I was recently performing a review of my online Martial Arts Shop and was horrified to see a particularly interesting Google Advertisement on the homepage of my site. Below is a screenshot of my finding.
For those of you who are not following my UK Martial Arts Project, I am creating two websites, the first being an online shop which sells various forms of Martial Arts Equipment and the second being a free to list directory of every known Martial Arts club or class in the United Kingdom. As you can imagine, I was not thrilled to see and Advertisement with the opening line “Forget Martial Arts” on my UKMA Shop’s homepage; as I had already integrated Google AdSense into my site and selected it as one of my primary sources of income, it would have been a huge step back to remove it entirely but something had to be done. Now I would never say that an element of my website is too much hassle to change, ultimately if a change has to be made, and you truly believe that it has to be made for the good of the project then you must do what it takes to correct it. On this occasion, I did not feel that I need to remove AdSense or rethink my monetisation strategy just yet, however, I have put steps in place to ensure that this particular ad does not return.
Google AdSense takes into consideration the content of your page and places the most relevant advertisements within your environment. Although you have some control over the subjects of advertisements, I feel this is very limited. Below is an excerpt from my Google AdSense account.
As you can see, I have taken measures to ensure that Sports and Fitness is the primary subject of the ads on my site. But this is not the root of my problem. AdSense has parsed the content of my page and returned an Ad which focuses on Martial Arts. Surely this is what I wanted when I signed up!
I have since removed the offending ad by restricting the use of image rich ads on my websites. Maybe a little drastic but it is the only way I can ensure that the ad does not return. I will be monitoring the performance of my website closely in the next couple of weeks to see the impact of the change and will relay any findings thereafter.
What this has taught me is that while Google AdSense is an affective revenue stream and incredibly easy to implement into your infrastructure (providing you get approved for an account) it does need to be monitored and optimised for your online environment. I for one will be taking a closer interest in the subject of my AdSense and it has planted a small seed in my head which may see it’s removal in the future. Eventually I will have complete control of the ads on my site and this issue will raise its head again. but for now I will continue to use AdSense with caution. If you are reading this and thinking, “I wonder what ads are showing on my site”, I advise you to go and take a look, hit refresh a few times and see what you are served with.
The main point I am trying to get across in this post is that Google AdSense is not simply a check box which you enable and watch the pennies roll in. You need to be vigilant in it’s operation and ensure that it is working for you and not against. I will shortly be posting a staus update on the UK Martial Arts Project. The project is nearly a month old and I want to share it’s current progess with you.