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The Google Image Trick

written by John Chow on April 21, 2006

The Ultimate Online Profit Model

I’m sure by now many of you have heard of the Google image trick. If not, then you’re in for a treat. The Google image trick is where you place an image next to a Google ad to help give it some attention. The first time I read about it was on a thread at Digital Point. I tried searching for the thread but no luck. Maybe one of you can find it for me.

Anyway you can see an example of this trick at The Purse Blog (really good blog BTW). The pictures of the purses lines up with the four Google ads below it. The result is higher click rate than without images. Google is aware of this practice and while it’s not against the TOS, it is in a gray area with the “attracting undue attention” part. What I want to show is how creative some webmasters have become with the Google image trick. Maybe you can use some of these ideas on your site.

Search Engine College. I love this one. The kid is putting his ruler at the Google ad. It’s sheer genius! They also place three small images next to their 250 Google box at the bottom.

Big Bruin. This is a tech site belonging to a friend of mine. He never made much from Google until I helped him out with it. Now Google is one of his biggest money makers. The idea was to place an image of the item being reviewed next to the inline Google ad. This worked out really well because we were not using random images, but instead, the actual item being written about.

Draw a Pig. This was the site featured in the Digital Point thread that I can’t find. In the thread, the webmaster used 4 pigs. Now I see he has way more. According to the owner of the site, click rates increased 400% with the addition of the images.

Tutorial Pod. This site is really pushing integration to the limit. You may have to look really hard to find the Yahoo! ad (he use to run Google). Not only is the site using an image next to the ad but the webmaster has made his feature content list with the same look and feel as the ad!

The TechZone. This list wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t show an example from one of my sites. You can see how I use an image of the Bose headphone and an inline Google 336 to great effects here. Because of the Google TOS I am not allowed to reveal click rate or CPC information but I can tell you the Google 336 is my highest paying Google ad unit.

If you have other examples you like to share, feel free to post them. I would love to check them out.

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{ 14 comments }

Marco - Photography April 21, 2006 at 7:16 pm

Have you got a purse fetish John? haha

Just simply google “site:forums.digitalpoint.com draw a pig” and your there:

http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=17104

Keep up the entries!

Marco - Photography April 21, 2006 at 7:23 pm

BTW John, with your Bose headphone example, did you have to manually cut and paste the adsense code and the image into your CMS or do you have some automatic functionality to do that in every post?

John Chow April 22, 2006 at 11:04 am

Thanks for finding the link! The inline adsense code is not manually cut and paste. It’s done by some kind of call. The writer just puts [adsense] where he wants the ad to show up and the codes are auto inserted.

Vik April 22, 2006 at 11:18 am

I implemented this trick on my forums last month with great success. Here is what it looks like: http://www.lawstudentparadise.com/forums/index.php

Help Desk April 27, 2006 at 9:31 am

I have it done here on my forums.

http://www.dotdesk.com

Charles Hamel October 8, 2006 at 7:32 am

I have just set up a website about self help and spirituality, I am trying to structure my site to bettermake use of my google adsense ads.

I am still new at wordpress so, am struggling a little with it, but would appreciate it if I could get an evaluation of it from some of you pros.

I am not greedy with revenue, would like to build the site to $80.00 a day revenue.

Great article and Thanks

Ed October 28, 2006 at 8:21 pm

Its a pretty cool trick for ctr.

adrianTNT November 10, 2006 at 5:16 pm

This trick is amazing, I saw it before, I never thought it can make such a big difference.

Page CTR got to 20.69% to one of my sites where I added the images.

I hope is ok with Google’s TOS.

Kalena November 14, 2006 at 4:04 am

I hate to dispell the myth that I’m a genius John, but do you know, the whole boy pointing to the AdWords ad was an accident? Yep, I implemented the new boy/blackboard template and then I was looking for a logical place to put the AdSense code and tried it in a few places before it struck me that the ruler could point to it! Voila, the genius revealed.

Daniel December 18, 2006 at 5:51 pm

Now that the AdSense Team has clarified that images next to ads are basically not allowed, let’s see how long it takes for all the example sites above to become compliant. :)

John, are you going to move the Bose headphone away?

John Chow December 18, 2006 at 6:27 pm

Daniel – No, the image I used is allowed. It’s not a random picture, it’s the actual product being reviewed.

Daniel December 18, 2006 at 8:04 pm

John – hmm, from what I understand from http://adsense.blogspot.com/2006/12/ad-and-image-placement-policy.html it seems that this kind of image placement may not be entirely compliant. Quoted from the adsense blog: “(visitors) may click the ad expecting to find something that isn’t actually being offered”.

Is it possible that your visitor click on the ad expecting a Bose headphone being offered there?

John Chow December 18, 2006 at 8:15 pm

I’ll ask Google to clear it up. Keep in mind, the answer they give me may not be the answer they give you.

Daniel December 26, 2006 at 11:14 am

Did Google reply?