Google AdSense users might be familiar with the exclude list functionality, also known as the competitive ad filter. This feature will let you block out all advertisements that link to certain sites. And why would you want to block ads on your site? For one, Google AdSense is very good at detecting the context of your content. And AdSense will most likely bring up ads that point to other sites that offer similar services. This is all right if you run a blog or website, but if you publish AdSense ads on your company website or your web application, you sure wouldn’t want people to click ads and leave your site for your competitor, would you?
If you’re running a site selling Coke products, would you like Pepsi ads to appear? Of course not!
AdSense has just what you need–a competitive ad filter. It’s not perfect, though. One thing, you would have to key in all the domains (or sub-domains or sub-folders) of the sites you want to ban from ever appearing on your AdSense ads. Secondly, you cannot define just keywords for which you don’t want ads to appear on. This can sometimes be disappointing since it can get difficult to catch and ban all the unwanted ads from appearing on your site.
Here’s a sample selection below.
This is an example of what your competitive ad filter might look like if you run a blogging service. You’d want to block out the competitors like Blogger, WordPress, and the like, lest your users click on them and discover there are other products or services they can try.
Competitive ad filters can also be used to filter out ads that are not suitable to your taste–maybe you have religious or cultural preferences against a certain product or practice, or something to that effect. Or maybe you’re prone to However, if you’re not really concerned about potentially competitive or unwanted ads, AdSense experts suggest that you don’t use competitive ad filtering at all, and here’s why.
First, using competitive ad filters might limit your earning potential, as you might be effectively edging out the advertisers who bid high for your keywords.
Second, if your AdSense account is fairly new, you might experience lots of public service ads (or blank spaces, if you choose to define a blank space if no ads matched your content).
Given these reasons, it’s best to use the competitive ad filter sparingly–use them only on sites that you’re sure that you absolutely don’t want to appear on your ads.