Prevent Smart Pricing

Whether you know it or not, there is a penalty in place by Google for publishers who don’t convert well for advertisers. The term used to describe this penalty is “smart pricing”. While the information Google provides on this is very sparse and generally not very helpful, some research has been conducted to get more information.

The general definition of smart pricing is when you earn a very small amount per click. Many times much lower than expected, or you previously earned. The penalty has been reported upwards of 90% loss in earnings per click. Often you can even go through your adsense earning history to find when it happened, as it’s quite apparent when you know what you are looking for.

If you are a “victim” of smart pricing it can be very frustrating trying to work your way out of it. When I put victim in quotes, I mean that many webmasters, whether they know it or not, get themselves into the situation. Although this isn’t always the case.

One industry I have experience in is the proxy industry. There are many people that do anything they can to ‘trick’ users into clicking on ads. Many times you will find that many webmasters who run proxy sites many times implement questionable tactics. In the short term this may increase your revenue, as you’re sending more clicks Google’s way. But in the long run, it will get you smart priced. Google will see that the clicks coming from your site are not converting, and are of overall low quality (bounce rate, time on site, etc).

What should you do to prevent being smart priced, or even fix it if it happens? Well it’s simple, rearrange your sites to still clearly display ads to users, but let them choose to click them. This will help you send only interested visitors to Google’s ad network. Rumor has it that smart pricing is re-evaluated near weekly.

Now, keep in mind that all this information is just what I’ve gained from experience. It is by no way dead facts, but it makes sense to me. I’d appreciate any thoughts on the matters in the comments. Now go make that money!

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