AdSense Placement (and Styling) for Bloggers

Google AdSense is the biggest and most-used ad network among bloggers. As you’ll know already, it’s based off a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) model where the placement of the ad units drastically affects earnings. Want to make more money off your ads? Keep reading.

So how should you place your AdSense blocks? The three most important rules to remember are

  • Pick a good ad format, as they tend to have different click rates.
  • Position the ads near content or navigational elements, where people will notice them.
  • Style the ads so they blend-in. If your ads are obviously ads, your users’ eyes will steer around them. If your blog has black text with blue links, then your ads should too.

Of course, there’s more to it than that.

Ad Formats

The top performing ad units are

  • The square/rectangle units. The wider ones tend to perform better, though your choices may be limited depending on where you want to place them.
  • The 160×600 “Wide Skyscraper” doesn’t tend to perform as well as the rectangle/square units, but it works well if you have a good spot to put it.
  • I’ve also had good experiences with the 468×60 banner format, though others don’t always have as good of luck. If you find a good place to put it, then it can work well.

“Wider ads perform better” is commonly head among AdSense users, though placement is more important than the ad unit. Yes, wider ads often perform better, though if you place them somewhere stupid (or style them so they stand out too much), they won’t do very well at all.

Ad Placement

The real trick to making your ads perform well is to find a good place for your ads, and an ad format that will work there. The AdSense heatmap may help you out here. You want to place your ads near content in a spot that’s both noticeable, yet not to noticeable. Confused? Everyone is! You need to place ads prominently, but if they’re too noticeable then people will ignore them. Also, the ads tend to work far better on post pages then on the blog index. Ads on the home page tend to have trouble picking-out keywords because of the frequent content changes. Put the ads on your post pages, and save your users the annoyance of having them on the index. Here are a few placement methods that seem to work well:

Ads floated in with your content work great. Using a DIV floated to one side, the content will wrap around the ad unit. Just add a little padding so your content (especially lists) don’t end up too close (or underneath) the ad unit.

Also, 468×60 banners work well between post titles and the post content, and they have the advantage of not crowding your content, unlike floated ads.

The area after the post has also been proven to be a good spot for ads, as the users have finished reading your post and are looking for something else to do. By the way, please don’t put big “large rectangle” ads between paragraphs in your posts. It annoys the heck out of most people.

Ad Styling

Here’s one of the most important things to know about AdSense: Your ads should blend-in with your content. As it says on the official AdSense blog, making your ads blend with your content can seriously improve your ad revenues. As I said earlier, if you have a white page background, black text, and blue links, then your ads had better look like that too!

  • Imar

    Interesting topic. I always find it hard to believe that websites make money by placing pay per click advertisements. I never click a single ad, in fact I avoid clicking ads like the plague. Why? I guess it’s just because they’re ads!

    That’s why I assume other people don’t click ads either, but I’m obviously wrong :)

  • Matt

    I don’t tend to click ads either…unless there’s a very attention-grabbing title (rarely). Other people obviously click ads, but less than they used to. I think part of the problem is the declining quality of the ads.

  • Tom

    This is the most difficult part in Adsense how to convince people to click your ads. Are aware of the word ‘Ads Blind’ people ignore ads in website. They only see the important thing that they want in your site. But I guess there are some people who are not aware of this and not familiar with ads. So if you have a large traffic there are really big possibility that your ads or adsense will be click