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Poor Adsense targeting, a fix

On some of my website's pages I have had trouble with the Google Adsense ads and relevance.  One of the things I need to do on my site is have my own internal Ads.  In the upper right corner of my pages you will see links to important pages on my website that I would like visitors to be aware of.  In addition at the bottom of every page I have copyright information and links and additional information that visitors may be interested in to fully appreciate my website.

Also please see my Adsense Relevance Tips, below.

NOTE: With the advent of Google Panda and later algorithm changes, consider these suggestions below carefully.  For Adsense ads themselves, Google has frowned upon IFrames, however spinning off repetitive content of your site into IFrames should enhance your users experience by accelerating the loading and rendering of the most important context of your pages while borders and other less pertinent information can trickle in asynchronously in the IFrames and the content in the IFrames will not bias Adsense away from the true topic of your page. 

Adsense "sensing" and relevance

At times Adsense "senses" my ads, copyright notice, or even links to other sites as topics for my pages.  I have shuffled my content around hoping for more relevant results.  On a few pages, occasionally, I disabled the Adsense ads because they were so miss-targeted.

Help Adsense targeting by eliminating the irrelevant page content

So I wanted to hide my upper right hand corner ad box and my text in the bottom border of my page.  I have been playing with IFrames and they have made an amazing difference.

I created new empty web pages.  One page is the content of my ad box, like this:

Looks like normal page content does not it, but it isn't.  The actual content is at:
"http://www.bobshowto.com/_frm/bhtadbox.htm" and a copy is on my mirror domain which I will not get into in this article.  See how simple the page is.  Now to show this content, or ad box, in the upper right hand corner of all my web pages I use an IFrame directive!  Here is some sample html code:

I inserted this code in the upper right corner of the right border for my website.  I did a similar thing for my bottom border.  Note that you must work out the appropriate width and height to use.  I put these mini-pages in my _frm directory (frame).  In this way I can tell search engines not to crawl these mini-pages using my robots.txt file.  (More recently I prefer to prevent content indexing by using the embedded meta direction "robots=noindex".  This allows Google to crawl the content of the page, but directs Google not to add the content to its index.  Historically Google did not always comply with this directive, but I would say since for at least 7 years, this directive has worked well with Google.

My hope was this effort would hide all my extraneous advertising text and links from Adsense, and I am reasonably sure it works.

One of the big surprises with this Adsense fix

Once my website was crawled by the Google search engine, Googlebot/2.1, when I searched Google's index I realized my bottom border text was no longer in Google's index, nor was my ad box.  I used to search for my website copyright marking like this:
site:www.bobshowto.com "All rights reserved.   Email Bob at"

That search would find all my pages but now Google no longer indexes my copyright notice.  The notice still shows up in the Google cache, but Google is just showing my mini-pages in the _frm directory.  (This has some interesting advantages!).  This was a great way to find all my web pages in the Google Index, but the copyright marking is gone from the Google Index except for a few "supplemental results", and this is fine by me.  It should mean searchers are even more likely to find the true content of my pages!

Another smaller surprise

Page load time is slightly reduced.  When you use IFrames the web browser can display your site's content before it renders the IFrame content.  So my little ad block is rendered a little after the main page content.  I like this feature also.  This has many advantages, speeding up page rendering.

Web site statistics

Unfortunately some website statistics packages count the display of an IFrame as a Page View.  So if you have two IFrames in your web page, your statistics may show 3 page views even though your visitor only looked at your one page with two frames.

Warning, use this information at your own risk.

While I believe these recommendations meet the Adsense terms of service (TOS), you must use these suggestions at your own risk.  ALSO: please remember the side affects mentioned in the paragraph above.

Hiding non-relevant text

Hiding this non-relevant border text has eliminated some of the Adsense relevance problems.  At times I would get Pay pal related ads just because I mention Pay pal in my bottom border.  Even here I have split up the term Pay pal hoping Adsense will not pick up on it!

Some information from Google

Adsense ad targeting

Webmasterworld, poor ad relevance

I hope this helps with your website.

