I have seen Google AdSense ads placed at various spots on several sites, including spots that are known to have ad-blindness. In the case of WordPress sites, and other sites that use ready-to-use themes and templates, I find some typical patterns followed by publishers for placing ads.
Whether webmasters knowingly do so or not, I have strong reasons to believe that these ads are not placed as per the choice of the respective site owners, but they are placed according to the design of the themes or templates that finally give the look and feel of the sites.
It otherwise means that the ads are not strategically placed so that the site owners are able to generate the maximum Click Through Rates (CTR) and ad revenue. In fact, some personalized tips from the AdSense team advise the publishers that they lose as much as 60% (or more) of their ad revenue because of ads that are placed at spots that do not give good conversion rates for ads.
Earn More Money By Placing AdSense Ads Closer To Your Unique Content
The most preferred locations for AdSense ads are spots indicated in the Google AdSense heat map. But that need not be the ultimate guide for optimized ad placing in view of the fact that the actual structure of site templates vary vastly and the ad units placed nearest to the content get the most content-specific ads served and in most cases they attract the best ad rates per click.
However, the pattern followed by some AdSense publishers show that their decisions on where ads are to be placed are dictated by the designers and developers of their themes and plugins. This observation is typically true of WordPress sites as well as publishers using Blogger/ BlogSpot platforms both of which I have been using.
The reasons why some publishers follow these wrongly conceived ad placement ideas are as follows:
- There are several WordPress themes that are predesigned to accommodate AdSense ads. If you make a Google search for AdSense ready themes, you can find hundreds of them, both free themes as well as commercial (premium/ paid) themes. So, most publishers just place their ads in the predesigned widget areas and ad spots without thinking whether these ads are placed at the appropriate places to attract maximum ad clicks.
- There are several WordPress plugins that make it possible and easier for publishers to place AdSense ads at the desired locations, especially aimed at those who either do not want to mess around with the code of theme files or do not know how to place ads in between codes in theme files. But these plugins too do not tell you which ad spots are the best for your content, or by placing the ads in which spots you can earn more.
- Most WordPress themes, as themes and templates designed for other CMS software, have built-in provisions for placing text widgets in predesigned spots. AdSense ads can be placed using these widgets also. Again, these also need not necessarily be the most paying ad spots.
- Some publishers who can customize their themes place their ads at spots where they find the most suitable for placing ads and that too at locations that can be easily customized without breaking the theme’s functions. Unfortunately, these easily customizable areas need not be the best paying ad spots.
- Some others who can afford to pay for custom designed themes place AdSense ads at locations mostly decided by their designers. Such designers need not necessarily be experts in optimizing ad placement for maximum AdSense revenue. This is not to say that theme designers do not know AdSense Optimization. There are good designers who take care of not only ad placement, but also other aspects of how a well-optimized site should function.
Well, I am quite aware that several of my readers are well-versed with AdSense optimization, theme designing, content writing and similar aspects and how these together can work wonders just like a well-oiled machine to generate the highest revenue out of their sites.
So, in a sense, this small how-to tutorial is written to help the beginners who are new to blogging, AdSense, WordPress, theme designs, etc. and also experts who might have overlooked these aspects. So, here below are a few handy tips that can help those who are new to AdSense as well as blogging.
The Best Spots For Placing AdSense Ads
- Instead of the commonly used above the fold option (at the top of everything else on the site), AdSense publishers must place larger ad units such as the 728×90 ad banners closer to the rest of the content of the posts or pages, even though they can still be above the fold, that is the spot just above the beginning of the post. This position is more preferable because when ads appear as the first item at the top of the page, they rather respond to the nearest content that are common to all pages like the general site description, site title, navigation elements, etc. This tends to make AdSense think that all posts and pages are similar and either lesser number of ads will be served, or irrelevant and less-paying ads will be served, and that can drastically reduce your click through rates (CTR) and consequently your overall advertising earnings can decrease. You can still use the same spots for non-AdSense ads, and earn quite a good amount of extra advertising income as many advertisers prefer this slot from where you moved your main AdSense banners.
- Ads that appear on top of the pages are typically placed in the header section, or above the header. Moving larger ad units just above your post or page content will bring AdSense ads closer to the content.
- Side bars are another preferred spot for placing ads. If you are placing ads on your side bar, try placing them almost at the top of the sidebar. Do not place more than one large ad unit on the side bar. If you feel like placing more ads, you may place an ad link unit below the main ad, but after a few other widgets on the side bar.
- Placing ads within posts and pages will bring AdSense ads closest to your unique content and they can get you the highest click through rates, the highest rates per ad, almost a sure possibility of ads being served and hence the highest overall advertising revenue from AdSense.
- Though Google allows three ad units and three ad links per page/ URL, do not try to use all of them unless your posts and pages have large amounts of textual content. Sites such as photo blogs, video blogs, etc. that do not have much text-based content may do well by placing lesser number of AdSense ads per post, keeping a balance between your content and the ads being displayed. That otherwise means, you may reduce the number of ads, if you have lesser text-based content.
- And here is a confusing piece of advice that can come from Google AdSense. Often you will find notifications or personalized advice/ tips from AdSense team telling you that you are losing opportunities to earn more from a large number of ad servings because you do not place all the allowed number of ad units and link units. My personal advice is: Don’t jump for that, just ignore it. The reason is, if you follow the advice, in most cases where the sites are not rich in unique content, soon you will get another notification telling you that you do not have enough content to place all those ads and they will tell you to remove some ads so that the ads are content-oriented and proportionate to the content of your site.
It is expected that those who follow the above steps can earn over 60% more than their current AdSense incomes, as various notifications, blog posts and Google AdSense guidelines show, and as revealed by top AdSense money makers.
However, what you find above is NOT a complete solution, and you can find many more other options to improve your AdSense revenue. The final answer to how to earn the maximum from AdSense depends on your unique content, spots where you place the ads, the structure of your themes, and several other factors.
In view of the above observations (which at any cost is not a sure formula to earn more from ads), it is for you to experiment with placing ads at various spots and observe how each ad unit returns revenue and to decide on which option pays you well. Keep on observing and experimenting; that is the name of the game to earn more!
And here are two most important practices that you may avoid:
- Do not place ads (especially ad links) in such a way that your visitors are misled to believe them as your other links and click on them. AdSense policies specifically tell you not to do so.
- Most site users suffer from what is referred to as ad-blindness. It is especially true of ads above the folder almost at the top, sometimes at the footer and sidebar where several other ads, links, etc. clutter and compel the visitors to ignore them. Placing ads in spots that are known to induce ad-blindness can reduce your ad revenue drastically.