In this article, we’re going to cover:
- The Google AdSense Policy.
- Common policy violations and how to avoid them.
- What happens if you violate any of the policies.
- How to fix any issues flagged by AdSense.
Let’s get started with a brief look at what the Google AdSense Policy is.
A Brief Explanation of the Google AdSense Policy
In short, the Google AdSense Policies (and there are a few) lay out the different rules publishers must obey. These rules cover everything, from ad placement to soliciting clicks, content, and user privacy. Violating any of these rules can result in a warning, penalty, or even having your account permanently suspended.
The policies were designed to ensure ads don’t manipulate visitors or result in a poor user experience. Unfortunately, it’s also very easy to violate the strict Google AdSense policies. It’s critical to read through the different help pages provided by Google so that you’re familiar with the rules.
Consider looking at the following pages:
Common Policy Violations That Affect Website Monetization and How to Avoid Them
Below, we’re going to look at some of the most common policy violations. These mistakes are easy to make, but we’re going to share a few tips to avoid getting penalized.
Clicking Ads on Your Site
One of the biggest no-no’s is clicking your own ads or asking people you know to click on them. The point of an advertisement is to generate genuine interest and eventual conversion. If you click on ads yourself, ask others to click for you, or pay for fake clicks from bots or deceptive software, Google can and will penalize you. Your account may even be deactivated permanently.
According to Google’s policy page, “clicking your own ads for any reason is prohibited.” Even if you’re really interested in something displayed by one of the ads, it’s better to use the Publisher Toolbar. That way, you can click on an ad without violating the policy.
Google is so strict regarding solicited clicks that there’s a whole list of things you need to avoid. For example, don’t:
- Pay anyone to click on your ads.
- Encourage users to click by using language like “click ads to support us,” etc.
- Use graphics or arrows to point out ads.
- Make it impossible to distinguish an advertisement from page content.
- Use misleading labels, like “Sponsored Links,” above Google ads.
In short, if a click isn’t 100% natural, avoid it. Don’t encourage visitors to click, don’t click ads yourself, and don’t use misleading graphics or designs to manipulate users into clicking.
Placing Ads Incorrectly
Google AdSense has a page dedicated to several ad placement policies, and violating them can be easier than you think. For example, you can’t place ads within the menu, navigation bar, or anywhere near download links. It’s critical that users know that an ad is an ad.
You also shouldn’t embed ads within software, desktop applications, browser extensions, or apps. Other incorrect placements that violate the Google AdSense Policy includes displaying ads on or in:
- Pop-ups or -unders.
- Pages that only contain ads.
- Emails or chat boxes.
- Pages that mimic Google’s appearance.
- Pages that use iFrame content.
Finally, keep in mind that user experience is critical to Google. If your placements make it challenging to use your website, or if they confuse and mislead visitors, you will be penalized.
Placing Ads With Content That Violates the Policy
Google AdSense has a policy specifically dealing with content and how it relates to ad placement. These restrictions are easy to violate, so make sure you understand which types of content break the rules. Below are a few of the most common content violations.
There’s an extensive list of prohibited content. Many of these should be self-explanatory, but you may occasionally cover topics that fall under the list of restrictions depending on your website niche. Prohibited Content means any content that:
- Encourages or promotes illegal activities. Ex. downloading pirated content.
- Encourages any form of discrimination or marginalization, harasses or intimidates a group, advocates violence or harm, or exploits anyone through extortion.
- Promotes animal cruelty or sells products that involve the harm and exploitation of endangered species.
- Misleads users regarding the site’s true nature.
- Promotes false information regarding health claims or electoral processes. Ex. anti-vaccine advocacy.
- Markets or offers sexually explicit content, sexual acts, mail order brides, or any other adult themes.
- Contains gambling, casino, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, hacking, or weapon-related information.
Placing ads on any pages containing this content may result in a warning or even get your account suspended. It’s critical to remember that these rules don’t just apply to a page but your website as a whole. As such, if your site contains any of these themes on any of its pages, you won’t be able to monetize through Google AdSense.
Duplicated or Copyrighted Content
You can’t place ads on any page that contains content available somewhere else online. In other words, you need to put your ads on pages with unique content that’s not under copyright. For example, if you have a website that contains copyrighted music, images, or videos, you won’t be able to monetize it through Google AdSense.
AdSense needs to understand the context of the content on any page where ads will be displayed. Consequently, all pages containing ads need to be in one of the supported languages. If your site’s language isn’t supported, you won’t be able to display contextual ads.
Pages without content shouldn’t have ads placed on them. Even though 404 pages may contain minor content, they still shouldn’t have any ads placed on them. Doing so will violate the Google AdSense policy, and you may have restrictions placed on your inventory.
User privacy is a global concern, and many countries have strict rules, particularly regarding advertising and personalized targeting. Naturally, Google takes these laws exceptionally seriously, which is why it’s made a move to remove third-party cookies. Additionally, Google AdSense has similar legal requirements within its policies.
The Consequences of a Google AdSense Policy Violation
The consequences of a violation may depend on the severity of the problem. For example, if Google detects that there’s invalid click activity or that your ads violate the placement policy, they’ll deduct the money from your revenue. The platform may also limit ad delivery to your website. If you’ve received warnings for policy violations but don’t fix them, Google may disable ad delivery to your website entirely or enact strict demand limitations.
For severe violations or repeat offenses, Google may suspend your AdSense account entirely. At this point, your revenue will be refunded to advertisers, and you’ll need to file an appeal to restore your access. However, Google may uphold the suspension and prevent you from using AdSense on your site again.
In short, always check for violations and fix any issues as quickly as possible to avoid a permanent account suspension.
Fixing Violations If You’ve Received a Warning
If you’ve violated the Google AdSense policy, you’ll receive a warning that you need to fix the issue. Luckily, Google has made it relatively simple to identify and correct any possible problems using the Policy Center.
To get started, log into the policy center and check if there are any listed violations that say “Yes” under the “Must Fix” column. If so, you’ll need to correct those issues immediately. Once done, you need to notify Google that you’ve corrected the issue by:
- Stating that it’s resolved.
- Explaining the steps you took to fix the problem.
- Outlining a plan to avoid similar problems in the future.
The more detailed your response, the better the odds that Google will reinstate your monetization. Be thorough with your response and take the time to do any research you need to make a compelling case.
Using Managed Ad Services to Avoid Non-Compliance Issues
The easiest way to avoid non-compliance issues is to work with a managed ads services provider, like rev•amp. We always ensure that publishers understand the policy and help correct any possible problems.
However, if you’ve already received a warning or penalty from Google AdSense, we can analyze your case and look for the best possible solution. That way, you get peace of mind, knowing that your ad tech is in capable hands and that you won’t have any problems with violations.
Google AdSense is still the first stop for many publishers who want to monetize their content. It’s a relatively simple and effective proven ad solution. However, the strict AdSense policy means that publishers often violate the rules without realizing it. Understanding the policy and checking for violations can prevent warnings, penalties, and eventual demonetization. For complete peace of mind, consider using a managed ad tech service to help monitor your ads and status and fix issues when they arise.