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Placing AdSense Strategically on Your Site

Some Tips for Maximizing CTR From Your Adsense Ads.
 
Paul Smithson - 5th January 2009
   
paul smithson The key to making good money with AdSense is having sufficient traffic and having a good CTR, which stands for “click through rate.”  This is the ratio of clicks to visitors.  If you have 100 visitors to your site, and ten people click ads, then you have a CTR of 10%. The higher your CTR is the more money you make from your traffic.

Google has put a number of rules in place to prevent the artificial inflation of CTR. For example you can’t do anything that might mislead visitors, or trick them into clicking your ads, and you can’t ask visitors to click on your ads, or offer them any sort of incentive for doing so. 

You used to be able to draw a little attention to your ads thought the creative use of images. Webmasters would place images that were related to the ads close by, so it looked like the ads were for the products shown in the images.

For example, if they were displaying ads for laptops, they’d place small thumbnail images of laptop computers next to those ads. This increased CTR very well, but Google decided that was deceptive. They believed users would think the photos were supposed to be pictures of the products being advertised in the AdSense ads, and when they arrived at the advertiser’s site and saw that wasn’t the case, it would hurt conversions for the advertiser. 

Google chose to act in the best interests of their advertisers and decided to disallow the placement of images too close to the ads.  You can still use images next to the ads, but they must be separated from the ads by a clear border.

Since the rules regarding images are considered a bit confusing by many webmasters, many choose to not use images at all.  Google can be quick to terminate webmasters from the AdSense program if they believe the webmaster has violated their rules, and getting back in once you’ve been terminated is all but impossible, which is why so many webmasters prefer to play it as safe as possible.

Whether you choose to use images or not is up to you, but there are other things you can do to improve your CTR without running the risk of having your account terminated.

First of all, you can wrap your content around your ads in a way that will cause readers to be forced to see the ads as they read the content.  If you use a square or rectangular ad within blocks of content, the eyes of your readers will be drawn toward those ads as they become an integral part of the body copy.

You can also place ads near your navigation links.  If you make your navigation links similar in font and color to the AdSense ads, then the AdSense ads will blend in nicely and probably increase your CTR. 

It’s recommended that you keep your links blue, because so many people expect links on web pages to be blue, but if you can it’s worth trying to choose a slightly different blue to the default AdSense colors as they’ve become too recognizable. 

In addition to changing to a slightly different shade of blue you should also look at changing the other colors that are used in the AdSense ads so that they blend in well with the rest of your site. This is very easy to do using XSitePro, but a little more time consuming if you use Dreamweaver. However, do make sure you keep the text readable as Google frowns upon any efforts to make the text blend in too much with the background.

Finally, make sure you don’t have a border around your AdSense ads as this almost always increase CTR to a greater or lesser degree.  Keep the border the same color as the background of the area on your page where the ads appear.

Maximizing the CTR of AdSense ads is more of a science than an art and so it pays to run regular and extensive tests to establish the best position for your ads, the best size of ad block to use and the best colors to use. Don’t take anything for granted. Keep testing to establish what works best and you are guaranteed to see an increase in your click through rates.

About Paul Smithson - Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe’s leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.


For more information about this, and many other Internet Marketing-related topics, visit Paul Smithson's site, www.xsitepro.com.

Source: http://www.xsitepro.com/placing-adsense-strategically-on-your-site.html


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