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I admit that I know my way around Adsense pretty well now after using them for about 2 and a half years on my own website AskWillOnline.com. The truth is that I have only just about finished optimising the adverts after all that time (and still, I think there are areas of improvements). A recent optimisation I made was with ad categories which can be found under the tab ‘Allow & block ads’. Unfortunately  most advertisers do not completely understand this tab which is why I want to try and explain it now from my experience with experimenting with it.


Basically, the ‘Allow & black ads’ tab let’s you block (and allow) specific advertiser URLs, general and sensitive categories and even ad networks from appearing as adverts on your Adsense adverts. The reason for this is because:

  • Advertisers find that certain ad URLs have extremely low CPCs: in the cents. Therefore, if you eradicate these poor performing advertisers from appearing, your CPC should increase making you more money per click.
  • Some general categories gain ad impressions without converting these ad impressions into clicks and earnings. Therefore, by blocking these categories, you can allow higher performing ad categories to appear as adverts on your Adsense ads.
  • If you know the type of people that are visiting your website from, lets say, Google Analytics, you will be able to identify what age range they are and their interests. Sensitive categories (Weight loss, dating, references to sexuality and gambling) can be blocked too if you feel they are inappropriate to the type of traffic you are getting.

That is the main reasons why publishers will use the ‘Allow & block ad’ tab. However, from my experience, I do feel people are using it in the wrong way.


For example, I followed the crowd with opinions on this matter and used an ‘ad black list’ to block low paying advertisers. You think it would have made a difference? My CTR and CPC stayed pretty much exactly the same. Therefore, I then looked to block the general and sensitive ad categories that were under performing. This did boost my CTR for around a week. After that, it went down to lower than it was first at. What was I doing wrong?


After looking at what I had done, I released I had interfered with the old saying ‘supply and demand’. By blocking ad categories, I had effectively reduced the demand for my adverts and therefore made it easier for advertisers to become the highest bidder for my advertising spaces. For this reason, I realised to gain best results, I need to block not one single URL or category in Adsense. I want my adverts to gain as much exposure to the advertising side of Google as possible and to allow this to happen you have to allow everything to bid on your advertising spaces. Since making this change, my CPC has completely rocketed (which is, kind of, as expected) with my CTR staying pretty healthy. Therefore, I would recommend that if anyone is unsure about what to do when it comes to the ‘Allow & block ads’, allow everything.


All You Need To Know About Ad Categories In Google Adsense - Edited


My one contradiction is for publishers that are completely satisfied with how their publisher side to Adsense is going e.g. for people like me who have used Adsense consistently for years. When you start to gain consistent earnings, have a look at which ad categories are doing the worst. From this, block it: just that category. If you don’t notice an improvement in a month, unblock it again. But, small changes like this can help make you more money from Adsense – it is when publishers make huge changes to their publisher sides to PPC that is when earnings significantly fluctuate and decrease.

Will created Ask Will Online back in 2010 to help students revise and bloggers make money developing himself into an expert in PPC, blogging SEO, and online marketing. He now runs others websites such as Poem Analysis, Book Analysis, and Ocean Info. You can follow him @willGreeny.

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