Adsense Optimization With Colors

Have you heard that the most effective link color is blue? I decided to test it out and my conclusion is that this is indeed true. People just expect a link to be blue, so why fight it?

I manage a website that gets about 3000 visitors a month. Its primary monetization vehicle is ebay affiliate ads, but I have slowly been adding adsense to it. Recently I decided to try out the Ad links unit. Unlike the text ad units, these are the horizontal strips of adsense links without the descriptions or URLs. Many webmasters blend them into the header as a psuedo navigational bar. Given the website builder I was using, I didn’t have that “blending” option without a fair amount of work, but I decided to try placing ad link units near the header above and below the H1.


I choose three color schemes: 1) brown links on a beige background, 2) blue links on a beige background and 3) beige links on a brown background. The beige and brown colors are consistent with the overall color schema of the site. I used the 468×15 size and placed the adsense ads on six pages, 2 each .. I tried to pick pages that got about the same about traffic and were similar in content.

Adsense has this nifty feature called channels. Each of my ads I assigned to a different channel. (ie. I assigned the ad with the brown links on a beige background to a channel called ‘nav1’). The reports will break down the results into the channels so you can see which ad is performing better.

Then I forgot about it for 18 days and then checked back in. Here are the results:

color scheme    impress. clicks Page CTR
brown links on beige  225  0  0%
blue links on beige  205  3  1.50%
beige links on brown  266  0  0%

Again not a large enough sample size to satisfy the statisticians, but enough to satisfy me. Blue links win. Seems like I should consider changing the maroon links on this blog to be blue, yes?

However note that even the blue links on beige performance ad links is not as good as my text ads, which is getting a Page CTR of 3.64%.

One thing that is cool, is that you can edit the colors settings of your ads right in your adsense account (Adsense Setup -> Manage Ads). So I did and didn’t have to touch my pages at all. Here is my next test.

  1. Blue links on a white background (same as the site background)
  2. Blue links on beige .. but with the border set to white (so the “Ads by Google” part is on white but the ads are on beige – the above image at the beginning of this post is an example of this
  3. Blue links on beige – this is the same as before so I have a control group

I’ll be definitely tweaking and monitoring this more. My main dilemma is whether to add the text ads to more pages (which are doing better but are more “intrusive”) or keep going with the ad link groups.

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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