One of my theories for a while has been that Google Adsense is bad for blogs and bad for bloggers. Chasing Adsense clicks leads bloggers into making changes that are not good for the audience, the blogger or the long term good of the blog. Metrics is providing what I think over a longer term might be conclusive evidence with my favourite blog.
Since I first started testing Metrics with my blogs I have seen a trend that other than one or two exceptions, the best performing posts for Adsense clicks were the worst performing for comments. It seems on my blog at least I have to choose between “ad clicks efficient” and “stickiness”. Does this sound familiar? Take a look at your metrics and let me know.
In my case the posts that achieved the most clicks were very product detail focused. I am talking about reviews, gossip about future products, technical details of products and product feature glossaries.
What about the maximum comments? They are posts that spark discussion, controversial, interesting news, posts where people have ideas or opinions. They don’t get any ad clicks but the comment threads have lasted long after the initial post has gone from the homepage. They tend to be light on product details and heavy on “what does this mean to us” – not great contextual advert keyword fodder.
So should I change my blog to attract more Adsense clicks? In theory I just need to post more about products?
Well even if I wanted to go down that road for a start Darren Rowse already well serves that part of the niche very well. He posts most days an excellent round up of the product news.
Secondly I didn’t start the blog to attract adsense income, although every little helps, it was mainly a way of growing my knowledge of the subject and keeping my hobby interesting to myself and my friends. Changing to suit Google performance does not fit well with that aim.
Most importantly though from an advertiser perspective a blog that has an audience that is interested, loyal, vocal and knowledgeable has to be a good thing. These people return day after day to see something other than product details. They are very into their photography hobby or profession, passionate about what might seem trivial to outsiders. Believe me these people spend a fortune and enjoy spending. They have disposable income and they know how to use it. It seems Google Adsense just does not reach them. That isn’t the fault of my content.
The answer isn’t to change my content, it is to change the advertising. Rather than serve Googles needs, I need advertising that serves mine.