I often contribute to StackExchange websites, mainly to the Webmasters StackExchange as SEO is the main topic there.

I plan to go over all of my (successful) answers on the Stack Exchange website and dive deeper in my blog.

Mike asked the following question on the Webmasters StackExchange:

Spacing between an AdSense advertisement and website content?

Mike has been reading the Adsense Policies regarding spacing and website content and is confused with the broad vernacular of "adequate spacing".

Maintain adequate space between the ads and the page controls. For example, on site with games, try to avoid placing ads too close to the game controls. We generally recommend a minimum distance of 150 pixels between the flash player and the ad.

What exactly is "adequate spacing", ponders Mike?

Is it a fixed amount, like 10px? Perhaps 1% of padding?

Explaining the purpose behind 'adequate spacing' for AdSense Ads

Google does not have a strict standard of spacing of Adsense advertisement in a pixel by pixel sense.

The purpose of the 'adequate spacing' terminology is so that users do not confuse navigation elements or content of your website with advertisements.

If Mike's AdSense Banner was on the Navigation bar for example and was indiscernible from content or other navigational items, this may trigger a high bounce rate for clicks which would then trigger Google's automated filters.

Google AdSense is designed to serve advertisers first, in order to justify their investment within the Google Display Network.

If AdSense advertisements failed to deliver quality traffic sources to Google's advertisers, they lose the precious value of their contextual advertising platform - thus, their unique value proposition of the Google Display Network itself.

Automated filters that track fraudulent clicks, high bounce-rates and other behaviour patterns that set alarm bells ringing are in place so that Google can continuously provide value to their respective partners.

Whether it is combating fraud or helping publishers follow best practices, these techniques are in place to help maintain quality on scale.

Automatic filters may also trigger manual review and if a website is deemed to deceptive to serve Google's advertising partners then someone like Mike would probably be suspended from the AdSense program.

Because there are innumerable ways to design a webpage and integrate advertising services within content, there are no strict guidelines for this - only the pursuit of clarity.

Clear distinction between content and advertisements serves not only the user but also advertising partners - leading to a win-win scenario for all those involved.

As Mike's website has very clear differentiation between Advertisements and Content, it would be highly unlikely that he:

  • a) trigger the initial automated filter
  • b) fail manual review

Mike should have little to worry about as his website appears to be fine.