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This 54 message thread spans 2 pages: 54 ( [1] 2 > >     
How to get themed ads rather than specific targeted ads?
Seeing ads for obscure keywords in text

 6:39 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm beginning to lose my patience.

Over the past few weeks, I've been re-designing my site, targetting the following changes:

Decreasing load-time. To do this, I have begun removing all Java Applets, reducing graphical design elements, cleaning up the code in general.

Increasing ease of navigation: Using key-navigation pages, clearly defined, in order for my site users to find what they are looking for with greater ease.

Transition to CSS and h1, h2, h3, style header tags: I'm doing this so that the "on page" text can be more clearly read by users, and the relevance of key text can be more easily analyzed by automated systems.

For several days after I began laying out the changes, I noticed a marked improvment in the quality of the targetting of the Google Adsense ads, then, their relevance dropped off to previous levels: Effective relevance, ZERO on content pages. The key navigation pages have always displayed relevant ads, and continue to do so.

The content pages are simply short stories and poetry. In spite of clearly defined h1 tags, listing specificly what the page is about (whether it be fiction or poetry, and what genre of fiction), the AdSense bots seem intent on ignoring these, and instead picking out obscure words from the text of the stories to determine what type of ad is displayed.

I am led to believe that the types of ads being displayed are indicative of how the pages are classified within google search results. I don't expect page 1 results for my site, it's a small site in a big market dominated by heavyweights. I would simply like to see my pages at least classified in the right part of the directory. I would also like to see the ads from AdSense become more relevant.

And I'm running out of ideas on how to do this, and the patience to even try.

Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. I am more than willing to work within your guidelines to make my site more easily read by googlebot. I am NOT, however, willing to reduce my site's human usability in order to please a bot, nor am I willing to trash a clean, simple, design that my readers find intuitive, eye catching, and an easy format within which to read large pieces of text.

If I cannot make the site perform for google without sacificing usability, then I will simply move on to other search engines, and other advertising streams. And advise my small (but loyal) readership of the changes I am making and why.



 6:57 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

maybe they have no available inventory of the 'other' types of ads that you seek. i don't think its guaranteed that google will have an ad that covers every single topic/subject


 7:07 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

If I cannot make the site perform for google without sacificing usability, then I will simply move on to other search engines, and other advertising streams.

Short stories and poetry don't sound like good venues for contextual advertising. You might be better off with a CPM banner network or (conceivably) affiliate links that are targeted to your audience's interests and demographics.


 7:25 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Short stories and poetry? This is completely inappropriate material for AdSense.

It's impossible to get relevant results. If you poem is about horses, your AdSense ads are likely to be about horses, NOT about fiction writing or poetry.

Consider some other kind of advertising.


 7:33 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

You need to remove the "wrong" stuff from the search engine spiders - try putting the poems in a say a jpg which they will not "see" and that will force indexing on other elements


 7:53 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Headers alone aren't going to determine what Google "thinks" the page is about.

Making JPEGs out of the text you don't want the bot to read is a good idea. An alternative approach would be to add a short introduction or "editor's note" or call-it-what-you-will -- and make sure the AdSense code is embedded there. Words near the code seem to get weighted more heavily.

I've used my suggestion on my own site, which is for writers and illustrators of children's books. One particular essay started with an extended metaphor involving baking a cake. AdSense served up cake recipe ads! Rather than remove that nice bit of writing I asked the author to add a couple of sentences before it....


 9:14 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

try putting the poems in a say a jpg which they will not "see" and that will force indexing on other elements

Like what? Headlines about debt consolidation, subheads about mesothelioma, or paragraphs about hotels in London?

The whole point of contextual advertising is to fit ads to the topic of the page, which--with a bit of luck--will cause the ads to reach people who are likely to be interested in the product or service. If a page or site's topic doesn't lend itself to contextual advertising, then trying to "force indexing on other elements" is likely to be a waste of time and space. It may also annoy readers.


 9:25 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

The whole point of contextual advertising is to fit ads to the topic of the page,

As I understand it the original posters site is about poetry, and that he does not want a poem about ships, say, to attract ads about,, say, buying boats.

He wants ads aimed at his readers, who are presumably concerned about poetry not boats. The poem just happens to be an aetherial excursion into things maritime

This would appear to be a worthy motive on his part, which would help serve more relevant ads on his site.

