No matter how hard you work to optimize your page, there are going to be times when Google just can’t figure out which AdSense ad to deliver, so it defaults to delivering a PSA (Public Service Ad) instead.
Now I don’t have any problem with charities, but I give to the ones that I choose to give to. Since I don’t have a non-profit license of my own, the goal of my web site is to make money and I depend on Google AdSense revenues to help pay my bills. Someday I want it to fund my retirement as well, so I can’t afford to have non-revenue PSAs showing up on my site.
The good news is the Google understands the human’s basic greedy nature, so it provides us with an alternative to donating our precious web real estate to charitable organizations. That alternative is known as AdSense Alternate Ads.
As strange as it seems, this feature allows you to let Google competitors into your site. Don’t worry, Google is allowing it with their eyes wide open. They even tell you how to set up the alternate ad code to work on your site and they let you do it right in your AdSense control panel.
Once you add the code to your site, Google will pull ads from whatever service you defined rather than serve a PSA. Google will do that even if those ads are coming from Yahoo, or Overture, or your grandmother’s attic.
This goes a long way towards ensuring that you never lose an opportunity to monetize a visitor’s time spent on your site. How nice it is of Google to gives us that opportunity.
Who do you choose?
Ah, now that’s the big question. Most people head straight for Overture or Yahoo, but there are other fish in the sea worth considering. In fact, some of these fish make their living almost solely by serving replacement ads for PSAs. Run this search on Google and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Sometimes Google doesn’t have any ads in its inventory to match your site’s keywords. Sometimes Google gets confused and can’t figure out which ads to deliver, so it grabs a PSA ad.
Google also has a not-so-readily-available list of what it calls “stop words”. When the Google AdSense spiders detect these words on your page they automatically trigger PSAs. Some of the more commonly known words include severe profanity (think: George Carlin’s 7 Words You Can’t Say on T.V), as well as other words which may very be quite legitimate for your site such as pharmaceutical, drugs, death, dying, abortion, and the list goes on and on. At least we THINK that it goes on and on but no one really knows for sure outside of a trusted few Google staffers.
But no matter what the reason, you don’t want non-revenue ads running on your site. There’s no excuse when Google makes it so easy to keep the revenue flowing.