Best Adsense Placement Tips Post Google Panda

Best Adsense Placement Tips Post Google Panda

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Earn money online

Best Adsense Placement Tips Post Google Panda

If you’re looking for the best adsense placement tips you need to take into account the the Google Panda algorithm change which first went into effect in February 2011.

While it’s not spelled out obviously that ad-to-content ratio can be a problem, keep in mind that the Google Panda / Farmer update was designed to combat content farms – which in most cases make money with Adsense.

If you look more closely, you can find this question among many others that are behind the Panda algorithm:

Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

Vanessa Fox also mentions ad-to-content ratio as one of likely factors behind the Farmer update.

But what’s really interesting is that Google Adsense has changed their best adsense placement tips – but unfortunately I think it’s not that well publicized.

The suggested adsense placement / layout is now like this:

Best adsense placement tips

So as you can see the text should be wrapped around the ads or a portion of the text should be placed before the first ad.

If you follow the above link you’ll also see how the ads should not be placed – which is an ad just below the headline that pushes the content down.

Another way that many websites now place their ads is in the right column but still above the fold and / or a banner ad high on the page that doesn’t push the content down that much and is not mistaken for content since it’s not below the headline.

Here are some examples from techcrunch.com, engadget.com and nytimes.com:

optional ad placement

 

other ad placement

 

ad placement

All these websites make money with advertising but it’s obvious that they all follow the same principles – which are different than those of Adsense publishers with very aggressive ad placements.

Would these major websites have a better CTR if they placed the ads inside their content? Very likely.

Why don’t they do it? It’s obviously is not the right way to play this game.

There’s no need to know all the answers all the time, you can simply follow those who do well and apply their principles.

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    16 Comments

  1. Maybe the sites that use that kind of layout simply don’t want be aggressive and risk some ban from Adsense?

    They use a classic layout they are sure is less aggressive and more secure?

    Is it possible?

    [Reply]

  2. Hi, there are some things I don’t understand in this post:

    1) Why would heavy weight sites like NYT have to worry about their rankings due to ad-to-content ratio or ad placement? Even if they were slapped by Pandas & co. purely in an algorithmic way – I’m sure they’d be added to some ‘manual’ lists or something asap.

    Also – don’t these sites get more money from sponsorships? So in a way – isn’t it understandable that they don’t have to ‘perfect’ placement of other ads and can ‘afford’ to deliver better user experience (like more content in one piece)?

    2) Do ad-to-content ratio and ad placement apply only to G. Adsense or to ads / affiliate links in general? For example, if a site has an ‘appropriate’ Adsense ad-to-content ratio and placement but has at the same time tons of other ads poorly placed all over – is this a problem (not from the user experience point of view, but from G. algo point of view)?

    [Reply]

  3. 1) Heavy weight sites are part of companies who have share holders. All they worry about is profit and more profit. They rely on Google.

    BMW and JC Penney (and many more) didn’t get any exception from Google and they had to clean up their mess to rank well again.

    Yes, they have sponsorships but because they deliver good experience for visitors then visitors come more and more. If they didn’t, they could become #2 and that’s “bad” for them. Since they are doing well in terms of traffic, they have good deals with advertisers.

    2) Not sure what affiliate links Google recognizes and what they don’t. Test and see. 😉

    [Reply]

  4. OK, thanks. Ad 2) I meant non-Adsense ads (or affiliate links) in general.

    [Reply]

  5. Hi once again. I was thinking about your answers and I am still not very satisfied with them 😉 so I am adding some more of my thoughts. I hope you won’t mind or be offended in any way.

    In my opinion you can’t really compare heavy weight sites like BMW which if I remember correctly were doing black hat stuff and got to G. black list with ‘opinion-maker’, ‘trend-setter’ heavy weight sites like CNN, BBC, NYT or even Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer ;).

    Why would these trend-setters and opinion makers care much about Google ad placement ‘caprice’? What I am trying to say (pardon my ignorance – I am not very experienced) is that in my opinion more than following Google ad recommendations these sites seem to be following some kind of trendy ‘psychological’ recommendations regarding the improvement of user experience and online reading (like the effect of colors, fonts, content placement, etc.), the best guarantee for a happy returning costumer/subscriber. They’re trying to play ‘fair’ with their costumers and that’s what you’ve also noticed yourself: “Why don’t they do it? It’s obviously is not the right way to play this game.”

