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Adsense Changes Announced

The Google Adsense team have been mighty busy in the past 24 hours with quite a few new features including section targeting, Search Query reports, Custom Reports, More Channels and Google Desktop Sidebar Adsense Status Plugin. Let me explain each below:

Section Targeting

As I mentioned a few weeks back – Google have been testing a system that allows publishers to highlight different keywords/sections of their blog that they want, or don’t want to have an impact upon the type of ads that they want to be served on their site. This feature is section targeting which they describe as follows:


‘Section targeting allows you to suggest sections of your text and HTML content that you’d like us to emphasize or downplay when matching ads to your site’s content. By providing us with your suggestions, you can assist us in improving your ad targeting. We recommend that only those familiar with HTML attempt to implement section targeting.

To implement section targeting, you’ll need to add a set of special HTML comment tags to your code. These tags will mark the beginning and end of whichever section(s) you’d like to emphasize or de-emphasize for ad targeting.

The HTML tags to emphasize a page section take the following format:

<!– google_ad_section_start –>

<!– google_ad_section_end –>

You can also designate sections you’d like to have ignored by adding a (weight=ignore) to the starting tag:

<!– google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) –>’

This will be a feature that has the potential to have significant impact. It could mean the end to blogs getting ‘blog ads’ instead of the topics that they are actually writing about. It could also mean targeting words that have a higher monetary value. They do note on the above page that it can take up to two weeks for their crawlers to pick up these changes. Not a quick fix by any means. They also suggest that you need to include ‘significant content’ in the tags or you’ll end up with irrelevant ads or PSAs (I wonder what ‘significant content’ means in terms of the numbers of words? Probably the best use of these tags is to put them around the content on your individual pages so that Adsense looks less at your sidebars (which can often be a little confusing) and more at the meat of each page.

I doubt they will ignore the parts of your page you don’t put in these tags – otherwise it would be used by spammers to put up high paying ads on low paying content pages.

Search Queries Report

Another very handy feature is the added ability to now find out the top queries that readers look for using your Search box. They write:

‘AdSense for search top queries are the top 25 queries performed on your AdSense for search box within a given date range. Please note that the top queries report does not show unique queries; only queries that receive two or more hits are displayed.’

I’ve often wondered what people search for on my blog and now we can find out. This is a useful tool to have as you consider the types of pages that you might want to add to your blog.

Custom Reports

Adense have added a new feature to their reporting tools – Custom Reports which they describe as follows:

‘Custom reports are advanced reports that you can save for future use. Any advanced report you generate can be saved as a custom report with the same date range and channel settings you’ve chosen. You can quickly access custom reports from your Overview page or the drop-down on your Advanced Reports page.’

So if you have a number of reports that you always run – add them to your custom reports list. You can save up to 10 custom reports.

More Channels

Yesterday I used my last channel and today Adsense have announced you can now have up to 200 of them! Brilliant.

Google Desktop Sidebar Update – with Adsense PlugIn

Today Google also announced an update in their Desktop Sidebar (windows users only) which now allows plugins including one that reports your Adsense status/earnings to you. Pretty useless use for those of us on Macs!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Good news – more optimisation and reporting means better for us users.

    (I wonder if much of the recent changes are a result of the Yahoo! pub network? ;-) )

    It would be good for you to run a comparison/analysis with YPN when more information becomes available, Darren.

    Thanks as always,

    Mark

  2. Bah, humbug. I suppose it’s better than nothing, but it doesn’t give much control.

    Why not let us tell them what the page is about? Because there might be cheating? Simple solution: put a bounty on the cheaters. Offer their current months income as a reward for turning them in. I think that would pretty much take care of that.

    Most of the time, Google runs appropriate ads for my pages, but every now and then they could use a little help. I sure wish they’d let us do that.

  3. it’s a bit hard to know now how much difference these changes will make… why not try it out and see in two weeks?

    two weeks does make it a bit less than immediate, in terms of catering ads to current events and such, but this is better than it was, surely

    Mark

  4. nickel says:

    Thanks for the tip on the section targeting… I was just wishing that there was a way to avoid having my sidebar content mess up my ad targeting. Hopefully this will work as intended. Cheers, nickel

    fivecentnickel.com

  5. Patrick says:

    Where’s the “Block Link Unit Terms” feature? :( I hope they come up with that.

  6. Mitra says:

    This is really good news!

    Do you think the section targetting can just be used to ignore sidebar content? Would one template change fix the whole relevancy problem?

    cheers,
    Mitra

  7. Just so everyone knows, it appears these updates broke the Firefox extension that sits on your status bar and pings your Adsense account.

  8. nickel says:

    I just set up my sidebars to be ignored and my posts (index page and single pages) to be targeted. Hopefully this works.

    WRT the FireFox extension getting broken, it was already broken on Macs, so maybe this will be enough for it to get fixed.

    fivecentnickel.com

  9. Darren Rowse says:

    i guess we’ll find out soon enough! Mitra.

    Patrick – I noticed this too :-(

  10. Adam says:

    Darren, I’ve just started reading much of your stuff, including this very helpful entry (I’ve been waiting for this feature forever!), and wanted to thank you for your thoughtful writing :)

  11. Kashif says:

    I have seen the “optimized” adsense on my blog which shows number of ads depending on their relevance to the site. It hasn’t worked out for me because previously there were 4 ads in the leaderboard ad unit (all of them pretty relevant) but now it shows only 1 or 2 ads.

    I have noticed this adsense optimization only in the horizontal ads. The skyscrappers and other vertical units are not effected, at least on my blog.

  12. LcF says:

    thanks for the summary, especially the “google_ad_section_start”. :-)

  13. Nicole Simon says:

    I think they will also check in with the content itself to see patterns – but especially on the keyword density side, this needed to be done.

    Yes, there will be problems with spammers, but in general I have been wanting this for ages – because at the moment I was finally thinking of introducing things like last comment etc as javascript or something similar to get it downplayed.

    Competition is good, looking forward of what comes next :))))))

  14. Amit Agarwal says:

    Here’s how to add google tags to the blogger templates

    http://labnol.blogspot.com/2005/08/display-relevant-ads-in-blogs-just.html

  15. > I doubt they will ignore the parts of your page you don’t put in these tags – otherwise it would be used by spammers to put up high paying ads on low paying content pages.

    sorry to tell this, but i have seen the first pages that totally controlled the adsense ads, independend from the main page content. I prognosticate this targeting feature will be targeted by spammers very hard. lot to do for google adsense team.

  16. Brian says:

    Here is my article about google adsense section targeting in chinese …
    讓Adsense廣告更準確: Section Targeting

  17. dan says:

    I am getting upset with google myself .
    laterly no matter what i do I get ads that do not relate to me
    site content even with

    Also if anyone has signed up for yahoo pub those people
    will actually talk to you on the phone.
    Google is to high minded to do that,remember when yahoo
    use to act that way.

  18. dan says:

    Even with :

    google_ad_section_start

    google_ad_section_end

    above post failed to show that so I had to take out.

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  2. [...] It’s nearly like “wow, we’ve got competition now, we better do some work on providing a better product”. Thank god for Yahoo!, but if you want to know the changes with Adsense check out Darren’s post at Problogger here. [...]

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  4. [...] Problogger also has a variety of other changes made to AdSense such as searhc queries reports, custom reports, and more channels. [...]