Google to Bring the Carrot and the Stick to AdSense Partners

Summary      reports that Google will begin to axe websites from its AdSense publisher network that have an unfavorable “ad/edit” ratio (to use a magazine term). Though this seems detrimental to Google’s strategy to extend its reach for brokering ads online (as explored last week), it puts quality ahead of quantity in cutting out the clutter and improving contextual ad relevance by improving the overall content to which those ads are matched.


Starting Friday, AdSense partner sites that are heavy on ads and light on content will be dropped from Google’s text ad distribution, and thus cut out of a revenue share for those contextually placed pay-per-click ads.

This move will work toward improving quality in two ways. It will have a positive effect on the ad placements for sites themselves; more ads will be available to the remaining sites that make Google’s cut. More importantly, those likely to be at the top of this list are vertical search sites, rich in not only content but specificity of content, and quality of traffic (higher intent to transact) – all of which will have a positive impact on more and better AdSense placements, and will improve click through rates. Google, web publishers, advertisers, users, (everybody) wins.

The other effect this will have – also worth losing AdSense reach in the short term for Google – is to entice websites with little content to beef up, as they’re forced to choose between building content and losing monetization. If this has the desired effect, these sites will chase the carrot and end up with deeper and more meaningful content which will have SEO benefits as well as better contextual ad matching from Google and, again, hopefully higher click through rates for text ads.

This could mean a great deal to the overall development of high consideration categories that have been traditionally strong for Yellow Pages publishers, but lacking deep and comprehensive content online (think roofers). This paradoxically is the case for many high consideration areas while many low consideration areas (think restaurants) have a wealth of content online.
The chart to the right shows the sources used for trade services over three waves of Kelsey Group User View Surveys. It’s interesting to note the 21 percent increase in the most recent wave (IV) in the net Internet usage to find trade services. Most of this increase is attributable to search as a method of finding providers. Looking to a provider’s website has conversely dropped in frequency, possibly due to a lack of developed and comprehensive experiences within this notoriously non-tech oriented category. There are some exceptions of course.

So far the opportunity to provide more content online (gain SEO benefits etc), alone hasn’t enticed some of these service providers – some representing high consideration services including contractors, landscapers, etc. – to build better and deeper online content. So perhaps penalizing publishers by cutting them off from AdSense will help. In other words, the carrot hasn’t worked, so it’s time for the stick.

Then again, the lack of propensity to have deep content could for some advertisers or publishers represent an indifferent attitude towards the internet in the first place (or perhaps no web presence at all) meaning such penalties mean little. Getting more small businesses online with free or simplified hosting, website development, and advertising bundles (the webification of SMBs) will be important to this issue and to the overall growth of local online advertising. This will be explored in a TKG report currently in the works.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Nate

    I think its a great move since I consider a high majority of adsense revenue to be pretty much spam related. One question is though how they can take a stance on that type of behavior when they serve adds on parked domains. For most parked domains the ad/edit is All/nothing…, and some of their parked domain serving deals are relatively new, such as the one with GoDaddy.

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