AdSense - Top ten list of actions to avoid

Below are our 'top ten" actions to avoid when managing an AdSense account. 

Some are surprising at first, but make sense on close inspection.

1.      Do not use unusual sizes

Although you can use a wide variety of ad sizes, in practise some are more commonly used and have the greatest number of advertisers so most competition for spaces. The best performing ad sizes (in 2014) are the

  • Large Rectangle (336×280)
  • Medium Rectangle (300×250)
  • Leaderboard (728×90)
  • Wide Skyscraper (160x600)

2.      Do not start defining "text" or "display"

The AdSense algorithms will in the medium term give a higher revenue if both display and text adverts are shown. So if for one particular slot you find one type is better, it is still usually keeping both on as this increase the competition between ads and increases revenue.

So don’t restrict Google’s choice of which to display.

But if you need to do this for some reason, the text ads usually perform better alongside text content and image ads alongside image content.

3.      Do not tinker with the bidding too much

For AdSense Google is 100% on your side. What is good for Google is good for you. Their algorithm’s will try to increase both their and your income, so don’t interfere.

4.      Do not fine tune the Specific categories too much

There are two competing metrics to consider:

Firstly competition and the greater the competition (wider the range of categories) the higher the CPC. So this would recommend keeping a wide range of categories

Secondly relevance and click through rate would lead to the opposite conclusion that your ads will perform better if directly relevant to the subject category. Better performing ads then get shown more often.

This therefore requires slow optimisation, but generally best to keep checking on use of a wider range of categories.

5.      Do not allow the enhanced ads (disable them) to start with

This is one area where the default (enabled) is often not best. Enhanced makes the ads stands out and includes a clear call to action. But they also look just like ads and can get ignored.

If you do start disabled, then this is something to check as part of ongoing account management.

6.      Do not allow social ad sharing

You can disable social adverts and this is almost always best. Most ads don’t use this feature as it identified the ad more clearly.

7.      Don’t over-ad your page

Google does not like and actively penalises pages with too many adverts. Some advice is to restrict number of adverts per page to as low as three. This needs checking and also varies with amount of content. Pages with more content can show more adverts.

8.      Don’t put too many ads above the fold

Google does not like and actively penalises pages with too many adverts above the fold. Some advice is to restrict number of adverts to no more than two above the fold (first 600 px of height).

It is often better to place the ads lower, especially just below the title. Or even within the content of the article.

9.      Don’t break the rules

AdSense has a strict set of rules and if you break them you could get banned from AdSense. For example you cannot alter the AdSense code or obscure adverts.

10.    Don’t annoy users

There is no point in so over-optimising your page for AdSense that you annoy your users. If the content on the webpage is hard to find you will lose reader engagement, reduce repeat visitors and medium-long term revenue will go down.


Now you know what not to do, managing AdSense wil make much more sense.

Tuesday 18th November 2014

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