When it comes to maximizing display ad revenue, there is often a temptation to move ads higher up on the page to boost visibility and clicks. In general, the higher up on a page ads appear, the higher the percentage of visitors who will see and interact with them. But maximizing both short-term and long-term revenue isn’t as simple just throwing a bunch of ads at the top of a page. Doing that brings a couple of risks into play: for starters, you risk your site getting penalized by search engine algorithms that are on the lookout for ad-heavy layouts. But more importantly, moving a bunch of ads above the fold can lead to a big decrease in performance. If the above-the-fold section of your site is heavy on ads and light on content, visitors are likely to either hit the back button or scroll down to find the content (which moves the ads off screen). In other words, the ideal solution is to have ads both: 1) above the fold, and 2) next to your page’s content. That’s obviously tough to do, since there is a limited amount of real estate available. (By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; we’ll send monetization tips straight to your inbox each day.) Below is an example of a site that does a pretty good job accomplishing both of these goals. There are five ads above the fold, but also a substantial amount of content: In addition to several well-placed ads, there is a ton of content above the fold. That means that this site is likely at zero risk of any penalty, and that visitors will spend time consuming the content in close proximity to ad units. Included in our count of five ad units are a custom search engine box (labeled as #1 above) as well as a 160×90 link unit box (labeled as #3). Both of these generate revenue by leading visitors to landing pages where ads are presented, and both have the potential to generate attractive, incremental RPMs. There’s also a smaller 160×130 rectangle, which helps to get the ad count up while keeping the space requirement down.
It pays to be creative with your site layout and ad implementation. Featuring both quality content and quality ads above the fold is a tough task, but clearly not impossible. As you browse the Web during the course of your daily work and pleasure, keep an eye out for implementations that effectively position both quality content and relevant ads in places where visitors can easily consume them both.