How To Get Worthless Adsense Clicks

When I started Court’s Internet Marketing School back in Feb. 2007, I planned on making money primarily with Adsense. I had already learned how to do it well, in fact I had already created my own portfolio of profitable sites that made great money with Adsense. I thought that creating a site about internet marketing would be another way to get Adsense clicks.

The main reason that this didn’t work is that you guys don’t click on ads. Yes, I’m probably talking to you since I know for a fact that less than 0.5% of you clicked on an ad during the last week I had Adsense on this site. Thanks for the support! (jk [sort of]) 🙂

If you want to get absolutely worthless Adsense clicks, all you have to do is create a blog about blogging. It works like a charm and helps your entire Adsense account to generate worthless clicks.

Enter Adsense Smart-Pricing

When a site continues to get a terrible click-through rate (usually anything below 2%) Google will start to pay less commissions to the account that is producing the terrible CTR. Vic has written about this concept before, you can find that lesson here: Adsense and Noobs Bad Combination. As far as I know, Google hasn’t officially stated how much the commissions lessen, but I can tell you from experience that you will only get about 10% of what the clicks were worth if you get smart priced.

This means that a click that used to be worth $0.50 will be worth only $0.05 to you if you have been smart priced by Google. From one day to the next, my Adsense account started producing terrible numbers, in fact many of my great paying sites were all of the sudden generating clicks that were only worth two or three cents. Yes, if you are smart-priced it will affect every site in your account.

If you are running Adsense on a blog about blogging or making money online, chances are your account is already smart-priced. This means that any site you start will get terrible payouts for Adsense clicks. This may have led you to believe that Adsense is worthless, even though it’s still one of the best money makers out there.

How To Prevent Smart-Pricing

The easiest way to prevent smart-pricing is to remove Adsense from any of your sites that can’t produce at least a 3% CTR on ads. If you’re under 3% you’re in the danger zone and if you are getting a CTR of below 2% you have a red dot right between the eyes. Those of you that have blogs about blogging will definitely be in this category. Those of you that have sites that do well with social media may also be in this category. These sites aren’t going to be that great for Adsense and will probably hurt your entire Adsense account.

You want to use Adsense on sites that get most of their traffic from search engines. Niche SEO is all about getting traffic from search engines because this is the traffic that will turn into the most Adsense clicks.

How To Reverse Smart-Pricing

Google uses smart-pricing to protect their advertisers from getting a bad CTR on the ads they pay for. It makes sense that they have to do this – it makes it so people will bid more on Adwords, which will increase your payouts on Adsense. Google is pretty fair with accounts that have been smart-priced, in fact it only takes about one week to undo the damage. What do you have to do to fix it? Remove Adsense from sites that don’t produce a 3% click-through rate.

When my account was smart-priced, I immediately removed the ads from CourtneyTuttle.com, and my full commissions were restored in about one week. I’ve had friends who have their full commissions restored even more quickly. You don’t have to ask Google or anything like that, this process happens automatically.

If you run a site that gets worthless Adsense clicks my advice to you would be to start a niche blog using SEO techniques. Stay away from anything that webmasters and bloggers would read.

Comments 169

  1. Court the real crazy thing is even though their are a few post on the official adsense blog about smart pricing, Google really does not to talk about it kind of like sandbox. Even then on the post that talk about smart pricing the last thing they usually say is:

    Keep in mind that like most Google technology, our system for calculating advertiser pricing gets updated regularly. We’re constantly improving our ad products to benefit both the publisher and advertiser communities; what benefits one side ultimately benefits the other.

    Reminds me of the FBI’s

    We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an ongoing investigation

    LMAO

    1. Post
      Author
  2. How ironic that the word I needed to type in to make this comment was “gold”…because it’s what I’m lacking 🙂

    This post really hit home. I run a site: arizonasportsfans.com and I basically have adsense all over it and it gets like .04% CTR because it’s a forum and all.

