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Relevant Ads Tips

This page is dedicated to tips regarding Adsense relevance.  There are many subtle and surprising things that seem to affect the relevance of Adsense ads.  Believe it or not one of the subtleties is induced by the Google's Adwords program.  I hope to keep compiling more tips for relevance of Adsense ads.

Please see my Adsense Relevance Fix also!

Google's Adwords program can affect Adsense ads relevance on your website!

Are you an Adwords advertiser as well as an Adsense publisher?  If so then this surprising Adsense relevance gotcha can affect your site's Adsense revenues.  This problem is induced by the Adwords help and optimization programs, believe it or not.  I have written to Google and they have confirmed this unexpected interaction, that will for a time, or perhaps intermittently affect the relevance of Adsense ads served on your website and mine.

A subtle problem

Here is a source of Adsense relevance problems!
Google's Optimize your campaign and tracking help

You will probably have to be a registered Adwords user to access the link above.

Yes one of Google's Adword's tracking suggestions will affect your Adsense ads relevance at least temporarily, and depending upon what you do, perhaps intermittently as well.  Google does not mention this in their help or FAQ as far as I can find!

Adding Tracking URL's can cause problems!

I had written several Adwords ads to target one specific webpage on my site.  The ads were doing OK, but I wanted to see, in my website's log files, specifically which ad had been clicked on by my visitor to open this web page.  Google's Adwords help is great, it says, add a "tracking URL" they are harmless and tell you what you need to know.  Well the tracking URL's are not completely harmless.  It took me a while and email to Google to figure this out.

My tracking URL's were simple.

Here is some examples, these are not actual tracking URL's I use, but you can see the affect if you experiment on your own.  I will use my Quality page as an example ( I have to work on those pages! ).

A standard URL to my page

Because of Google quirks I feel it necessary to remove the hyperlinks below and just substitute text.  And because Google is now transposing text representations of links into real links (do not ask me why), I have purposely misspelled the links as well!  (03/27/2012, Bob)

A "tracking" URL to my page
A second "tracking" URL to my page

You can see I have tacked on a "?" and some text that identifies the Adwords ad that was clicked on to link to my webpage.  This shows up in the "referrer" string in my log files, when somebody clicks on a link and in this case the link is built into a specific Adwords ads.

When Adsense encounters a link with a tracking URL attachment it considers the target page a different page!

Ahhhhhh, what????  Google's Adsense does not really know this is a "tracking" URL.  As far as it knows this URL may be invoking a script and dynamically generating a new page.  Until the Adsense robot gets around to re-reading your web page, the Adsense ads displayed will not be relevant.  In fact it seems like the ads now are sort of a default set based upon your website's entire content.  I am guessing this from a few observations, but the ads displayed seem to match the ads on my home page.  So when someone clicks on your Adwords ad in which you just added a tracking URL, the Adsense ads that show on the target page can be at least partially, and perhaps completely, irrelevant to the target page's content.  Whoops.

This does go away

After a few days once the Google Adsense Media bot has revisited your "new" (not really) page, the ads relevance will resume for that tracking URL.  And guess what, the same thing happens for each new tracking URL you invent.  So in my case as I added new ads and therefore tracking URL's to the same page, each new Adwords ad had irrelevant Adsense ads for a few days.  If you kept playing with these tracking URL's you could have an ongoing intermittent problem.

Try this on my Quality page

A standard URL to my page

Now invent your own "tracking URL" by adding a referrer string like

You will have to invent your own "?" string because Adsense will eventually learn any I publish on this page.

You will see that the ads change substantially when you add a random referrer string.  This had me scratching my head for a while!

All you can do is plan ahead

Create all your tracking URL's for your Adwords ads at once.  When in Adwords make sure you click on your ad not only to test the link, but to alert Adsense that a new link is being used to access your ad's target web page.

I hope I have made all this clear and you find it helpful!


Date created: 25 Jan 2005

Date revised: 09/09/2013









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BHT Created: 26 Jan 2005

BHT Revised: 09 Sep 2013


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