Running AdSense on a blog is one of the first ways many bloggers start to monetize their sites. Some large sites, running with AdSense alone, can make incredible amounts of money. Others, the majority of others amongst bloggers starting out, end up making a few cents or a few dollars a month, deciding it’s not worth it and putting the ads aside.
Others take a look at their analytics and decide the only reason they aren’t making huge paychecks with AdSense is the lack of traffic. A small blog with a few hundred monthly visitors isn’t going to make a lot even if most of them are clicking ads. They decide, then, to buy traffic.
Is it safe to buy traffic for AdSense-enabled sites? Will it jeopardize your AdSense account, or will you make a reasonable paycheck out of it?
There are dozens if not hundreds of companies and individuals out there who will offer to hook you up with traffic. Some of them will even offer guarantees that their traffic is 100% AdSense safe! How can you pass up a deal for thousands of hits, when those hits turn directly into money through the crucible that is your AdSense-enabled website? You can get thousands of hits from Fiverr for a month, or you can get tens of thousands from other, slightly more expensive sites.
The problem, of course, is that this traffic sucks. 99% of it is going to be coming from software. Heck, some of the sites offering you AdSense-safe traffic are just trying to sell you their own traffic generation software. Software-based traffic is valueless in every way except for the sellers making money off gullible webmasters.
Bad traffic, you see, doesn’t do anything for you. It doesn’t click your ads unless you’re pointing the traffic at those specific links. It doesn’t buy your products because there’s no real people behind it. It’s never really AdSense safe. I mean, just look at this; how high quality do you expect anything on this page to be?
Google can and will detect the fact that your traffic is coming from software. You might make a few dollars, or you might go a few months before you’re detected, but sooner or later you’re going to be found out. There’s nothing you can do to stop that, if you’re buying shady low-quality traffic for pennies per hit. The end result is your account being shut down for violation of the AdSense terms of service.
The next step up is the absolute minimum level of effort a site can go through to get hits in exchange for money. This might mean a low-quality, unfiltered traffic exchange. It might mean certain user-fueled software applications or niche PPC networks with low traffic but low costs.
The idea here is that you’re definitely getting real traffic, even if that traffic is low quality. You might be paying for a bunch of people in Bangladesh to click through your site, or you might be over-paying for people in China to do it. Either way, you’re not selling them your own products, if you have them; all you’re doing is getting the admittedly more legitimate hits for your AdSense ads.
The problem is the opposite one you have with the previous method of buying traffic. Rather than the traffic sucking, the price sucks. Maybe you’ll get 10,000 valid hits and earn a few bucks, but what’s the point if you spent $100 to get it? It’s a cost-benefit analysis of the most basic degree; the traffic you buy needs to be cheaper than the profits you make from it.
Contrary to popular belief, buying traffic isn’t completely banned from sites that use AdSense. Let me quote Google here:
“You’re welcome to promote your site in any manner that complies with our program policies. However, AdSense publishers are ultimately responsible for the traffic to their ads. So if you choose to partner with a third-party service to increase traffic to your site, it’s critical that you monitor your reports closely to gauge the impact that each source has on your ad traffic.”
In other words, Google doesn’t care if you’re buying traffic, so long as that traffic is legitimate. PPC is the primary method of buying legitimate traffic, though some high quality services and ad exchanges also work. The point is, you’re paying money for people to visit your site. It doesn’t matter if you’re giving that money to people on the street or you’re giving it to Facebook in exchange for ad space.
It’s the moment where your traffic begins to falter in quality, where it begins to look more like robotic traffic or traffic solely bought to click ads, that you start to trip warning flags. According to those program policies:
Speaking of PPC traffic, it has the same issue that any other means of buying legitimate traffic has; overpaying. PPC is difficult to get right, and it’s incredibly easy to spend way more than you should for your traffic. Setting a reasonable budget and working to optimize your conversions, ad copy and targeting is an essential skill to learn.
A large part of PPC success is learning the system you’re using and learning the people you want to connect with. Another huge part is monitoring every aspect of your ads and their performance, in order to know best how to optimize them. The third part is, of course, actually making those optimizations in a beneficial way.
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