Last month, Google announced that sites with more than three ads above the fold would rank lower on Google Search results. This was aimed at content-thin landing pages that are stuffed with AdSense ads; such pages traditionally rank well on Google and can even rank first for searches for long-tailed keywords pretty easily.

 

However, the result has been that a lot of sites with real human readers have had to reduce the number of above-the-fold ads (especially sites with many small ads instead of one or two big ads) and they frequently have lost revenue.

 

Combined with Panda, which caused some sites to see their traffic halved, a lot of blogs have become unprofitable. I’m sharing a few tactics you can use to make your blog profitable again so that you can continue doing what you love:

image credit: tutorialspalace.com

 

Put VigLink ads inside your content

In-content ads are ads within your site’s text content. Usually they are in the form of links (and the term “in-content ads” usually specifically refers to link ads) that are placed on keywords. Companies like VigLink exist as in-content advertising networks to link advertisers with publishers, such as bloggers. The blogger installs the VigLink WordPress plug-in on their site and VigLink automatically places in-content advertising links on their text, and displays ads based on each reader’s tastes and interests. Or, if you see a really good ad that your readers will like, you can place that ad yourself.

Create good, high-quality content

Since Panda focused on quality content and Google’s recent announcement penalizes only above-the-fold ads, your efforts should focus on quality content creation. But how do you churn out so many top-notch posts every week that’ll keep your readers interested?

Create a forum

Forums allow you to crowdsource your content to your readers and also add value to your site by causing your readers to directly interact with the content and with each other, instead of just reading what you write and posting an occasional comment. This makes them feel like they’re part of a community, which they are because a community will form around the forum. Over time, a hugely successful forum will have individual posters who gain credibility amongst the forum readership, and the forum might even develop its own “memes” that spread across the Internet. This happens frequently from the 4chan and Something Awful forums, but memes can originate on smaller forums too.

How do forums work?

Forums work by the readers creating the content, which you moderate and everyone else responds to:

  • A reader creates a thread, which is a discussion where the first post asks a question or expresses an idea.
  • Other users reply to the original post, and reply to each other.
  • The blogger/forum master gets free content and ends up owning a community that people come back to for the socialization aspects.

 

Learn more about forums at ForumCon

ForumCon TV: Jack Bafia

VigLink’s ForumCon is on June 12, 2012 at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. ForumCon is the only forum convention in the world, so it’s a great place to network with other forum owners, learn how to make money by adding a forum to your blog by meeting successful forum owners, and hear great advertising advice from the creators of VigLink.

Grab your ticket before they sell out! Hope to see you there!

Murray Newlands is the CEO and Founder of Influence People, an online marketing and PR consulting firm in San Francisco.