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How to improve website engagement and make visitors happy while optimizing ads

What encourages engagement?

Content

Most beginner publishers attempt to join Google Adsense when they start out. The assumption can be that this is just a formality; create any site, drop Adsense ads on it, sit back, and wait for the money to roll in. The truth is that Google analyzes your website when you first apply for Adsense, and while they don’t release acceptance figures, it’s a safe bet that more are rejected than approved.
Publishers need to think about the user’s perspective when it comes to content. If your website has poor quality articles, little to no independent or unique content and contains a lot of grammatical errors, the user will navigate away from the page within seconds. Not to mention the fact that they probably won’t perform well from an SEO perspective or generate any traffic.
The average time on a page and session length will be very low while the bounce rate will be very high. If there’s nothing to capture the user’s attention on the page, or they can’t understand what you’re trying to say, they will leave. This is awful for user engagement, and it’s precisely what advertisers don’t want. If they advertise at all on a website like that, they’ll pay rock bottom rates.
Think about the articles on your site. Are they a good read? Are they full of information and well-researched points? Are they entertaining, funny, engaging? Not everyone is a natural writer, but anyone can be interesting when talking about a subject that they’re passionate about. Ask friends to read the articles and suggest changes, or even encourage other people to write for your site.

Ad layout

In general, the best layouts allow content and ads to exist in harmony. A wonderful site design doesn’t look so good if it’s littered with ads covering half the viewing area. Similarly, a busy website with a couple of ads buried at the bottom of the page is not going to perform well in terms of ad revenue.
There is no magic formula for how many ads to show on a page, or what types of non-standard display ads to use. Advertisers want to be visible, meaning ads near the top of the page or ads that remain on the page (sliding ads, or sticky/anchor ads) work best. You can also place ads within blocks of text but try not to overdo it.  We’ve all seen webpages where we have more ads than actual content, to the extent that sometimes you can miss a paragraph of text entirely. This will turn off users, and revenue will fall in the long term.

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