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Google AdSense Forum

Un-used AdSense inventory
...how to make this work for you

 1:44 pm on Dec 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I use AdSense exclusively in one of my sites, and occasionally (especially surrounding forum posts) the system hasn't got an ad to give to me.

Instead of using the PSAs (which are highly irrelevant, since I run a site outside of the USA), I am using the relatively new unsold redirect which enables me to put something else there instead.

I'm actually putting editorial into these unsold ad space areas - links to new posts on the website and latest news headlines that are relevant for users of my site. Since I've done this, I notice that the ads have been working better for me - presumably because users are getting used to looking at the ad-banner to discover what the latest news is, etc.

I'd recommend this to others - even a few links in the 468x60 unsold space seems to have a good effect on the ad click-rate when there are ads there. And it has the welcome effect of keeping people on the site for longer, since they're using internal links to see the latest news, etc.

Hope you find that handy.



 2:01 pm on Dec 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Would it be against the ToS in ANY way? I don't see how, but you never know :)


 5:27 pm on Dec 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thats a really good idea James007, I wouldn't have thought of that. Often with new pages I'm getting PSA'a for the first few days, and this would get the users used to looking at the ads, and provide useful content.


 5:31 pm on Dec 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

james: that's one of the best ideas I've read in a long time - thanks!


 5:35 pm on Dec 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nicely played.

Double thanks for sharing hte idea instead of keeping it to yourself.


 8:35 pm on Dec 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

james, brilliant idea!


 8:44 pm on Dec 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's one of those killer tricks that are 100% legit in terms of the AdSense TOS and good webmastering too.

Thanks for sharing, james!


 12:19 am on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes james007,

That is a very good idea, I'm actually doing something similar using the alternate ads ... redirecting to an php script that allows me to count how many times AdSense wasn't able to publish an ad, because I'm running a bilingual site it happens a lot in my spanish version so that way you can also tune the application.. I'm counting the number of redirects and because it does counts towards the number of impresion I'm able to determine the % of no ads .. so tunning the content I have been able to reduce that %.

Hope this also help ;-)



 1:44 am on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I actually redirect to a blank html file. That way your site does not get cluttered and when ads do appear say on the next page they appear a little more interesting.


 8:33 am on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'll combine the advice of james007 and caspita :-)

(redirect to a script, count, show link or text)

Visit Thailand

 9:45 am on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am little confused by this alternate ad side of Google.

Do the pages need to be full html? with headers etc or can I just put a table etc in without the <head> etc?


 2:38 pm on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

You don't need to have a whole page ... you also need to be aware that your redirect page must be the same size of the Google Ad space beacuse Google will use the iframe to present your alternate page, so, if your page is biger that the Ad space it will be cutted of. As for the page you can have anything I think, html, asp, php, gif, jpeg with or with no parameters. In my case I'm using a php page with URL parameters because I use diferent sizes of the Google Ad so I want to count based on the Ad type and present my alternate content according to the size also.

Hope this help.


 3:47 pm on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

I use a gif banner the same size as the adspace that targets specific users that could advertise directly with me - and the gif links to a page on my site (target _blank) that gives the benefits of doing that, and how to sign up for it - since that typically pays more than the adsense.

I have given some thought to using the space for quick links like James - I think it's a great idea.

To get the alt. ad page to work, I had to create a new html page, with nothing but the gif on it. You have to set the target of the gif link to open in a new window, otherwise it will open the target page in your banner space where the adsense usually is.


 4:34 pm on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

To specify an alternate ad:

1. Create a stand-alone, perfectly valid HTML page, such as:
Hi, this is an alternate ad. Click <a target="_blank" href="http://www.yahoo.com/">this link</a>.
The page should be perfectly valid when accessed directly in an HTML browser.

2. Make sure your page's output fits the 468x60 format (if this is an alt for this format... adjust accordingly), otherwise it will be cropped when displayed as alt ad.

3. Put this page online on your web server.

4. Enter the full URL of that page in your Google's settings which will update your Google Adsense HTML/JS code.

5. Put the new Adsense HTML/JS code online in your web pages.

Now, if an alt ad must be displayed, the WHOLE alt HTML page will be fetched by the clients browser and displayed in the IFRAME instead of the adsense ad. Whatever you put in this HTML page will be displayed.

Make sure to make your links target="_blank" - otherwise, when clicked, the linked pages will be cropped to the banner/leaderboard/whatever format - the IFRAME's format.

Hope it helps.


 7:16 pm on Dec 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

target="_top" is a useful alternative link target--it will display linked pages in the window containing the document with the alternate ad.

Good summary.

Visit Thailand

 12:39 am on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies.

If I have head tags in the html should I also be adding things such as <title> as in the example on the previous page and if I do that should I be adding meta tags such as content, keywords and description?

Would this not detract away from the page it is on which already has these attributes that target the pages content? and may it not cause complications with SE's spidering the site - surely some would see two head tags, two html tags etc.?

Google's example does not have any html, head, body tags only the html - but that is for an image and I want to add a table etc.


 3:31 am on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I like runboard's version quite a bit. It has all the required elements (notably <title>) and not much else.

I can't see much merit in meta tags in an alternate ad, other than possibly some to control robots indexing the alternate ad page. But IMO that's better accomplished with robots.txt anyhow.

Mine look just about like runboard's example, except with target="_top" instead.

Since mine are .php scripts, I also get the benefit of my favorite PHP trick as well, the gzipped output buffer.

Visit Thailand

 4:27 am on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks but as I said in my last post doesn't that mean we get duplicate html, head and body tags on one page.

I mean the page the ads are on has those attributes plus all the needed meta tags for that page (the one the ads are on) so why do we have to input them all again.

I am more concerned about confusing bots with duplicated tags because of the ad, and like I say in Googles example it does not show any html, head or body tags.



 6:38 am on Dec 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am more concerned about confusing bots with duplicated tags because of the ad, and like I say in Googles example it does not show any html, head or body tags.

The content of the iframe (i.e. the alternate ad URL) is served just like any web page (and can be the output of a script). A plain text file would mostly work, just like a plain text "web page" is readable with most browsers. However there's no harm in making it valid html to be sure, with the html, head and body tags plus css etc. (note that as it's a separate page it doesn't know about the stylesheet of your main page).

There's no reason to have a title tag, as nothing will ever see it. You won't confuse any bots as they would have to execute the javascript and follow iframes to even see the page, we'd have probably have heard about any that do as they would already be clicking on the adsense ads... :-)

Correction, the <title> tag is required for valid html, but should be empty as it's not used. So a minimalist but totally valid ad page would be something like
<html><head><title></title></head><body>Ad text</body></html>


 1:16 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

I also get the benefit of my favorite PHP trick as well, the gzipped output buffer.

I have to admit (albeit being off-topic) that gzipping HTTP content on-the-fly is the best thing for webmasters since um...SSH.


 5:59 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

There's no reason to have a title tag, as nothing will ever see it.

Not true. Google has indexed my alternate "ads", and they are appearing in Google SERPs.


 7:33 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

For my "unsold" Google ad space, I recently switched to using a script that generates a text-style ad for Amazon products, generated based on info obtained from their XML Web Services interface. Product descriptions are looked up based on a randomly chosen keyword, and links to the Amazon page are dynamically generated, along with details about the current price.

The ads looks very similar to Google ads, but since they aren't shown on the page at the same time as a Google ad, I believe it's in compliance with the TOS. I think it's very cool, although it's too early to know if visitors to the site think so too.

If it doesn't work out, maybe I'll switch to the idea of putting editorial in those spaces as the original poster suggested. It would be nice to use a script that chose a random editorial, so it wasn't the same on every page.


 7:42 pm on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've been looking for an amazon script like this - where did you get it?



 10:41 pm on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm doing the same as Sharky -- using AWS to generate some appropriate book links when Google can't find ads. And I'm using internal/editorial ads as fallback for when AWS can't find anything relevant! (This means a lot of redirects sometimes, but since I'm running AdSense at the bottom of my pages that's not really a problem.)


 10:47 pm on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is a good idea.

I dont suppose anyones got a script to insert NEWSPRO data into the 468 x 60 adsense space?


 2:03 am on Jan 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google has indexed my alternate "ads", and they are appearing in Google SERPs.

Interesting. How does it find them? Could the alternate ad page be reachable from elsewhere on your site, such an auto-generated site map (or directory index)?

I can't see any way the alternate ad page could be indexed IF the only place it can EVER be reached from is within the Adsense javascript and iframe.


 11:02 pm on Jan 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google has indexed my alternate "ads", and they are appearing in Google SERPs.

I put an exclusion for the alternate ad in robots.txt. As Google is really good about honoring robots.txt, I worried that it might not like the exclusion, but Google has no seems to be showing the alt ad.

hmmm, If the google bot is reading the alt ad url from their java script header and giving it a page rank, the alternative ad will probably end up as one of the highest PR pages on a site....assuming you have an add on every page but the exit page.


 4:48 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Googlebot can, and has been reading URLs in javascript for quite a while. It doesn't execute the script, but it can read the link.

My alternate ads are indexed, and they have PR, lots of it.

Visit Thailand

 2:19 am on Jan 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

If that is the case, and you have Adsense on numerous domains then it could well cause a problem if your ad points from one domain to another?

I currently have my alt ads on one domain and the others read them from there but inside the ads on each domain the urls all point to the main domain where the alt ads reside.


 9:12 am on Jan 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

My alternate ads are indexed, and they have PR, lots of it.

I agree now. I couldn't spot this on my larger sites but on a new site (few days old) the alternate ad "page" (only ever linked to from the javascript) is already indexed. Looks worth putting a title etc on then (or excluding it).

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