Over the past 2-3 years or so we have followed the idea that "less is more", and had nothing but positive results from our effort. Whether that's relevant here or not, who knows.
Adsense specific -
- 1 Adsense Box Only - Its an auction, therefore why would we want to show more than 1 ad box anyhow? The second and third blocks are going to show the LOWER bidders, right? Our thought is to show only 2-4 ads per page (a single ad block, with 2-4 individual ads in it) and only attract the highest PPC bidders in our niche. We tend to run a mid-high $ per click, but get fewer clicks.
- Placement AFTER the Content - I have never subscribed to Googles suggestion of placing ads above the content or even in the middle of an content page, but still caved in for the $. (Thats for OUR stuff) The cost to ME is too much. Sure, I may get a short term gain by an extra click or two, but that also equates to higher bounce and less time on my site.
We try to chase the visitor instead of the dollar. I wish I could say I was always like that... I wasn't.
Ads and Content in General -
We prefer to have our first onpage link to our best related ONSITE page, then several links scattered to both on and offsite authority pages on the topic. ONLY after were sure the visitor cant find something useful and within OUR control, do we show them adsense ads. (That's not to say our previous links weren't to $$ related pages)
- Onsite in content links, to our BEST pages
- Offsite in content links, to the highest authority.
- Onsite in content links to our $$ pages
- Adsense... gets the leftovers that probably weren't properly targeted to the page, if they got this far anyhow.
We used to push ad blocks and banners in the faces of our readers everywhere... When we stopped bowing to the Penny-Pushers on the Adsense Team and Ads in general, the results have been 10-fold better! Some of our most popular content has bounce rates in the single digits, and some of our highest earning pages don't originate hardly any visitors from search traffic. (We direct the search traffic there ourselves)