SUBJECT: Google AdSense Account Disabled
During a recent review of your account, we have detected invalid activity on your site that is not compliant with our program policies.
ACTION TAKEN: We have disabled your Google AdSense Account.
We’re limited in the amount of information we can provide about your specific violation. We understand this can be frustrating for you. For this reason, we offer you an appeal process as an opportunity to resolve the issue.
The Google AdSense Team
No publisher would ever want to receive this email. It creates panic and jeopardizes the ad revenue. Still, many publishers (consciously or unconsciously) engage in activities which make their AdSense account vulnerable to getting disabled. Any incidents?
In 2017, NichePursuits shared the experience of their AdSense account getting disabled because of invalid activity. They openly mentioned that their average monthly AdSense revenue went from $10K to $0 as a consequence.
Similarly, AndroidMonks shared the story of their 3-months old AdSense account getting disabled because of unusual activity. They highlighted that their account was disabled just when they were about to receive their first payout of $100 earned through their android mobile app.
In both these incidents, invalid/unusual activity was in common. However, the Google team never states the exact reason of account disablement. A lot of publishers have openly showed their frustration on this. Towards the end, they all focussed on the point that Google is becoming aggressive and now it’s nearly impossible to dodge their detection system.
So, let’s take a lesson from incidents happened with other publishers, and learn how to prevent an AdSense account from getting disabled; and what to do next if it that happens. Begin!
Reasons of AdSense Account Getting Disabled
From the above incidents, all we know is both the AdSense accounts got disabled due to invalid/unusual activity. But what activity? As stated above, Google might not tell you exact reason (why did you break-up with me). But thankfully, there’s a list of possible reasons, which as per Google, you should know about to remain in the safe zone.
Most invalid activities come under invalid traffic. If Google detects traffic which has a questionable quality, it will likely disable that AdSense account in order to protect the advertisers and other legit publishers. Here are some activities which cause invalid traffic:
#1 Clicking own ads:
Google encourages publishers to have high quality inventory and traffic. Fake clicks on own website ads, YouTube channel, or app cause invalid traffic. For YouTube publishers, viewing video ads to inflate the advertisers’ cost is also considered invalid. However, Google understands that not all publishers intent to engage in invalid traffic.
Recommended action: Type the URL in the address bar or use the Google Publisher Tool if you wish to check the landing page details of an advertiser’s ad, instead of directly clicking on it.
#2 Repeatedly clicking on ads
Google has a mechanism to distinguish between genuine and artificial. Any clicks or impressions generated via automated or manual means count as invalid clicks. But sometimes because of its detection system, Google might also count the test clicks as invalid clicks, which testers often make on live ads.
Recommended action: Ask testers to also type the direct URL in the address bar to avoid clicking on live ads. Also, do not recommend friends, co-workers, others to click on your ads.
#3 Bot/Incentivized traffic
A lot of publishers also use bot traffic to get bulk impressions or clicks on live ads. They deal with third party companies or software to get those clicks through paid-to-click, paid-to-surf, auto-surf, or click-exchange programs.
Recommended action: Do a background check on the traffic sources (both unpaid and paid) before you start to work with any traffic generation source for your website.
#4 Manipulating targeting
Well-targeted ads are the most effective ads. Manipulating the audience targeting to get more traffic is a malpractice. For attaining ads with high bid value, some publishers manipulate the keywords (SEO) to drive high volume traffic to their website. This is yet another way to engage in invalid traffic.
Recommended action: Define the target group thoughtfully. Centre the content and SEO around the intent to bring relevant traffic to the advertisers’ ads.
#5 Deceptive ad placement
Some ads trick users into clicking them. The most common types of visually deceptive ads are those taken for content like menu, navigation, download links, images on the web page, etc. Extremely small sized ads or ads placed too closely to the page elements which require mouse click also prompt mistaken clicks.
Recommended action: Design the ad placement carefully. Avoid a cluttered look while placing ads. Follow the best and proven ad placement practices keeping the users’ experience in mind.
