Google Adsense targeting trick

I've been reading a lot about Findory's Adsense targeting. Some are alternately impressed and upset that they can't feed their own keywords into Google Adsense ads. (See here and here.) A few weeks ago I discovered a way to accomplish this sort of thing without having a premium Adsense account. I ran it by Google and they've OK'd it so now I feel compelled to share. Let me take you on a magical journey of nerdiness...

Better targeting

Google may not let regular publishers feed the Adsense ads specific keywords, but there's a neat technique I noticed a few weeks ago on the new (a very slick aggregator). I've checked with Google and been told this method isn't a violation of the terms of service, so hopefully the webmaster of Feedtagger won't mind me pointing his clever implementation out.

I noticed when clicking around on the the popular tags list on the left side of that a) the ads were refreshing without a page reload and b) the ads were eerily targeted to the keyword you clicked on. Try clicking "politics" or "food" for good examples. Pretty amazing targeting for such a noisy page. Any webmaster who's struggled with Adsense relevancy would be intrigued.

How it works

Curious, I looked through the source and found that the Google ad itself was in an IFRAME that's dynamically refreshed with Javascript. The default URL displayed in the IFRAME is:

Which displays a blank page with "null" in the title. When you click on, say the "food" tag, however, it refreshes that IFRAME to:

Which puts the word 'food' in the title and a Google ad on an otherwise blank page. The ad is then perfectly targeted to the word in the title. Replace the word "food" in the URL with any keyword and you'll see relevant ads (as long as relevant ads exist).

This is pretty cool. And obviously, extending this out, if you wanted to clone Findory's behavior you could dynamically load personalized keywords into the title tags of the IFRAME as the user clicks around the site so that the ads would be customized to the user's profile. I have no idea how Google would feel about that, though.


As I said, I did ask Google about this technique of forcing the relevancy of Adsense ads and they said it was "not a violation of any program policies". But they added:

However, please keep in mind that AdSense publishers may not display Google ads on pages that include the use of excessive, repetitive, or irrelevant keywords in the content or code of their pages.

I assume they're fine with FeedTagger's usage because it's very good about only using this technique to increase the relevancy of the ads rather than trying to hit high value keywords or other shady practices. Using this to scam your way into more money will probably get you kicked out.