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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.

Posted on - June 1, 2005 [at] 11:33 am by Brad
Tagged in -

11 Comments on this post

al saiz on Google Adsense targeting trick
June 4, 2005 at 3:53 am

Boy you could have some great fun with this…;)

Chris on Google Adsense targeting trick
June 4, 2005 at 5:09 am

I’m the developer of FeedTagger and you’ve done well to work out what’s happening. In actual fact I’ve gone beyond just keywords now, I can get google to build a targeted advert for any item in an RSS feed ;) – I haven’t deployed it completely, but may in the near future.

BTW: I was fairly confident I wasn’t going against the Google terms, but handy to know for sure!


failrate on Google Adsense targeting trick
June 11, 2005 at 2:34 pm

Is that the URL that you see in the browser location bar? If so, nifty. Does it also require the word to appear in the element of the HTML page (as it might in a dynamic web page)?

mike on Google Adsense targeting trick
January 8, 2006 at 2:30 pm

I’ve tried doing this on my site because I have no textual content.

it seems I had a lot of clicks at first, then it just stopped. now i have no clicks.

Adsense Sucks on Google Adsense targeting trick
April 17, 2006 at 3:27 am

Google burned me good with AdSense. I had been running their contextual text links on a half dozen of my sites.. after I had earned about $400, they sent me some lame “invalid clicks” email which looked like it wasn’t even written by a human. I had no idea what they were talking about, and offered to fix the problem.. they ignored my responses and I never saw the money.

I would avoid AdSense like the plague. I googled around about this, and it seems to happen to a lot of people, and always when it’s getting close to payout time.

I’ve since swapped out all my CPC adsense ads with CPA ads from AzoogleAds. ( ) .. I’m making WAY more money with them, and the checks show up on time every month when they’re supposed to. No lame excuses or reps hiding under their desks.

I have earned over $200,000 USD lifetime with them, and I’ve been paid on time every time. I would strongly suggest that folks check them out, and quit running adsense before you get burned too. It’s quite unpleasant to drive in thousands of legitimate clicks over the course of months, and get screwed by google when it comes time to square up.

I’d like to mention that I’m not an employee of AzoogleAds, nor am I trying to spam their name out.. I just think they’re a rock solid Internet marketing agency, and they’ve never burned me like google did.. even on 5 figure checks.

Two Thumbs Up!

World Experts on Google Adsense targeting trick
December 19, 2006 at 5:31 pm

Have they changed their policy on using IFRAME, i have send them an email about using IFRAME and I am waiting on an answer.

@AdsenseSucks So far they have been treating me well and answer all my emails

Chris Merriman on Google Adsense targeting trick
February 6, 2007 at 4:08 pm

To World Experts, I too found no problem with communicating with the Google Ad Sense team, and even got human, manually typed out answers in most cases. UNTIL they decided to close my account, in a similar situation to ‘AdSense Sucks’ above, when they stopped replying, until eventually I got VERY standardised cut’n’paste jobs in reply, which didn’t actually respond to any of my points.
Whilst I wouldn’t tell someone to stop using AdSense, I WOULD look at other schemes, and decided which to switch to, should the worse happen, and look into the possibility of PPL/PPS schemes instead of just PPC – it all depends on your sites, obviously, but it can’t harm to have a few sources for your income, should the worse happen to one of them.

Jeff on Google Adsense targeting trick
August 13, 2007 at 5:24 pm

that website is down

Tom on Google Adsense targeting trick
May 8, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Hey Brad, interesting technique!

AdSense is great, but lately I’ve been making more with Chitika. In fact, over the last year I compiled some statistics of my earnings and I actually earned twice as much with Chitika compared to AdSense. For those of you curious about Chitika, check out this Chitika review for more info and some cool screenshots.

kennydelacruz on Google Adsense targeting trick
February 26, 2010 at 5:24 am

my comment did not appear.. what is the matter?

Alex Murray on Google Adsense targeting trick
March 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm


I like the post although I was wondering if Google is still ok with this technique?

Comments are closed on this post.