GDN Placement Optimization

Tired of wasting budget on spam? Detect and optimize display placements at scale.

Want to learn one of the most important keys to success in Google Display? Look no further than ads’ placement optimization. In addition, it seems that Google Display Network is also full of spammy websites. How can you drive quality traffic and increase conversions? The answer is simple. Block spammy ones and have quality placements on websites that provide great content and value.

Google display network optimization


Both placements have possible targeting options that can affect your improvements. Let’s look at the benefits and challenges of each approach.

automated placements in gdn

Automated Placements in GDN

We recommend starting with automated placement right away. If you have some learning budget, this is a great way to get numbers for different placements. Spending a lot of time reviewing the placements is an important process. Don’t wait for bad ROIs and watch out for CTRs that are way above average. Check websites and block them if they share spammy pattern.

Managed Placements in GDN

Well-performing and quality websites are great managed placements for your campaigns. You’ll also find them within your automated placements and in your retargeting display campaigns. Managed placements should be the biggest part of your display traffic. However, it’s a long-running process. Avoid spending your budget on discovering good placements instead of bad ones.


In theory, the process of running automated placements and separating them into good and bad ones, is a great head start. In reality, it’s a waste of time and money. Now, let’s talk about the challenges we’re facing.

Low sample sizes for many placements

You need several hundred clicks before you have a stable conversion rate. High CTRs rely on a good proxy. However, there are thousands of ad placements with few impressions and clicks. Bad news! Unfortunately, these can’t be considered as stable conversion rates and consequently, you can’t base actions on these conversions.

Avoid bad placements effortlessly

GDN and its placements can be full of spam as your traffic. What can you do to get rid of them? Doing it manually takes too much work, but doing it automatically is the only best possible option. 

There aren’t only bad and good placements

Sometimes it is hard to make a decision. Is always blocking the placement a real solution? It’s also a time killer. A scalable solution has to classify the GDN placements based on estimated traffic quality. It helps you spend your budget on placements where the expected traffic quality is higher. 

  • Furthermore, you may need some additional attributes you can derive from placements. It’s easy to create right away by applying some Excel functions. However, you need a scripting language like Python for others.

Group by top level domain

Let’s compare .com domains with others. You’ll realize that there’s a huge performance gap between exotic top-level domains with too good to be true Click-Through-Rates. Also, bad conversion rates can be moved to a low-quality bucket.

Does the name contains a number?

The simplest way is to compare two groups of placements, one with numbers, the other without numbers. The CTRs of “contains number” placements were significantly higher. Why? The reason is that some publishers have hundreds of (bad) placements. Also, add numbers to your domain to find an available name.

How long is the domain name?

Longer domain names have higher CTRs. At some point, you might struggle to find a domain name for your website. Taking a longer domain name helps in the same way as adding numbers.

  • The three attributes above will improve your placement performance significantly. They are easy to build in Excel with some functions and pivot tables. Don’t be afraid of running actions based on your numbers. You can correct a wrong decision anytime by bucketing placements.
  • When you spend most of your budget on display, you may want to get better results.  If you can play around with Python programming, you’ll make huge enhancements in Google display optimization when you enrich the placement domain with more information.

Lookup the IP Address of the placement

If you’re a publisher and managing hundreds of websites, you should consider the costs. You’ll find a lot of spammy placements that share the same IP address. Grouping your placements by IP address will give you some new insights.

Where is the placement located?

The top-level domain doesn’t tell you where the placements are located. With the IP address information, you can find the country where the server is located.

What is the hosting provider?

If you have a high-quality website, you’ll probably select a good hosting provider. On the other hand, when you have too many websites, you’ll probably select a cost-efficient host.  

Does the placement only run Adsense?

Most GDN placements can never pass the quality control of other display networks. It’s also a great perspective for analyzing the placements. Hence, AdSense-only websites will have a lot more fraud patterns.

How many ad slots are found on the website?

Some websites are full of ads all over the place. It’s nerve-wracking when you can’t click somewhere without clicking on an ad. Counting the ad slots per page is useful.

Is it a thin content website?

What is the total word count per placements? What is the ratio when you compare it to the number of unique words? Websites with keyword stuffing or thin content are more likely to be spam.


Want to start with high-quality managed placements? We have a great suggestion for you. It works well if you know the most important keywords of your target group search.

Scrape SERPs for your keywords

Google has high standards of quality for organic searches. That is, any spammy placements never have a chance to rank.

Check domains for AdSense

Put emphasis on the ranking pages to get a share of the valuable traffic. Check whether AdSense is available. If possible, add it as a managed placement.

Hypertarget on page level

Using the full domain as a target will provide results, but there’s a more accurate way to optimize placements. Want better results? Then, consider the full URL as a target that ranks for your relevant keywords.


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