Relevant Ads Tips

The content that follows is dedicated to tips regarding Adsense relevance.  There are many subtle and surprising things that seem to affect the relevance of Adsense ads.  Believe it or not one of the subtleties is induced by the Google's Adwords program.  I hope to keep compiling more tips for relevance of Adsense ads.

Please see my Adsense Relevance Fix also!

Google's Adwords program can affect Adsense ads relevance on your website!

Are you an Adwords advertiser as well as an Adsense publisher?  If so then this surprising Adsense relevance gotcha can affect your site's Adsense revenues.  This problem is induced by the Adwords help and optimization programs, believe it or not.  I have written to Google and they have confirmed this unexpected interaction, that will for a time, or perhaps intermittently affect the relevance of Adsense ads served on your website and mine.

A subtle problem

Here is a source of Adsense relevance problems!
Google's Optimize your campaign and tracking help

You will probably have to be a registered Adwords user to access the link above.

Yes one of Google's Adword's tracking suggestions will affect your Adsense ads relevance at least temporarily, and depending upon what you do, perhaps intermittently as well.  Google does not mention this in their help or FAQ as far as I can find!

Adding Tracking URL's can cause problems!

I had written several Adwords ads to target one specific webpage on my site.  The ads were doing OK, but I wanted to see, in my website's log files, specifically which ad had been clicked on by my visitor to open this web page.  Google's Adwords help is great, it says, add a "tracking URL" they are harmless and tell you what you need to know.  Well the tracking URL's are not completely harmless.  It took me a while and email to Google to figure this out.

My tracking URL's were simple.

Here is some examples, these are not actual tracking URL's I use, but you can see the affect if you experiment on your own.  I will use my Quality page as an example ( I have to work on those pages! ).

A standard URL to my page

Because of Google quirks I feel it necessary to remove the hyperlinks below and just substitute text.  And because Google is now transposing text representations of links into real links (do not ask me why), I have purposely misspelled the links as well!  (Bob)

A "tracking" URL to my page
A second "tracking" URL to my page

You can see I have tacked on a "?" and some text that identifies the Adwords ad that was clicked on to link to my webpage.  This shows up in the "referrer" string in my log files, when somebody clicks on a link and in this case the link is built into a specific Adwords ads.

When Adsense encounters a link with a tracking URL attachment it considers the target page a different page!

Ahhhhhh, what????  Google's Adsense does not really know this is a "tracking" URL.  As far as it knows this URL may be invoking a script and dynamically generating a new page.  Until the Adsense robot gets around to re-reading your web page, the Adsense ads displayed will not be relevant.  In fact it seems like the ads now are sort of a default set based upon your website's entire content.  I am guessing this from a few observations, but the ads displayed seem to match the ads on my home page.  So when someone clicks on your Adwords ad in which you just added a tracking URL, the Adsense ads that show on the target page can be at least partially, and perhaps completely, irrelevant to the target page's content.  Whoops.

This does go away

After a few days, once the Google Adsense Media bot has revisited your "new" (not really) page, the ads relevance will resume for that tracking URL.  And guess what, the same thing happens for each new tracking URL you invent.  So in my case as I added new ads and therefore tracking URL's to the same page, each new Adwords ad had irrelevant Adsense ads for a few days.  If you kept playing with these tracking URL's you could have an ongoing intermittent problem.

Try this on my Quality page

A standard URL to my page

Now invent your own "tracking URL" by adding a referrer string like

You will have to invent your own "?" string because Adsense will eventually learn any I publish on this page.

You will see that the ads change substantially when you add a random referrer string.  This had me scratching my head for a while!

All you can do is plan ahead

Create all your tracking URL's for your Adwords ads at once.  When in Adwords make sure you click on your ad not only to test the link, but to alert Adsense that a new link is being used to access your ad's target web page.

I hope I have made all this clear and you find it helpful!









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BHT Created: 14 Jan 2005

BHT Revised: 22 Oct 2016


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Copyright 2003-2016 Robert Matheson.  All rights reserved.  Email Bob at BobsHowTo.com - . 

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