Avoiding Invalid AdSense Activity

AdSense Policy, News & Updates
Last updated: January 7, 2020 | by Kean Graham
avoiding invalid adsense activity

This post was most recently updated on January 7th, 2020

Google takes the health of its ecosystem very seriously, which is precisely why they release so many resources and documents aimed at helping publishers understand the logic behind their rules and regulations. We’ve been writing about their AdSense Terms videos all week, and to cap off the week, let’s talk about improper activity on AdSense videos.

These are all activities that some unscrupulous publishers employ to artificially (and dishonestly) inflate their AdSense impression and clickthrough numbers. Strenuously avoid these activities if you wish to avoid upsetting Google’s powers that be. Violating these terms could result in a suspension or termination of your AdSense or Ad Exchange privileges.

You’ll notice a common thread throughout all of these activities: dishonest attempts to manipulate your Google AdSense numbers. They could be distilled into one simple principle: Be truthful with your ads’ impressions and clicks. However, some publishers need a little more explanation — which is why Google is happy to go into detail as to what constitutes invalid ad activity.

Clicking on your ads

Under no circumstances should you click on your ads. Google will notice. Some publishers think, “A few clicks a day never hurt anyone,” so they just make the rounds on their websites every day and click a few times. Besides being fundamentally dishonest, this is an easy way to get your Google AdSense privileges revoked.

Note: this also includes running click bots (scripts that click on your ads for you) and running click farms (using something like Amazon Mechanical Turks to automatically click on your site’s ads). This can result in a lot of short-term profits, but it will never work out in the long run.

Asking people to click on ads

Sure, not clicking on your ads is a no-brainer. But did you know that you also can’t ask people to click on your ads? This includes the following scenarios:

  • Asking friends and family members to click on your site’s ads.
  • Sending an email newsletter to your users asking them to click on your site’s ads.
  • Including a label above your ad that says, “Please click!”

Some publishers think they can get away with these tactics. After all, these are certainly more subtle than running click farms, click bots, or clicking on your days. But Google’s on to these tactics, too.

Confusing users with misleading labels

Don’t confuse your users with misleading labels. This includes putting the ads on a label that says “Menu” or “Contact Us.” Users might think that they need to click on the ad to contact you. Strange, but true. If your site’s visitors could conceivably be tricked into clicking on ads by the labels around them, change the labels or move the ads.

Overall, Google has very good reasons for having the rules that they do. As they explain in the video, if one part of the ad ecosystem is cheating, it disrupts the entire AdSense ecosystem. That’s bad for visitors, bad for advertisers, and in the long run, it’s bad for publishers. Don’t sacrifice the long-term health of the AdSense ecosystem for your short-term profits. It isn’t worth it.

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