Targeting Ads – Google Adsense Tips, Tricks n Latest Gossip Part 2

March 7th, 2007

Adsense and Off-Topic Ads

So, you’ve got your blog / website, you’ve signed up for adsense, and you’re all ready to make money – but you keep getting weird, off-topic ads.

This is part two of my series about Tips and Tricks with Google Adsense (see part one here), and I’m going to use it to tell you about something called Adsense Section Targeting. First up, I’m going to give you a few insights I gathered from Michael Gutner (Partner Manager, Google) during my recent conversation with him.

How Google Adsense Works

When you place adsense ads on your site, an automated software robot (called ‘mediapartners’) usually comes to look at the content of your new page within a few minutes. This content is then run through a rather complex algorithm. The algorithm looks at things like:-

  • The textual content of your page.
  • Keyword Density (ie, what words and phrases appear regularly on your page)
  • What sites your page links to.
  • Your pages header, and keywords in the url.

Once that’s been done, adsense tries to work out what your page is about, and then, according to Michael, it aims to display the ads that will maximise your income by a combination of these two factors:-

  1. Presenting ads that are contextually relevant to the content of your page, and therefore likely to be clicked (called a high click through ratio, or CTR).
  2. Presenting ads with the highest possible return per click (called effective Cost Per 1000 impressions, or eCPM).

When Adsense Gets it Wrong

Sometimes, however, adsense seems to get the whole show wrong. As an example, I recently wrote a story about getting pages out of Google’s supplemental index, in which I talked about ‘infant pages’.

Next time I looked, I had ads on that page about colic and baby products.

Does this mean that Google thinks my page is about infants? NO – the adsense robot is a completely seperate entity to the google indexing robot – and I don’t think it works quite as hard at times to work out the real context of a page.

So, probably what has happened is that the adsense robot has checked my whole page and figured out that serving ads for the keyword ‘infant’ would be great, because it is a lucrative keyword.

What’s a lucrative keyword? Well it’s like this – advertisers compete for keywords – in a kind of automated auction – so if I’m wanting to sell acme widgets, and I know I make $1000 per widget, I’m likely to pay more for ads to appear on pages with the keyword ‘widget’ than someone who sells less profitable ajax brand widgets.

It seems that ‘infant’ is probably a lucrative keyword, and in a perfect world, I’d get really high earnings from having ads about infants on my page.

That’s really clever, in a way, but really, it’s quite obvious to me as a human being that the technical types on my site are probably quite unlikely to be looking for baby products, so my CTR (number of clicks per 100 ‘views’) is going to be quite poor.

Adsense is a computer algorithm, not a human, so it’s ocassionally going to make slip-ups – that’s a given.

So, to get more contextually relevant ads on that page, I can either remove the keyword that’s confusing adsense, or I can use a relatively new tool from Adsense – enter, stage right, a little thing called Adsense Section Targeting.

(stay tuned – more on this shortly)


Entry Filed under: Google Adsense Tips,SEO Tools

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. adsense guide  |  December 6th, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Hi there,
    what is Adsense Section Targeting? I have never heard of it in my 4 in adsense. But it would be great if someone came up with a software that moved your adsense around on your page day for day.

    Happy adsense


  • 2. Rajeev Edmonds from Adsense Primer  |  February 2nd, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Section Targeting is a method in which you provide Google an indication which parts to emphasize on while serving ads on the web page. It is implemented with the help of HTML comment tags. Google the term “Adsense section targeting” and click first search result.

  • 3. Biblical Greek Tutor  |  August 5th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I can’t use the keyword “audio” in my Biblical Greek Audio website, or Adsense serves up ads about electronic audio equipment. I hate to do it, but I think I have to remove the word “audio” from my web pages.

  • 4. Y8 Com  |  November 2nd, 2009 at 1:38 am

    You seem to know much more about Adsense than me. I like those topics and the content. But can I ask you a question: how do I know what Adsense keyword my page is? I do get games related ads, but 99% of click I get only 1.5 cent/click. I tried to optimize the page for keyword: free online games which is rated on google adwords Keyword Tool at 70 cents. What should I do? Please help and email me. Thank you.

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