How to Run AdSense Ads Without Hurting the User Experience

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and use Google AdSense to make a few extra bucks on your website or blog. How do you do incorporate the advertising without alienating your audience — especially when you have no idea which ads will pop up at any given time? Having weight-loss products constantly appear on a body-acceptance site or a prime rib promo show up on page for vegans isn’t cool, and neither is promoting your biggest competitor. Here are a few tips for running AdSense without hurting the user experience.

Review the ads. Through its Ad Review Center, Google offers publishers the opportunity to review keyword-targeted ads that either have or will run on their sites. Thus, you can opt to prevent ads from appearing until you’ve had the chance to review them; however, this option may cause you to miss advertisers’ deadlines and lose potential revenue. If you choose to run ads immediately, you can still review eligible ads and decide whether or not you want to block them based either on ad category or on the specific advertiser. If you block an ad once, Google will remember your decision and prevent it from popping up in the future.

Block specific ad types. If you’ve written a blog post that’s all about the evils of Wal-Mart, you might be annoyed to see an ad for Wal-Mart pop up right under your diatribe. This isn’t unusual: AdSense works by scanning your content and running ads based on keywords found there. If you want to prevent specific advertisers from placing ads on your site, you can go to the Ad Review Center and choose to block all future ads from that advertiser. If there are certain categories, such as religion or alcohol, that you don’t want to have appear on your site, you can choose to block all ads from those sectors.

Weigh the benefits and risks. If you begin to receive disgruntled emails from readers or see a drop in your site’s traffic (even after blocking unwanted ad types), you may want to re-evaluate whether the AdSense program is a good fit. Unless your site receives significant traffic, you’re unlikely to make much money from the program, and it may not be worth the trouble. If AdSense is hurting your business, but you’d still like to monetize your website, consider applying to premium, exclusive ad networks, such as Martha’s Circle and BlogHer, which tend to attract higher-end advertisers.

About Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is a principal at the content marketing agency Eucalypt Media. She's written about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship for publications including BNET, TheAtlantic.com, Inc.com, and owns and operates the positive news site Gimundo. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynhawkins.
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