Monday, January 31, 2011

Adsense - Trying to Help with Context

I'm involved in a very large website which runs Google Adsense. I've noticed that on same pages, we don't succeed at getting contextual ads.  I'm trying to figure out what to do about this since I think the non-contextual ones earn less (less dollar per click, lower click through rate).  OFten, I don't even get an ad served up on these pages. 

List page not getting contextual ads!
 There are three reasons that I can think of that this"list"  page is not getting enough context. Some are easily solved, some are not.

1. The URL is not SEO-friendly. (see A) All the other pages on the site have SEO friendly URLS but on this huge site, 50 million monthly page views and over a million pages or word lists, we designed to manage our resources and did not implement a look up table for SEO friendly URLs. This is unlikely to get solved.

2. The text on the page, especially near the top, does not give much context.  In fact, looking at the code, I see:
We're  using some sort of standard text for the meta keyword and description. It's probably the same across all one million list pages.  It's really long too. The title tag seems to be picking up proper context by providing the grade level, school name, teacher name, city, and state.

I guess that this could be fixed by putting the words: "vocabulary list", "teacher", and "school" into the title tag. And the keyword and description should also be customized for these pages with this data. On the other hand, the page does have the school name and teacher name on it. This is not really less contextual custom text than are found on the other school pages, it's just that the balance is different since these pages have these long word lists which to a search engine, are so much gibberish.  

3.  The page is marked "do follow, don't index."  I wonder if that affects contextual ads?

School Page: Good success with Contextual Ads
In contrast, the teacher and school pages do have more relevant custom text on the page, they have SEO-friendly titles, and they are "do follow, do index".  For example, here are examples of teacher and school pages both of which have very nice and appropriate ads.

Another mid-term potential project is to allow teachers, parents, and students to put up more comments on their pages which would ultimately provide more original text (user generated) which would endear us to the search engines.

Or, if I let kids put up too much graffiti, I might get in heap of trouble.

Teacher Page, Getting Contexual Ads!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Am I loser if I'm following more than followed?

I run a small online education company and so far, I have had one of our teachers (ie a freelancer) manage our Twitter account.  I looked at the account this week for the first time in awhile and saw that we had about 650 followers and were following around 900 people.

I feel like we're a loser.  We are following more people than are following us.  What do you think? Other than the fact that this is a pretty small number by our standards, shouldn't we have attracted more followers than we're following?

Friday, January 21, 2011

getting the hang of social media

I talked to some people including hearing a talk this week about the tricks of building a community around social media.  So I tried a give-away.  Cool, in less than 24 hours, 200 comments on Facebook.  I think I'm getting the hang of this facebook thing.
SpellingCity comment got 200 comments!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Google Adsense, Burst Ads, Move to DoubleClick

Does anyone know about any good articles on this topic? 

About half of my Google Adsense ads in 300 x 250 box on my site are showing survey ads. 

Google Adsense has it's own stream of Burst  survey ads with no filtering whatsoever. So these are ads that Burst sold advertisers and which Google places. We have no way of knowing what the ad rates were as Google hides all that from us on a per impression or even a per network source basis.

These network flows and the filtering capability are something new that we have been working with over the past 3 weeks. One of the difficulties is that the previews in Adsense do not accurately reflect the set of running ads. The Burst ad stream was new on January 1 as were a number of other Adsense ad streams. It takes a while to sort these things out, especially with this being a brand new set of functionality and ad flow in Adsense. 

Google Adsense is not as easy to optimize as it was one month ago. It is essentially a brand new product in terms of control and optimization. They are moving everyone towards a DoubleClick optimization model and level of complexity.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Forums online

Forums continue to boom! These online discussion forums seem to be alive and well for indepth discussion, it's the quick chatter that seems to have moved to big time social media.

Despite Facebook & Twitter, the useful online forums continue to buzz and be useful for sharing info on a variety of topics. When I have a question, be it on parents discussing online homeschool education on non-religious homeschooling, the forums are the places that I'll go to to get thoughtful in depth expert discussions.

Facebook has groups and specialized areas but the in depth discussions seem to be on the discussion forums and boards. Twitter too has a lot of volume on many topics but not much depth.

The technology or forum software for the forums seems to be moving towards Vbulletin 4 and Ning groups.  Php forum and Yahoo  groups seems to be in rapid decline as forum hosting technologies.

BTW, I'm involved in managing forums using an array of technologies for the forum discussions, some a lot more successful than others.  I have two discussion forums using Vbulletin 4.0, one on Joomla, one using BuddyPress on a WordPress site, and then four different Facebook pages.

There's also a high school homeschool student discussion forum but it's only available to Time4Learning members (BTW, this comment is new added in 2016). It looks, btw, much like Facebook but uses some proprietary software.

The key to many of these forums is skilled attentive moderation to stimulation that discussion, encourage the newbies, manage the personalities and inevitable rifts, and keep the forum discussions jolly and moving.

Another key to forums is technology and keeping them updated with single sign on using the social media logins and adding features like maps to locate other members and easy posting of pictures and videos.