My suggestion would help him achieve that end. Its not helping anyone, the site owner, the readers, the advertisers or indeed Google, in serving ads that pick up keywords from the poems willynilly and serve ads on that basis.

IMHO the purpose of contextural advertising is to serve advertising that will be relevant to the readers of the page rather than the topic of the page. Nobody gains from ads that are not relevant


 9:31 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)


Jogged my memory with your post. Have a look at post #6 here


Guy there gives some good examples of the same sorts of problems that the OP was running into here with mis-targeted ads ;)


 9:53 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

II was in your position I would divide the site into two frames, with your page header area and poem content in the top frame.

In the bottom frame, have a short text description of your sites ideas (make a relevant and targetted description of your site) followed by the Adsense code. This should have the effect of doing what I presume you're into, which is having ads served on the subject of your site and not the abtract word combos found in your content.

Another variant of this could be to call your poem content from a seperate page via an iframe ('inline frame').


 11:54 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)


There's no question that Google sometimes mistargets ads, but in this case, the problem is less with mistargeting than with the fact that short stories and poems are likely to be good venues for AdSense. Even if the ads were correctly targeted (e.g., an ad for doughnuts in a poem that begins "As I go to sleep I dream / About my love for Krispy Kreme"), it's unlikely that the average reader would be in the market for what the ad is selling.


 4:15 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies, it helps in a frustrating situation to know that other people have "been there."

A few points:
There are TONS of Adsense Ads relating to books and literature, short stories and poetry. How do I know? Because I receive a wide variety of these ads on the key navigation pages in the site. I simply want similarly relevant ads on the rest of the site.

Location of the ads: Currently, where the ads are embedded in the code, the "On Page" content that surrounds them is very keyword specific. The layout is divided into tables (I know, I know, CSS all the way, but In this case, the way the pages are laid out, Tables are the simplest, quickest, and least code heavy way of laying up the content).

Frames and iFrames: I broke the frames habit 3 years ago, I don't want to go back there. iFrames are a potential option. However, if I go this route, then the pages will look like keyword spam to googlebot "Keyword, keyword, keyword, Goggle Ad, keyword keyword keyword." - In which case, I get penalized.

Also, it's not just a matter of getting relevant adsense ads. It's a matter of getting the short stories and poetry themselves indexed properly.

I dunno, I'm just having a very frustrating go of it right now with that site. With other sites, I've had no problem whatever.

And even more frustrating, when I changed the site's layout and design, I did it with "pleasing g-bot" in mind. And for a few days, it did work. Relevant ads were coming through clear across the site, not just on nav pages, but on the content pages at as well. Then G turned around and decided "No, he must be lying, this really isn't a short story, it's about Coca Cola. See, right there 473 words into the page, I see Coca Cola written down."

Thanks for the advice, those who gave it. I'm going to go back and take a closer look at things. Again.

It would be so simple if I could just set a filter on my adsense account for that particular domain - "This site is about short stories, litterature, and poetry - send me ads accordingly." But no, the geeks at the googleplex are bound and determined that webmasters are a dishonest lot, and will lie and cheat to get mismatched ads, and the only honest being on the net is a bot.

And yes, I'm seriously considering dumping AdSense for some form of ad-management that I have at least some control over. Because G obviously figures I'm lying to them.

actually, I'm feeling less confrontational tonight than I was this morning. This morning when I first saw that all the ads had reverted to badly targeted nonsense.... Well, I just had to go out and buy XMas Gifts for nieces and nephews to cool my jets a little.


 6:35 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

The problem with poems is that part of the targeting is seeking out better paying keywords. To use an extreme (and hopefully non-existant, lol) example, you could have an entire site devoted to peanut butter, and all the varieties. However, on a page devoted to your personal love of peanut butter, you could make a single mention of "I would go into debt to buy the best peanut butter available in the world." And presto, that single "debt" keyword would trigger debt related ads, rather than your desired peanut butter ads, because debt ads are worth a lot more than peanut butter ones.

Frames is not the best solution, as AdSense wants you to put the AdSense javascript into the frame with the main content, which would be the poem.

