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When Google AdSense Doesn’t Provide Relevant Ads On a Blog

AdSense is a wonderful way to make money from blogs for many bloggers – however it’s not always suitable.

Check out this post looking at the ads that AdSense put up on a blog for women over the age of 40.

Ads included (to name just a few):

MEET MARRIED WOMEN! Married but looking? Meet LOCAL married women right now!
OLDER BLACK WOMEN: Free to join. 1000′s of pictures of beautiful older black singles.
HISPANIC WOMEN ONLINE: Find your interracial match on line.
MARRIED BUT LOOKING: Discreet affairs for men and women have never been easier.

AdSense is great when you have a topic that is focused upon some kind of product or service – or a topic that is directly associated with a type of product or service – however when you have a topic that is a little more open to interpretation or vague (and not I’m not saying Women over 40 are vague!) AdSense often produces ads that are less targeted.

The same is true in my experience with AdSense on religious and political blogs. Their bots look at words like ‘Spiritual’, ‘Christian’, ‘Democrat’, ‘Clinton’, ‘Muslim’ and doesn’t know what you’re saying about these things – it’ll quite often guess wrong and put up something that is completely the opposite to what your blog is about.

When AdSense serves irrelevant ads to your blog it doesn’t mean that your topic is no good, just that you might want to go back to the drawing board and find another way to monetize it.

The take home lesson is that when you’re first using AdSense on a blog to watch the ads that it serves up. Keep in mind though that sometimes the ads will start off un-targeted but that they improve after a day or two (perhaps as it learns what does convert and what doesn’t on your blog).

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. jhay says:

    Sometimes you could get a good laugh from unrelated ads served by Google. Then again that’s all there is, a good laugh.

    Which is something a blogger needs to clear his mind before re-working on one’s blog. We could all use a break once in a while.

  2. Um, yeah, I gotta watch out for the “Party Girls” ads. I already show up in the top ten search results for this phrase. I don’t think tea parties is what they’re looking for. And my readers definitely aren’t party girls without the tea, heheh.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Another option wouuld be to consider section targeting to see if that helps to improve optimiztion. It takes a little extra work with each post but could make the difference.

    Then again, the ads in the example are probably triggered by ‘women’ as a keyword, which makes section targeting more challenging to get right.

  4. Farfield says:

    Actually on my blog it was working fine, but yesterday I removed all ads because for now they are not making me any money. I will probably put them back on there when I get more traffic.

    Actually, I’m using an ad blocker in Firefox so I never see any ads anyway, so also not the funny ones ;)

  5. Eduardo Maio says:

    Well, on that post there’s a violation of Adsense terms.

    “For everyone else, help support WVFC. Click on our advertisers. Some of them are really really useful.”

    Not sure if the “Google Boys” will be happy with that. ;)

  6. I’m surprised that amb ien C R (to avoid it showing up on your blog) add was even shown.

    Their content policy’s general rule is if you wouldn’t want your family or boss to see the content– don’t put ads on the page. Unfortunately, Clicking that link might bring me to a site I’d blush about if my boss saw me browsing there.

  7. Geoff says:

    I’ve started a fan blog for Richmond Tigers (an Aussie Rules Football team here in Australia) and have found that I end up with tons of ads that link off to opposition teams websites. It’s a bit of a struggle to see how I’m ever going to get clickthroughs on ads like that!

  8. Adsense enables you to block specific advertisers from appearing on your site. I have had to block quite a few sleazy ones after I published a post about <a href=”http://momgrind.com/2008/04/18/wealthy-men-sexy-girls/”Wealthy Men, Sexy Girls”, but I guess I was pretty much asking for it. :)

  9. That link didn’t work at all, did it.

    Here it is

    http://momgrind.com/2008/04/18/wealthy-men-sexy-girls/

    Still has some pretty bad ads

  10. I refused to use Adsense in the beginning but I gave in and started using it so I could start making some more money. I try to keep a good watch on the ads for the reasons Darren mentioned above. Google isn’t perfect but the ads they send seem to be working for the most part.

    By the way, I downloaded the introduction to the new book and loved it. Of cousre it made me go back and rethink a few things (SEO) which I needed help with. It left me wanting more which I’m sure was the point of letting us download it.
    Thanks.

  11. Darren, I do not know if Adsense works anymore! I gave it up a year ago, and never looked back. I blog because I love blogging. I have a message to say and will keep saying it.

    If my blog ever get popular enough to attract advertisers then be it, if not, I will not die in poverty!

  12. Very true, AdSense can backfire on people, depending on what kind of topic they cover, but no need to fret as they’re ways to defend against this, like Vered – Momgrind said you can block specific advertisers from appearing in your ads but I recommend using a kind of reversal feature AdSense has where you CHOOSE which ads you WANT displayed. I feel this is more useful because when trying to block certain sites from displaying ads you can go through several dozen, which can be quite tedious, Just pick the one’s you DO want to show.

  13. AhTim says:

    @Darren: Just query is it possible to control the ads that show from Adsense? I am facing the same problem in my pet’s blog.

