Direct links to AFS search results

Adsense for Search (AFS) is the system where you have a Google search box on your site to present targetted ads. Personally I don’t see the attraction but plenty do.

I’ve become aware of an interesting scenario this week exploiting Adsense for Search, one way was smart and I liked it. The other was pure spam.

Case 1

The site had a right nav bar with a “Links” heading. Interspersed in the links were the urls of relevant searches to the site. So, they were bypassing the Google Intelligence step, preventing the duplication you often get and they looked like links that would take you elsewhere (although not to Google).

Case 2

This site owner came onto a forum bragging about his Adsense earnings but there were links like

Search All

Search All were internal links to another page on the site, while the word Tires was a direct link to AFS results. Other visitors to the site reported that images, the site heading and other text on the site were also links to AFS results.

This was misleading, spammy and violating the Adsense TOS. As a user experience the site would be confusing. One minute you’re clicking on something and getting another page on the site, the next you’re going to Google.

Why both Cases breach the TOS

The Google Adwords system is built on the premise of fairness because the ads are selected according to their match with the content of the site on a page by page basis.

If you knew that a search for “widget” served higher value ads than a search for “budget widget” then that search phrase would be exploited.

Advertisers don’t want to be exploited. They want to know that their ads are served appropriately and that when a user clicks on them they intended to.


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