Almost everyone in online business will need an Adsense account somewhere along the way.
It is the most versatile, easiest to setup, highest paying monetization method. However…
Getting an Adsense account is NOT just a matter of filling out a form.
Adsense approval has always required a manual review by a real live Google employee but they have been tightening up over the last couple of years. It is more difficult to get approved than it used to be.
This article will give you some quick tips on how to apply and get approved the first time along with a couple of sneakier alternatives.
You must have a website in order to get approved for an Adsense account
You may be tempted to go ahead and get an Adsense account setup before you actually own a website. Unfortunately this is impossible.
The most important step in the Adsense approval process is a review of the initial website that your Adsense ads will appear on.
What kind of website will pass the Adsense review?
This is the most important question and the one we’ll spend the most time on. Keep in mind that no one besides Google knows precisely what the review checklist looks like, so these recommendations are from my own experience and the recent experience of my clients.
1. Site age
Others disagree but I don’t believe the age of a site is a factor in getting your Adsense account approved. I’ve seen brand new websites with recently registered domains approved.
Original articles: I’m certain Google runs a uniqueness check on the article content on the site. If you copy text, you will not pass.
Appropriate articles: Google is looking for content that makes sense on the website. It needs to follow a theme and add value.
400 to 600 word articles: This is a made up range. Longer is better. When a reviewer sees a long, well written article that is not plagiarized, they will assume that it has high value to a reader. It will also provide plenty of text input to the Adsense contextual algorithm that decides which ads will appear on the article page. Google Adsense does not like overly short articles, and Google employees like them even less.
After your Adsense account is approved, you can get by with shorter articles. But longer is better for SEO purposes too.
No offensive content: You should never apply to Adsense with articles that contain adult text or images, hate speech and anything else that might be considered objectionable. It is in violation of Adsense terms and policies and will absolutely cause a rejection.
Number of articles: No one really knows what the minimum article count is and opinions vary wildly. I believe the longer, higher quality you article content is, the fewer articles you may be able to get by with. I would not submit an a site with any less than 20 articles.
Another important factor here is your site/menu organization. It is better to have just a few categories on your main navigational menu and have more articles in each category, than having lots of items on your menu with only a couple of articles under each. In the latter case, the content will look “thin” to a reviewer.
3. Mandatory Pages
About us: This page lends credibility to you site and gives you an identity. It is a good idea to make it real. Actually tell people “About You”. Google likes authenticity.
Contact us: Along with the About Us page, the Contact Us page contributes to authenticity and transparency. People who can’t be reached have no accountability. People who don’t want to be contacted are suspicious.
4. Format / Layout
The theme, the look and feel, the layout and format of your site aren’t that critical.
That being said, you shouldn’t go out of your way to have an ugly website. Do the basics to make sure the home page looks acceptable with some of the important or recent articles displaying titles, images and text excerpts.
You should have a good menu structure with only a few main entries and your articles balanced across the menu items.
Apply to Adsense
Apply to Adsense here. I won’t describe the steps because it changes from time to time. Before you apply, make sure you have a website that meets the specifications above.
After you get accepted
It is good to keep your website in conformance with the guidelines above even after you get accepted by Adsense. Adsense websites are monitored by bots and may be flagged if you violate their terms and conditions.
After you are accepted you can add additional websites to your account and they do not require manual approval! This is why you see many crappy looking websites with Adsense on them. They never would have passed the manual review but they are just good enough not to be penalized by the automated review system.
Although it is not a good idea for SEO purposes, you can get by with very light content (short articles) after approval. My arbitrage websites have many, many article pages with only a sentence or two of text along with an image. These pages never would have passed manual review but do just fine since I’ve already been accepted. This may not always be the case, but it is working for now.
Shortcuts to getting an Adsense account approved
It takes a bit of time, effort and possibly cost to get an acceptable website setup for Adsense approval.
One way to speed this up is to buy a website that already meets Adsense requirements. I’ve done this a couple of times when I needed a new Adsense account for a separate business entity. Flippa.com is the best place to look for low cost websites. Be careful to check out the originality of the content before you make a purchase.
Don’t assume that just because Adsense ads are currently appearing on a website that is for sale, that the site would pass an Adsense human review. Remember, after getting an Adsense account approved, website owners can add sites to their account that may not be acceptable from the point of view of a human reviewer.
A second trick is to “borrow” someone else’s website. I believe Google is getting smarter about this, so you would want to do it with care. What I mean by borrow is if you can find someone who will give you access to their website for the purpose of getting your Adsense account approved, you may not need to actually have legal ownership of the site.
I offer this “borrow” suggestion because it is unlikely that Google knows the official owner of the website anyway. They will check the who-is record, but with privacy protection available for domains, the real owner of a website is not always obvious.
Do this at your own risk, but make sure that the owner’s account information is completely removed from the account including their Analytics code, Adsense code, Webmaster tools connection and email address.