When you install a piece of software, you usually get an End User License Agreement that you're supposed to read carefully. You're then supposed to click a button to show that you've read it all through, understand it and agree with every word. If anyone but the lawyers who write these things has ever read them I'll eat my hat. Most people just click and move on.
The Google Terms of Service are different.
Before you put Google's AdSense code on your website, you must read the Terms of Service carefully. I'm not just saying that to protect myself legally; I'm saying that to protect your income.
Google's terms are strict but sensible. They stop people from talking users who have no intention of buying from an advertiser into clicking on an ad. They protect advertisers from having their sites promoted in places with objectionable content. And they stop publishers from playing around with the code.
That last point is important. One of the biggest reasons that people get banned from Google is that they play around with the code to improve the way their ads look. They get a bit too smart and think they can do a better job than Google. That's a terrible mistake.
If you break the Terms of Service – even accidentally – you could find yourself banned for life. That's the loss of all your AdSense revenues because of one silly mistake.
The fact is, there are lots of perfectly legitimate strategies that you can use to change the way your ads look. Google itself provides a whole box of tools that you can use – and you should use them. It's precisely how you use those tools that will determine whether or not your site brings in pennies or bucketloads of bucks. In fact, there are so many ways that you can change the way your ad looks that there's no need to touch the code at all.
That doesn't mean you can't use code at all though. One way to increase your click-throughs is to put the code inside a table so that the ads make a better impression on the page. Is that in line with Google's Terms of Service? You bet – provided you know how or do it right. And you can bet that it will have a great effect on your click-throughs and your revenues.
Copyright © 2005 Joel Comm. All rights reserved
Joel Comm is Dr. AdSense, an Internet entrepreneur who has been online for more than 20 years. Joel is co-creator of ClassicGames.com, now known as Yahoo! Games and is the author of the web's best-selling AdSense ebook, “Google AdSense Secrets (Or What Google Never Told You About Making Money With AdSense)”.