How I made $40K with Google Adsense

I am writing this down 1) to boast about my success 2) to prove that it can be done and 3) a diary entry so I won’t forget it in the future.

I was inspired to go into Google Adsense / Google Adwords because when I first started out as a web developer, I wanted to use my skills to make money. I stumbled across a simple web page where this blogger was boasting about how he was making $1K a month doing nothing but running Adsense.

Back then Google had this thing called “referrals”. Basically, if you get someone to download Firefox, Google paid you $1. If you get someone to download the “Google Pack”, a bundle of Google related software including Google Earth, Google Sky, Toolbar, etc…, you get paid $2.

So that’s where I started. I began by posting links in my blog and spamming random sites to get some traffic. In the beginning I made like 50 cents a week. It was disappointing. Then I noticed that a lot of people were using Google Adwords to buy ads that link to their site. So if you were to search for “Firefox”, the first link you would see is someone’s web page that asked you to download Firefox. They paid about .50 cents to AdWords, but made $1 from the referral download.

So I quickly caught wind of this trend and began researching in it. This part of my career taught me everything I know about Google PageRank, AdWords, AdSense, SEO, and just SEM (Search Engine Marketing) in general.

The goal was this

1) Build a very clever “landing page” that advertise the product and get people to perform an action — known in the SEM business as “CTA” – Call To Action

2) The landing page cannot be garbage, it can not be a link farm, and it can not explicitly tell people to click on Google Ads. Those practices are against Google policies.

3) The landing page has be very SEO (search engine optimization) friendly, because the more “relevant” your page is to the product you are advertising on AdWords, the lower it will cost for you to advertise.

4) The quality of your landing page as measured by AdWords is known as your “quality score”. NO ONE knows how a quality score is generated, but the general guideline is: create relevant content, give the user exactly what they were looking for, and highlight the keywords used.

So after about a month of experimenting and researching ( — a must for anyone interested in this), I finally started making back in Adsense, equal what I spent on Adwords, which was about $100 a week at that point. But eventually I got better at building landing pages, and understanding how AdWords work, I was able to get ads in the top two spots of Google Ads, for merely 10 cents a pop! The amazing thing was, my landing pages had such a good Call-To-Action, I was able to convert a huge amount of people who clicked on my ads. Meaning I was making way more money from referrals than I was spending on AdWords.

I am way too lazy to dig up my numbers right now, but roughly speaking, I was doing something similar to this:

Per day, I spent around $100 on AdWords, and made back about $200 in AdSense referral money.  That means in a month I made about $3000 for doing almost nothing except waking up in the morning and counting the dollars add up in my AdSense account.

It got so good I started telling all my friends about it, but almost NO ONE believed me and wouldn’t commit any investment into the gig. The only person that really went into it with me was Trung and as soon as he joined, he started making the same amount of money as I did using my strategy.

Here is where is gets crazy. When Google released “Google Sky” I knew that this was a big moment. I started buying the word “google sky” so that every time anyone search google sky, my link was the first thing they saw. For about 2 weeks during the Google Sky release, Trung and I made about $1000 – $5000 A DAY referring the Google Pack.

I don’t want to get too deep into the numbers because I hate statistics, but basically in the end I spent about $40,000 in Google AdWords in about 3 months — and netted $80,000 in Adsense Profit. That means $40K in the bank. Trung made about the same.

Eventually, it all came to an end. Google decided they were being retards for letting us do this. They shut up down all referral sites, and eventually ended the referral program once and for all.

My favorite part of this experience is that between Trung and I, we helped roughly 80,000 people download Firefox. How many  people can really claim that?

Sorry, this post is very scatter brain, but I can’t concentrate right now. Too much external stimulation.