    I just compared that site to my main blog, AMikeLIfe.com and they are basically making the same amount of money each,but AML has a 2% CTR, and the other .04%…

    I’m probably not making as much as I can on AML, and considering my traffic is just growing and growing on that one, I may need to look into take it down on the sports site.

    Man, this stuff drives me crazy…thanks for the post.

    1. Post
      Author

      Yeah Mike I don’t know what you’re making with arizonasportsfans.com but it sounds like you’re going to get smart priced for sure – if you haven’t already.

      I would recommend taking Adsense off and using something else! If the traffic is there, you could go with direct ads or affiliate programs.

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  3. so Court, what it be a good conclusion then that the less web and technology-savvy your average site visitor is, the more likely you’ll get higher click-thru ratios?

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  4. Thanks again for a wonderful tip. I did, indeed, think that Adsense was worthless, but I have it on a blog that’s dead, and a blog that does pretty well with social networking, and it’s my first blog (so it is a newbie blog).

    I’m getting rid of adsense immediately, and I’ll set it up on my new keyword sniped site (I finally chose a keyword and bought a domain…I’ll report my findings if they’re worth reporting in a few months).

    Theda K.

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  5. Like I mentioned earlier, I managed to create this problem by putting Adsense on OpTempo. As you stated, I saw my Adsense income for December drop to about 15% of what it was in October/November.

    What was weird was that I didn’t get “smart priced” until somewhere just after Thanksgiving although the ads had been on the site since day 1 (Oct 6). Of course this lines up with when I started using EntreCard so I have to wonder if the junk traffic from the widget dropped my CTR and led to the smart pricing.

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  6. Once again congratulations on writing such a great post, the old adage “less is more” sure rings true here. You have actually prompted me to go through my old “seo based” posts and do a serious AdSense cull! I expect i a have been smart priced as my average CTR is under 3% for the past 10 months! Just a couple of questions. Over what period of time do Google take your average CTR to calculate their smart pricing strategy? Days weeks or months? Also how doest this work for impression costed adverts do these also dilute your ctr?

    Thanks again

    Andy

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      Author

      I wish I had that answers to those questions Andy! I went with less then 1% on a site for about two months before I got hit but I don’t think they have a set time limit.

      It seems to me that it’s decided by the site-wide CTR of a site. You need to keep the site’s CTR as high as possible to avoid this.

  7. Court–thanks for more insider info! I have some “Dead” blogs from free sites that I have since moved to my own hosted domains and I have left the Adsense on those dead blogs because they get some traffic…but never any clicks. THanks again for the superior content… I am very glad I subscribed to your email feed.
    AL

    1. Post
      Author

      Lol Bruce I don’t think so. I would look at what channels you have that are performing well and keep them. You will also want to try different placements.

  8. This is a revelation to me. I will experiment and see whether what you’ve advised works. It sounds convincing 😀

  9. Court, you may not get adsense clicks from us, but if you truly showed us the tools you use to “make money” consistenty, I’ll bet many of your readers would buy (affiliate commissions to you 🙂 ).

    I know Vic strongly talks about BMD and other tools, and goes in detail on how to use them. This makes it a ‘no-brainer’ to buy it when your reader sees exactly how to benefit from it in real money making applications.

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    1. I run an entertainment blog, one that contains almost everything from Hollywood gossip, software recommendations, funny videos, etc. and I´m earning almost $400.00 only with that blog…

  11. And I have also seen that Adsense on IM sites – $4.54 in six months??? – just doesn’t work! LOL

    But this smart-pricing stuff… That explains a lot of what I just couldn’t work out with wildly fluctuating results over the past 12 months!

    On further investigation, it seems it has been happening for quite some time (late 2004 in fact) and like many, I haven’t been aware of the implications as a publisher!

    So how to decide which sites to kill?

    Well, thankfully I’ve been using channels to record data for different sites – even PARTS of sites – so it’s pretty easy to see which channels are not performing.

