What’s this about AdSense Native Ads?

This is an extract from TWIS SEO Update 07 July 2017.

The powers that be at Google have released some new Google AdSense formats which may potentially breach their own SEO Webmaster Guidelines. You can read about these shenanigans beneath. This is another cracking examples of their left-hand not really doing the same thing as their right-hand – and causing webmaster confusion in the process.

If you would like to discuss ways these new ad formats could be implemented in ways which doesn’t breach the organic webmaster guidelines , please feel free to contact me.

#SEO #Google #GoogleAdsense #GoogleGuidelines

New AdSense Native Ads May Breach Webmaster Guidelines


  • The AdSense part of Google has released a new “native” ad format.
  • This is designed to appear “in-feed” or in-line with content, matching the look and feel of the website.
  • This may go against the principles of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines for organic rankings – especially the one that says “Don’t deceive your users”.
  • This may also be in potential violation of the Google Page Layout penalty.

TWIS 07 July 2017 Adsense Native Ads

AdSense Native Ads Actions to take:

  1. Read the AdSense blog post regarding the new ad formats. They are similar to in-stream / related posts ad formats that have been circulating for a good few years.
  2. Read the Google Webmaster Guidelines, as they can be useful for guiding what you should / shouldn’t be doing.
  3. If deciding to use them, use them wisely, especially if your key source of traffic is organic search. Avoid placing above the fold, over-doing the ad spots, or using them deceptively.
  4. Be aware that Google AdSense and the search algorithm teams appear to live in separate universes – one side’s advice may breach the policies / guidelines of the other.
  5. Contact me if you would like to discuss how to balance ad performance and revenue versus organic search rankings.

AdSense Native Ads Discussion:

Google AdSense is just about catching up with similar ad formats made popular by other ad networks like Outbrain etc over the last few years. These formats do work, but are not universally loved by users because they can be deceptive – unclearly marked, overdone, or just plain rubbish content.

Unfortunately, the AdSense team have a long history of recommending actions which may cause issues with ranking in Google search – for example encouraging plentiful ads above the fold, which causes issues with Google’s Page Layout Penalty.

If you’re already using these types of ads from another provider, and your organic performance is okay, then you should consider testing these ads to see if they perform better than the incumbent ad network. If you don’t currently use these types of ads, then introduce them slowly and be aware of potential issues with Google’s algorithms.

Just in case there is any doubt, over-doing AdSense ads and deceptive placement of those ads is just as likely to incur a Google ranking penalty as using ads from any other network. Google is pretty good at being unbiased towards its own products.

More info:

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The State of SEO Mid-2017 Released

The State of SEO Mid 2017

We recently released the super-exciting The State of SEO in mid-2017. Read it now.

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Thanks for reading. If you would like to discuss what these changes mean for your web property, or would like to know how to implement them, please feel free to contact me.

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