Google Adsense Tips - 6 Theories At Work
By Carole Nickerson
1. Less is More
I believe the theory behind this lies within the visitor's experience at a website. If you serve up let's say... a 728x90 leaderboard, and a 160x60 side block, and maybe even an extra ad unit or link unit then you aren't just showing the top-paying ads, you're also showing a lot of the ads with lower values too. This is especially painful if your site only triggers ads in the $2 range. These low-paying keywords can be a distraction to the visitor and while the recommended "slop of gravy on top with a side of mashed potatoes" (describing sites using the 728x90 and 160x60 ad blocks on a page) has often been touted as the best placement for Adsense, it is being proven by many to not be all that tasty. Why? Because these ads are "outside" of your content, not within it. When Adsense ads are placed within the body of content, it generally performs better for many. I have
seen this myself in testing different Adsense placement methods. One site I own jumped in CTR by 10% when I removed the full meal deal and opted for a small 468x60 text ad block within the body of my content.
2. Keyword Density
While Google doesn't reveal the specifics on the methods behind their Adsense madness, most people have learned through experimentation that keyword density plays a significant role. Adsense does rely on the content to determine which ads to show, and they want their ads to be shown. It would also appear that content towards the top of your page has a greater influence over the ads. It's almost a passive way of forcing Adsense users to boost their keyword density to not only show the most relevant ads, but to improve search engine positioning which improves the chances of those ads being seen. Perhaps an underhanded means of thumbing their nose to MSN, which seems to feed on keyword loaded sites these days propelling many an Adsense website into it's top rankings. Either that, or I've been watching too many shows about conspiracy theories.
3. Less is More - or More is More?
Another theory is that using fewer internal links on your webpage gives visitors fewer "click-away" options, thus improving chances of them clicking on Adsense ads. If you have 20 links on your page and let's say 4 of them being within a 728x90 ad block, then visitors still have 16 other links to choose from beside the meager 4 Adsense links. Keep only 5 links on the page, and they now have only 9 links to choose from other than Adsense ads. Add more Adsense ads, such as a block containing 5 more links carefully weaved into your content (such as a 336x280), and they now have a better chance of getting clicked on with a ratio of 9:9. Taking it a step further, you could also factor other numbers into the equation such as : percentage of page scanned before clicking away, percentage of page scanned before scrolling, number of average scrolls per page to predict good places to
place ads, etc. The odds can definitely be in your favour with this tactic. I haven't aggressively tested this theory yet and with a blog this is certainly not an option, but I have noticed on another site I own this might explain the 20-40% CTR I'm seeing on pages where all internal links are at the bottom of the page.
4. Using Images Next To Ads
While it's reported that Adsense doesn't like images placed next to ads which appear to be served by Google, this has been proven by many to boost CTR incredibly. And because these images are different than those which caused the worldwide pandemic of "banner blindness", people are more likely to notice them. It really just makes sense. Human beings are visual creatures. From the time we were monkeys popping our heads over the grass to see if a lion was coming our way, our eyes have always been our first tool in evaluating a situation, and of course, checking out other monkeys. But back to Adsense... even more effective is when you use images that illustrate the content of the page. I've used this trick and find it reallly works well.
5. Font Type and Size
This was announced on the official Adsense Blog recently and it's a great tip. Adjust your page's font and size to match Adsense ads can greatly boost CTR. This could be difficult if your site has a lot of static pages, but a simple batch search & replace tool can help you speed things up. Now figuring out what the matching font is has been a chore for many. I believe (through trial and error) that the font used mainly in Adsense ads is Arial, size: 11px A number of people have reported that they've witnessed Adsense ads conforming to their page's CSS font styles. If anything is occurring here, I'm willing to take a guess that Adsense ads might be able to adapt to a very limited number of fonts and if you happen to use one of those fonts on the page, it will change accordingly. But as I said, if this is true than I think it's limited. After all, have you ever seen an Adsense ad in
6. Test, test, test
Nearly everyone agrees that Adsense is only as effective as the unique way you integrate it into your website. What works for one person may not work for another. While there are some basic principles which are great starting points for any website, your design and content is unique and therefore visitor behaviour will be unique. Your best results will come through experimentation and patience.
Carole Nickerson has been a web developer and internet marketer since 1998. She now spends her days actively filling up her new blog with all she has learned. To find more Adsense tips & tricks, or post a comment, visit: http://www.CaroleNickerson.com
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