along with historical information. Very useful tool if you want to be up to date with recent searches/events and stay ahead of competition.

Price: free

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Ubersuggest

It has some extra information that the Adwords Keyword Planner does not provide. You can search in Google Search, Images, Shopping, Youtube, News… Recently adquired by Neil Patel (currently, it reads: New free features coming soon)

Price: free

Link

Keywords Everywhere

This is a browser addon (available for Chrome and Firefox) that gives you the ability to get better results from other websites (Ubersuggest, Soovle, Answer the Public, Majestic Anchors, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Keyword Shitter and Moz Open Site Explorer).

Price: free

Link

Paid Keyword Research Tools

KeywordXP

It helps you find  keyword variations, long tail keyword research, competitor analysis… Plus it will check for available domains, and other goodies like title generator (from your original keyword), trend reporting, etc.

Price: $67 (basic) – $97 (Pro)

Link

Market Samurai

Until I found Long Tail Pro, it was my favourite tool. I have spent hours using it, and it’s still pretty good. You can use it to find related keywords, SEO competition (top 10 results in Google), etc. Plus, it has a monetization tab that allows you to search for products to promote based on your keyword.

It also has a rank tracking option, so you can check how your site ranks for specific keywords (very useful feature).

There is also a “promotion” tab where you can find websites where you can add a backlink to your website (not that useful in 2017, to be honest, but can give you some hints)

Price: $149 one time (there is a free trial)

Link

Long Tail Pro

I left the best (at least in my humble opinion) for last. In many ways it’s similar to Market Samurai, but it’s the fastest tool out there.

If you are serious about keyword research you will love Long Tail Pro.

The best feature (aside from how fast it is) is what they all “Custom Keyword Difficulty”, which is a number that lets you know how competitive that keyword is (ie, how hard it would be rank it according to the top results in Google). This alone is priceless (as it will save you hours of research).

Price: $25/mo (starter), $45/mo (pro),  $98/mo (agency) (there is a 7 day free trial)

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Final Veredict:

If you are just starting out or keyword research is not a big necessity for you, use the Adwords Keyword Planner (free). If you need something more serious, Long Tail Pro is your best friend.

The Most Important Skill for an Internet Marketer

If you google things like “online marketing skills”, “digital marketing skills”, etc. you will find things like

  • HTML
  • Web Design
  • PPC
  • Social Media
  • Video Marketing
  • SEO
  • Community Marketing
  • Analytics
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • etc.

However, in my opinion, there is a skill that overshadows any of those: The Ability to Learn and Adapt

Why? Because you can be an expert in SEO, but still struggle to make a living. Or a great Web Designer who works long hours just to pay the rent.

However, if you are able to learn some of the basic skills, but are not afraid of testing and trying new things, and keep learning, you will do much better than those who stagnate.

This goes hand in hand with this piece of advice: don’t be afraid to fail, test, and fail again. Resilience is a great skill to have, for all aspects of life.

So, are you a lifelong learner?