Scott D. Feldstein has written a post titled Blog Ads By The Numbers which talks about his experience with AdSense on his blog.
His conclusion is to remove it (in case he does move them here’s a screen cap of how he had them – click to enlarge).
I left a quick comment off the top of my head with some suggestions of how he might improve things. After writing it I realised that it might make a worthwhile post as I see many bloggers using a similar strategy to Scott with AdSense.
Having consulted with quite a few bloggers with similar issues here are the quick suggestions I gave to Scott.
‘you’ll probably find that your performance would improve a little if:
1. you changed the ad design to blend with your content (ie make the borders and background of the ads the same color as the background behind them and change the link colors of the ads to the same colors as your links)
2. had ads closer to your content. Having them in the sidebar and the banner position is found to be much worse than other positions. AdSense have come up with a heat map that has better positions in it (just search for AdSense heatmap and you’ll find it. Update: here it is – I’d suggest moving the ads on the front page to appear between posts and on individual pages would suggest a rectangle ad underneath the post and above comments).
3. your blog’s topic was more focussed. Sites which are fairly general in topic tend to do worse than those that target specific niches. Looking over your content I suspect that this might be part of the issue.
There are loads of other little things I’d recommend – but these are three of the biggies I suspect.’
Update: here’s another quick suggestion:
Change the title tags of individual pages - if you look at the title at the top of your browser when you look at Scotts post you’ll see they say – ‘Scott D. Feldstein >> Blog Archive >> Blog Ads by the Numbers’. AdSense looks at your page title when determining which ads to show, especially those words at the start of it. Having the title of your post as the title of your page is excellent practice (especially if you choose good keywords for your title) but having the blog’s title and ‘blog archive’ is just going to confuse AdSense. I’d definately get rid of ‘blog archive’ and consider making the title of the post first and if the Blog’s name is essential to move it behind the post title. This will also help considerably with Search Engine Rankings. Aaron wrote a post on how to do this a few days back here.
The long and short of it is that because of the topic breadth of Scott’s blog it may never be a big earner (the other consideration is his traffic levels which I have no idea of). However it’s worth playing around with AdSense in terms of design and positioning before giving up. Just slapping the ads on without tweaking them rarely works.