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Google AdSense Forum

We are giving Google a lot of information via Adsense
Is anyone concerned about this?

 10:52 am on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

They know stuff they didn't know before ...like your viewing stats for each page (albeit only the pages you've put Adsense on). They know the route people take through your site. They know how long people are spending on various pages, which is the page they are most likely to exit from etc.

This could affect SERPS in a variety of ways. Based on the viewing stats for your SERPS page Google may decide that - despite all your inward links, anchored text etc - they have given you too high a listing for "Widgets" and you need to be moved to page 72 of the SERPS.

After years of good traffic from Google I see a sudden drop in the percentages of my visitors coming from Google. This started shortly after I posted Adsense. Perhaps a coincidence. But this is a serious concern for me.

Has this issue come up in a previous thread?


Visit Thailand

 10:59 am on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have not seen such a topic come up before but it is an interesting one. What percentage drop have you seen? Are you seeing a visible drops in SERPS?

What concerns me the most is that the code at the top of the pages we have it on may affect the ranking of that page, however we have not seen so far any fall in traffic, revenue etc.


 11:47 am on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

In a perfect world, Google would never penalize sites for using Adsense, instead they would reward sites that contain the Adsense code (higher PR, higher position in SERPS).

Like I said: in a perfect world ;)


 12:02 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yep, that info is part of what google is paying you for. Im not saying they DO use it, but it could be useful info.

Sounds like a good idea. Any info to make SERPS better is OK by me. I would think that it is sensible that before you use Adsense to have nothing you want to hide!

The value of that data however is very limited. They only have a tiny sample of sites that they have data on, and given that its not a representative sample of all sites on the internet anyway (the universe they are targeting for google search), it's pretty useless unless they really want to "investgate" sites individually (highly unlikely if you have small sites or are not prefominating in certain keywords).


 12:08 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google certainly has no incentive to penalize Adsense users. They do have incentive to reward Adsense users with better placement, but I don't think that they would do anything to affect the integrity of the search, and risk their search engine business.


 12:32 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Traffic from Google.com has dropped from 11.04% to 10.64% and from google.co.uk from 12.02% to 9.57%. That's outside the norm. I've eliminated other external factors as the cause and we've had no changes on the site.

I see the argument that Google may have an incentive to send more traffic to Adsense publishers rather than less BUT in the long run the publishers who do benefit may be only the very big boys and it could be at the expense of smaller Adsense publishers. (We show a four figure number of impressions a day with healthy click-throughs, but I'm sure we are small fry)

chiyo, I don't believe that it will make SERPS better, possibly "different". It will make SERPS more like Google wants to make it. Not necessarily the same thing. We have nothing to hide and that's not the issue. Your widget site could be more useful, more relevant and more informative. It could have all the right inward links but Google could penalise you because people spend too much time on your widgets page but on my rubbish widget page they click on Adsense ads and go away. So Google puts me higher in SERPS.

There could be various other reprecussions of Google having this much of information that other, more experienced webmasters here may recognise.


 12:39 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Traffic from Google.com has dropped from 11.04% to 10.64% and from google.co.uk from 12.02% to 9.57%.

Taking into account weekly cycles, annual cycles, and other random fluctuations, I don't think there's any way you can conclude anything at all from those kind of numbers, not on two months data.

And if you insist on doing that kind of statistics, it's absolute numbers of referrals you should be comparing, not fractions - otherwise variation in all your other traffic sources increases the noise massively.

[edited by: danny at 12:40 pm (utc) on Aug. 14, 2003]

Visit Thailand

 12:40 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

What period is that decline in stats from?

Also if Google is moving or has moved to a rolling update then that could affect listings, and google referrals consequently.

I think Google's prime concern is still valid SE results, so I can not see them upgrading 'rubbish' sites as you put it simply they have AdSense installed, and don't forget many sites with good content generate their own visitors anyway.


 1:59 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how they could derive anything particularly useful from the subset of AdSense sites.

Sure you can say "hey, infact people don't spend long there so it shouldn't be so high up in the SERP", but without data on all the other sites in SERP surely that is meaningless...


 3:43 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

My google traffic is down from about 60% to 35% of total referrals. However, my overall traffic appears to have increased so I think that I may just be getting more from MSN, etc. and not really any less from Google. I haven't paid enough attention to the details to be certain.


 3:53 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Actually what im far more worried about is OTHER search engines with relationships with OTHER PPC/Ad servers surreptitiously and quietly downgrading our ranks ;)

All these mergers and acquisitions and tie up between PPCs and SEs may well turn into a dirty game soon that may make the cheapest SEO look like an angel...! <another grin>


 7:54 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Visit_Thailand, that was for a 30 day period spanning June-July vs a 30 day period spanning July-August, adjusted for weekends.

Danny, trust me - I've studied advanced stats so I appreciate the factors that can skew the results. I have excluded seasonal factors (I have the luxury of many, many years of historical data) and white noise. I even have a couple of "control" sites.

There is a definite drop. But it's a small drop. I do also appreciate that our competitors may have been optimising their sites for better SERPS rankings so as I said perhaps my traffic drop is a coincidence.

The main issue raised was about the additional power Google now has, whether we appreciate how much it really is AND what can and can't be done with it.


 8:39 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

There are lots of other reasons for a drop besides adsense. Maybe something in the latest algorithm was tweaked. Maybe other sites got better. If they really were punishing you for using AdSense, I think you'd see a lot more than 1 or 2 percent (a reasonable margin of error... I've studied statistics too :P).


 8:42 pm on Aug 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

A % drop from one source does not always mean that the source is not performing. It could be that other sources are sending more than their usual %.

Hope this made sence.



 8:23 am on Aug 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

mack, you're rewording what I said in #12 above.

jonknee, in my initial post I accepted that it may be a coincidence so thanks for your reasonable margin of error comments but this isn't about my stats. It's about the information we're giving Google.

To get the thread back on track - is anyone concerned about the volume of information we are giving Google? Does anyone recognise any potential dangers in Google having this much of info on Adsense publishers' sites, and any thoughts on how they could use them to our detriment?


 8:46 am on Aug 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm sure Daniel Brandt will be giving this a lot of thought, and we can expect to see an excellent summary of all the privacy issues with AdSense on google-watch any day now ;)


 10:38 am on Aug 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

<< going to search on "Daniel Brandt"


 2:44 am on Aug 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Generally, people have been advising each other to submit their most content-rich site, and then use that adsense on their other sites as well. This can provide a very clear picture of how various sites inter-connect, which could be bad if one site also contains links to the others just to pass along PR.

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