I have a couple of blogs (using Blogger) that are monetized using Google. But, the ads that appear are often completely unrelated to the content – sometimes embarrassingly so. Is there any way of getting the ads to be more relevant? I do use tags, but that doesn’t seem to help. Sigh.
This is a great question, actually, because I see so many bloggers who don’t think about giving the AdSense engine clues about what’s on the page and have the same result of poorly targeted ads and, no surprise, very low revenue. Worse, and this is something to really think about, if the AdSense engine can’t figure out what you’re writing about, odds are very good that Google’s search engine spider can’t either, which means that you’re not going to get very good search engine results placement (aka “SERPs”) for your blogging efforts.
The most common reason for this is that you write about too broad and diverse a range of topics. Since many blog layouts have multiple entries on a page (especially the home page), if the topics are too diverse it’s impossible for any targeting to succeed.
This is why it’s hard to have a commercially successful blog when one entry is a review of your latest cellphone, the next is a complaint about seating in the local movie theater, and a third entry is an ode to your Mom for Mother’s Day.
Another common reason I see is that you just aren’t writing enough about the specific topic at hand for AdSense / Googlebot to figure out what’s important. Imagine this: if you just looked at the words on your Web page, ignoring all graphics, design and layout, how many words comprise your navigation and supplemental content versus how many words are you using for your actual blog entry? If your ratio is 80:20 with your widgets, sidebars, blogroll, navigation, copyright, etc., being the 80%, you have a serious problem, and every time you write a 2-3 line blog entry, you’re making it impossible for the system to figure out what’s really important on the page.
There’s a third thing that happens with blogging that can undermine your efforts too, and it’s a bit more subtle. Instead of using explicit nouns in your writing, most people succumb to more informal usage with “it” being quite common. Scan back through what I’ve written here about AdSense targeting and you’ll see I don’t do that: I explicitly use “AdSense” or “Google AdSense” or similar time and again. It’s a slight tweak to your writing style that helps search engines and automatic page analysis tools correctly identify the main theme and topic of the page.
Google also has a nifty little device you can use to help identify which portions of your page are intended to be fodder for the AdSense targeting engine: AdSense Section Targeting. You can learn more about it on my tutorial page: How to target your AdSense ads with AdSense Section Targeting.
Notice how many times I used the proper noun in the previous paragraph? It’s a tiny bit redundant, but if you can live with the slight change to your writing style, it really can pay significant dividends with both search engines and ad targeting engines.
I hope these suggestions help you make tweaks to your Blogger weblog so that your ads are better targeted to your content, and, dear reader, if you have additional ideas or suggestions, please add them below as a comment!