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Why is a Publisher at risk of being banned by AdSense?

Posted by Huzefa Hakim | March 6, 2023

Why is a Publisher at risk of being banned by AdSense?

Digital publishers always mistake Google AdSense to be activity-friendly instead of user-friendly.

Now you may ask, what do we exactly mean by ‘activity-friendly’?

It is to do with the impressions and engagements generated on an advertisement hosted by the publisher. Though AdSense is a monetization platform, not every activity that is reported on an ad must be paid for by the advertisers. When invalid traffic enters the scene, it is the responsibility of Google AdSense to ensure that they keep such fraudulent impressions under check.

To perform its role effectively, AdSense has policies related to publisher activity in place. Any violation of this policy can result in consequences as harsh as the publisher’s account being temporarily or permanently banned.

Through this blog, our aim is to throw light on some violations committed by publishers which expose them to the risk of account suspension. Let us discuss these in detail.

AdSense violations you are probably committing 

1. Clicking your own ads

One of the most common violations occurs when a publisher, intentionally or unintentionally, clicks their own ads. Under the CPC model, every advertiser is bound to pay per click generated on the ads. As a result, to reap additional revenue, a publisher may sometime compromise their ethics and click on their own ads. However, the most common form of this violation occurs when a publisher clicks the ads to check the landing or the destination page of the ad.

Irrespective of the intention, Google treats such clicks very seriously because no advertiser would like to pay a dollar extra because of invalid and irrelevant clicks generated by the publisher itself.

2. Placing Ads on Copyright-infringed Content 

To maintain its image as a clean and respectful tool towards intellectual property rights, AdSense does not entertain ads on any website which has copyright-infringed content. For example, let us consider a food blogging website which has copyrighted images from other sources on its websites. For such a blogging site, Ad Sense cannot be used for monetization purposes as the copyrighted content on its website results in a major violation of its policy.

3. Prohibited Content on AdSense 

There is a list of pre-determined forms of content that is prohibited by AdSense. This means that if your website, which is being monetized by AdSense, consists of any of this content, you stand a higher chance of facing payback for policy violations. This includes the following: 

  • Drug, alcohol and tobacco-related content
  • Content promoting extreme profanity
  • Hacking content
  • Adult content
  • Copyrighted content
  • Gambling content
  • Content advocating against an individual, group or organization
  • Violent content
  • Link to sites offering compensation programs

4. Absence of Privacy Policy Page

One of the mandates from Google AdSense is the need for a Privacy Policy page if your website is monetized using this tool, failing which you can be held for policy violation. In other words, the cookie policy, and the option to accept or disable the cookies bar in the website is a must as it ensures that any information collected by the website about the user is 100% consensual.

5. Non-user-centric website

This covers websites with the faulty placement of ads and ad units which hamper the user experience. Placing ads right next to a game that encourages a click also counts as an example of a bad user experience. Apart from publishing relevant content, there must be efforts to improve the overall user experience by having ad units labelled as ‘Sponsored’ or ‘Advertisements’. In the absence of such efforts, AdSense will begin flagging such activities and the moment the threshold is reached, it shall take strict actions.

6. Placing ads on Error 404 pages

If your website has pages that do not encourage much traffic and has more space at your disposal, never consider displaying ads on such pages. This includes the likes of Error 404 pages or a Thank you page. While it may sound like an excellent opportunity to capitalize on the available space, Google treats such actions as a deception to users and may count this as a policy violation. Additionally, any efforts taken to generate greater clicks on ads without doing it yourself are also dealt with strictly by AdSense.

7. Ads in Unsupported Language 

If your website does not support content in the list of languages provided by AdSense other than English, your website will not get monetized i.e., your opportunity to display ads on your website is lost.

8. Placing AdSense ads on pages with little to no content

Google AdSense requires that publishers only display their ads on pages that have substantial and original content. If a publisher places ads on pages with little to no content, it is considered a violation of AdSense policies. This is because such pages provide no value to users and are often created solely for the purpose of displaying ads. AdSense publishers should ensure that their website has high-quality content that provides value to their audience.

9. Encouraging clicks on AdSense ads

Encouraging clicks on AdSense ads is strictly prohibited by Google AdSense. Publishers are not allowed to incentivize clicks in any way, such as offering rewards or using language that encourages users to click on ads. Similarly, publishers should avoid placing AdSense ads in such a way that they could be mistaken for website content or navigation. Publishers who violate this policy risk having their accounts suspended or terminated.

10. Using bots or automated tools to generate clicks or impressions

Publishers must never use bots or other automated tools to generate clicks or impressions on AdSense ads. Doing so is considered fraudulent and is strictly prohibited by AdSense policies. This is because it artificially inflates the number of clicks or impressions, which is harmful to both advertisers and publishers. Publishers found to be using bots or automated tools to generate clicks or impressions risk having their accounts suspended or terminated.

11. Modifying AdSense code

Modifying AdSense code in any way is strictly prohibited by Google AdSense. This includes altering the code to artificially inflate clicks or impressions, hiding the ads, or making the ads look like website content or navigation. Publishers should only use AdSense code as provided by Google and should not attempt to modify it in any way. Violating this policy can result in account suspension or termination.