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AdSense Blog Case Study

Posted By Darren Rowse 24th of March 2006 Adsense 0 Comments

Scott D. Feldstein has written a post titled Blog Ads By The Numbers which talks about his experience with AdSense on his blog.

His conclusion is to remove it (in case he does move them here’s a screen cap of how he had them – click to enlarge).


I left a quick comment off the top of my head with some suggestions of how he might improve things. After writing it I realised that it might make a worthwhile post as I see many bloggers using a similar strategy to Scott with AdSense.

Having consulted with quite a few bloggers with similar issues here are the quick suggestions I gave to Scott.

‘you’ll probably find that your performance would improve a little if:

1. you changed the ad design to blend with your content (ie make the borders and background of the ads the same color as the background behind them and change the link colors of the ads to the same colors as your links)

2. had ads closer to your content. Having them in the sidebar and the banner position is found to be much worse than other positions. AdSense have come up with a heat map that has better positions in it (just search for AdSense heatmap and you’ll find it. Update: here it is – I’d suggest moving the ads on the front page to appear between posts and on individual pages would suggest a rectangle ad underneath the post and above comments).

3. your blog’s topic was more focussed. Sites which are fairly general in topic tend to do worse than those that target specific niches. Looking over your content I suspect that this might be part of the issue.

There are loads of other little things I’d recommend – but these are three of the biggies I suspect.’

Update: here’s another quick suggestion:

Change the title tags of individual pages – if you look at the title at the top of your browser when you look at Scotts post you’ll see they say – ‘Scott D. Feldstein >> Blog Archive >> Blog Ads by the Numbers’. AdSense looks at your page title when determining which ads to show, especially those words at the start of it. Having the title of your post as the title of your page is excellent practice (especially if you choose good keywords for your title) but having the blog’s title and ‘blog archive’ is just going to confuse AdSense. I’d definately get rid of ‘blog archive’ and consider making the title of the post first and if the Blog’s name is essential to move it behind the post title. This will also help considerably with Search Engine Rankings. Aaron wrote a post on how to do this a few days back here.

The long and short of it is that because of the topic breadth of Scott’s blog it may never be a big earner (the other consideration is his traffic levels which I have no idea of). However it’s worth playing around with AdSense in terms of design and positioning before giving up. Just slapping the ads on without tweaking them rarely works.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. One extremely minor point: I believe he’s not entirely correct in saying that he doesn’t get paid by impressions. In the probably not likely case that someone’s running a site-targeted campaign on his site, I believe G will pay him based on impressions rather than clicks. That’s only for site-targeted however.

  2. These are good tips Darren. They are well itemized and the action items you are point out are very specific.


  3. Again, excellent tips Darren. I’ve incorporated your suggestions across all my sites and am monitoring the impact (if any) with interest.

  4. One hundred percent good advice Darren. I looked at the picture before I read your post and my impressions were exactly the same. Hey! I must be learning something!

  5. It took me way too long to realize this, but I do not recommend allowing Google to put image (CPM) ads on your site. Unless you have a lot of inventory (500,000 pvs/month+), CPM ads will never pay you as well as CPC.

  6. Hey Darren,

    Scott says he gets 3000 pv per day, and only averages .12 cents.

    He should have read some of your previous posts about Adsense, He would probably make a lot more money.

    I know by following your advice, I make more than that a day with far fewer pv’s.

    Now, I just have to re-read your posts on increasing traffic. :-)


  7. Thanks for the advice, folks! I’m still deciding what, if anything, to do next. If I decide to keep ads of some kind, I’ll surely take some of these suggestions.

  8. How about moving the ads to the left? My left ads do MUCH better than the ones on the right.

  9. I have used a lot of these tips on my blogs and it has worked out great for me

  10. In general I’ve found that blogs that aren’t focused do really poorly with AdSense! Sometime, even with halfway decent traffic, no clicks for days.

    Of course your tips are right on, Darren.

    I’ve bagged AdSense myself – rather use the space in other ways (yes, space is valuable, whether promoting your self/blog/whoknowswhat or using it for ads).

  11. I agree with FMF – left-hand-side ad units do much better on some of my blogs

  12. I have tweaked my ads some. The big banner at the top has been replaced by text categories just under my navigation. Both it and the sidebar on the right have been tweaked to blend in with the style more. I also have adjusted the header.php file to give a better title on each page. We’ll see if that doesn’t improve things a bit.

  13. I cna second the comment about ads on the left performing better than ones on the right. I’ve also seen a little better clicks on the link style ads that cna be added across the top of a page.

  14. It hurts so bad to admit when I am ignorant on some subject, but I have to do it.
    I have tried to solve this problem before, but after reading this post, I have spent most of this morning to no avail trying to “blend” my ad into my content.
    I already have a skyscraper ad on the left column which I wil remove if I can just figure out how to “float” or “align” my ad within the post itself and allow the text to wrap around the ad.
    I’ve tried to use the HTML tricks one would ordinarily use to float or align an image, but these tools don’t seem to work for adsence ads.
    HELP !

  15. […] Make Money Online with ProBlogger Blog Tips Adsense Helping Bloggers earn Money. Money Making Tools and Resources. Adsense Secrets – My Review · Chitika eMiniMalls Secrets · Definitive Guide to AdSense […]

  16. […] A while back I started putting ads on scottfeldstein.net, not knowing exactly what would happen or if I’d keep them around or not. Shortly thereafter I wrote about how spotty the ad revenue seemed to be and decided to get rid of them. Just at that time, however, Darren over at problogger.net decided to use me as an example – a bad example. In other words, he had a few suggestions for me on the placement and type of my ads. So naturally I implemented some of his advice. How did it work out? It’s been a month and here’s where things stand. […]

  17. I have used the blended ads. But about the putting the ads closer to the post, I think putting it at the right before and and after the post probably would be good, too.
    Right before the post, means if your article is not attractive, and if the ads shown are what visitor are looking for, they’ll probably click on it.
    Putting ads at the end of the post, also sometimes means what to click and where to go right after the article post. It gives the sign that the ads are the next to go.
    Niches blogs also work better sometimes, though it’s sometimes hard to manage. General means that we can post anything, but niche doesn’t mean so.

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