#6 Encouraging support
Placing own ads on the website which ask users to support the website, YouTube channel, or app is also an invalid activity. However, these are different from house ads which publishers place on their own website to fill the space left from unsold inventory. Users are not incentivized to click or engage with the ads.
Recommended action: Forbid self- or third party- promotion ads which offer rewards to users for viewing or clicking on ads, making site searches, and/or raising funds for third parties.
To keep things in control, Google formulates a set of policies on nearly everything. With recent incidents like bad ads, data privacy issues, etc., it’s becoming more firm on those policies. Here are some policy breaches which can get an AdSense account disabled:
#1 Adult/mature content
AdSense is a family-safe network. According to Google, any website or ad having adult or pornographic content which is inappropriate to watch at work or with family around comes under policy violations. Such sites/ads are brought down immediately.
#2 Unfiltered user-generated content
Google knows it’s challenging for publishers to keep a tab on each and every page. Sometimes, it’s not the publisher, but the content posted by users is the reason. Such types includes sexually-explicit forum posts, bot or spam comments, images, comments, links, and others.
Recommended action: Show clear content guidelines to users when they sign up on your website. These guidelines tell users about the rules of posting comments, links, images, or any other form of user-generated content.
#3 Violating webmaster guidelines
Google webmaster divides its guidelines in three categories viz. design and content, technical, and quality. Each category encourages publishers to follow the best practices (to be found, indexed, and ranked by Google). Not adhering to the Google webmaster policies is a policy breach.
#4 Copyright/Illegal content
One of the most common reasons that get an AdSense account disabled is plagiarized or illegal content. Google will likely not place ads on websites with copyright protected content or website which promote criminal or adult content.
Recommended action: Make sure content on your website does not contain or link to any sites that have non-consensual, copyright protected, illegal documentation, or fraudulent activity related content.
Adsense Account Disabled VS Suspended
Account suspension is a threat, whereas account disabled is a threat put in action. How?
Usually, the AdSense account suspension period gives publishers time to make rectifications to their site. The email informs publishers about suspension duration and reason of suspension (so they can make changes to site accordingly).
During suspension, publishers can log in to their account. But, the ad serving is stopped and payments are put on hold. Though the relieving part is that ad serving resumes automatically after the suspension period ends. Also, account suspension follows an non-appealable format as the duration of the suspension period is already informed to publishers.
AdSense account disablement happens when at least three or more issues with invalid traffic and/or policy breach still persist after the account suspension period. Here, publishers are not provided with the exact reason. They are unable to see the admin access panel, and get redirected to the disabled account page.
In order to recover the account, publishers are required to submit an AdSense account recovery appeal form. This is the most crucial step. Here’s how to do it right.
Steps to Recover AdSense Account
“Our decisions are typically final”, is what you’ll notice written on Google’s account disable support page. It might look frightening, but Google gives you one last chance to appeal for account recovery.
- Log in to your AdSense account. You’ll get redirected to the AdSense account disable page.
- Click ‘Disabled Account FAQ.’
- Refer to the account recovery point and click ‘AdSense account recovery appeal form.’
- Attempt the questions on the page about publisher ID and account login.
- Click ‘Appeal form’ and fill out all the fields.
- Hit ‘Submit.’
This appeal form is used for AdSense accounts disabled in case of invalid activity. The same appeal process applies on AdSense accounts disabled due to privacy reasons. In either case, it’s best to fill out the form meticulously in a sane state of mind. Before you hit ‘Submit’, make sure you fill out all details true to the facts.
Piece of Advise
Publishers often ask, “Can I create a new AdSense account if my existing account has been permanently disabled?” Sure you can. But most likely, you’ll get blocked again, and again. The appeal form in the only way to get Google to re-evaluate your AdSense account.
In the case of AdSense account being disabled due to policy reasonsーcopyright protected content, poor ad placement, and unfiltered user-generated contentーtry to make the needful changes to your site beforehand, and then submit the appeal form to show Google your credibility.
When nothing works, publishers can always go for other ad networks to start all over again; but still with good practices. But, the advice remains that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, to remain in the green area, publishers should follow AdSense best practices from the beginning to keep their account (and ads) running.