Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Adsense Organics

by Vincent Pagliani

Contextual advertising works because ads can be woven organically into site content. The beauty of Google's AdSense program has always been its capacity to monetize your website by dynamically inserting ads which are relevant to site content. But to achieve relevance and, for that matter — monetizing — you must develop a sense of organics. Ads should seem like resources to visitors, not ads.


When you generate your AdSense code, set up ad style and color palettes that match your content exactly. Not just close…exactly. To ensure perfect matches, enter the hex values of your site's colors in your AdSense palette. Match ad head colors to content head colors, ad body text colors to page content body text colors, ad background colors to page background colors. Make ad borders and frames invisible by coloring the ad's frame and background to match the hex value of your page background color. Otherwise, your ads are announcing: I'm An Ad! Visitors will try to ignore them.
Diminish the hue of the link URL to a lighter shade of your body text; e.g., if your ad text is black, color the link URL gray. You don't want to encourage surfers to type the URL directly into a browser window. You want them to click the ad's heading. That's how you get paid.


Organically blended text ads tend to pull better than banners because banners cheerfully announce themselves as ads, which people are subconsciously trained to ignore. But don't discount a judicious sprinkling of image ads because the right picture can be worth a thousand dollars. In our experience, the 336x280, 300x250 and 160x600 wide skyscraper formats tend to perform best. Make banners work with the compositional blocks of your pages, not dominate them. Don't stack banner upon banner. Visitors will scroll right past the noise.
Page length may dictate ad placement. On pages with brief content, placing ads above the content generally results in better CTR. On pages with lengthy content, placing ads near the middle tends to result in better CTR. Readers who are interested enough to hang in, tend to start looking for additional resources.
Use four- and five-link text ad units when you can. But don't compromise page content just to cram more ads on a page. Content, after all, is the point of a website.
Don't create an abominable website around a couple of high-paying keywords and slap AdSense ads in it. Content-challenged, Made-for-AdSense sites never prosper. Visitors will see though your ploy in three seconds. Develop websites which have value.
Don't stick AdSense units in odd vehicles. No pop-ups, 404 error pages, or otherwise empty pages.
Read Google's optimization tips and check the Google visual heat map for suggestions on where to position AdSense ads. But don't treat this advice as gospel. Track your results. Believe your patterns.


Use filters to block low-paying advertisers. 3 cents a day at $.01 per click is not a living.
Do your keyword homework. The more narrowly focused your page content is, the more likely it is that your pages trigger will ads that your visitors will find relevant. The first lines of your copy are a key factor in triggering which ads will be served on the page. Optimize those lines, if possible, for the kinds of ads you wish to attract. Check out our ToolboxSEOIndex.htmltoolbox of free keyword research tools at "
Set up URL Channels in your AdSense account. Channels tell you what's going on with individual pages. Tweak your low CTR pages. Tinker with page titles, enrich the content, narrow the focus and make the content keyword-rich. Mine the Top Queries report (in AdSense For Search) to pinpoint what searchers are searching for. Mining can give you ideas for tweaking copy or adding relevant content.


Don't tinker with the AdSense code. You could unleash a nightmare.
Don't click your own ads! Google will eventually figure it out. They've trapped your IP address, for starters. Follow the AdSense policies. You'll make more money if you play it clean. I promise.
As managing editor of Web Entrepreneur Advisory, veteran internet marketing consultant Vincent Pagliani's speciality is straight news, straight reviews, straight advice. More entrepreneur and affiliate marketing resources can be found at

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