Google Adsense Link Units Gets A Well Deserved Facelift
By on October 10th, 2011

Link units from Google Adsense are an additional way to earn revenue from the smaller spaces and corners of your site. There are certain areas in your site’s HTML template where an ad unit might not fit, so you should use Adsense link units to utilize that space and monetize it accordingly.

The problem with Adsense link units is that for the desired conversion to happen, you need two clicks from the user. One click on the ad link unit and the final click on the resulting ad pages; which is why link units tend not to perform well, when compared with regular Adsense ads. Furthermore, Adsense link units sometimes have very low CPC which is one of the reasons why some webmasters prefer not to use Adsense link units at all.

There is some good news. Google has decided to revamp the design of Adsense link units by making the fonts and layouts slightly bigger. Furthermore, Google is reducing the number of topics in all link units to four for horizontal orientations and three for vertical orientations. This is self explanatory, as Adsense link units perform much better when you use the lesser topics format.

We’ve head feedback from publishers that it isn’t clear why they should choose to show four versus five terms in their link units. Most people pick one of these options by guessing the expected performance. We’ve actually found that link units with four terms almost always perform better than five, says Google.

Here is how the revised link units are supposed to look like

adsese-link-units

Additionally, the landing page for advertisements will also mimic the look and feel of a regular Google search result page. The Adchoices banner will stay, of course.

link-units-landing-pages

If you are using Adsense link units on your website, there is no need to create new units. The changes will be reflected automatically in a couple of weeks from now.

Improve The Performance Of Adsense Link Units on Your Website

If you use Google Adsense to monetize your website, you might know that link units do not perform as good as regular ad units does. But a proper placement and a few optimizations can produce very different results. Here are a few tips you might want to implement:

1. Less is more: According to Google Adsense program policies, every publisher is allowed to use up to 3 Adsense link units on the different pages of his website, along with the regular Adsense ad units and 2 Adsense for search box. From personal experiments, I have observed that when you clutter up your page with the maximum number of Adsense ads and link units, the performance of every unit is affected. All the advertisements contribute to the visual noise and the click through rates for each unit is reduced considerably.

For best results, I recommend using one link unit at a time and track which position and layout produces maximum revenue. Next, work out on a combination of two link units and check whether the total revenue is actually worth the visual clutter. Do not forget to track the regular ad units as well, because their performance might also be affected when you add 2 or 3 link units on your webpages.

2. Do not reuse colors: When you create a link unit from your Google Adsense account, remember to check off the option Reuse colors.

adsense-link-units-reuse-colors

Most Adsense publishers ignore this option and keep the reuse colorsoption checked, which is a mistake. Why? Let’s say the background color of your Adsense link unit is grey while the link color is black, you have chosen this palette to ensure that the link unit completely blends with your website’s design. Fair enough, but when you keep the Reuse colorsoption checked, the same color combination is shown on Ad pages. When a user clicks one of the ad link units, he sees advertisements over a grey background and they are most likely to close the page right that instant.

When you uncheck the option reuse colors, the resulting ad pages will house the ads with blue links over a white background, which is by far one of the best color combinations for maximum click through rate.

3. Do not place Link units adjacent to each other:   I don’t understand why some webmasters place 2 or 3 vertical link units adjacent to each other, which never produces a good user or advertiser experience. You should place the link units on different areas of your site’s template, this ensures that each link unit gets the attention it deserves.

link-units-competition

The link units on your site are not competitors and you should give each of them a fair chance to prove their worth.

4. Power of Site Navigation:   Leverage the power of your site’s navigation area and use a horizontal link unit at the top. This is one of those areas where a horizontal link unit fits fine, while a horizontal ad unit is too heavy for the space it demands. A proper placement of a horizontal link unit can work wonders.

link-units-site-navigation

5. 4 is greater than 5:   Use the 4 ad links format over the 5 ad links format, as the former has a higher click through rate and it feels good to the eyes. You can take my word on this, the 4 ad links format is usually better than its louder counterpart.

6. Never assume! Test and see what works for you: Never go blind over the advice and theories of fellow bloggers or webmasters. Seek lessons from experts but most importantly, learn from your experiments. Me saying that this works and that doesn’t, might be disastrous for your site.

Remember that every website is different and you will arrive to the best conclusion through rigorous testing and personal analysis.

Also read: New application procedure for Google Adsense

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Author: Amit Banerjee Google Profile for Amit Banerjee
Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee

Amit Banerjee has written and can be contacted at amit@techie-buzz.com.
  • Richesh

    Wouldn’t you consider placing an ad unit right above or below the nav menu a sleazy technique? It could result in invalid clicks and give no value to the advertisers.

 
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