Optimizing Your Site for Contextual Ads

Dec 4, 2007 - 7:43 pm 2 by
Filed Under PubCon 2007

Jaan Janes - SVP, Business Development, Pulse 360

Talks about Pulse 360 and what they do. Relvancy - Shows some good examples that his company does and some bad ones by Google.

Relevancy: Do your ads even matter? Alot of sites have unreasonable amount of ads and this hurts other sites. Sites have too many banners, buttons, widgets and so on - its just clutter

Sponsored Link Tips 1. Show the ads - usatoday, wallstreet journal, msnbc examples - clean design 2. Focus on the Audience first - Many advertisers will start blind and then learn to focus on certain audiences. Advertisers go on audience and general topics - they dont do 1:1, more Category level for a given topic. 3. Dont be afraid to try different colors - try colors and tinker with things. He encourages you to experiment 4. Try different placements and ad types - Move the placement around and see the shapes/sizes as well 5. Bottom of the page = bottom of the barrel. Please dont run sponsored linkes 4,567,890 pixels down the page!

Plugs a new Vertical Adnetwork.

Aaron Wall - Seo Book

Optimization vs Overkill - Depending on format it can be useless to the user. - build authority and monetize backfill content - dont float ads left at top in content area - site has to sel itself - if too aggressive the ads cost you links - perception of quality during se reviews - navigation needs to be useful

Short Tail Sites - few spots up in the organic rankings can make a diff in earnings - infest in SEO - make site easy to link to - site design - wait to monetize - supporting featured content

Long Tail Sites

- Keep core pages clean - blog readers dont click many ads - use ad channels to determine where the $ is - site structure - link equity push at top earning sections - less link equity at lower earning sections - deep link internally on popular articles - remove ads from exceptionally poor performers - when they rebound then put them back.

- if you do link bait - dont be afraid to add links to some of your better pages after the wave of traffic is over

On Page Optimization tools - analytics are your firned - ensure to mix up keyword usage - longer pages match many keywords - use a bariety of terms - www.quintura.com - goolge adwords has a tool that gives you what a page is relevant to - tools.seobook.com/yahoo-keywords/

Advanced Tips - Ad filtering - members can turn ads off - date based ad inclusion - Link Building - buy a few links pointing at the best earning pages - syndicate contetn and deep link to best pages - Own the best keywords - create a second page to get a double listing - create authoritative documents or - spin out sites - Create your own product

Plug for Seo Book

Matthew Daimler - founder/CEO of Seatguru.com

Airline seating

Shows 2001 Page with google Adsense on the page. Google adsense did 100-200 a day rather then the 100-200 a month that the old ads were doing.


"View Bids" tool to understand what the CPC buyers wanted and try to add content or keywords around those.

1. Networks use content of page to show ads 2. Only 1 Google Ad per page allowed, no wide skyscraper (yet)

Impressions over last 5 years

1 Wide Sky - shows some spikes

2004-2006 - a new design comes into play. New navigation and more content for the contextual advertising. The goal was to get the ads they wanted to show up on the site.


1. Get keyword repetition 2. Google wide sky visible in 800x600 resolution 3. Google ad location right in the heart of website activity

Challenge: site was built around 1 Google ad per page. Design used all tables and thus had a poor keyword density.

1 Wide Sky, 1 Sky, 1 Half Banner - Sept 2004 - impressions goes WAY up. When they tripled the impressions the click-thru rate dropped by a lot. The eCPM dropped a lot as well. They saw a 80% drop.

Thoughts on Supply and Delivery

Shows list of 8 Advertisers and CPC.

Level 1 Publisher gets Level 1 Advertiser Level 2 gets the middle and Level 3 gets the bottom

With more ad units it changed. The Levels each drop with Level 3 getting a lot of PSA's.

Diversification Required - Added direct advertiser to replace some of the Google ad blocks. They went directly to the top advertisers and signed some of them up - and some even showed up twice (once in Google and once in Direct).

Adsense & Overall Daily Revenue - Chart shows that less Google Ads and being more diverse shows site revenue up.

There is a downside - Adsense impressions and revenue dropped. They went too far one way and had too much direct advertising.

To fix this they did a redesign in 2006.


Moved to CSS New features, new menu, more content Used more popular Google ad types (med rectangle) Made sure at least 1 full ad was in 800x600 Made sure wide sky was seen in a 1024x768 Tried link units, integrated into Nav - had no success and never went back

Shows chart of Adsense Impressions - Result was a spike of 5x of impressions. - Click-thru rate did drop 20-30% - eCPM dropped but not a lot

As a small publisher they didnt have time to test and further optimize. Only used Google for 5 years and never tried any other network. Didnt get to change shapes, colors, and other different types. Ad Products - didnt get to test different types of products either.

PubMatic - it brings different ad networks together and optimizes it for you


Q:Is there a type of ad for a type of content? Affiliate deals or Adsense work better on certain types of sites?

Matthew - Talks about different types and how forums are hard to monetize. Look at the site and think like a user. If you were a user would this type of ad or an ad here annoy you? Aaron - For informational sites he likes to have ads visible at the top of the site in navigation and at the end of content so that a user has something to do.

Q:When you started your direct ads, was there software you used?

Matthew - to validate data you can run surveys and such. The advertisers were using 3rd Party software and that was taken into account. Doubleclick "lost" 15-20% of traffic and was taken into account for pricing. Billing the client is a lot of work and hassle. They used a 2x multiple of the eCPM as a pricing model. With the loss of Doubleclick, getting the client to pay, and other hassles, its not as much as you would think.

Detlev jokes that he must of had a full time employee then. Matthew laughs.

Q: What does the panel think about MFA theory, and if going from 3 banners to 2 is good.

Matthew - saw difference when they ran 2 or 3 ads. Google still fills the ads in the order that they were processed. So if you have a bad location ad render first, the highest paying clicks are being lost. If you have a MFA that gets the traffic and gets the clicks - Google is going to want to be there and will serve the highest paying ads.

Q: Different niches get different click-thru? For a site with more new users get higher CTR then one with repeat visitors?

Aaron: Some of his sites show one thing and others show another. It just depends on the site Matthew: One ad was up for 2 years and had the same CTR the entire time. He also thinks that sites with less web savvy users will get a higher CTR on ads.

Contributed by Dave R.


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