For those of us who want to make a few extra bucks from our websites but don’t want the bother of chasing advertisers and hustling Google’s Adsense program is a blessing. You have alot of control over the ads, can block competitors and you have to do virtually nothing to get going.
There is a trend at the moment to have sites which are “made for adsense”, that is the site is only there to be keyword rich and to attract the attention of the search engines. The user finds a page which looks promising but isn’t and clicks on the ad in the hope that that page will lead to something useful. As a website owner those sites may be financially gratifying but won’t leave you with a sense of pride in your work.
The second trend, and the one this post is addressing, is the placement of the ads into the body of your page so that they appear to be part of the page. This isn’t simple island ads which are blatant and unconfusing. These are links which actually look like they fit in.
Below are 3 examples, going from dodgy to best practice.
Example 1: a directory
The actual listings have been coded so that they are identical to the Google ads. In this example there are 3 directory listings and 4 adsense ads.
An inexperienced web user will not realise when they are clicking on results from the directory and when they are clicking on paid ads. The formatting is identical as is the use of colour.
If the user noticed the title “Ads by Google” at all because it is underlined it’s likely a user will think the link is to the ads, rather than a heading.
The use of the ads is probably legal but I’m not convinced that it’s “best practice”.
Example 2: A personal site
This is a lovely site for ceramics and has the adsense ads clearly in the left hand border. The ads are not mixed with the content so the user won’t be surprised when a click takes them to a new site.
The choice of colours may make it hard to tell when the link is internal, to an approved site or to one of the Google Ads but this site does a nice job of integrating the ads.
Example 3: Pure Class!
I don’t know the owners of the preloved.co.uk forum but I really like the way they’ve done their ads. This site has class and lets the ads stand out and actually enhance the page.
Another nice example is at Debt Elimination Help