WebmasterWorld has a thread about scaling AdSense earnings out with site size. The thesis being pushed is that site earnings is not a linear function tied to site size. For many sites that statement is true, but part of the reason it is true is that some webmasters do not leverage feedback their current site gives them. On small sites I look at ad clicks on a per page level to see what pages are bringing in real money. I like to start new sites with at least 3 (and sometimes up to 5 or 6) global navigation sections. Each global navigational section acts as a mini site which can be expandable based on market feedback. Wherever I start ranking AND getting clicks on decently priced ads gets more attention.
Given the amount of authority a site has (or will gain due to the amount of effort I am willing to put into a project) you can sorta estimate how deep you can go and how broad your initial site focus should be. The beauty of my partitioning idea is that I do everything with includes such that it takes under a minute to add another global navigational element and it is also easy to broaden the overall site focus if it is ranking well in all the verticals you targeted and there is not much left on the depth front in the verticals you are already targeting.
Also if your site is small enough and you set up page level clickthrough tracking and track the search queries sometimes early in the morning you can see what a page is earning or what some specific queries earn. Another big indication of page level earnings for some of the more important concepts is going to be a change in overall site earnings due to a page suddenly ranking well or a page that dropped out of good grace with one or more of the major search engines.
When you branch out with new sections it is also important to give yourself the opportunity to put a foot in the water before committing to a bunch of work. For example, a friend recently started creating pages about topic + all 50 states. I told him that I would have started off with the 3 to 5 states that best fit the purpose of the site and had the most demand. Now he is 30 states into the project and a bit bored with it, and as it turns out the ad targeting on those pages is not as great as the ad targeting on the other pages, and there isn't much search traffic.
If a site is working on limited authority it might be worth spending extra time to create a bit of link bait to help ensure you have enough authority to keep getting new pages indexed and ranking. A while ago I also made a post titled Factors Affecting AdSense Ad Clickthrough Rate and Earnings Potential.
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