Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

AdSense Section Targeting: How To Make Your Google Ads Relevant And Profitable

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If you have been disappointed with the results and profits turned up by having integrated Google AdSense ads within your web site or blog, do not despair. Getting AdSense to work is never been an easy trick, unless you fully understood the mechanism governing both the ad delivery as well as those influencing the end user decision to click on them. But something truly revolutionary makes managing AdSense ads now truly within the reach of any online publisher or blogger.


It is called AdSense Section Targeting, and while SEO experts have been aware of it since its launch at the end of August this year, little fanfare has been made around this revolutionary addition to the independent publisher advertising arsenal. I don't know whether this was due to accident or to many conscious choices trying to protect such a powerful new feature from becoming suddenly prey of all marketers out there, but fact is that most of those who complain and are dissatisfied with AdSense results have never heard before of section targeting and when I tell them what it does, their faces lit up like a Christmas tree.

What the AdSense Section Targeting feature allows you to do (this applies to publishers who use AdSense ads next to their content) is to specify to Google, which parts of the content of your article are the ones that AdSense should take into consideration when deciding which ads to serve on that page.

How long have you been waiting for it?

Well, Section Targeting is here, and for what I have been to see with my own eyes (look at my three examples further down), is worth every microbit of your attention because it does seriously work.

Thanks to the early tests and explorations of Alessandro Banchelli, chief editor of MasterNewMedia Italia I have myself adopted AdSense Section Targeting as soon as I have learned about it. After two months of full use I must acknowledge that section targeting is a heavenly tool and that I am recommending it 100% to anyone publishing online.

Section targeting provides a win-win solution for everyone.

  • Publishers can finally guarantee relevant ads to the content topic they are publishing to.

  • Readers get relevant ads that nicely complement the content they are reading.

  • Google gets greater revenue both from AdSense publishers who are now more effective and better rewarded for their good work, and from readers who finding more relevant ads next to the content they are reading award more clicks to information items of their interest.

It's win-win-win!

Obviously there are always a few things to keep in mind when approaching the integration of a new powerful feature like this one to your own content.

Wise planning and full understanding of how this thing works are the keys to make AdSense Section Targeting a sharp turnaround point for your profit-making potential with AdSense.

For those of you who don't know AdSense at all, here are a few pointers for you to learn more about it:

First things first
To use the new AdSense Section Targeting feature you need simply to have an open AdSense account and a site or a blog on which you are displaying AdSense generated contextually relevant ads.

In practical terms Section Targeting provides you with a snippet of code, or rather with a special comment-tag that you need to use to "bracket" the content sections in your article to be published that should be looked at by the AdSense "spider" to determine which ads to display next to your content.

Example 1 - from


After(having added AdSense Section Targeting code)


The comment tag that needs to be used is:

<!-- google_ad_section_start -->

<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

In between those two comment-tags AdSense expects to find enough written content that contains sufficient relevant keywords for the AdSense algorithm to clearly determine what pool of ads to display on your selected page.

So, for example, if I wanted to make sure that AdSense would bring next to this article some contextual relevant AdSense ads, possibly focusing on AdSense itself or on text ads and online targeted advertising, I would write a paragraph (just like this very one) in which I would make sure that the relevant keywords, including AdSense section targeting, AdSense ads and other relevant keywords are all used to guide the AdSense spider in providing me with the most relevant ads for this article topic.

So even though you don't see it, I have indeed placed the section targeting code I have shown above, right before and right after the preceding paragraph, to provide AdSense with very clear indications on what content it should be looking at.

So, the more unambiguous your content is about a certain topic, the easier it will be for AdSense to do its job when supported by your use of Section Targeting.

Example 2 - from


After(having added AdSense Section Targeting code)


Also of vital importance it remains the wording of your title, assuming this is both the Page Title (the one showing in the browser top bar) and the visible title displayed on your page which should have been assigned an H1 tag (main headline).

The title is really critical and contrary to what many many think, you need not to be misleading or unethical to create titles that are good for AdSense as much as for your readers. The logic to follow is the one where the title needs to be considered a true classifying descriptor of your content and not a personal acrobatic in driving attention by the use of irony, strong words or other visual metaphors. If you are still writing titles like a newspaper does, then you are wasting your time (and everyone else too).

For example, if your content is about a new VoIP technology, the title should reflect that. What you need to think in order to make this effort easier on your side is to think ahead (and test/verify with Google) what will be the search query that people who will want to ideally read what you have written will type when searching for it. Meaning: if your article is about a new VoIP tool, what will the potential readers of your article (who obviously don't know of its existence) write in Google, Yahoo or MSN to find it?

