Keep It Clean: Avoid Adult Content on Sites With Google Ads

AdSense Policy, News & Updates
Last updated: October 26, 2020 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on October 26th, 2020

In another one of Google’s policy videos, Google explains their rules about adult content on sites that run Google ads. Specifically, the rule states that adult content may not be shown on pages where Google ads are run. In this video, Google explains the rule and their motivations behind it; they also explain the gray areas of the rule and how to stay compliant.

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Why does this policy exist

This policy isn’t just an arbitrary policy Google has instated to make life more difficult for web publishers. There are real and valid reasons why this policy is written into Google’s terms, and they have to do with Google’s revenues — present and future.

Google needs to protect its future revenues for the health of their ad ecosystem. In the video, Google explains that advertisers simply wouldn’t buy as many ads if they knew their ads were going to be on adult websites. In a way, Google’s strict and rigid rule is a way of protecting your future ad revenue. It might be frustrating to make your site compliant with Google’s adult content restrictions — particularly if your site is in the gray area between appropriate and inappropriate — but it’s for the best in the long run.

What is inappropriate content?

“Inappropriate” can be tricky to define because it is an inherently subjective term. One person’s classy art might be another person’s pornography. However, Google has tried to define “inappropriate” as objectively as possible. If your site’s content fits any of these parameters, then you’re in violation of Google’s terms and need to rectify the situation:

  • Full frontal nudity.
  • Strategically covered nudity.
  • Content or text intended to be sexually stimulating.
  • Adult language, even in comment sections or message boards.
  • Content about illegal drugs.

Monitor your users

One of the ways in which sites sometimes run afoul of these guidelines is in user-generated content. Did you know that user-generated content, like comments and forum posts, can put you in violation of these guidelines?

That means that it’s absolutely imperative to monitor the content your users post on your site. It would be a shame to be rejected by Google AdSense it Ad Exchange just because some of your users posted inappropriate material on your site. And remember: you’re even on the hook if you link to inappropriate content; it doesn’t have to be posted directly on your site.

If you get a flag for one of these violations, it probably won’t mean you will get kicked off of Google’s ad products permanently. Just rectify the error and reapply.

You don’t have to make your site totally kid-friendly to get accepted to Google’s ad products, but you should at least rid your site of material that you wouldn’t repeat or show others in polite company. If you still need extra clarification about whether your site is compliant with Google’s terms and conditions, watch the aforelinked video or review Google’s terms and conditions. Those two resources alone should give you a good sense as to whether or not your site is compliant. When in doubt, use common sense!


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