What are your meta tags like? General to the site, or specific to the poem? Try changing some of your metas to general keywords, trigger a mediabot visit (changing the ad unit size is a quick way to do this, you can change it back after the mediabot visitd), and see if that makes a difference to the ads.

Placing the poems into an image isn't against the terms, so long as there is enough other content on the page for ad targeting. It isn't the best solution from a user-friendly experience though.

And for the record, I am not really a peanut butter fan ;) I just try and use extreme examples that I hope none of the publishers here are using, hehe.


 7:53 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'll try the media-bot trick.

My meta is already pretty generalized, ie: "fiction, poetry, science fiction, etc..."

I think what it's going to come down to is obsessing about it until somehow, some way, I get it right.

It's a juggle, though. I have published novelists who've submitted work, and they're touchy about how their material is presented (rightly so). At the same time, I'm not doing them any favors if I can't get the pages indexed properly, and if I can't make the site support itself (in which case, the project will eventually collapse.)

I'll just have to call on my inner viking and keep rowing until we hit Greenland.

Any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.


 8:19 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Placing the poems into an image isn't against the terms, so long as there is enough other content on the page for ad targeting. It isn't the best solution from a user-friendly experience though.

1.Optimise the jpg in Photoshop and it will not harm the user experience. Use a bit of artistry and you could actually help the user experience

2. Its not dificult to creatively find ways of adding "suitable" content for ad targeting

I would be quite optimistic that I could get the "right" ads out of Adsense. Begs the question whether a poetry site is the right place to run AdSense if you want to make money ;)


 8:36 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

For what it's worth, I've found that the title of a page has a big influence on which ads are served on it. It takes a day or two to see any results, though.


 9:54 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can change what appears in my adsense ads by placing the adsense code in its own cell and adding the appropriate text right above it. It didn't have to be too long, something like:

"Did you know e.e cummings used to write books on peanut butter before writing Tulips and Chimneys"

Again take this for what it is worth, your mileage may vary, etc. etc.


 10:22 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've had the same annoying experience with Adsense targetting. Mention Microsoft Windows and the only thing Adsense seems to find relevant is double glazing.

If you are not willing to penalise your visitors by putting poems in gifs (which I'd hate - try copying a string of text from a gif!) then your only choices are

1. Let Adsense try the high paying ads, see the low clickthroughs after which it will try other ads. Make no page changes for 2-3 weeks and see if the ads get relevant.

2. Try another contextual program. Or some other ads altogether.


 12:28 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

If your audience is poetry fans rather than horse/boat/peanut butter fans and therefore you want to serve ads related to poetry/literature rather than horses/boats/peanut butter, then why don't you have a section on each page, preferably at the top of the page, maybe in a box, where you can give an abstract of the poem, and an analysis or review of the literary aspects of the poem, using relevant literary keywords/buzzwords, and maybe some user reviews.

Or how about some background information about the author, or a few sentences from the author describing the background of the poem, this thoughts on the different styles he has used, how this relates to his previous works, etc.

Then have the adsense code near to this, so that hopefully the ads will reflect the literary analysis of the poem (which is what your visitors are interested in), not the poem itself.


 2:49 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have found if you have links to external sites on a page then the adsense ads sometimes follow the theme of the sites you link to... maybe you need some more book links on the page/near the adsense? just a suggestion, but it has worked for me...


 3:09 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>You need to remove the "wrong" stuff from the search engine spiders

I've tried this. What you get is targeted ads but no ranking in Google. If G can't read the text you don't come up in searches, what good are well targeted ads then?


 3:22 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I do think if AdSense were to offer a 'General Audience' flag that could be set when adding code it would help immensely.

BTW I manage a similar, 'no way to target ads based on page content' site. The site receives well over a million page views annually and made less than $75 for the last 12 months - that's how bad the targeting is. AdSense is definitely leaving money on the table and I wish they would come and get it.


 3:38 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

call on my inner viking and keep rowing until we hit Greenland

Yep, the guy's a poet.

[Adsense ad] Mortgage Rates in Greenland [/Adsense ad]


 3:47 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Jon King

Its quite simple really, you hide the "wrong stuff" and add the "right stuff", as my post #16.