    I’ve just looked at my channel stats for the past year, and then sorted by Page CTR. Now my job is to spend a few days removing those ads/channels that have:
    1. earned less than $20 in the whole year, AND / OR
    2. had a CTR under 3%

    There are some exceptions to this rule. There’s one channel that has a CTR of 1.97% but it has earned $1700 for the year… and a couple of others like that – so they have to stay.

    There are also a couple with high CTR’s but they’ve earned less than $20 so they will go.

    BTW – the $20 is purely arbitrary… but if it ain’t earning 2 bucks a month… well…

    If I change my report criteria, and remove the above channels (44 removed – 38 left in play), the end result is quite amazing when I run the report again for 2007 year.

    Those 44 channels I killed resulted in a total loss of only 78k impressions (out of a total of 4.8m), meaning 650 less clicks (out of 171k), for a reduction of just $176 (out of $30k) for the whole year.

    If this smart-pricing theory is correct, that’s a small price to pay for the potential increase in earnings I can get from killing those unproductive ad channels.

    Fingers crossed 🙂

    Stephen Spry

  12. Court – I would also like to know if it is possible to figure out what span of time the CTR is calculated on when determining smart pricing – a week, a month, a quarter?

    My non-techie sites definitely do the best with Adsense. Time, traffic and the right topic seem to be the formula for success.

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      Author
  13. Very helpful one Court. I heard about that smart pricing but never know about that percentage and google restoring back the commission automatically. It is good to know that now.

    In IM your have problem will have problem with your affiliate link
    and adsense click. For adsense either you get get click fraud or no click at all. But just like you said if the traffic is coming from SE you will get the click.

  14. Thank you Court for this valuable information.

    You are definitely a man of your word as each blog post written on this site provides enormous value.

    It really is to the point whereby when I receive one of your blog post announcements, I make sure my environment is distraction free in order to take in what you have to say:)

    Your integrity and strategic business advice is truly worth emulating.

    To Your Continued Success.

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  16. I wasn’t even aware of smart pricing, until I read Vic and Griz talking about it in comments. As soon as I found out smart pricing existed, I suspected it had happened to me. Vic confirmed this for me. Thank-you for all of the well written useful information. I’m sure a lot of people aren’t aware that they have been smart priced.

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  18. Excellent post. I’d heard about smart pricing, but was never able to make sense of it. You laid it out beautifully. I’ll give it a try (sadly, for me, this means replacing AdSense on about a dozen sites…) and I’ll let ya know if it indeed makes a difference. Thanks!

  19. Well, I took Court’s advice yesterday and removed all the Google ads that were getting roughly a .04% CTR on my two websites.

    I just kept a big 300×250 in my blog posts on A Mike Life and left it alone.

    This morning I had 2 clicks worth about .25 cents. Ugly, but I suspected it would take awhile.

    Well, this later afternoon, I got one more click worth $1.25…

    Could it work this fast? Or was I just lucky? Cause my CTR is only .80%

    1. Hey Mike, I’ve been thinking about this too.

      The more ads you have on your pages, then more low paying ads would appear more often.

      If your only using your best performing ad block then it would make sense for they average price per click received would increase.

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  21. Since I changed the ad position in my blog (Planet Apex) to inside the post my CTR is now averaging around 5-6 for the last month or so. But my previous CTR track was horrible. I had under 2 or even 1 for a long time.

    Now my overall CTR avg. is incrising and today I saw my account and it has just passed 3% mark.

    However my earning are still not good. Yesterday I got
    22 clicks from 300+ pageviews and only 2.10$ for a CTR of 7 or so. Do you think I’m still smart prices Court? Or am I doing something else wrong?

  22. Court, thanks for writing this article. I’ve been following you, Vic (Blogger Unleased) and GrizzlyBear of late and I’m getting a lot of what you are saying.

    I have personally experienced “smart pricing” as you and Vic have both described it, so I’ve yanked Adsense off of my blogs. Time will tell if/when I’ll try it again.

    Keep up the good work! Also getting a lot of good insights out of your keyword sniping articles!

