This post was most recently updated on May 31st, 2021
When you hear the words “spam score,” it’s easy to confuse it for many different things. Spam can refer to email spam or describe spammy SEO practices and much more. However, in this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Google Spam score assigned to publishers via Google products such as Google Ad Manager, Ad Exchange, and AdSense. We’ll show you why it’s in your best interest to have a healthy Google Spam score and how to improve it.
Quick note: You probably won’t ever see your actual Google Spam score, as it’s an internal metric used by Google. That doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s mentioned to Google Publisher Partners and documented by Google.
The metric shows the percentage of clicks from a publisher identified as spam clicks.
Limiting or eliminating spam clicks and invalid traffic from your website will help keep the score healthy and protect your ad accounts. Publishers with poor scores can experience ad revenue clawbacks or even lose their ad accounts if things get out of hand.
Keep in mind that information on this subject remains limited, and Google is vague on sharing exactly how this works. However, we’ve seen issues with ad placements and invalid traffic being the main instigators in poor spam scores.
Do not be overly aggressive with your ad placements. Don’t put ads in locations where they are prone to accidental clicks, as this is one of the easiest ways to hurt your spam score. It can include placing ads too close to the content, tricking users into clicking on ads, etc.
Spam scores are measured as a percentage of spam clicks vs. normal clicks. Ad units that get high CTRs but low viewability is an immediate red flag that can lead to account termination. The best course of action is to make sure all your ad units get high viewability.
We’ve written an ultimate guide on ad placements here: https://www.monetizemore.com/blog/publisher-ultimate-guide-ad-placements/.
Secondly, Invalid traffic remains a critical factor to consider. Invalid traffic includes bots and fraudulent traffic viewing and clicking your ads. Any ads clicked on by a bot is counted as a spam click. If a website gets an influx of bot traffic engineered to click on ads, that could be enough to get your AdSense or AdX account banned.
To combat this, we’ve created a tool called Traffic Cop that uses machine learning and fingerprinting algorithms to detect and prevent invalid traffic from seeing your ads. You can get set up almost instantly and see results in our dashboard just by adding a few lines of code.
Traffic Cop even won the Google Innovation of the year award in 2020 and is recognized by Google as one of the best invalid traffic tools for publishers.
Although somewhat elusive, we’re here to tell you that the Google Spam score exists, and you should try to improve it where possible. AdSense or AdX terminations due to bad spam scores are the worst types of terminations along with invalid traffic. You do not get a chance to appeal after this type of termination and they can lead to the largest ad revenue clawbacks.
Even if your bad spam score was caused solely by accidental clicks, it is still classified as “Invalid Traffic” when you get notified by Google. It’s misleading, we know! Be proactive because we’ve seen these types of terminations kill publisher businesses. Here’s a screenshot of an email publisher can get because of invalid traffic issues:
Are you struggling with accidental clicks, ad layout issues, revenue clawbacks, and other ad optimization issues? MonetizeMore is here to help! We’re a Google Certified Google Publisher Partner and help hundreds of publishers optimize their ad revenue and improve their Google Spam Score. Are you ready to take your business to the next level while protecting yourself from revenue clawbacks and account closure?
Here’s the course that 300+ pubs used to scale their ad revenue.