The trick is to keep the search engines indexing your site correctly, getting ads that you want, and not putting your punters off. If it were easy, everyone would be rolling in money from Adsense cheques.

I have had my say, up to people whether they want to follow the advice :)


 3:50 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Mention Microsoft Windows and the only thing Adsense seems to find relevant is double glazing.

One of the things we often overlook in these targeting discussions are the folks on the other side, such as the mom and pop glazing shop using Adwords, but maybe not savvy enough to throw in "-Microsoft" in their keyword list.

One of my old Adwords ad groups was, I thought, pretty specifically targeted. What else would people be searching for when they typed in "Broadway Hotel?" Heh, my not keyword list grew to ten or so entries, including UK, England, Singapore, Worcestershire and various spellings of Millennium.

Sometimes on the publishing side there's just not much we can do. Whenever we talk about being able to use "hints" for each page the question of abuse always pops up. How about if Google just turned this completely around? What if they give publishers somewhat the same ability as advertisers, say something like negative hints?

<meta name="mediabot" content="-peanut,-butter,-skippy">

Just a thought.


 4:01 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Whenever we talk about being able to use "hints" for each page the question of abuse always pops up. How about if Google just turned this completely around? What if they give publishers somewhat the same ability as advertisers, say something like negative hints?

I'd like to see negative and positive hints. It's hard to see how anyone could abuse positive hints if Google simply ignored hints that were at odds with the content of the page. And if a publisher really wanted to make money from a big-money keyword, he could simply create a page on that topic (which would be a lot more effective than hoping that someone reading a page about French poetry would feel the need to call a attorney who handles asbestos-related lawsuits.)


 4:12 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a site with a static page that the adsense ads have gone completely off target too, just yesterday or so. Stats took a nose-dive. And it's not because the advertisers are no longer there, the good ads are appearing on another page now!

Perhaps Google has tinkered with the algorithim very recently. It seemed to happen about the same time the URL tracking feature appeared so perhaps it's a batch update.

For those that say it's the words just above/below the adsense block, you are wrong.
I know I can sometimes change the ads with just one word on the page being put into bold or italics. For example; put the word "episodes" a couple of times on a page in bold and *bingo* you will see television/dvd based ads, doesn't matter where the words are. I think it has to do in part with how many types of ads are waiting for particular keywords - Google is eager to serve them up no matter what.

One thing about adsense for certain, you need to be checking the inventory daily (if not twice a day) if it's a strong part of your income.


 4:46 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

But AdSense is incredibly frustrating, even on pages that are focussed.

Let's say, I have a side about widget makers, and I have a page with a review of the WidgetMaster 3000. I've got "WidgetMaster 3000" in the title, H1 tags, meta tags and liberally throughout the text. If you type "WidgetMaster 3000" into Google, the page comes up in the top 5.. and also if you type the product name into Google, you get lots of highly targetted ads.

The Google SERPs think my page is focussed enough to give it a high ranking for that keyword.. however, the AdSense on the page is all over the place. At least in my case, the ads generally relate to widgets, but I specifically want ads for the WidgetMaster 3000, because they're more relevant (and I don't care about the bid amounts here either, if the ads are relevant but earn less then that's good by me).

So, a system of positive and negative "hints" could be a useful one, but clearly Google will need to apply so intelligent coding to make sure the "hints" are relevant.

But.. back to the original question. I think with AdSense as it is, you'll have a hard time persuading it to *not* pick out the wrong keywords in a poem about Viagra (say), and perhaps therefore the best solution is to ditch AdWords and try something else. Amazon allows you to specify keywords for dynamically generate Ads, and that could give you a better CTR. You could even run "Amazon Recommends" banners on some pages and compare the performance.


 5:43 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think adsenese should offer a channel which does "Cross Selling" instead of "Contextual" advertising.
This channel could just have ads that are built around certain topics (preferably high income ones :-) ) or demographics. After all thats how most newspapers and magazines make their money.

The adsense publisher should be able to pick topics that are relevant to his users but not necessarily exact matches of the content of his site. For instance a real estate site could pick a topic like "interior decoration".


 6:13 pm on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

I like that tomkee! I really do like that a lot!
As alternative ads when nothing could be served I would implement that yesterday.

This 54 message thread spans 2 pages: 54 ( [1] 2 > >
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