Online Advertising Answers: June 2021

Got questions? Get answers! I’m Justin Driskill, and this is the June edition of Online Advertising Answers.

This month I look at why counting is so hard on the internet, why more ad impressions doesn’t necessarily equal more money, and why buying links is a short term strategy at best.

Let’s dig in.

[Have a question? Go to my profile on Quora and ask me there – or email me at]


This month’s questions are:

[Click these links to skip down to the question]


Online Advertising Answers



Q: #12excludeGlossary


A: #14excludeGlossary


[This originally appeared on Quora]




Q: #21excludeGlossary


A: Paying for backlinks is considered a black hat strategy. Black Hat SEO simply means any SEO tactic that is against Google’s rules or guidelines, and paid for links are explicitly mentioned as being bad on their Link Schemes page.

What I don’t understand is why you would want to pay for links? Or honestly, do anything that is against the rules on the Link Schemes page? Putting aside for one moment the idea that you will get caught and punished, I still don’t think the benefits are enough to make any unnatural linking techniques worthwhile.

I’ll put it this way – I run a site and get endless requests for link exchanges and link insertion. I always say no because there is no upside to saying yes – for me, it’s extra work; for my site the SEO effects are either negligible or negative; for my users that link will mean basically nothing.

I always wonder about sites that say yes to these things. Do they have enough spare time (who does?), do they have the SEO equity to spare (who does?), do they have users who don’t care where their links go (maybe?). My assumption is that these are bad site owners whose SEO equity and user base are either artificially inflated (so they can be sacrificed), or are just poor to start with.

If you really want to get a link on my site (or other legit sites) – I (and others) accept #24excludeGlossary guest posts as they have benefits across the board. I don’t allow links to be crammed in for no reason (who does?) but if I check a link and it actually has value to my readers then I’ll allow it.

I’m aware that a lot of guest posts submissions come from an agency or freelancer, and those articles are written with the intent of getting a link on my site. Again for me, it’s all about the usefulness of the link to my audience.  As long as the agency sends a good post and the links in it are actually useful then it has value for my site and users. (In case you’re wondering – this isn’t against Google’s rules – I check all links and so they are very much #25excludeGlossary).

If someone asks to pay for a post though I always say no – as in my experience people paying for posts are generally terrible writers. I am interested in having a quality site, as in the long run that will earn me far more money than a few sponsored posts here or there.

From the buyer’s point of view – if an agency directly buys links then those are probably bad links. Good sites with good link equity are less likely to sell links as they probably earn enough without it (and selling links isn’t going to make you rich). So the links you can purchase are generally going to be worse as they’re on smaller (or worse) sites.

On top of that, sites that sell links are diluting their link equity – including for the people who buy from them. If you buy a link on a page then it may get you some traffic and link equity. But then someone else buys a link on the same page and reduces what you get from it. It’s not a good system.

Like all black hat techniques, buying links is mostly only useful in the short term. If you’re paying an agency to get you good guest post spots written by good writers, that’s possibly a good plan. When you do that though, you’re paying for outreach and content rather than backlinks. The backlinks are being earned by the quality of their work – and this is how the linking #26excludeGlossary should work in my opinion.

[Expanded from a post on Reddit]





Q: “Why are the view numbers on my blog page and AdSense account page different?”


A: “The simple answer is that no two programs will get the same amount of view numbers.

With AdSense in particular you would expect the pageviews recorded to be different to that on a blog. This is because your blog will be recording every time a page loads, and AdSense will be recording every time a page loads with ads. With many people using ad blockers these days, the numbers will be lower.

If the number is much lower – then you may have a problem. Somewhere between 10–20% is ‘normal’ so higher than that and you should investigate.

If you want to encourage people to not use ad blockers, then don’t put too many ads on your site. 3 ads per page is about the right amount, and don’t have any annoying ads (like overlays) unless they only appear to users once per day.


Where to position ads on your site


You can also block categories that may annoy people in AdSense by going to “Allow and Block Ads” in the left-hand menu, then choose “All my sites”, then at the top clicking on the “Sensitive Categories” tab. By blocking sensitive categories you’ll lose a small amount of money in the short run, but in the long run, you’ll gain more visitors to your site.


Discrepancies in general

Even if two analytics platforms count views in the exact same way, unpredictable things happen when people load web pages. Sometimes people will close a page before it is fully loaded. Sometimes another program, plugin, app, or extension will make one set of analytics not work properly. Sometimes…something odd will just happen.

This isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just what happens when there are different browsers, devices, ISPs, and a myriad of other factors that affect how a page loads.

This difference in reporting numbers is generally referred to as a ‘discrepancy’ – and as long as it stays roughly consistent then you have nothing to worry about. If a discrepancy between two sets of figures starts to get worse, then there may be a problem that needs investigating.


How Digital Stats Discrepancies Happen


I hope this helps,


PS You should use Google Analytics to monitor your page views, not a blogs internal stats, or Google AdSense. It’s just better!


[This originally appeared on Quora]



Until July,