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Make Money Online: Documenting 10 Years of Failure

One AdSense Change Dramatically Increased My Earnings…

… and I have no idea what it is.

I used to blog actively on my tutorial site, TeamTutorials. In it’s prime the site would see over 100k page views per month. Even in the prime the site barely met the $100 Google AdSense monthly payout threshold. After 2-3 years of not posting it now the site receives 5-6k visitors per month. That’s a significant decrease. The main reason I kept this site was because it used to cover hosting on my dedicated server so I could run other project on it.

After traffic died off the site would average less than $10 per month in AdSense revenue. Well a few weeks ago I remember going into the AdSense UI and changing some things. However, I really can’t remember what I changed. I think I created a new channel and updated all my tracking codes with that channel. I think I may have turned on some kind of delivery optimization settings. I seriously can’t remember exactly what I did. This is like the worst AB test I forgot to actually monitor.

I forgot about this change completely as I rarely check up on this site. One day I decided to log in and see if I was going to be getting my AdSense check soon. The last time I was paid out was in November. So I ran the recent stats and I saw a significant increase in revenue. With 5-6k hits a month I’m generating probably 60% of the income I generated at 100k+ hits. Now if I could only figure out what I did…

Google AdSense Screen Shot

Now, I don’t consider $60 a month impressive at all but the fact that my earnings increased by such a high percentage is interesting. I find the RPM (revenue per thousand views) of $22 to be quite high. In my experience I’ve always had a hard time reaching more than $2 RPM (aka eCPM). It has always been especially difficult for me to monetize sites that revolve around tech as those readers tend to be ad blind or use an ad blocker.

Update

After a few months I went back to check my stats and they returned to the “normal”, pre-change levels. What I think is happening is that there must be a good bit a fraudulent traffic. When a new site is added Google doesn’t seem to adjust for this. After I got some traffic history all of my earnings decreased, including the numbers I showed above. The payout ended up being about 1/10 if the originally reported earnings. Adjustment for fraudulent/bot traffic is the only assumption I can make at this point. I’m not sure if my site is being specifically targeted or if this is common across AdSense properties.

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  • Jason Dinner

    Why don’t you start adding more content to the site and see if you can sustain this? $22 RPM at your previous 80-100K visits per month is much better than $100 a month 😉

    • spyderman4g63

      I may attempt to revive it but I think $22 RPM isn’t going to be sustainable if traffic increases again.

      • Jason Dinner

        You would be surprised. I’m in a totally different niche but send 40-50K page views a day and RPMs hold steady between 30-35. Making those changes you did definitely were good. Also 728×90 pays better than 468×60, so try widening your content section to about 750px so you can fit the 728×90 in there.

        I would also recommend always having an image before any content of your posts and putting 1 728×90 unit below the first image and before the content and having another 728×90 at the end of your posts.

        If you can’t figure out how to make your site wider (although I’m confident you will be able to) try the same approach with the 468x90s.

        Sorry for the unsolicited advice lol.

        Your story is great by the way.

  • tonyrocks

    After reading this, it inspired me to revisit some of my other sites. I was also watching my Adsense revenue shrink beyond recognition. I removed my old channels and ad blocks. Man, I had crap in there from 10 years ago it seems. hehe. Looks like it did the trick. My numbers are increasing too. Made 7 cents yesterday…yeah, not lots, but better than 0 cents!

  • I lost interest with Adsense earning after the google updates. Though my site has good amount traffic, earnings were very low. if you can remember what changes done exactly that help your readers.

    • spyderman4g63

      I think all I did was delete all my old channels and generate new ones. @disqus_h45JHUzIfS:disqus seems to have done the same thing and he also reported a significant increase in revenue.

      • Thanks for the reply, Have you created a custom channel and then targeting particular category. If you can explain on custom channels setup, it would be great tutorials.

        • spyderman4g63

          I didn’t setup any custom channels. I just use the URL channels for reporting which I think are tracked by default. That is a good idea for a future post though.

          • I started up new ad sense campaign with ad setup and custom url channels.
            a new ad unit added in adsense called Responsive preview. which adjust the size of your ad depending on the ad size. I think it will be good for mobile

  • Sütő Boglárka

    Hi, bro. If U must know what did U do with your website, see your website in web archive (web.archive.org) before the changing. (y)

  • One possibility is that a quality advertiser decided to target your website.

    • Your comment reminded me about this post so I updated it. What I think is happening is that new AdSense properties don’t filter out click fraud and bots at first. After time those get filtered out. So the new earnings I was seeing were not accurate.