Updated September 24th, 2019
Setting up your AdSense Custom Search Ads is essential in maximizing revenues for your search engine, while staying Policy compliant at all times.
The first thing you will need to do is confirm that your AdSense account has active permissions to use AdSense Custom Search Ads on your website. Custom Search Ads (sometimes also called AdSense for Search Ads – AFS) can be a little confusing because publishers might assume that their AdSense account automatically has access to search ads or that Responsive Text Ads are the same as Search Ads.
To check if you have active permissions for Custom Search Ads navigate to Account > Settings > Account Information. Here you should see ‘Search’ under Active Products. If you do not see ‘Search’ under your AdSense Active Permissions, then you would first need to apply for Custom Search ads. Check out our article on How to get AdSense Custom Search Ads for your Website to get started.
For everyone who already has active search ads approval, the easiest way to move forward is by using the official CSA Code Generator
The first thing you can do with the Code Generator is to configure your basic page options.
'high'Returns family-safe ads. Does not return non-family-safe or adult sexual content ads.
'medium'Returns family-safe and non-family-safe ads. Does not return adult sexual content ads.
'low'Returns all types of ads.
Next you decide on specific configurations for each ad unit. Custom Search Ad units are different from normal ads since CSAs can have several units, with each unit having its own customization settings.
This is the code that should go into the <head> tag on your pages:
This is a sample of the Ad Unit code. Place the div with the containers wherever you want the ad units to show up.
Page Level Parameters
|adPage||Used to show what results page in a sequence the user is on.||Required|
|pubId||Your AdSense account’s Publisher ID||Required|
|query||The exact search query as performed by the user||Required|
|adsafe||‘high’ or ‘medium’ or ‘low’||Optional|
|adtest||‘on’ or ‘off’||Optional|
|channel||‘1234’ or ‘12345+67890’||Optional|
|hl||Identify your preferred language. Default is set to ‘hl’ : ‘en’||Optional|
|ie||Set character encoding for query string. Default is set to utf-8||Optional|
|oe||Set character encoding that is used for the ads. Default is set to utf-8||Optional|
|personalizedAds||options are ‘true’ or ‘false’. Sample: ‘personalizedAds’: false||Optional|
|colorLocation||‘colorLocation’ : ‘#f9f9f9’||Optional|
|fontSizeLocation||‘fontSizeLocation’ : 16||Optional|
|clickToCall (mobile only||‘clickToCall’ : false||Optional|
|location||‘location’ : true||Optional|
|sellerRatings||‘sellerRatings’ : true||Optional|
|siteLinks||‘siteLinks’ : true||Optional|
|container||‘container’ : ‘searchadcontainer1’||Required|
|maxTop||‘maxTop’ : 2||Required|
|width||‘width’ : ‘900px’||Required|
|number||‘number’ : 2||Optional|
|fontFamily||‘fontFamily’ : ‘roboto, arial, times new roman’||Optional|
|fontFamilyAttribution||‘fontFamilyAttribution’ : ‘roboto, arial, times new roman’||Optional|
|fontSizeAnnotation||‘fontSizeAnnotation’ : 18||Optional|
|fontSizeAttribution||‘fontSizeAttribution’ : 18||Optional|
|fontSizeDescription||‘fontSizeDescription’ : 16||Optional|
|fontSizeDomainLink||‘fontSizeDomainLink’ : 16||Optional|
|fontSizeTitle||‘fontSizeTitle’ : 14||Optional|
|colorAdBorder||‘colorAdBorder’ : ‘# 8A93AC ‘||Optional|
|colorAdSeparator||‘colorAdSeparator’ : ‘# 4DAF74 ‘||Optional|
|colorAnnotation||‘colorAnnotation’ : ‘# 7143F8 ‘||Optional|
|colorAttribution||‘colorAttribution’ : ‘# 408b5e ‘||Optional|
|colorBackground||‘colorBackground’ : ‘# FBFBFD ‘||Optional|
|colorBorder||‘colorBorder’ : ‘# FBFBFD ‘||Optional|
|colorDomainLink||‘colorDomainLink’ : ‘# 8A93AC ‘||Optional|
|colorText||‘colorText’ : ‘# 8A93AC ‘||Optional|
|colorTitleLink||‘colorTitleLink’ : ‘# 8A93AC ‘||Optional|
|adBorderSelections||‘adBorderSelections’: ‘top, left’||Optional|
|adjustableLineHeight||‘lineHeightTitle’ : 18|
‘lineHeightDescription’ : 16
‘lineHeightDomainLink’ : 16
|attributionSpacingBelow||‘attributionSpacingBelow’ : 4||Optional|
|borderSelections||‘borderSelections’: ‘top, left’||Optional|
|titleBold||‘titleBold’ : false||Optional|
|verticalSpacing||‘verticalSpacing’ : 3||Optional|
|detailedAttribution||‘detailedAttribution’ : true||Optional|
You can always find the complete list of up-to-date parameters here.