  23. I’m still messing with mine, a bit discouraging to start with, because even though I only got .04% with my forums, I still could make $2-3 a day…while now with them only on my lower traffic blog, I’m making $1 or less.

    But…I think the more it grows, the better it will be, plus I’m going to repositioned my 300×250 block to be in the top left of all blog posts, so hopefully that helps.

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  25. Very interesting, informative and insightful article! =) Being able to regulate one’s Internet Marketing earnings from Google Adsense is something few people know. Thanks so much for the sharing.

    There is more and more talk in the market that the “Adsense game is over”, such that many people are aggressively giving up the many domain names and websites they used to own to monetize through Adsense, such that Adsense has become a game viable only to the “Big Boys”, like article directories, huge information portals, etc.

    I would also recommend learning excellent stuff about marketing on the Internet for FREE from the Internet Marketing School. For a PAID subscription, the exciting and value-overloaded World Internet Academy is a fantastic choice!

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  31. Court,

    Great post, but I don’t think it’s CTR which is the problem – I think it’s advertiser conversion rate. That’s based on an ancient post by Google:

    The percentage of clicks that convert for an advertiser is the most important factor in an advertiser’s ROI, so it’s not only possible, but common, to have a low CTR and a high advertiser conversion rate. It’s also possible to have a high CTR and a low conversion rate. Don’t remove the AdSense code from your site just because it has a lower CTR – it may be one of your best converting sites.

    That’s more than two years old, so what they say might have changed, but I think it’s more likely that Smart Pricing would be based on advertiser conversion rate than CTR (as it’s really about value for the advertiser).

    Anyway, it probably doesn’t make a big difference, because there’d be a high correlation between high CTR and high advertiser conversion rate, because both are a product of targeted traffic.

    The point is, for those people with a low CTR: don’t just pull Adsense off your blog – do some testing to see if you are smart priced, or you may be leaving money on the table. I’m fairly confident I’m not smart priced even though my CTR is below 0.2%.

    Court – you have a lot more experience with this than me, so please put me in my place if I’m wrong!

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  33. Great article Court.
    I’m having this problem as well currently, never realised it was google smartpricing.

    So all you have to do is get rid of the GA on your low income sites … curious 🙂

  34. Hello Court

    Thank you for this very imformative post!
    Do only sites with low CTR affect my google account or is it also single pages on sites that are doing well otherwise? For example, should I remove the adsense ads from my guestbook page, as it has a very low CTR?

    Mike

    1. I can’t see the explanation in the post is right -“Google uses smart-pricing to protect their advertisers from getting a bad CTR on the ads they pay for”- the advertisers only pay for the clicks, not for the ads that aren’t clicked. But serving millions of ads that aren’t clicked and so don’t bring in any revenue must hurt Google – so I’m inclined to believe the CTR theory. Maybe its not being done to protect the advertisers, but to offset Google’s costs?

  35. This has been very interesting reading for me, and today I’ve decided to test it out.

    The problem is, my empire is vast, and I’m not even in full control of all my code!

    Here’s a question:
    If I have one channel out of 500 that is still earning 1.5% CTR while the other 499 are 4-6% CTR, will Google really still penalize me to the point of saying that all 500 channels can earn only 10% of what they would?

    My scenario isn’t so severe, but I do have one of those sites out there that I can’t reach the code to only earning a 1.5% CTR.

    I’m now in the process of changing about 100 of my websites from AdSense to Yahoo Pub Network that fall below 3% right now.

    They actualy account for the majority of my traffic in AdSense, so this is a major test for me that will effect my income in a big way. (One way or the other.)

    But either way it goes, Thank you Court for pointing this out and I’ll try to let everyone here know if the 1 rouge channel makes a difference or not. -If it comes to it I can always tell Google that its’ simply not mine (Of course I don’t want to give the $200 back it’s already earned me!)

    Cheers,
    Luke Parker

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  39. This has lit a nuclear bomb in my skull! I’ve removed all the adsense from all of my sites. Luckily, I’m a noob so I don’t have that much VRE to change.

