In order to protect advertiser’s interest and money, Google has a big list of guidelines or restrictions for AdSense publishers. Google also update these guidelines regularly to ensure the program works best for advertisers. In this article we discuss those AdSense policies for publishers in nutshell. Of course these policies are relevant to those already having AdSense account, in case if you are applying for new AdSense account refer our easy AdSense approval guide for more details.
5 Categories of Google AdSense Policies
You can categorize all AdSense policies under the following five categories:
- Clicks and Impressions
- Content Guidelines
- Traffic Sources
- Ads Display
- Product Specific Policies
In addition to these standard policies Google also has a product specific policies for Search,
feeds, AdMob, Videos and Games.
1. Clicks and Impressions
1.1. Clicking Own Ads
As a rule of thumb, do not click your own ads. Google monitors every single click with the help of automated as well as manual methods.
- Avoid any artificial means of inflating ad impressions and clicks.
- Never make an attempt to use automatic click bots or auto impression generating tools for your AdSense sites.
- Avoid referring too many people from your social network accounts to your AdSense site. Though it may look good, Google considers this as a referral traffic and deduct the revenue at the end of the month.
Note, you can click on the the link unit ads on your page. Because link units will show advertisements only after clicking on the next page. You should not click the ads showing on the result page. Learn more on facts about link unit ads.
1.2. Accidental Clicks
It is evident sometimes you might have clicked your own ads accidentally, this is more reasonable during the placement of ad codes on your site. For example, you may try to insert ad code inside HTML block or element on your site and accidentally clicked the ad.
No need to worry about your own accidental clicks when you implement your ads. Though these clicks still show in your AdSense reports, Google filters out accidental clicks and adjust the earnings at the end of each month.
1.3. Encouraging Clicks
Never ask your friends or others to click on your ads or use misleading ad placement on your site to obtain clicks. Below are some of the policy guidelines regarding encouraging clicks:
- Incentive for viewing ads or performing search using Google Search box on your site.
- Using arrows or other graphics to point your ads.
- Google strictly prohibits showing misleading labels nearer to advertisements like “Favorite Sites” or “Today’s Top Offers” or “Support Us”. You can still show labels such as “Sponsored Links” or “Advertisements”.
2. Content Guidelines
As a publisher you need to ensure the compliance of every page on your site displaying AdSense ads.
2.1. General Content Guidelines
Avoid placing ads with the following content:
- Illegal and fake content.
- Content with intellectual property violation.
- Sales of endangered species.
- Derogatory or dangerous content that harasses people.
- Content with dishonest behaviors like fake recommendations.
- Misrepresenting content like get rich schemes.
- Malicious or unwanted software.
- Mail order brides like romance tours and international marriage brokers.
- Sexually explicit content, child sex abuse and pedophilia.
Google updated the policies on Sep 2019 to allow mild sexual, gambling and other categories of websites that was previously a violation. Below are the restricted categories that may receive less advertisements compared to normal content.
- Mild sexual content like nudity.
- Shocking content like graphical images.
- Explosives, gun and weapons related.
- Tobacco, recreational and prescription drugs.
- Unapproved pharmaceutical supplements.
- Alcohol sale and online gambling.
- Removed apps from Google Play Store.
2.2. Webmaster Guidelines
Below are some of the webmaster guidelines for AdSense sites:
- Don’t place ads on copyrighted material.
- Do not place any hidden text or hidden links like with white fonts on white background or small unreadable text.
- Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines.
- Create useful, information rich site and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
Also, avoid placing excessive and irrelevant keywords otherwise Google will penalize your site by removing it from the search engine index.
2.3. AdSense Language Support
It is very important to understand that Google does not support AdSense advertisements on all languages. As a publisher, you should only place ads on the webpages that supports AdSense advertisement. The primary content on publisher’s webpage should be in one of the below supported AdSense languages. You can also combine more than one supported languages on your site. Learn more on eligibility criteria for Google AdSense program.
|Arabic||Bulgarian||Chinese (Simplified)||Chinese (Traditional)||Croatian||Czech|
* AdSense only supports ad serving in this language. The AdSense product interface and help center are not available in these languages.