Recently the AdSense team launched a new feature that would allow publishers with access to Custom Search Ads to style their AFS ads directly from within their AdSense interface.
The new feature is called ‘Custom Search Styles’.
Search Styles allows you to select from ready made templates that focus on different layouts. There is an ever increasing number of basic layouts ranging from ‘Headline First’, ‘Headline First with Icon’, ‘Seller First Card Style’ and more. Especially large AdSense accounts will also have the opportunity to apply for something called ‘Native AdSense Custom Search Ads’. Native Search Ads give additional flexibility in creating custom Search Ads templates that match the style of your search results even better.
Once you have selected a pre-built search style, you can start customizing the design as well as deciding what features of the ad unit are active or inactive. You can customize everything from the look and feel of your Display URL, Headline and Description, all the way to Global Options that control Padding, Borders and the ad unit’s Background Color.
Once you have completed all basic styling of the search ad unit, you can move on to the ‘Extensions’ tab where the styling of everything from Sitelinks to Ratings and Phone Numbers can be controlled.
Additional information on AdSense Custom Search styles can be found in Google’s Help Center here.
AdSense Custom Search Ads aka AdSense for Search Ads have come a long way since they were first introduced several years ago. CSA/AFS ads are still considered the cold standard when it comes to online ads. For that reason relatively few publishers have active permissions to use Custom Search Ads. Advertisers shown in Custom Search Ads are exclusively those that are actively targeting the Google Search Network, and are willing to bid more because they can rest assured that users seeing their ads are highly targeted and relevant. For that reason Custom Search Ads have their own AdSense Policies that are strictly enforced and go beyond the policy requirements of normal AdSense ads.
Publishers who do not adhere to CSA policies quickly risk not only losing access to Custom Search Ads but also to have their AdSense account be disabled. To help you always be compliant, let’s dive into all the supplemental policies that publishers need to stick to for Custom Search Ads.
In order to stay up-to-date on the latest policy changes best to regularly check the official Google documentation here.
Normally AdSense Custom Search Ads may only be triggered from a search query that is manually input into a search box by a user. The Alternative Search Queries are means of triggering Custom Search Ads that do not include a manual query that a user types into a search box. There are four different ASQs that are allowed within the guidelines of the ASQ policies:
“Popular Search” ASQ are generated from the most common searches performed by end-users on your website. When an end user clicks on a Popular Search, he is taken to a search result page on your website with Custom Search Ads.
“Suggest Search” ASQ are suggestions shown to users within your website’s search box as the user inputs text. When the user actively selects a suggested search, the user is taken to a search result page on your site that contains AdSense Custom Search Ads.
“Related Search” ASQs are automatically generated terms that are based on the user’s previous query. When a user click’s on a Related Search term, the user will be taken to a search result page on the same website with AdSense Custom Search Ads.
Related Search ASQs can be generated by you or by Google or another source. When Google is not the source that generates the Related Search ASQs, then the following policy is also in effect:
“Category Browse” ASQ refers to pages end-users encounter while browsing/navigating through your website’s directory or categories. To be eligible for CSA on Category Browse ASQs, the browsing experience must consist of significant depth and original content. As the user browses/navigates through menus or categories or directories, the user’s search query gets narrower and more detailed.
“Category Browse” ASQ is a menu or directory on your site that allows your user to narrow their search focus by navigating to a more detailed search result.
Find the newest updates on ASQ policy in the Google Help Center here.
At Pubprime we certainly think so. We are the worldwide authority when it comes to managing & monetizing Google’s AdSense Custom Search Ads on behalf of website owners. No other ad product can compare in terms of CPC monetization for websites. However, this comes with some major caveats. As the name suggests, ‘Custom Search Ads’, this ad product is not suitable for all publishers. Only websites that have their own search result pages with quality traffic and content can qualify to implement AdSense CSA. In addition, Custom Search Ads come with the strictest policy requirements of possibly any Google product.
If you are already running CSA ads on your site, and you would like help in managing your CSA and boosting revenues & RPMs even further, feel free to contact us directly. For Publishers who would like to transition from Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) to their own in-house search engine monetized with AdSense Custom Search Ads you can reach out to us by completing our site information form.
Publishers with high quality traffic in the following niches are also encouraged to reach out to us in order to boost their search page monetization with AdSense Custom Search Ads: