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Google AdSense Forum

Anyone using adsense on search engine result pages?
Are your ads relevant for new searches?

 12:43 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is adsense is able to correctly target SERP's considering the URL's query string continually changes?




 1:09 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

phaze, I am using AdSense on my search results page with less than great results.

When there are lots of results for a given query, I am getting relevant results. When there are few results, I get Alternate Ads.

In most cases, there doesn't seem to be enough content on the page to let Google figure out what the page is supposed to be about.


 1:14 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

My keywords density is fairly good on my results pages, and i'm getting very relevant ads for the result pages that adsense spidered. But for any new searches it's awful. I've contacted adsense about it and I'll let you know what I hear back.

I wonder if a combination of page cloaking and a redirect for Mediapartners might solve this. Probably violates the TOS.


 3:38 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

While I do not have AdSense on search results pages, I think what is important is to ensure that the Query shows up in the HTML title tag.

Adsense seems perfectly happy targetting ads based on title alone for new pages it has yet to spider.


 5:30 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

figment you rock! Thanks very much. It seems adsense has sorted it out and my search results are being targetted correctly even though the pages haven't been spidered. I've modified the title of each results page to be provide as much info to adsense as possible.



 5:43 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

According to the TOS, you can't put AdSense ads on SERPs. I wouldn't risk it unless searching is the bulk of your site.


 7:09 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes you can:


 8:59 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

They must have changed it then. It wasn't allowed when I signed up last summer.


 9:22 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Adsense seems perfectly happy targetting ads based on title alone for new pages it has yet to spider.

How can Google know the title of a page unless it has crawled it? Are you saying that everytime Adsense is served on a new non-crawled page, Adsense even sends the title information along with the URL?


 9:55 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google attachs some "themes" to each site as an overall estimate of what the site is about, and it can use that information to match ads to an unknown page.

Otherwise it will look at keywords in the url.



 10:17 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's looking at keywords in the url at all, because the ads aren't varying at all when I change search criteria.


 10:31 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

A better way would be if Google allows us to pass the query string somewhere in the Adsense code. That way Google wouldn't need to crawl our search results pages, and still can serve targetted ads.


 10:37 am on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's looking at keywords in the url at all, because the ads aren't varying at all when I change search criteria.

It does if there is nothing else to look at.

I have had adsense on a test-server that was behind a firewall, so google could not reach the site and had never seen it before, and it still served up reasonably well targetted ads, that is, targetted for the words in the url.

If adsense has nothing else, it will look at the url.

BTW, I'm not talking about the query string after the?. I'm talking about the file-name in the URL.


 4:02 pm on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

How can Google know the title of a page unless it has crawled it?

I am not an expert in this area, but I believe the title can be returned as past of the HTTP headers. You can make a request for the headers with requesting the body of the web page (a GET).

Since getting the headers is much faster than the document, Google can find them before the person loads the page and target AdSense accordingly. In addition, I believe a request for headers will not show up in your server logs.

All of this is simple enough to try out. Make some mostly blank pages that have

<title>Some Keywords</title>
<!-- Adsense Code -->

load them up to your server and see what ads appear.


 4:17 pm on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

figment88, you're confusing the HTTP headers and the HTML header. They are different. The HTTP HEAD command returns the HTTP header, not the HTML header.

The document title is not a part of the HTTP header.



 4:37 pm on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Actually, I believe that the document's title can be either specified through <title> tag in <head>, either through the Title: HTTP header. (Even though this might be out of the scope of this topic).


 4:44 pm on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

thanks for the clarification - I am often confused about many things.

With a little testing, I get relevent ads on new pages, but the TITLE tag and URL do not seem key. Maybe it is going off of what type of ads it normally serves for that domain.


 5:38 pm on Mar 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, any request for the page headers will be logged. If AdSense is actually doing that it should be all over our server logs.


 8:50 pm on Mar 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

We've had some both odd and interesting results with Adsense on search pages. We run classified ads which are retrieved from our database. The site is quite niche and the pages which carry the ads. have quite a limited number of keywords in the title tag. However, from looking at the Adsense ads I'm wondering if there is a bit of a fight going on between the keywords and our own classified ad content. If there happens to be a cluster of ads with similar content, we often get a flood of Adsense ads targeted to that content, rather than the site general content. Would like to find a way around it somehow.

On the other hand we also run searches of our database using pre-selected categories with set keywords (so visitors get a list of search links to separate pages). These searches give good consistent Adsense targeting. Presumably this is to do with the pages having more more consistent content.


 8:50 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I just had a good look at the javascript source that generates adwords. Basically google compiles a url with query string from the google_ variables you provide, and sends it off to the adsense server. It does not include the page title, but does include the page URL (which it could get from the referer header anyway).

I'm getting public service ads on my SERP's again which motivated me to look deeper. As a few others have noted, there is a google_hints variable which appears to be for premium partners. The variable's format is:


This gets passed to adsense as part of the request. I tried it out, and it made no difference to my site, which is probably because I'm just a plain vanilla adsense user and not premium.

Here is exactly what gets sent to google from your user's browser when it requests adwords. This first request asks for the javascript the browser needs to create the second request which actually requests the adwords. The second request is what sends all the data about the page.
Request one (for javascript):

GET /pagead/show_ads.js HTTP/1.1
Accept: */*
Referer: *referer containing my site's url*
Accept-Language: en-us
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
If-Modified-Since: Sat, 21 Feb 2004 04:02:31 GMT; length=5246
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98;)
Host: pagead2.googlesyndication.com
Connection: Keep-Alive

And here's the second request that is generated by the javascript from the first request:

GET /pagead/ads?*blanked out query string* HTTP/1.1
Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, application/vnd.ms-powerpoint, application/vnd.ms-excel,
application/msword, application/x-shockwave-flash, */*
Referer: *my site URL*
Accept-Language: en-us
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98;)
Host: pagead2.googlesyndication.com
Connection: Keep-Alive

And here's the javascript that actually generates the second query:

*Edited out by owner. May be in copyright violation.*

A request is then sent to:
and the URL with query string looks like this. I've split each query string variable into seperate lines and blanked out stuff specific to my site:

client=*your unique adsense client ID*&
random=*a large number*&
lmt=*another large number*&
url=*blanked out my url*

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