Sunday, January 14, 2007

AdSense Hypocrisy

AdSense HypocrisyI am sure Brute had a witty return to Caesar's "Et tu, Brute?" Something along the line, "No, Caesar... not ME!" And yet we know he was caught in the act of being, to Caesar, anyway, a hypocrite. He talked one thing, and yet, he was guilty of the same.

Since the beginning of web servers, we've always had the server logs, which tell where our traffic is coming from. Recently I found a few hits on one of my websites from a site called AdsBlackList. With a name like that - you want to check it out.

ads blacklist adsenseIn a nutshell, AdsBlackList is a live database of what AdSense publishers who know of this site, consider to be MFA (Made for AdSense pages) advertisers. Typically, these advertisers are looking for the lowest paying click, so it makes sense that if you could, you'd want to blacklist them using the AdSense Competitive Ad Tool.

My site was flagged because the domain name contained the word "four". I'm sure you've seen the AdSense ads with fourtopsites or bestfoursites, etc. These sites contain little, if no content, and have a few blocks of Google AdSense or Yahoo Publisher ads on them. And many of these types use the AdWords program to drive traffic to their sites.

Everything sounds okay and makes sense until I stumbled on a thread in the Digital Point Forums that discusses the AdsBlackList service and how members are adding sites. So I decided to check out a few of the pages of these members - hoping to find great sites full of content and nothing obvious in the way of blatant ads all over the place.

Here's a few for your enjoyment:

It just hit me as hypocritical that these fellows (and a few gals) would post about doing away with MFA sites when most of their own sites are the very same thing. But I'm sure they would be like Brute and say, "not ME!"

Here's the problem with this sort of thinking.

First, you're assuming that Google does nothing but toss up relevant ads that fit your content and their network location. But there is much more in play.
  • Google measures what other pages are on your site you are monetizing.
  • Google measures what other pages you are monetizing across your "network" of sites.
  • Google measures if the page you are monetizing is a good landing page, based on content, pictures (if you have or don't), tags, size of your description meta tag, inbound links and their quality.
And this is just the beginning.

It's dangerous to think that by blocking sites you'll fool Google into serving better paying ads. Remember that Google also owns the site where you are putting the competitive URL's - they know who you're trying to block.

So, what's the answer?
  • Make sure the pages you are monetizing are quality pages, not apparent MFA pages.
  • Make sure that if you get links, that you get them from within the content of another, similar site. What?! Yes, that's right - links from link farms or from high PR pages... such as those you see in the left or right hand column of a site, are pretty worthless. Google is looking for links from within a story about your site. For instance... say your site was about Bass Fishing Boats. If I made a link from this site to your site with a URL in the right column, you would get negligible power. However, if I made and entire post about how cool bass fishing is and that your site had the best selection of boats... well, that's a grand recommendation. The type Google "loves!"
Pass this along to a friend and begin to change your own sites this year and you'll see how traffic will rise and so will your Google revenue.

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