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August 22, 2005

Section Targeting for AdSense allows you to ignore on-page content

A new Google AdSense feature, section targeting, is an extremely useful tool for publishers. Section targeting allows you to essentially declare certain parts of the on-page content as off-limits to the mediapartners bot, effectively allowing you to target the mediabot with only the content you want it to. This will also allow you to set certain sections on a page - such as navigational menus and header/footer areas - as not being considered for ad targeting by the bot.

Section targeting allows you to suggest sections of your text and HTML content that you'd like us to emphasize or downplay when matching ads to your site's content. By providing us with your suggestions, you can assist us in improving your ad targeting. We recommend that only those familiar with HTML attempt to implement section targeting.

In order to implement section targeting, you will need to add some special AdSense tags into your html code, in order to designate which areas should and shouldn't be used for targeting the ads.

The section targeting works as follows:

The HTML tags to emphasize a page section take the following format:

<!-- google_ad_section_start -->


<!-- google_ad_section_end -->



You can also designate sections you'd like to have ignored by adding a (weight=ignore)
to the starting tag:


<!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) -->



With these tags added to your HTML code, your final code may look like the following:


<html><head><title>Section targeting</title></head>

<body>

<!-- google_ad_section_start -->



This is the text of your web page. Most of your content resides here.


<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

</body>

</html>


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.

I am guessing if a page that has mesothelioma content set for targeting, but content on dogs set to ignore, there will be some relevancy checking to see why there is such differences between the two sections. It could even get flagged for a quality review because of differences, which could reveal that dogs is the true content while mesothelioma was a hidden keyword spamfest.

For those with large sites, and hence larger navigation systems, this feature will help those publishers have much more relevant ads. Navigation menus tend to skew ads, meaning publishers have problems with displaying ads that are either focsing on one aspect of the navigation menu, or themed to the site in general, rather than ads targeted specifically to the "true" unique content of the page.

I suspect we will see many publisher implementing this new feature soon. Do be aware that the mediabot generally indexes a page once a month or so, although it can be as frequent as every week or two. But chances are you won't see differences in the ads on the first page view after implementing the change, but rather see the difference a couple of weeks after adding the new section targeting.

Updated: A couple of people are having problems with the link to Google, if you are one, try this link instead.

Posted by Jenstar at August 22, 2005 12:43 PM

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Comments

This is great news. What'd be even better is if you could link each Google ad to a section of text. For instance, you have two Google ads on your page. The first one appears after your first blog entry -- you would want to link that ad to the blog entry, so you get ads specific to what you are talking about on that day.

Your other Google ad is in your navigation bar, so you'd want to link that ad to your blog description, so you get more general ads relevant to your overall blog topic.

Posted by: Andrew Kaufmann at August 22, 2005 01:46 PM

Thanks for this tip, Jen. I think I'm going to use it to have mediabot ignore anything in the "comments" of my blogs.

Posted by: Tim of GPS Reviews at August 22, 2005 01:47 PM

Nice... Changed my content scripts already - let's see how it performs now (any good change is, well... good).

Posted by: M Freitas at August 22, 2005 03:31 PM

The link to Google is invalid

Posted by: labnol.blogspot.com at August 22, 2005 09:47 PM

You are the second person to report that link is 404, but I get the page on site targeting, as do several other people who checked. Not sure why that is.

Posted by: Jenstar at August 22, 2005 10:18 PM

Seems the correct link here
http://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/answer.py?answer=23168

Posted by: amit agarwal at August 22, 2005 10:53 PM

Great info. Thanks!

Posted by: Bob S at August 24, 2005 06:23 PM