AdSense – Where to Place your Ads

AdSense placement is one of those things that comes up again and again on forums and discussions. In this article I am going over where I have placed AdSense on my sites and what has worked best. I am mainly talking about article-based sites. Casual games sites and galleries are a bit different and something I will write about another time.

Google AdSense themselves publish a heat map showing where people look and click but it is not always as simple as placing the ads where the heat map is hottest and maximizing revenue.

Firstly what the AdSense team might advise you to do is not perhaps what the search side of things will like.

So if you place your ads right at the start of an article or even have the ads before you can even see the content then you might run into trouble with your article appearing much lower in search results. If you google “” you will see what I mean.

Also you have to take into account your readers. If you just want to make as much from each user as they arrive on your site and are not interested in getting repeat visitors then stuffing the top of the page full of ads is certainly the way to go. I guess for some sites it might work fine.

My own experience is that putting an ad top left at the start of an article will give quite a good click through rate (especially if the text is indented from the edge of your page) but one at the bottom will also serve almost as well. In these positions a 336×250 is probably the best way to go, either aligned left if at top or centred at the bottom. You could test text only and display only and see what works best on your site. I actually regretted ever putting an ad top left at the start of articles as we became dependent on it and it was a poor user experience. Have mostly dropped it from our new sites and articles.

Adsense unit at the end of an article.

Adsense unit at the end of an article.

Another position worth considering, especially if you are not in a high tier CPM advertising network, is a site wide 728×90 leaderboard at the top of the site. I recently implemented this on one of our German sites after we lost our main high-end advertising network. I am still hoping to get another but meantime AdSense is working quite well and certainly much better than say some second tier advertising networks I tried in the same spot.

I also think a tower  (160×600) or the 300×600 can do quite well in the right column, if your site has that layout.  Again these are probably better choices for people not in a good CPM network. Since if you are getting net of $2-5 on CPM ads it is not likely AdSense will do better than that in those spots where the click through rate is lower.

Also once you find the position getting the highest CTR you should make sure that code is first in your page. So if the ad at the bottom of an article has a higher CTR than the site wide leaderboard then use some CSS to position that code first. The reason being AdSense will display the ads with the highest Cost per Click (CPC) in the first set of code.

You really have to experiment and try some A-B testing to find the sweet point for your site. I know some people swear by link units below the masthead or just below their navigation or like to put a 336×250 half way down their content.

For me bottom of the article is always a good spot and where I would start. It is below the fold so not so desirable for CPM campaigns (indeed many will not allow such a placement so low down) and it is when users think…what will I do now. If they see a relevant ad then they might well click on it.

Finally be sure to always check your site is in compliance with AdSense terms. For instance don’t try and fool people into clicking accidently either via placement too close to clickable content or by disguising ads as part of your site. Also make sure you understand their content policies…they are very strict. Think an uptight grandmother and if she would be offended don’t put AdSense on it.

I hope that information saves you some time and covers some basics.

What has been your most successful AdSense placement and why?