  14. I’ve made a total of 65 cents off AdSense…now that is something to laugh about.

    Maybe it is my blog, or the topics I write about, but Google doesn’t even come close.

  15. Um, I’m no AdSense genius, but it’s obvious to me why those ads were served. And it’s entirely possible that they remained because they were, in fact, targeted.

    I won’t point out all the relevant details, but “Women We Love” is good for starters.

    It’s all pretty obvious to me. But I live in Vancouver. :)

    Andrea

  16. @ Make Money Online:

    “I recommend using a kind of reversal feature AdSense has where you CHOOSE which ads you WANT displayed. I feel this is more useful because when trying to block certain sites from displaying ads you can go through several dozen, which can be quite tedious, Just pick the one’s you DO want to show.”

    Cool. I wasn’t aware of that. Will check it out. Thanks.

  17. Eli says:

    That’s actually quite hilarious! :) I guess they wouldn’t get many clicks on those ads though.

  18. Neil Duckett says:

    I think the ads i get are TOO specific and always the same … i will look into trying to tweak it to get something else to display …. preferably higher paying too!

  19. I’ve got the AdSense thing going on my site, and it keeps coming up with my competitors in the copywriting field. The good news is that no one clicks on them, I guess.

    Hmm. What’s wrong with this picture?

  20. Chris says:

    I occasionally notice ads that I don’t want to appear on my sites, so I pop into Adsense and block them on the competitive advert filter.

    I obviously can’t catch EVERY inappropriate ad, but at least I get some of them.

  21. markowe says:

    A lot of this has to do with naive targetting on the part of advertisers. My “Word Tips” blog keeps attracting ads about the “Word of God” – you’ve got to assume that the organisation in question just plugged in “Word” and “God” as their keywords (if I were doing an ad campaign for the Christian faith I think I’d go about it a little differently, but that’s another story). Same with these ads to meet women, or whatever – if they’re just using keywords like “women”, then it’s their own fault if their ads are showing on irrelevant sites and if the number of qualified leads is consequently low…

  22. Caitlin says:

    I know what you mean about context. I had a post about the impact of mass tourism on Macchu Picchu in Peru, essentially urging readers to think twice before going there. Of course, I had to endure ‘Hike the Inca Trail’ ads for weeks afterwards. But again, it _is_ a travel site and it’s fair to say that people reading my post might be interested in the Inca Trail, so it’s not completely untargeted.

  23. Darren Rowse says:

    Stephanie – yes section targeting can be helpful on some sites – but there are topics that it’s almost impossible to get good ads on.

    Eduardo Maio – you could be right on that one.

    Geoff – yes it’s going to be a hard topic to monetize as there will be a limited number of Richmond advertisers. Perhaps you should switch to the Blues? :-)

    Vered – yes blocking sites can be good. The problem comes when you can’t block advertisers that you don’t know about because they are targeted to overseas readers.

    Make Money Online – the feature to choose which ads you want is good, however it is only for ads that are targeted to your site by advertisers and not general contextual ads.

    AhTim – only using the ad blocking and the new ad management system that MMO mentioned above. However they are not going to stop every bad ad unfortunately.

    Max – glad you enjoyed the sample chapter of the book and hope you like the full thing if you get it in a couple of weeks.

    Beth – kind of defeats the purpose of having them doesn’t it :-)

    Chris – yes ad blocking can be good – however keep in mind that every ad that appears on your site appears because it’s the highest bidder and has the most chance of being profitable – so to block one impacts your earnings. Block too many and you’ll be left with lower paying ones.

  24. elektroseyir says:

    in turkish adsense there are love tester adsense ads.They wanna sell phono melodies using adsense.you have to block them everyday:(

  25. The blog has to be focused on a specific topic to get really targeted ads.I have blocked a few ads that has not been targeted at all, but as I understand adsense, different viewers see different ads on your blog.Or was it geographically?

  26. Darren says:

    Darren,

    I think it’s really important to also note that when adsense is not delivering appropriate ads to your blog that it is IMPERATIVE to check your template files as they may very well have been hacked. Once spam links are inserted into your templates, ads are delivered based on THOSE keywords – and the blogger may very well wonder what word they said that is making those ads appear – when in actuality they’ve been hacked.

    I have done all I can to bring this to bloggers attention (esp. WordPress users who are on a vulnerable version) – perhaps it would be more effective coming from you. I’ve also written a couple of posts about how to identify it and look for it within the theme files.

  27. Leanne says:

    Woops- I’m me, not you. (So much for the first field saying “Dear…”)

  28. Ryan Mac says:

    Adsense is great, I just wish I didn’t get banned from using it for invalid clicks
    My blog would make so much more money :(

  29. Dave says:

    I would say that never experience such type of collusion in my blog. Because would believe that the contentual postion and upgrade of your blog would give room to a better ad interaction.

