As much as Google AdSense gives publishers the opportunity to earn, it also applies a certain set of rules to be obeyed, asking publishers to be at their best. Based on publisher activities, AdSense takes actions to remind them that they are being watched.
One of the ways of AdSense communicates their reaction to publishers is by issuing policy violation warnings. AdSense issues these warnings to publishers when it detects basic violations on a website that can be fixed quickly.
These warnings are meant to give publishers the chance to make necessary improvements. In case of such warnings, a lot publishers panic as ad serving is temporarily disabled, until the fixes are made.
There can be more severe repercussions for publishers when the incidence of policy violation happens more than once. But how does this happen; what triggers these warnings; do the ads stop serving; and what should publishers do next when they receive policy violation warnings from AdSense?
Did you Receive a Policy Violation Warning?
When AdSense issues you a warning, you receive an email from email@example.com with the subject ‘We Found Some Policy Violations on Your Site.’ Apart from the email, you also get a notification that shows in your AdSense account panel.
As mentioned above, these warnings give you the chance to make the necessary corrections on your affected pages or website. To help you do that, the link provided in the email and the notification guide you on where the violation exists. Upon clicking those links, the opened pages will detail the steps you need to take to fix the identified problems.
Earlier, Google used to conduct a review three days after issuing a warning. Publishers were expected to take the recommended action during that period. However, with rules being tightened, Google now makes site-level and section-level enforcements, partially disabling ad serving with immediate effect. There are also cases where ads stop running site-wide when publishers fail to respond to policy violation warnings in a timely manner or receive multiple policy violation warnings.
What Triggers these Warnings?
Here are the top reasons which trigger AdSense to send you policy violations:
1) Plagiarized Content
Google favors unique and quality content. As a result, it won’t allow you to place ads on pages that have plagiarized or copyrighted content. Copied content is one of the most common reasons why AdSense issues warnings, but publishers definitely have control over this aspect.
2) Misleading Ad/Page Layout
After content, ad layout and experience is the next thing Google pays attention to. Your layout should be such that it is easy for users to distinguish between the content and ads. Ads placed too close to the content can invite invalid clicks. In response, Google deducts the clicks identified as invalid/fake clicks.
3) Breach of Content Guidelines
Google’s content guidelines are one of their strongest sets of rules applicable to publishers. Any content or text description having sexual context, profanity, explicit jokes, and violence are strictly monitored. This is one of the major reasons why ads on such pages stop serving.
4) Poor Ad Labelling
Ads labeled under the ‘Resources’ or ‘Insights’ category asking users to click on them are considered mislabelled. Labels that are acceptable include ‘Advertisement’ or ‘Sponsored Links.’
5) Calling Attention
Similar to explicit content, drawing unnatural attention towards ads using loud visuals, call-outs, or placements that prompt clicks are not permitted. These types of ads immediately go in moderation, and in the majority of cases, they get taken down.
6) Tampering AdSense Code
Every ad slot gets a code snippet provided by AdSense to run the add on the webpage. Modifications to this code snippet can lead to the ad getting disabled or trigger AdSense to issue a warning.
7) Ads on Non-ad Friendly Pages
Any website’s structure has some pages meant for information and acknowledgment. Placing ads on About Us, Contact Form, 404 Page Not Found, Copyright, Terms of Service, and Sign Up/In pages are considered policy violations.
9) Disclosure of AdSense Earnings
Google’s terms and conditions include the confidentiality clause wherein disclosing AdSense information is considered a policy violation. The types of information include Google software, technology, documentation related to the services, CTRs and other performance metrics, revenue data, and information about beta services.
10) Breach of Webmaster Guidelines
Webmaster Guidelines encourage publishers to create high-quality and original content intended for humans, not search engines. Breach of these guidelines and inappropriate content publishing such as using content spinners is also one of the reasons which can lead to policy violation warnings.
Types of Warnings Issued by AdSense
To mitigate the effect of warnings, first, you need to find out what type of warning has been issued to you. At the beginning of this post, we mentioned that Google now directly disables the ads on a site, section, page, and account-level basis. Your warning notification will specify the level/type of warning that has been issued to you. Here are the steps on how you can resolve policy violations and prevent warnings in the future:
Site-level enforcements are applicable to the overall website, e.g. publisherwebsite.com. Google issues you this warning when it finds serious compliance issues in one or more than one of your websites present in your AdSense account. As a result, AdSense disables the ad serving on that entire site and asks you to make the changes in order to make the site Google compliant and resume the ad serving.
Section-level enforcements are applicable on specific pages under a section a website, e.g. publisherwebsite.com/blog. If a warning is issued, you can expect restricted or disabled ad serving on non-compliant pages. As the name suggests, in section-level enforcements, ads will continue to serve on pages without any violation/compliance issues.
Page-level enforcements are applicable on specific pages where Google finds policy issues, e.g. publisherwebsite.com/how-to-plan-your-next-trip or publisherwebsite.com/10-tips-to-bagpack-quickly. When a page-level warning is issued, ad serving is restricted or disabled on the specific non-compliant pages. Similar to section-level, ads continue to serve on pages without any violation/compliance issues.
Account-level enforcements are more severe than warnings. Account suspension or disablement happens in the case of multiple policy violations that are beyond the acceptable threshold of warnings. During the suspension period, ad serving is stopped on an account-level, i.e., no ads will show on any of the websites associated with that AdSense account.
Moreover, the payments are put on hold and current payments can also be deducted in order to reimburse advertisers. Google advises publishers to use the suspension period to find and eliminate invalid traffic and make your account compliant to Google program policies.
What to do after Receiving a Warning?
Once you know the level/type of warning issued to you, the next step is to make the changes accordingly and request for a review of your website, and here’s how to do it:
- Sign in to your Google AdSense account.
- Go to Account.
- Click Policy Centre.
- Go to Site with Enforcements section and click on the website name with site/section/page-level violations.
- Click on the down arrow to expand the details of the violation.
- Next, click Request Review.
- Finish the form and hit Request Review.
Typically, Google takes about a week to review the website and resume ad serving, if the website is found compliant after making the changes in the affected sections. In the case of recurring violations, websites can often experience instant ad disabling and further actions.
Publishers are an integral part of Google’s advertising ecosystem. Hence, Google frequently revises its policies to keep the supply chain clean. To help publishers remain on the safe side, Google encourages them to follow some best practices. Here are some of them:
- Avoid clicking on your own ads to prevent invalid traffic.
- Prepare content from a user’s point of view that is useful.
- Keep the content family-safe and valuable to the reader.
- Ditch deceptive page/ad layouts or call-outs to invite clicks.
- Create quality content, avoid duplication, and update regularly.
- Observe Google’s copyrights and terms of service thoroughly.
- Track the sources of traffic to block suspicious traffic/user activity.
- Don’t make modifications to the AdSense code.
Lastly, publishers are advised to stay on top of AdSense policies,product updates, and continue to follow healthy ways of making revenue.