    Also traffic-wise; most of them were established before Google algo updates, have (important) subscribers/members (virality effect), use FB, other SE and enjoy tons of heavy organic links (direct traffic) or publicity anyway… Of course, I understand – Adsense & co. must still be important money for them (so in a way they should be worried about their traffic), but most probably not their main source and not as important as their ‘reputation’.

    So in my opinion only non-trendsetting and ‘opinion-following’ sites need to follow the (Google) ad rules and recommendations.

    The way I’m gonna use all of this fuss is to focus on creating unique content and my users’ experience as my top priorities – and this is also the takeaway message for me from this post.

    [Reply]

  6. I’m going to start changing some of my sites that are established to give more value to the reader. They are big enough now to provide a good income with less ads, so I am happy now to focus more on delivering great reader value with ads on less noticable areas of the page. I think it will work out better in the long term.

    [Reply]

  7. Have you seen this excellent video from Leslie Rhode about ‘Profiting from Panda’. It lasts about an hour and is definitely worth watching.

    http://www.doncrowther.com/featured/profitingfrom-panda

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Thank you very much, Carole.

    That’s a very good presentation. Recommended!

    [Reply]

    Marta Reply:

    @Carole Alexander,
    Thanks, Carole. Will watch. But before I do so, I have a question about left sidebar ads. Why does no one use them? Back in the day, they were in #2 position for highest click rate. If you look at my new-ish site diypics.com, I get almost twice as many clicks on that left panel than I do on the rite sidebar ads. As for mid-article ads, I hate them when I see them, so I’ll never use that placement. I can see why the big boys don’t. It’s offensive and will ruin their reputation.
    Anyone’s thoughts?

    [Reply]

  8. The reason I came to this article was that I was searching for Google’s algorithm for ad selection. I’m wondering if the content of the landing page is the only thing Google uses to determine what ads it puts on the page. Is there something else that plays into it? Such as click history for the reader himself? Content of the inbound link text (that is, the saturation rate of the article page from which the reader came)?
    Basically, I want to know why my ads aren’t all that relevant even though my content is well-SEO’d.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Hi Marta,

    What is the most common these days is that Google tracks you with cookies and by your account (if you’re signed in) and it serves relevant ads to YOU anywhere it can, almost regardless on what site (and topic) you’re on.

    I did a search for a hotel for example, booked and yet the ads for that place still haunt me everywhere I go. So I definitely decrease CTR of Adsense on any site I get on now since I am not interested anymore.

    [Reply]

    Marta Reply:

    @Tomaz, That was my guess. When I look at my own site, pretty much what it serves me is Adsense discounts–cuz they know I’m the developer. And then when I look at Statcounter (which has no content), what I get in ads is what I’ve been browsing lately on the web.
    Hopefully–since I get a lot of traffic from web searches–the visitors will have relevant content served up to them.
    SEO should still be important, right?

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Yes, but don’t confuse SEO which is optimizing for high rankings in search engines with optimizing for ads – which right now seems that Google is doing mostly based on visitor past behavior and not so much based on the topic of the page they are on.

  9. @Tomaz, Tomaz, you hit it on the nose!! I found Google’s “opt out” page and installed the “opt out of interest based advertising” on Chrome. When I revisited my website, the ads were suddenly very relevant to the content of the page!
    Here’s the opt out page: http://www.google.com/privacy/ads/

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    Thanks for sharing, Marta!

    [Reply]

  10. I’m way behind on this. Up until a few days a go I had crowded ads above the fold and pushing the content down.

    It looks like Google’s guidelines were updated because they contradicted the anti-spam department. I haven’t seen this update until I read this thread, thank you.

    I plan to simply follow those two first examples. I’m sure the departments over there were talking to each other on this (finally) and I would think that there will be no penalties for having your ads placed this way.

    Thank you very much for the useful post and I will subscribe to your site.

    [Reply]

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