PubCon: Contextual Advertising Optimization

    November 15, 2006

Representatives from Yahoo and Google both presented their respective strategies for contextual advertising as part of today’s PubCon lineup. WebProNews was on the scene, and here’s a rundown of the session.

Cody Simms, Sr. Product Manager for Yahoo! Publisher Network identifies four unique motivations for publishers:

•  Fondness for the lifestyle
•  Aspects of community
•  An interest in technology
•  Reveling in the challenge

Simms says, “The measure of success for all of them, however, is maximizing revenue and increasing traffic.”

Simms iterates that this mentality is common to all sizes of publishers.

Contextual advertising, in a nutshell, is “non-search” advertising. The intent of non-search based pages must somehow be derived from the content of the site.

Ultimately, it all boils down to content. If the page is a comprehensive iPod resource, for example, contextual intent might be the purchase of an iPod.

URLs are starting to get a little more interesting as well, as there are ways to extract some meaning from the keywords in a URL.

Navigation/sitemaps are also a helpful place to showcase context.

Simms also offers this tidbit to developers and SEOs, “I can’t underestimate the importance of doing really clear and concise title tags and headers.”

The article text itself, however, is far and away the most important factor it terms of contextual advertising. Crawling bots struggle with Flash, iFrames, and other methods of multimedia site presentation, which for search purposes should reinforce the focus to optimizing the actual text on the page

According to Simms, one of the best search engine and contextually optimized sites on the web is

If publishers can master these strategies, the reward is obtaining specific and targeted contextual advertising.

Simms offers a list of “Dos and Don’ts” when it comes to content:


•   Preserve your editorial integrity – write for your users, not the bots
•  Take the time to make sure you have good title tags (approximately 70 characters) and descriptions (approximately 250 characters)
•  Include page section headers and headlines
•  Limit low content pages.
•  Limit pages that have only images and flash


•  Don’t use unnecessary code. Keep your code as simple as possible. Reference CSS externally by calling it; don’t build it into the code on your page.
•  Don’t use unnecessary language.
•  Don’t have too many topics on one page.
•  Get rid of unneeded marketing copy
•  Remove jargon – people don’t search for things like user reviews and product reviews

URL Tips

•  Try to integrate keywords into the URL.
•  Use permalinks, not query strings.
•  Use strong keywords as anchor text when linking to your own site.
•  Home pages can be tricky. If your content is static on your home page, your ads won’t change. Try to keep some changes going.

Simms concluded his portion of the session by offering the following links for publishers to use as a reference: /contentmatch /traffic

Tom Pickett from Online Sales and Operations at Google AdSense was next to present. His focus was on the swing in media consumption from traditional outlets to online content, and the resulting opportunities that will result from the paradigm shift.

According to Pickett, the habits of web users are changing. We’re seeing more and more time spent on the Internet. The amount of advertising dollars spent in the online realm, however, is increasing at a much slower pace.

Google doesn’t expect this trend to last, and predicts that ad spending will soon catch up, and as a result, generate a significant amount of money spent on online advertising.

Pickett states, “AdSense has grown dramatically over the last year. We reach over 76% of the Internet population.”

Google’s new ad placement system allows clients to group their specific advertising inventory by channel. The advertiser will be able to search and drill down to find sites by these publisher-defined channels.

Third party developers are developing Google gadgets, which could benefit advertising partners as well by offering potentially attractive add-ons for users that embody a wide variety of subjects.

Pickett comments on Google’s new custom search engine technology, “This allows you to harness the power of Google and use your own expertise to create your own search engine.”

Pickett also suggests that one could create a custom search engine and monetize with AdSense for Search.

AdSense’s API program also allows advertising partners to promote Google products on a pay per action basis.

Pickett predicts a healthy future online video, particular with the monetization possibilities that lie in bundling content and ads together. He notes, “You can expect to see a lot more innovation in this area.”

In closing, Pickett predicts a heavy influx of brand marketing; “We think we’re going to see a lot of shift in dollars from brand advertisers in the next year.”

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.