Rotating Google AdSense with Related Links?
A recent post on the Inside AdSense blog suggests running the Google Related Links publisher tool on your site and rotating it with Google AdSense. The basic theory behind the suggestion is that regular users of a site will naturally become attracted to the relevant video, news, and search content served via Google Related Links, and that by sometimes rotating in AdSense, one may benefit monetarily from that same space.
Shannon Bauman, Product Manager for Google Related Links, posts on Inside AdSense that “While Google Related Links don’t give you revenue directly, you can use them to keep your site fresh and interesting without any maintenance. Happy visitors mean repeat visits. And if you’re feeling especially creative, try alternating between Google ads and Google Related Links in a given space on your page. This will encourage people to look in that space for interesting dynamic content.”
Over at Search Engine Roundtable, Barry Schwartz then counters with his own opinion:
“To be honest, I don’t think, that if I would do the rotating tip, that I would use Related Links as what I rotate in. Why? Because when related links were first launched, people thought that these were ads, they confused them with an other AdSense product. By rotating out the ads with what may appear to be different ads, may not be too wise, IMO.
What I would suggest is to rotate the ads out with real free content (related links generated internally, related images, user comments, etc.). Real content that appears to be related to your content and not something that appears to be ads.”
Ideally, I would not suggest rotating Google AdSense with Related Links if the goal of your site, or that juicy space you serve your contextual advertising in, is to earn revenue. If banner blindness is a problem and you’ve noticed a drop in AdSense revenue, then you may want to try rotating with alternatives such as Yahoo Publisher Network, AdBrite or Fastclick display ads and track their effectiveness.
If, however, you are using Google Related Links on your site as a way to suggest relevant information to your users and from time to time want to replace that space with AdSense, it’s not a bad idea. Especially since the AdSense TOS allows for up to 3 Google AdSense Contextual Ad Boxes on one web page, which can be seen as overdoing it from time to time.
Additionally, I’d recommend checking out Amit Agarwal’s blog, Digital Inspiration, which does an excellent job of using space usually set aside for advertising to direct users to some of his more popular blog posts.