We caught up with Mike Gutner, an optimization specialist here at AdSense, to introduce you to one of the people whose job is to make you more money.

How did you get to work this morning?

I cycled. I live in San Francisco and enjoy bicycling the 40 miles to work about once or twice a week. I cycled across the United States a few years ago and like to re-live those days of getting up at 5:30am and cycling the pre-dawn miles.

What do you do on the AdSense team?

I work on AdSense optimization. We run tests to identify the best ways in which AdSense publishers can make the most of their Google ads.

Can all publishers take advantage of these optimization tips?

Of course. We publish a tips page, which is updated regularly with best practices and optimal ways to use new features, such as link units. We also frequently post tips on this blog, including optimal implementation techniques for forums and blogs, as well as refreshers on new features like site targeting. We'll be doing more optimization-related posts in 2006 -– to stay tuned, subscribe to Inside AdSense so you can receive updates automatically! (Subscribe by entering your email address in the text box to the right of this post)

What are the top 3 tips you like to tell publishers?

1. Opt into image ads. Doing so deepens the pool of advertisements competing to appear on your site, and allows AdWords advertisers to target your site directly with CPM image ads. This can improve monetization on the site real estate you've devoted to AdSense.

2. Use custom channels to track the performance of your ad units. Then, you can see which ad units perform best and experiment with color, placement, and format changes to figure out what works best for your site.

3. Integrate ad units into the content of your site. Place ads in locations on your page with heavy eye traffic, such as within article content (wrap the text around the ad unit) and at the top of the page below the your horizontal navigation unit. Check out our heat map for more placement ideas.

Do the same optimization tips apply across all websites?

No, certain types of sites perform differently with AdSense. In general, we've seen that ads placed above the fold of the page perform best. However in some cases, Google ads perform quite well below the fold. On article pages, for example, people often want more information about the topic after they've finished reading a story. Placing an AdSense ad unit immediately following an article provides relevant links to readers who want to continue reading about the subject. The same idea applies to forums; people tend to go straight to the bottom of interesting threads to read the most recent posts, and Google ads can perform really well there.

Any other advice?

Never stop experimenting! Don't get frustrated if changes you make to your ads don't have immediate positive effects. Keep tweaking your ad colors, formats, and placement, and track how these changes perform with channels. You'll eventually find the optimal ad implementation scheme for your site.