Google Adsense is one of the most popular ways to monetize your website. However, profit-wise, there are just too many variables that are in play, like relevance, traffic, CTR, and more, which need to be taken into account.
Additionally, you also need to make sure you’re following everything by the rule book. A single mistake, and you risk getting banned. Naturally, Google is always trying to ensure that the ad tech environment remains safe and profitable for everyone, including advertisers and users. Due to this, publishers have to make sure that they are not violating any policies.
Are You Making These Ads Violations?
Adsense publishers are used to hearing the importance of following Google’s policies. Yet so many of them, whether intentionally or not, commit offenses that jeopardize their accounts. Such offenses, if taken too far, can seriously damage your ability to monetize from Adsense.
A good way to deal with such issues is to be aware about the different Adsense ads violations and this blog sheds light on the same.
Clicking Your Own Ads
This may be the very first rule in the ad tech industry, but it seems like for every 10 publishers who adhere to this rule, 20 more are applying sneaky tactics to get those coveted clicks. Because of this, it is one of the most common Ads Violations. How many times have you clicked your own ads telling yourself you’re interested in them? Or perhaps you get sneaky by logging in from another IP address pretending to be someone else and clicking on your own ads.
“Wait a minute.”, I can hear you thinking “I was really interested in the ad”. Unfortunately, Google is less forgiving than that. Think of it this way: If you were the advertiser, would it be okay for you to learn that a part of the $1 you paid for a click goes to the person who actually clicked it? Of course not. So it makes sense that Google doesn’t allow any publisher to click their own ads under any circumstances. And this includes asking your best friend to do the clicking for you.
If you really want to visit the destination page of an ad, you can do so through the Adsense Publisher Toolbar. It’s a simple tool that allows you to ‘test click’ your ads without violating the rules and costing the advertisers money.
Using Adsense on Prohibited Content
Even though shady content gets unnecessary attention on the internet, it is NEVER ok for publishers to use Adsense for monetizing such websites. Quite obviously, such tricks are a BIG No for Google.
So how do you know if Adsense allows your content or not? Well here’s the list of things to avoid:
- Adult content
- Content that advocates against an individual, group, or organization
- Excessive profanity
- Copyrighted material (more on this later)
- Gambling or casino-related content
- Drug, alcohol, and tobacco-related content
- Sales of promotion of prescription drugs
- Hacking and cracking content
- Sites that offer compensation programs (“pay-to” sites)
- Sites that use Google Brand features
- Violent content
- Weapon-related content
- Counterfeit goods
- Underage, non-consensual, or illegal acts
Keep in mind that this rule applies to your entire site, not just to individual pages. That means if you’re running a website on online gaming and some of your web pages talk about gambling on online casinos, you’re not allowed to place ads via Adsense anywhere in your site.
Additionally, just as serving ads through Adsense on prohibited content is not allowed, so is linking to other sites with illegal content.
Placing Ads on Copyright-infringed Content
We’ve already mentioned what Google considers prohibited content and that copyrighted material is one of them. We thought this one is tricky enough to deserve a point of its own. Depending on the function of your website, you may be posting both copyrighted content and Adsense ads. Needless to say, you will be violating Adsense policy by doing so.
For example, if you have a website about music and it contains copyrighted videos, you should avoid serving ads via Adsense on your site. This applies to all copyrighted content whether they are videos, images, music and others.
Placing Ads with Content in an Unsupported Language
If you run an English website, feel free to skip. Otherwise, you may need to take a closer look on what Google allows on this matter. The Adsense program supports a few more languages other than English, which you can find here. If your language is not in the list, then Google won’t have any contextual ads to display in your site.
Monetizing Websites that are not User-Centric
Above everything, Google prioritizes user experience. Providing users with relevant content is also the way to increase user engagement and traffic. Other than creating high quality content, you should also ensure that your website is not deceptive or tricking users when it comes to ad placements.
Ad layouts that motivate invalid clicks, draw unnatural attention, and ad units that aren’t labelled properly can put your website at risk. Make sure that ads are not placed adjacent to any games or photos, as that can encourage invalid clicks. Moreover, you should keep in mind to label ad units with ‘Advertisements’ and ‘Sponsored Links’ to avoid creating any sort of confusion.
Using Ads on Content that Encourage Youtube Video Downloading
Youtube is a Google product so it makes sense that the world’s popular video site has an austerity that’s akin to the search engine. Youtube’s TOS prohibits downloading videos on the site. Whether Internet users today are following that or not is beyond the point. But if you want to steer clear from the Adsense program’s reprimand, don’t publish Adsense on content that teaches and encourage people how to download Youtube videos.
Placing Ads on 404 Error Pages
Many publishers overlook the ads displaying on their web pages that serve no major purpose. Examples include 404 error pages, Unsubscribe page, and Thank you page. After all, any opportunity to have the ads displayed are great, right? Wrong! You could be reprimanded by Google for this.
Google explains that since these pages typically have little content, displaying ads here spell deception. Your visitors may think the ads are your website’s content and click on them. Remember, using tactics that encourage unintentional clicks are not allowed so the aforementioned case is an apt example.
Sharing Your Earnings
Perhaps you’re someone experimenting on Google Adsense as a money-making tool. Or maybe you’re competing to be the highest earner among your peers. Whatever the case is, never discuss your earnings in full detail. Google allows you to share your gross earnings online and that’s it. Don’t go babbling about significant stats such as your CTR, eCPM, and other related data.
What to Do if You Receive an Ads Violation Warning?
If by any chance you have violated a policy, you will need to fix the issue. Google has made it easy for publishers to identify and fix problems that may affect their revenue.
This is what you will need to do for fixing violation issues in Adsense:
- Login to the Policy Center
- Check if “Must Fix” column says ‘yes’
- If the column is labeled ‘yes’, you will need to address the issue, preferably before receiving monetization.
After you are done with fixing all the issues, you will have to write a review stating that you have taken care of the problem and understand Google’s policies. Elaborate about the steps you took to fix the issues and what you plan to do so that such problems do not happen again.
The more detailed your review is, the better are your chances of getting monetization reinstated.
What is Google Doing to Help Ease Things for Publishers?
Google definitely doesn’t want genuine publishers to suffer, especially on the account of some bad eggs. In October 2018, Google came up with a site verification process in Adsense, which was meant to further ensure safety for publishers. Through this feature, Google is able to give publishers direct feedback about their websites, mostly regarding the eligibility of websites.
The good news is that this process takes place before publishers actually serve ads and in case some issue occurs, they can take care of it without violating any policies.
In addition to this, publishers can specify the websites they want to monetize, which reduces the chances of an imposter claiming it as their own for serving ads on illegal or bad content.
Google has further improved their methods for identifying invalid traffic and other potentially risky activities to ensure a safe ecosystem for all parties included. For publishers facing low traffic or decreased ad serving issues because of this move, it’ll be best to check the Policy Center. They will be able to understand and solve any issues that can hamper their revenue generation.
These are the top mistakes Adsense publishers make. As you can see, some of them are crystal-clear (not clicking your own ads) while others can be trickier (posting ads along with certain types of content). As a Publisher, it’s your duty to practice caution in using ads as well as keeping yourself updated on the policy changes.
If you’re not sure if what you’re doing is permitted or not, you should contact Google or ask an expert to clarify your doubts. It may take some time and effort, but doing so will keep you away from the receiving end of a Dear Adsense Publisher note.
If you have anything else to add in this list? Share it in the comments below!