3. Traffic Sources
Google does not accept paid-to-click programs and sending unwanted emails to receive traffic. If you are using online advertising, ensure the pages comply with Google’s landing page quality guidelines such as the keyword should be relevant to the content on your site.
3.1. Unacceptable Traffic Sources
The following traffic sources are not desired by AdSense:
- Paid-to-click, paid-to-surf, auto surf and click-exchange programs.
- Promoting your site through unsolicited mass emails or unwanted advertisements on third-party websites.
- Display Google ads, search boxes or search results as a result of the actions of software applications such as toolbars.
- Using ads on pop-ups, redirect users to unwanted websites, modify browser settings or interfere with site’s navigation.
3.2. Traffic from Third-Party Sites
AdSense policy prohibits promoting your site on certain third-party sites not designed for site promotion. For example, avoid driving traffic from classifieds or social networking sites. Hence do not publish your ads with AdSense site link on classifieds advertising sites. In addition, Google does not like social traffic from Facebook and Twitter since the conversion quality does not make the advertisers happy.
4. Ads Display
Earlier, Google had a policy on limiting number of ads on a single webpage with 3 content ads, 3 link unit ads and 2 search boxes. However, later Google removed that restriction on content ads and allows to place number of ads proportionate to the content length. If you place too many ads on a page, Google will automatically disable serving of additional ads, and also sends you in case of any violation in policy.
4.1. Ad Code Placement
In addition to number of ads, follow the below policies on ad display:
- Don’t alter AdSense ad code in any way.
- Avoid placing ads in an iframe.
- Prevent using Google brand features such as Google trademarks, logos, webpages, or screenshots, without prior consent from Google.
4.2. Ad Placement
You can experiment with variety of placements and ad formats. However choose the location for your ads carefully without trying any tricks. Ensure to provide sufficient space between ads and the page content and avoid the followings:
- Mixing ad codes with other software applications (except AdMob) of any kind, including toolbars.
- Showing ads in pop-up or pop-under pages.
- Sending ads in emails, email programs, or chat programs (except AdMob).
- Pacing ads on non-content based page like thank you page (except AdSense for Search and AdMob).
- Displaying ads on pages with the violated URLs having Google brands that confuse users.
4.3. Combining AdSense with Other Ad Networks
You can show Google AdSense ads and use Google Search boxes on webpages containing ads from other services. However, ensure not to format other ads like the same layout and colors as Google ads or Search boxes on the page.
5. Product Specific AdSense Policies
All the policies mentioned above will hold good for all type of AdSense products. In addition the above standard policies, Google has separate set of policies for specific products.
5.1. AdSense for Search
When you are using Google Search box, ensure to follow the below policies.
- Use a maximum of two Google AdSense for Search boxes on a single page.
- Avoid inserting too many ads on a search results page.
- Users should input data directly into the search box, including pre-populated terms to the search box and hard-coding direct links to search results pages are prohibited.
- Don’t integrate AdSense for Search code into any software application like toolbar.
5.2. AdSense for Feeds Policies (Discontinued):
Earlier Google had separate section for feeds within AdSense account with the following policies. However, Google retired AdSense for Feeds with effective from 03 December 2012.
- Don’t run ads from multiple ad networks in a single feed. You can use another ad network for a different set of feeds not used with AdSense.
- Google ads in feeds should adhere to all content policy guidelines mentioned above.
- You may display Google AdSense ads in emails to users those subscribed to receive your website’s feed by email. This is an exception to standard program policies.
We hope this article gave you the guidelines for protecting your AdSense account against irrelevant usages. You can also check out the official AdSense support page for getting more detailed policy information.