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Assuming you've covered the basics like meta tags and page structure, simply revising the text on a page so the AdSense ads mirror the keywords that the page targets will obviously improve revenue.
What makes this is handy is that your ads will change within a few hours of making changes to your page. If the ads are better targeted, you're done! If not, try again and review your ads in a few hours. You can (and should!) confirm your click through ratio within 24 hours.
Even better, within a few days you can check the ranking for your page. Invariably, I find mine has improved, often significantly.
Google is no longer a search engine, it's a contextual advertising system that includes a search engine. This trick is simply one way an SEO can use that change to his advantage.
If adsense starts returning ads that are on target to your keywords, the changes you made "should" also work to your advantage in the serps.
He is simply using adsense as an almost instant feedback tool for on page SEO.
An example was a film review which always made it into the first page of serps for many combinations of director's name, actors' names, or the title. But when I put Adsense on the page the ads shown were mainly for chiropody and foot care products. The reason was in the text I had inadvertently twice used the word 'foot' and also referred to 'bunion'.
Naturally I changed the text and the page now shows more appropriate ads. But it would be too simple to assume that Google originally considered the page was primarily about feet. I suspect there are many factors which determine which ads will show, and it could be that the ads available for a fairly obscure 1930s film were so general and unfocussed that the chiropody ads won out.
Perhaps I should have left things as they were, because the CTR for my movie pages is the pits. :(
Although it gives you an idea of what Adsense ads will be displayed on your pages, surely any knowledge you gain is skewed by the potential Adsense ad stock.
For example, on one particular page I just tested it mentions a local attraction in passing on a resort page. The attraction (not in the USA) is named the same as other attractions in the USA. These have obviously attracted more profitable ads and these are the ads being shown, even though the page could in no way be said to be optimised for that attraction.
However another resort page which does not mention the attraction is showing ads relevant to the resort.
Incidentally, it's a little off topic for this, but we have to remember that there's a "semantics" factor with AdSense - and Google does know who links to us and who else those sites link to and who links to them.
This was dramatically shown by AdSense running ads on one site that *should* belong on another. The connection is *not* that there is any linking between those two sites, because there isn't, but that they are both linked to from the same site on the same page.
The reason I bring that up is not for AdSense itself - and it's not the only clue I've had in this respect - but to point out that for optimization it's worth checking linking structures to help establish overall topical relevancy for sites.
The attraction (not in the USA)If your page doesn't make it clear where the attraction is... Contextual search can also impact localized search. I suspect the default for localized search is the biggest market (usually the US) so I specify non-US searches.
I've had very good results (AdSense and SERPs) by including a specific country, state, county or city name in titles and page content when it's appropriate.
If your page doesn't make it clear where the attraction is...
Oh, it does - very much so!
No, the point I was trying to make was that a similar page without the two textual mentions of somewhere with the same name as an American attraction was showing relevant country-related ads - so there were competing relevant ads which existed.
Once the two minor mentions in body text were made those ads disappeared and were replaced by the American ads.
So it seems that the ad placement could in some way be relevant to ad stock/value, which could disrupt the idea of using the method for optimisation.
AdSense is geo-targetted to start with. So if I visit a US-page about an attraction in Orlando I might see ads about the same attraction in Paris, because they pay more to target Dutch visitors.
I often see ads in Dutch on English or Spanish pages. So if your page is about a duck I might see ads for National Geographic DVD's about ducks, about attraction parks in either Orlando or Paris and even ads for a Dutch restaurant that serves ducks.
Obvious this shows the value of AdSense for page optimalisation is very limited.
i'm missing something here, can you elaborate on how it can be used for sites not in the adsense programme?
Say, you are optimising a client's page for "bright green widgets" and you need to confirm that Google also thinks this page is about that topic.
So you go to an Adsense testing tool such as the one on WW and enter that URL. If the ads are about bright green widgets, then you have succeeded to an extent. You still have to figure out to what extent that is by using other tools such as density analysers (if you think density has much value in ranking).