Top 12 AdSense policy violations to watch out for

Google AdSense is one of the leading online advertisement network for online publishers – it gives publishers the best of both worlds – monetising content without having to worry about the business of generating revenue.

However, publishers do need to comply with a strict policy or risk having their website or account banned.

Here’s the top 12 reasons that I believe cause AdSense policy violations – if you’re unsure check the official policy or contact the AdSense team.

Invalid clicks and impressions

Easily the quickest way to get account banned is providing invalid clicks and impressions.

AdSense has automated ways to detect invalid clicks and take action to protect advertisers.

Never click on ads served on your website. Never ask someone, even your users, to click on ads.

Think twice about telling family and friends about your website – they may go on a ad clicking frenzy raising the attention of AdSense.

Keep it family-friendly

AdSense provides a long list of prohibited content – but in practice they’re just saying to keep your content family-friendly. If you wouldn’t want a child or a grandparent to view the content, or wouldn’t view it in polite company – chances are it doesn’t make the standard.

The current list of prohibited content includes:

Keep ads separate from content and interactive items

Be mindful of the page layout and placement of ads.

Don’t place ads near images or interactive content such as games, slide-shows and navigation buttons.

Make sure ads don’t push content below the fold

Potentially a difficult one to predict – but important for usability as well as complying with the AdSense rules.

If you have a ad unit before your content make sure it does not push the start of your content below the fold – especially with mobile phones and other touch devices. This could lead to false clicks and a misunderstanding of the separation between the content and the ads.

Unnatural attention to ads

Do not use visuals, such as arrows, or placements that draw attention to ads.

This also includes mislabeling around the ads – the only acceptable headers are “Advertisements” or “Sponsored Links”.

Don’t duplicate content

Focus on creating unique and great content – not repeating the same content, even with slight variations, across your website.

Don’t modify the AdSense code

Follow the Code Implementation Guide.

Ads in dynamic content pages

Never include ads on pages that use dynamic content, for example live chats, instant messaging or auto-refreshing comments.

This is important because the AdSense system needs to match the content with the Ad – if the content is dynamic it cannot do this. It also has the potential the ads will be served alongside content that is prohibited.

Ads in non-content pages

I’ve not yet seen an official definition of ‘non-content pages’ for AdSense – but I take this as

  • “About Us” pages,
  • contact forms,
  • 404 ‘page not found’ pages,
  • copyright and terms of services pages,
  • and pages with little to none written content, like a sign in page.

Stolen content (copyrighted material)

Stealing content is wrong – but trying to earn money from it is even worse.

Make sure you either own the content on your website or you have permission to use it, this could be written content, images, video, software for download etc.

Missing a privacy policy

You MUST have a privacy policy for your website. The requirements can be found in AdSense Help.

Sharing your earning details

Never share the details of your AdSense earnings with someone else.

This helps ensure people don’t ‘game the system’ by working out profitable niches.

See item 9 – b in the AdSense Terms and Conditions

9.   Confidentiality

You agree not to disclose Google Confidential Information without our prior written consent. “Google Confidential Information” includes: (a) all Google software, technology and documentation relating to the Services; (b) click-through rates or other statistics relating to Property performance as pertaining to the Services; (c) the existence of, and information about, beta features in a Service and (d) any other information made available by Google that is marked confidential or would normally be considered confidential under the circumstances in which it is presented. Google Confidential Information does not include information that you already knew prior to your use of the Services, that becomes public through no fault of yours, that was independently developed by you, or that was lawfully given to you by a third party. Notwithstanding this Section 9, you may accurately disclose the amount of Google’s gross payments resulting from your use of the Services.