#AdsenseWednesdays: Prevent Prohibited Content by Controlling User-Generated Content

AdSense Policy, News & Updates
Last updated: August 2, 2019 | by Kean Graham
prevent prohibited user generated content

This post was most recently updated on August 2nd, 2019

Welcome to #AdSenseWednesdays!

Since Google Adsense is a family-safe network, it’s important to be vigilant about policy compliance. Basically, if you’ll be uncomfortable viewing the content of a site while a child or another person is around, it probably means that it’s violating policies. The most common violations being adult and copyrighted content.

Publishers are responsible for making sure all content monetized with AdSense follow their policies, including user-generated content (UGC). UGC, as the term implies, can be any text, image, video, or any form of media submitted by users. The most common UGC are comments.

Enabling comments in your site is good to promote readership and discussion as well as to build a sense of community. However, it is often abused by spammers and trolls. These comments not only could annoy your readers and affect your site rankings, but it could also lead to AdSense violations. When this happens, the publisher receives the notification from Adsense and not the user who put in the content. That’s why it’s important for publishers to have a system built for preventing spam and other undesirable content from coming in.

Avoiding and getting rid of spam is a combination of using online tools and human decision-making. Online tools help make prevention and monitoring easier, but manual monitoring is also encouraged.

Here are some ways of preventing spam and other prohibited, user-generated content from getting published on your site:

1) Search your site for violations

This is a must for both new and established sites like to make sure that no prohibited content will show up when someone else is doing a search on your site.

You can do this by typing this on the Google search bar: site:yoursitename.com keyword

Replace yoursitename.com with your URL and the keyword with the prohibited keyword you want to make a search for. You can see sample keywords here: https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/3011847?hl=en&ref_topic=1271507

Make sure to disable Safe Search under Settings. If your site is image-heavy, also check Image results when doing a site search.

Related Read: How to Filter Adult Search Results in Google Custom Search Engine

2) Have your users prove they’re human

Enabling profile creation before leaving comments and moderating them could deter spammers from dropping bad links. You can also enable Captcha http://www.captcha.net/ for preventing bots from posting on your site.

The downside of this, however, is that actual humans might get discouraged to leave real comments because they have to make a lot of effort before being able to publish.

3) Use restrictions for new users

If your site allows users to create profiles or other pages, you can prevent new submissions from appearing immediately in search results by enabling indexing and crawling limitations. Once it has proven that the submission is not malicious or spammy, you can remove the restrictions.

4) Ask your community for help

Allow other users to flag violations by adding a ‘Report A Violation’ feature in pages where user-submitted content are allowed. If your site already has a loyal following, you can also ask trusted users to remove prohibited content and flag rule-breakers.

5) Enable anti-spam services

Depending on your chosen CMS, there are plug-ins such as Akismet that can automatically filter spam. You can check reviews and evaluate which one is the best choice for your site.

You can also join and install Project Honeypot and its software will detect spammy IP addresses which they will share with the public.

6) Use “no follow” tags

Any link with the “nofollow” HTML basically tells search engines not to follow this link. It doesn’t exactly stop malicious content from being published in your site but it discourages bots from putting in spammy links.

Wordpress automatically inserts the nofollow attribute in any links submitted by users.

Bottom line

Publishers are responsible for preventing any prohibited content from showing up in pages monetized with Google AdSense, including ones coming from the users. Properly setting up a system will help you avoid content violations. Enforce, monitor, and update your systems regularly in order to have a smooth relationship with AdSense while maintaining a sense of community in your site.

How else do you prevent comment spammers and other user-submitted content?

References: https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/1355699?hl=en

If you have any questions about Adsense or Ad Exchange policy, just email us at support@monetizemore.com. We can also review your website in order to be eligible to Doubleclick Ad Exchange – FREE Sign-up.

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