Stop Adsense Bashing with a Few Tips

Yesterday Scott wrote about how one of his goals was to be Adsense free, I think a better goal would be “Not to be Adsense reliant”. In this post I want to share a few tips on how you can improve your Adsense earnings, I’m not saying do solely Adsense but if you use it you might as well make the most of it.

Improve Relevancy with Section Targeting
One Adsense feature that I think is often overlooked is section targetting, this is where you can tell Google which areas of your page contain content that is the most relevant for contextual advertising. It’s simple enough to implement using html tags:

<!-- google_ad_section_start -->
Here's my content that is what the page is all about.
<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

Further info can found at the Adsense support center.

Position with CSS
This is a tip I’ve mentioned before, use CSS so that your most popular (best CTR) ad unit is positioned first in the HTML of the page, more info on how to do this here. It’s also worth experimenting with the number of ad units on a page it is often found that one ad unit can produce more revenue than multiple units (Jensense has also recently done a nice post on this).

Hide units from writers and yourself
Clicking your own ads is obviously a massive no no. The easiest way to prevent accidental clicks is not to show the ads in the first place. What I do is hide the ads from all of my writers and myself when we are logged in. To do this WordPress you can use the following code.

The main benefit of this is the prevention of accidental clicks but depending on traffic it will improve your CTR as writers wouldn’t/shouldn’t be clicking anyway.

Text based Adsense units work really well when naturally blended into your own search results. So if you have a search feature on your site use it to display ads and then at the end of your results you can also provide a Google site search so if your visitor hasn’t found what they are looking for they can ask Google to help, giving you another change to monetise that visit. You can see an example of this for the search gadgets.

URL Color
Another way of getting more attention to your ads (without breaking Google’s TOS) is to use a different color for the URL. What I find works is to use your sites default link color for the title and then a more standard link blue for the URL, example in the image below.
(The dotted border is not a Google feature it is just how I have it positioned and separated from other content on the page)

Checking your Google stats more than once per day is a waste of time. I know it’s addictive and that you want to but ask yourself the question “What am I going to do if they are slightly up or do, bleat about it on some forum or do nothing and wait until tomorrow and see if they’ve evened out?” If the answer to that was bleat you might want to check out these other time wasters.

The Heat Map
This next tip is a bit of an oldie but it works, the heatmap shows you the best areas for positioning.

Adsense May Not be the Best Option for your Site
We’ve spoken about this numerous times, just because Adsense generates revenue on your site it isn’t necessarily the most profitable stream. Jim Karter shared a great example of how one of his sites was making $600 per month from Adsense but when he switched to a different program saw something like a 1,000% increase, cool!

At the moment I’m in talks with a company that offers the potential for me to generate more revenue with them every month than I did with Adsense in December, will it be instead of Adsense, hell no! Hopefully there will be more to follow on this one after things have been finalised and contracts signed.

This might be the last tip but it is the most important one, the best way to improve your Adsense income is to increase traffic. CTR has a limit, CPC has a limit, traffic does not. You can have the worst ad placement in the world in the lowest paying niche but if you have the traffic you’ll make good money. So spend time optimizing your ads but spend a lot more time building traffic, it will pay in the long term and that’s what this game is all about.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. This is an awesome post for tips! I need to dedicate some time soon to go through my sites and audit my adsense ads. I’ll for sure be using this article as a guideline, thanks

  2. I use vbseo with one of my forums and this has a section targetting option built in, which works great for relevancy.

    The Jim Karter posts shows its always good to try a few things on your site.

  3. Really enjoyed your post, I got a lot out of it.

  4. I too was thinking about dropping Adsense altogether, as the only way to get some clicks is to make them intrusive for my readers. That compromise worked for the last months, but now, since revenues dropped like 40%, i don’t think I’m making a good deal anymore…

  5. Great tips Al. This is a matter which is often overlooked but it is an extremely important matter. I have had different results trying different colours. I normally choose to integrate the ads with similar colours as the rest of the site although it does not seem to be always the optimal solution.

  6. Boy, is this tips great stuff! I have to ask whether you have more information on an easier way/plugin that one can get to hide adsense from your writers. I think you just got a fan!

  7. Great Tips!!! I love this article, can i feature it on my website? ?

  8. I didn’t realize section targeting was possible. I’m going to have to implement this on a few of my domains.

  9. Thanks for the great tips. I’m really trying to learn more about adsense, i think the first thing i need to work on is traffic, but I kinda feel like I should have my adsense strategy worked out first. That may be dumb…

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