Dodgy Adsense Ads

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

Rating: Poor

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

Rating: Good

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!

Rating: Excellent

I don’t know the owners of the 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


Recent Comments



  1. Al
    September 7, 2005

    One thing I find is web publishers are generally very aware of ads and very rarely click them and some will beleive other web users are the same (which they clearly are not) hence the sneaky tactics as they are trying to fool themselves, if you get my drift.

    If you want to have a long term quality site don’t try to trick your visitors, it may work in the short term but that’s about it IMO

  2. September 8, 2005

    Great layout idea there. I think we could extend on this concept and have some really wild (and maybe still orange) shapes 🙂

  3. September 8, 2005

    I agree –

    I have some sites that I frankly built as a site primarilty to generate adsense income. However, the difference is the sites I have are actually content rich and informative. I believe its ok to build a site with the main goal to be adsense profit generation, BUT, you have to build a quality site and then add the adsense – not the other way around. Long term this will keep your sites sucessful.

  4. September 11, 2005

    google says its OK integrate ads into your site, so none of the examples should be classed as dodgy. Only the webmasters morals are in question 🙂
    Any site i ever visit that has adsense INTEGRATED or hidden in the page…I leave immediately. I believe the ads should be clearly visible, and i usually just stick to plain ‘full banner’ ads so they can be seen.

  5. August 1, 2006

    Your first example is great. I think you can heavily blend in ads and still creat a quality website. I havent gotten to that level of blending yet tho in any of my sites.

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