We have word now that Google is planning to sell ads mid-paragraph on websites. AdWords currently appear only in separate sections of a web page.
The first reaction to this has been negative. Although I say this cautiously, the development makes sense.
We all know that Google’s organic listings value an inbound link within a paragraph on a content page more than a directory style listing.
Because in the middle of a paragraph sounds so much more real. It just looks like somebody is really referencing or recommending that link in that very context, as opposed to just one of many links on a list that might be more or less relevant to something or other.
The same holds true for advertising. An in-text ad link says that this product is relevant to what the reader is reading. It’s being where your customer is, which is always a good thing.
Of course, one must ask whether the customer likes this. If you ask him, he will say “no”. But he persists in reading “free” web pages that somebody takes the time to post, so his actions say that he does. Every now and then, a subscriber to my “free” Daily Dose of Happiness ezine complains about the ads. If that subscriber was paying a buck a month, he would have every right to complain. I wonder if he cheerfully goes about his job, refusing his pay check every two weeks. I think not.
Google’s idea to put ads in the text, labeled as Google Ads in the pop-up bubble, seems to me to be a good move. It certainly will not look as awful and ugly as the current Google ads marring more websites than I can count.
But I am not 100% sold on this view. Maybe there is a good reason to oppose this. Let me know what you think.
Written by David Leonhardt
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