Programmatic advertising is becoming the new status quo. But with auto ads comes the danger that the computer will place ads where you don’t want them!
Because no one likes a webpage where Adsense just vomited all over the HTML. If you allow ads to overrun your blog, your Reader will quickly learn how to block ads and pop-ups entirely!
How to Disable Ads with Adsense or Ezoic
If you enable AdSense, Ezoic, or another major ad network on your site, you will probably have the option to programmatically display ads. In other words, an AI will automatically insert bits of HTML code around your site, and the ad network will display ads in these locations.
- With Google Adsense, this is literally as simple as one click:
- With Ezoic, the WordPress plugin will automatically generate placeholders within your theme:
But I have learned that you can’t trust the computer to do everything. And I’ve learned this lesson the hard way (several times, actually).
- I clicked a broken link and was redirected to my 404 page (good) only to be besieged by a kaleidoscope of header, footer, sidebar, and in-content ads (very bad)! That’s against Google’s Ad Publisher requirements.
- Once I clicked on “Next Page” in a Posts Gallery on my Home Page only to discover that Ezoic counted mywebsite.com/page/2 as a different page than mywebsite.com/ and was happily serving ads on my refreshed home page!
- I’ve also encountered ads on archive directories, such as mywebsite.com/author/ or mywebsite.com/tag/. Archives and indexes should have zero ads to avoid distracting Readers from finding their content.
Most ad networks will allow you to block ads by page or directory. Take some time when you first set up your website to disallow or disable ads by Post, Page, and Category.
Where Google Says Not to Place Ads
If Google says don’t place ads somewhere, don’t do it!
And even if you aren’t approved for AdSense, you should abide by Google’s Adsense ad placement policies. Most ad networks work alongside Google Adsense as third-party mediation networks, which means you’ll have to be approved by Adsense, anyway.
- No ads on non-content pages (e.g. 404) or pages specifically created for the purpose of showing ads.
- No ads in software applications, emails, IMs, chats, pop-ups, or frames.
- No ads in robot.txt-blocked pages or other content Google cannot evaluate.
Avoid clustering ads above the fold. Google doesn’t like when top-of-page ads push content below the viewport. And with so many users quickly scrolling past the Header and Title, above-the-fold ads are no longer as valuable as they once were.
Rule of thumb: If it’s not content written for real Readers, you can’t place ads around it. And if it feels like cheating, it probably is.
Where I Suggest You Disable Ads
Personally, I show display ads on my content posts. I turn them off almost everywhere else. As a blogger, 95% of what you write will be content posts, so you’ll still have ads on almost your entire site.
Front Door Pages
Everyone knows “front door” web pages: Home, About, Contact, etc. These are the basic Legos of any blog. Most ad networks require them; customers expect them.
Serving ads on these pages just screams desperation. It’s auctioning off your blog identity to the highest bidder. Have some pride in yourself! Even Google doesn’t allow ads on its simple white search page, arguably the most valuable digital real estate in the world.
- About (History, Meet the Team)
- Contact (Forms)
Back Door Pages
These pages typically include legal and navigational information. Privacy policies, for instance, are legally required in most countries. You don’t want to be cluttering up legal disclaimers with display ads!
- Login pages
Taxonomies & Directories
I think of these pages as the highways and backroads around your website. These are mostly index, category, and archive pages. WordPress enables most of these by default, such as Categories and Tags.
It’s important you block ads by Directory, not Page. Blocking mywebsite.com/category1/ as a Directory will block any URL like mywebsite.com/category/any-other-URL.
If you’ve configured WordPress permalinks as a custom structure with Categories integrated into the URL, this is easy as pie! (However, you’ll need to know your Category structure ahead of time. And you can’t change Categories in the future without a Redirect.)
Affiliate, Bridge & Landing Pages
Don’t step over dollars to pick up pennies. If you have a post or page with a high-value affiliate CTA, why distract Readers with ads? Would you rather make $0.72 from an ad click or $65 from an affiliate commission?
No landing page or affiliate hub pages should have ads. If you have an e-commerce store or a list of “recommended gear,” I recommend disabling ads on that page. Or at least disable in-content ads.
- Affiliate hub pages
- Bridge pages
- Landing and sign-up pages
Anywhere Else You Want!
Ads are not an exact science. There’s a tremendous amount of research about the most effective ad placements, but we humans are both stubborn and adaptive. We’re pretty good at ignoring what we don’t want to see (anybody remember the “Invisible Gorilla” video from psychology class?). The top-of-page location still commands a premium price, but many mobile device users scroll to the content before the top-of-page ad even has a chance to load!
So if you feel like your Readership doesn’t want ads in a certain place, why not listen to them? For instance, I recently disabled all ads within my first 3-5 paragraphs. Introductions are important. They’re a handshake and a smile. I don’t want AdSense butting into my personal introduction to the Reader; the revenue can wait for another paragraph.
Similarly, I hate “native stories,” those clickbait articles at the bottom of auto-blogging sites. I want to keep Readers on my website, not have them sneaking off to scroll photo galleries of adorable kittens, disgusting foods, or scantily-clad college cheerleaders having clothing malfunctions.
You might not feel comfortable with vignette ads, anchor ads, native stories, floating videos, or other ad formats. That’s fine. You aren’t obligated to squeeze pennies out of your Reader like a lemon. Try disabling ads you hate and measuring the impact of your revenue. You might be pleasantly surprised!