    I’ll look into your keyword sniping deal sometime too.

    Thanks for the advice! It may mean the difference between zero cents to a hefty buck or to day for me. 🙂

    1. Not unless you happen to have a stack of social security cards lying around… Google only wants to pay you once per month.

      Of course I have no way how they figure out who’s who outside the US…

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  44. Hi,

    I guess that I’m a bit lazy to pay attention to statistics, namely using Google Analytics and alikes.
    I would say that about 1 to 3 % of people visiting my blog, click ads.
    That can give me either 10 cents or 1 dollar, it depends on certain factors that you know better than me.
    Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that to live from my blog I’ll only have to raise my visits 500 times. Pretty simple, hein ? 🙂
    This is a good article that you wrote.

    Kind regards,

    José

  45. Good writeup. Just started with adsense and placed ads on top of another and someone warned me about lower CTR. I thought, so what… as long as I get more clicks, right? Oh was I so wrong. After researching Smart Pricing which led me to this fine article, I’ve gotten smarter… or at least a little. 🙂

  46. I have never heard of this either. But I have a feeling I may be on the edge on getting smart priced. It seems like some days, my clicks are fine, even worth more than 2 dollars. But at other times, they may only get 10 or 15 cents max. I am going to keep an eye on it and see if this may be why.

  47. hiii alll brothers…
    look.. the thing is.. its not just about getting clicks…
    i got many clicks to mu site.. but my ctr rating is 50%
    adsense wont pay me.. they will detect it as a click fraud…
    to know more to reduce ur ctr and to make sure u get ur adsense cheque without getting banned the last minute (thats how they normally do..to get profit..and squeeze u to the last min.)
    just cme 2 my site.. and ask questios on my shout widget in my page.. ill answer u on that..
    have a nice time in adsense…

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  53. I never heard of smart pricing until a few weeks ago. I looked around the web to find if there was any solutions. Court, your post hit the nail on the head. I already started to ascertain information from my adsence account regarding sites that do not perform at least 3% CTR. I will remove adsense from those sites and replace them with Chitika. I might just use half Chitika and half Adsense. I started using Chitika yesterday with Adsense on one of my site that was getting only 8 cents a click. This moring I saw the same site move up to 21 cents a click. Thanks for the post Court.

  54. Does this apply to CTR for the page or Channels?

    I have 4 channels per page. But obviously, if someone clicks channel 1’s ads, then then they’re not going to click 2,3,4 because they can’t. Does this mean smart pricing will effect just the channels with low CTR or are the page views and clicks for all the channels combined, and then if the total CTR is around 2/3% you get smart priced?

    Thanks, Dan

  55. Hi Courtney,

    You’ve always been great. May I ask you a question? Does this Smart-Pricing apply to Adlinks unit?

    One of my site is performing very poorly with AdLinks, should I remove those units then?

    Thanks,
    Binh

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  59. hmm, it is strange.maybe this is why my earning of adsense do not increase so far.but for 2 days ago, my earnings was increase about $1,43 :((.maybe i need to follow your suggestion.thank you very much.

  60. Believe it or not, my CTR is higher from visitors NOT coming from search engines. However, the CPC is way way lower. I am a little skeptical about low CTR putting you in smartpricing land as I’ve run sites for years with a CTR that was below 1%. Never have been smart priced as the clicked paid very well. The only thing I know for certain is that the new people to the internet domain business will still not listen to advice at all or won’t do any work on “non flagship’ sites they own. So that 99% will fail mentality is just one of the laws of the universe. Nice post Court.

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  66. When you think you got to use gray or black hat seo, just do so and wait for your penalty… It will work now, but it won’t take long being penalized.

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  68. Court, thanks for writing this article. I’ve been following you, Vic (Blogger Unleased) and GrizzlyBear of late and I’m getting a lot of what you are saying.

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  72. my all cpc are around 0.17 in respect of all five sites. Is it smart pricing? And Will I consider CTR daily or monthly? It is not clear to me…. Plz reply

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