Published: June 7th 2006
By Stas Bekman.
Update:This article covers techniques that are no longer supported by Google AdSense, so if previously you would read it to learn what you could do, now you should read it to learn what you aren't supposed to do.
The fastest way to improve at anything is to model others who are already successful at it. Copy what they do and then do it even better. Once you are successful, invent your own mind blowing techniques.
So let's study several sites that have successfully blended AdSense ads with their content and learn.
Here is a snapshot from www.tutorialized.com:
Can you tell where the ads are? Not only they have perfectly blended the colors, the fonts and the look-alikeness of Google AdSense ads, they have even managed to convince Google to not hardcode those "Ads by Gooooogle" spoilers. I suppose this is because they have taken the initiative to mark those boxes as 'Ads by Google', so Google didn't mind removing theirs. Or may be they bring a huge profit to Google in which case they get to ask for special cases.
Here is a snapshot of dogbreedinfo.com: (http://dogbreedinfo.com/)
Can you see how well the ads blend into the page? Especially on the top, where they have an image of the dog which attracts visitor's attention. May be they could have blended the search bar as well, so it won't stand out as an ugly grey unbalanced grey box.
Here is an example of blending a rectangular ads container into the links section. The following snapshot is from stason.org:
Here the AdSense ads blend with links in the left column. In this setup some links were manually chosen and others were automatically added by Google AdSense. Notice that sometimes Google will serve three, two or even one ad, rather than four - in which case blending won't work, since in that case it uses bigger fonts.
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Seth Godin finds that putting adsense on top of the page not only triples ads click-through, but also raised a click-through for the content links.
Google has published case studies for several successful sites in various industries. I've visited those and I wasn't impressed by their ads blending techniques. I think Google should work harder at picking really good sites for their case studies.