  30. Sue says:

    I finally gave in and put a trial run of Adsense on my one blog, mainly because I used the adsense tester at Aaron Wall’s site to see what kind of ads would come up. It showed some really good targeted ads, so I signed up with Adsense.

    Well, I haven’t seen one ad that would cause me to click on it yet. So, off they came. I made less than a dollar on them. If the ads served were the same ones that showed up on the testing page, then I might have actually had a decent click through rate.

  31. AJ says:

    yeha… I would support Ryan.. Adsense is great to make some money whether your ads are related to your contents….

  32. “The problem comes when you can’t block advertisers that you don’t know about because they are targeted to overseas readers.”

    I didn’t think about that. Most of my readers are based in the US, but not all of them.

  33. I did an article on infidelity and got ads about meeting up with married women and men!!

    This is when you need to find out the URLs of the sites and add it into the competitive filter.

    Even though they aren’t your competitors the feature will kill these sites from entering your site and so its very useful for both reasons.

    At the end of the day you do have to laugh at some of the mistakes.

  34. Syed Balkhi says:

    Adsense worked fine on my site although shoppingads had this type of issue with my blog when I installed them. I had those for about 3 days and ended up removing them because they were showing completely irrelevant ads.

  35. does anyone know of a way to maybe tweak it to make the ads more relevant? For example, would “Adsense secrets” contain such topics?

  36. J.D. says:

    I run a fairly large blog about personal finance. The ads on my site suck. Why? I think it’s because the site is called “Get Rich Slowly”. When I look at the ads on my colleague’s sites, they’re for financial services, etc. But me? Even after two years and millions of visitors, I get ads for pyramid schemes and other scams. It doesn’t just go away after a day or two. Or a year or two. And the Adsense team doesn’t have any useful suggestions for improving things, either. (Not that I’m bitter.)

  37. Star Life, go to the competitive filter and add any URLs you see that you don’t think are suitable.

    I know its manual but after a while you will loose common advertisers that don’t match. This is what I did and keep an eye open for any new misplaced adverts once in a while.

    Hell, you never know, some of them might actually work!!

    Also, don’t forget Daren’s warning above, very useful although I would have thought if someone is going to place their own account in place of yours they would be traceable via Google ADsense.

  38. JD, Im not sure Adsense see the competitive filter as a way to restrict inappropriate ads. So far I think they may have missed that trick..

    Give it a try .. but I would imagine there are a lot of pyramid and get rich quick scams out there for you to filter out however…

    Also, sorry to ask the obvious, but are you ensuring your keyword density is good?

  39. J.D. says:

    My competitive ad filter is full, and has been for more than a year.

    I don’t know what you mean by “keyword density”. I just write about personal finance! If I have to worry about things like “keyword density”, I maintain that Adsense isn’t doing the job it was intended to do…

  40. Ginkgo100 says:

    I saw something similar to this on a blog today, although it was from Amazon Affiliates, not Adsense. The post was on Christianity, and included a quote from Madeleine L’Engle about showing non-believers “a lovely light” in your life — a metaphor for Jesus. In the sidebar, Amazon dutifully featured several light bulbs available for purchase.

  41. C nads says:

    Yeah I have mainly videos and pictures on my blog (and not as much text) I also have a post where I make fun of some people at a formal (yeah i know i’m a jerk) but all the adsense ads are for Prom Dresses and Women’s shoes. I actually got a lot of page views but no click-throughs. I guess I got what was coming to me!

    for now i’ve switched over to some affiliate ads through commision junction for yahoo hotjobs and stuff. I figure most of the people looking at my blog are doing it from work. And most people hate their jobs. Probably not a great plan but it’s all I have thought of so far.

    If anyone wants to give me any suggestions about what type of ads I should use I would be glad to hear it!

  42. J.D, get a good book on SEO, it will be worth it. Keyword density is about identifying the amount of times your chosen keywords for your market appear in your site/blog. It is critical for optimising your site for search engines and also will be looked at by Adsense when making up its mind what ads to serve you up. There’s more to it than that. For example, if you have a financial investment site and you spend a lot of time talking about your fishing weekend, then the word fishing may come up more than the word finance, so Adsense serves you up lots of fishing tackle ads.

    Hey C nads, maybe your market does buy womens shoes and prom dresses?

  43. Ginkgo100 LOL!! do christians purchase light bulbs?

  44. This just popped into my in-tray: Introducing the Ad Review Center. “In an effort to provide you with more transparency and control over the ads appearing on your pages, we’ve developed the Ad Review Center.”

  45. lonifasiko says:

    Just in case you use any “conflictive word” in your post, you can always paste the following code into your HTML so that AdSense bot ignores that section:


  46. lonifasiko says:

    Forgot the official link to Google AdSense help:

    https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?hlrm=en&answer=23168

  47. Cookiemouse says:

    Today on my food blog I had an ad about female escorts in Amsterdam on a post about cutting down trees! Really in context. Often I find Adsense totally off the mark.

  48. gout says:

    yes…I have experience about no relevent adsense with my topic blog…..after a month running….my ads change very relevant with my topic posting…I am very happy