Well, who are these? These would be people who are likely searching for reviews of new VoIP tools that appear on the market. So what will they write? They may write "review of new voip tool", "new voip tool" or simply "VoIP tools". If those keywords (VoIP, tool, review) are not together in the first two or three words of your title, Google will not consider them critical to the classification of your content. So, if you want to complement and strongly support the AdSense Section Targeting potential you need to make sure that the titles of your articles are a true useful keys to find your content, which can be achieved only if you do provide clear definition and classification of your specific topic coverage right at the beginning of the title.

Playing smart in the titles doesn't pay back.

I have seen some people that after having learned the importance of titles have tried to leverage their newly discovered know-how on the power of titles to drive much wider traffic to their content while also serving AdSense ads on a much in-demand topic.

Unfortunately, nonetheless what may appear to the superficial online marketer, approaching titling by using titles that are more popular or that may drive a larger public (because of how they would rank on search engine result pages) is the wrong way to make money online.


Readers, me and you included are looking for relevant results, not for someone to distract us into something that was not really what we really looking for. So, who is looking for reviews of new VoIP tools should not be confused with someone who is looking for low-phone rates services. Though at times these possible reader needs may overlap the greatest results in using AdSense and in getting loyal readers that come back again and again is to not trick anyone. By using titles that are unambiguous descriptors of the content they introduce, titles are the key access points we all have to find what we are looking for. So the better and more effectively we title, the greater a service we provide to everyone else too. Including AdSense.

The AdSense Section Targeting feature also offers the ability to downplay or practically "mute" selected content passages from being "read" by the AdSense spider in the effort to identify the content themes present on your selected page.

By utilizing the comment-tag
<!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) -->
<!-- google_ad_section_end(weight=ignore) -->
anyone can also exclude whichever portions of content in any article published online from being used by Adsense to determine which ads to display on that page.

It is important to note that it is not wise to insert the section Targeting comment tags to "bracket" just a few words within a paragraph. That is NOT what AdSense expects and it will therefore discount your Section targeting indication if you do so.

Your "bracketed" sections which could be more than one within the same article, need to contain sufficient content and keywords for Google AdSense to "see" what the topic of the content is truly about.

"In order to properly implement this feature, you'll need to include a significant amount of content within the section targeting tags. Including insufficient content may result in less relevant ads or PSAs."
(Source: Google AdSense)

Changes to the ads on articles you have already published may take up to two weeks to appear depending on the frequency with which the Google AdSense spiders (many call it the Google Mediabot) your site.

For news and content sites with good traffic and lots of new content appearing every day, changes may take as little as 48 hours or less to show up on the site.

For those that will instead embed the AdSense section targeting code from the moment they publish any future article the results should be seen immediately.

Example 3 - from


After(having added AdSense Section Targeting code)

What do I think of Section Targeting?

I think Section Targeting is absolutely great and way too god to be true.

Section targeting truly allows you to suggest sections of your text and HTML content that you want the AdSense system to take into greater or lower consideration when attempting to match ads to your site's content.

If you use it wisely and systematically section targeting can literally transform significantly the relevancy if the AdSense ads displayed on your content pages easily providing increases in clickthrough and eCPM unimaginable before.

If you are seriously trying to make money with AdSense ads on your site(s) you MUST use Section Targeting.

For those of you, the supersmart ones, who are already thinking that they could use this feature to target ads without caring anymore about whichever content was on their visible page, Google certainly has thought of you and has placed some checks in place to make sure this doesn't happen. Jensense, one of the most attentive bloggers on issues and topics relevant to AdSense use wrote:

"It would also appear that AdSense has taken into account that this could be used by spammers to target keyword rich areas of the content, even if it isn't the primary content on the page. They state the tags can only be used to "emphasize or downplay" various parts of the page, so it seems that other parts of the page are taken into account to check for further relevancy."

Google itself writes on its information pages dedicated to Section Targeting.

"In addition, please keep in mind that this feature should only be used to emphasize significant sections of your site's relevant content. It is against our program policies to manipulate the ad targeting to result in ads that are not relevant to the content of your pages."

Find out more:
Google AdSense Section Targeting official page

[ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2011-01-26 02:31:38


i first heard this is from John chow. Thanks Robin for more info about google ad sectioning. I already ran google adsense and i hope this tip could help a lot.

I need two weeks to see the result.


2009-04-27 17:55:05

Robin Good

you are absolutely right.

For the "negative" section targeting with the clause ignore, you need only to change the starting opening tag.

The closing one remains exactly the same.

2009-04-27 16:38:45


Great Article! Are your sure, that the end tag includes the (weight=ignore) ?

2008-04-16 03:25:46

Technology Hacker

Thanks for sharing nice Tip.I will certainly use that..

2006-07-31 22:13:51


This is a great article. This tool for Adsense is wonderful.

posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, December 6 2005, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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