Banner Blindness. How To Fight It With SEO?

Banner Blindness. How To Fight It With SEO?

With the developing online sphere and increasing consciousness of internet users, banner blindness is a fact. Learn what is this phenomenon and how to deal with it to successfully carry on marketing strategy. Keep reading and find out how to overcome banner blindness with SEO!

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Optimizing SEO has many considerations, not the least of which being proper ads, ad placement, and ad optimization. Ads serve a variety of functions for getting customers to come to your site, but after a certain point, they may be doing you a disservice. Before you understand how to overcome banner blindness, we need to first ask “what is banner blindness?”. This article will tell you how to identify and combat this perpetual SEO issue and how to utilize the best practices moving forward! By learning what to watch out for, your site can flourish and march up the SEO rankings in no time!

What is Banner Blindness Exactly?

Banner blindness is a common phenomenon of ignoring advertisements on websites by users.

Otherwise known as ‘Ad Blindness,’ this is the likely possibility that your site may have banner ads or other banner information that people completely ignore due to a variety of reasons. Whether it’s because they’re actively thinking about ignoring your ads or merely subconsciously avoiding them, the end result is that you lose customer engagement and interest in what your site provides. There have been a variety of studies with eye-tracking tests that show this phenomenon in action, and it can have drastic consequences for your website. Understanding how to overcome banner blindness is crucial to a successful website.

Traditionally speaking, as the rise of the internet made it more popular, advertisers around the world wanted to get in on the ground floor and get as much exposure as they could for their products. The power of online advertising, when millions and millions of people were signing up, was a monumental force that many were keen on tapping! These ads were obnoxious at the beginning – often animated with very bold, intense colors, causing recipients to immediately balk at the website they were using. Nowadays, most internet users understand ads and ad space, meaning that they will unconsciously know where on the website they are visiting they need to avoid and what to not engage with.

baner blindness in search results
Making a query in Google, the first results usually turn out to be paid ads. The majority of users will skip that part and dive into the organic results.

This leads ads to not be engaged with at all, all because they are tending towards spaces on a website that users traditionally ignore. One of the ways to combat this problem is by showing users an ad on different parts of the website in order to knock them out of “auto-pilot mode.” All in all, there are a variety of methods available to tackle this issue and all of them need to be seriously considered in order for your ads to be received well by the populace.

SERPs and Banner Blindness

SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages, are all the responses you get when you enter in a search with any search engine. They are the full list, including additional pages, and they include organic results, paid results, featured snippets, graphs, video results, and any other pertinent information that is connected to your search.

serps example
An example of featured snippet for SERPs query.

The Nielsen Norman Group conducted a study that showed ad aversion in SERPs and they found that overwhelmingly users would ignore the ad placements at the top of the SERP, even if they looked identical to the actual results. Learned behavior was the leading culprit of this negative action – that is, the users had learned that the first response was an ad, so they just mentally ignored it every time. You can obviously see why this would be a problem!

The Consequences of Banner Blindness to Your Bottom Line

In short, the consequences of banner blindness are the fact that your ad engagement will tank substantially. The more severe the case of banner blindness on your website, the fewer people will engage with the ads on your site, impacting your finances significantly. When visitors to your site know where your ads are and are actively deterred by them, revenue drops and site engagement drops as well, ensuring that your SEO ranking and financials will not be as good as they could be otherwise. Basically, the more blind users are to your ads, the more your website will suffer.
increase your visibility

How To Overcome Banner Blindness

There are many ways to improve the way users interact with your site and diminish the negative results of banner blindness. What you can do depends on the role you have at your operation, but on all levels of management, there are viable decisions to make. By enacting best practices for your site, you can drastically improve retention and ad interaction, which will increase overall revenue and ranking for your business.

Effective Ad Placement

Placing ads in the best place is one of the key components to proper ad management and engagement. By organizing your site’s content and making your site easier to navigate, you can improve the typical user experience and gain much more interaction for the aspects you which. Start by asking yourself some questions to better understand your user base: what is the user trying to do on my site? What are they doing when they view a particular page? What is their attention focused on? How can I integrate ads without getting in the user’s way? By asking these questions, you will have a more intuitive perspective on the placement of your content.

banner blindness
Eye-catching design and good ad placement can make users visit your website. Take a look at this example, would it catch your attention?

Topic-Relevant Ads

Having ads on your site is good, but having ads that are completely contextually different from your site’s purpose is not in anyone’s best interest. If you sell cookies, having a weight-loss ad might not be the best for business! Always remember what you are selling and what other ads you can place that has the same thematic purpose. By combining relevant ads, you can develop a much more cohesive overall picture for your website.

Identify Your Target Audience

Demographic information is essential to proper ad engagement that people will actually click on. There is no use having childish ads on an adult site, or ads tailored to seniors on a teen’s fashion site. Demographics will always have different qualities, interests, and desires, so understanding them and catering to them is a surefire way to see more engagement. Always understand your demographic and what they value the most in order to effectively serve them.

Use Native Ads

Native ads are incredibly unobtrusive and a great consideration for adding any ads to your site. In short, native ads are advertising that uses paid content to match perfectly the look, feel, and function of the media in which they appear. In other words, having a Story in an Instagram story, is an effective way to make an ad people actually look at.

Beating Banner Blindness with SEO

Core SEO practices will beat banner blindness as long as you stick to them and continually refresh your content and maintain them. With basic SEO, you will be much more likely to eliminate Banner Blindness. Building a long-term, optimized service will be steps one through ten of your overall success, including the way people interact with your ads. By getting your website to the top of the user search, for instance, you will earn user trust, further encouraging them to click on your ads. Online presence and content relevance will always matter, and will only matter more so when you are trying to get more ad engagement.

Meta Descriptions

The short section of text that appears below a link on a search must be optimized in order to get the best results. By keeping descriptions under 160 characters, containing keywords relevant to your website and your business, you increase the chances Google will see your site. Always create unique descriptions for every page and avoid using quotes!

meta description and title - content audit

Content Optimization

Good content is what drives SEO and creating content in an optimized way is what will ensure your site gets ranked highly. Always remember to focus on keywords – and the proper amount of keywords – for any new content, and be sure to create the best content you can. Use proper headings and optimize content length. Be sure to try to include as many location-specific phrases as you can, and you will be well on your way to best possible practices.


SEO keywords are what makes it possible for people to find your site in the first place. Having the proper keywords that are relevant to your site’s business is crucial to overall success. Using a keyword tool will go a long way to helping you in this process! Once you understand what your keywords should be, you can press them to open up new vistas of engagement!

This article will explain in more detail How To Choose The Right Keywords For Your Website.

Internal/External Links

One of the best ways to show Google how interconnected your site is (which beneficially impacts SEO) is to improve its connectivity with other sites, and how it connects with pages in your own site. Internal links are links in content that refer back to other pages on your website and external links are links that link out to other websites – both are essential for helping Google index your page. Try to always include both varieties in your content, as they will both greatly improve site SEO!

Banner Blindness Can Be Beaten!

No matter what situation your website is in, you can improve it to allow more people to interact with your ads. Banner blindness is a huge issue that causes sites to leave a significant percentage of money on the floor, but with best practices and other tips laid out in this guide, you will be able to optimize your site and prevent ad ignoring. When you optimize your site in this way, you will immediately see more interaction with your ads and ensure that the health of your site grows significantly!

Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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