For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Blog Monetization Option: Google AdSense Search

July 3rd, 2008

google-adsense-search-blog-monetize.jpgMost of us who have tried to make money from blogging are already familiar with the ubiquitous Google AdSense text link ads. They are designed to optimize themselves according to the main keywords present in the content of the web page in which they are included, and publishers earn money every time someone clicks on one of those ads. However, it is also possible to monetize a blog or other website by using the Google AdSense search feature. With this option, site owners can include a Google search box somewhere on their websites, and whenever a visitor enters a query into the box, Google will serve up any relevant search results either from within the site or from the Internet generally, depending on the parameters chosen by the site owner. As with standard search results pages, depending on the query some sponsored results may appear along with the regular organic ones. If a visitor clicks on one of the sponsored results, the publisher earns money on his or her AdSense account just like with the regular text link ads.

With sufficient traffic, this can get pretty lucrative. As I was thinking about what to write for this post, I was reminded of an article I read a little over a year ago which discussed the revenue sources of the Mozilla Foundation, owners of the useful and increasingly popular FireFox browser. It turns out that they had earned approximately $55 million in revenues during 2005, most of it coming from the Google search box that appears as the default start page for many FireFox users.

Yesterday I received an email from AdSense reminding me about this option because Google had detected that I was not yet using it. Apparently Google has recently improved its AdSense for search feature, and after reading about it, I decided to go ahead and implement it on this site to see how it would work. For now, I have replaced the old WordPress search box with the new Google custom search, but I have backed up the old code to a text file in case I ever need to revert to the old search function in the future. Meanwhile, I have the Google search box set up to open results for any queries in a new window; initially, these results will come from within the Karlonia.com site itself, but afterward you can choose the “Web Search” option to access results from the whole Internet if you wish.

Because it does a pretty good job of explaining the new features and how to get started with it, I have reprinted the email text below. I have modified it slightly in order to include the video that was linked to from the original email text; I have placed this in the appropriate spot just below the jump.


We noticed that you’re not currently using AdSense for search, which means you may be missing out on revenue from your pages. We now offer more customization options for refining your search results and tailoring them to what your users are looking for, and we invite you to give AdSense for search a try. As you may know, you’ll be paid for valid clicks on the ads which appear on search results pages.

Here are some of the new features you might be interested in:

  1. Site Search: We’ve heard that many publishers are concerned
    about users leaving their sites through Websearch, and so now you can choose to provide just site search. You can also host the search results on your own pages so that your users can find the information they’re looking for without leaving your site.

  2. Improved indexing of your pages: We’ve recently improved our indexing technology so that you can provide a more enhanced Site Search experience for your users. AdSense for search will now index even more pages of your site, as long as we’re able to crawl them, so that your users will see more results from your site in your AdSense for search results.
  3. Vertical Search: You can also allow your users to search across multiple sites you select - this could be a network of sites that you own or other related sites that you think your users might find useful. If you write book reviews on your blog, for example, you can use vertical search to specify a list of online bookstores for users to search through.
  4. Refining searches with keywords: You can tailor your search results and ads to the content of your site, since search terms can have different meanings in different contexts. Let’s say you manage a site about yoga — you can enter keywords such as ‘yoga,’ ‘exercise,’ and ‘meditation’ so that when a user searches for ‘mat,’ the search results and ads will be more related to yoga mats and less to commercial floor mats. You can see an example of this in the following video:

    In our experiments, we’ve found that this tuning has led to an increase in earnings for publishers.

  5. Selecting ad location: Now, you can decide where to place your ads on search results pages — whether it’s at the top, bottom, or right side of each page. We recommend placing ads at the top and right side of the page, as we’ve found this monetizes the best for publishers.

To set up AdSense for search on your site, just visit your AdSense Setup tab and select ‘AdSense for search’ as your product. When you create a new search engine, your settings will be saved in your account — you can then go back at a later time and quickly make any updates without regenerating the code.

If you’d like to learn more about the new features available for AdSense for search, visit www.google.com/adsense/afs.

We hope you’ll give these new AdSense for search features a try, and we look forward to working with you in the future.


The Google AdSense Team

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