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Are you monetizing with Google Adsense?

September 28th, 2009 : · 32 Comments ·

If the answer to that question is YES, you need to read this, because depending on how your sites that are displaying Adsense are configured you could be placing your entire Adsense account in jeopardy. How so?

There has been a clause in the Adsense TOS for quite a while that states you cannot place Adsense on a site whose sole purpose for existing is to display ads.

As is the norm with most things related to Google and any of their TOS, that reference has a lot of ambiguity in it.

Well let’s look at some specifics that I can tell you with 100% certainty are resulting in some people losing their Adsense accounts.

Do you create sites or pages that have 100% totally original content? Unique content? Relevant content? Well, a lot of article based sites are built this way, A quality article and Adsense on the page. Guess what? Not good enough. It doesn’t matter if your article content is unique, original and relevant. If that’s all you have on your page, and Google does a hand review of your site and find more than  a handful of sites in violation, poof, goodbye Adsense account.

You need to provide your visitor with more options than simply reading an article or clicking on the ads. Your site has to have a reason for existing besides Adsense.

Some of those things could be, selling products, books, etc. You could use Amazon or Ebay feeds. You can link out to other sites that have more useful relevant info. There are a number of things you can add to your site that will make it comply with the human editors who work for Adsense. My point here is not to tell you how to build your site, but rather how not to build it if you are using Adsense. The bottom line, If you just have Adsense and an article and nothing else, and a human editor reviews your account, don’t be surprised if you get the dreaded email stating your account has been disabled.

- Dave -

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32 Comments so far ↓

  • Radio Controlled Boats

    Dave,
    Good point, I have seen people on forums saying that they create very little content and put adsense on them and rack it in some decent cash. My thinking has always been about quality and relevant content. You should never be able to look at a site and say “that’s just setup for adsense”. It should appear natural to anyone looking at it.

  • Bill Davis

    That information is sure to put a lot of Internet Marketers in a tizzy! Let’s get the point across though: Build sites that have content and provide some utility to the reader.

  • Chris

    Nonsense- For years I have made 10 page websites with 2 -3 adsense blocks on each page. Each page has a 400+ word article.

    This is not a violation of Adsense TOS as long as you are contributing something useful (unique content) to the web. This is just more misinformation put out by gurus who want to hold people back. Tired of all the B.S.

    If someone lost their adsense account, it wasn’t because of this issue. I lost my first adsense account because I was trying to use adsense arbitrage to drive traffic to my sites. I was using Yahoo paid search and MSN Adcenter to drive traffic to my sites.

    I bought a course by some idiot Guru claiming that this is the way to make money with adsense. Google closed down my account. Adsense Arbitrage is against their TOS. Of course the Gurus won’t tell you that . . .

    Live and learn.

  • Michael

    I have a number of sites, most of which have google ads on.

    I think one needs to carefulyl understand what google means by that. Perhaps they left out the word “only” and then it woudl make more sense and not be so ‘ambiguous’.

    Provided there is useful and unique content and, importantly, people linking to the site to demonstrate interest (and Google probably tracks how much people will go to a site, once is likely not enough, Perhaps there is a scale of how many times each Ip address will go to a site and for how long that determines the value of the content on site) and this determines the ranking of a site.

    Just a thought

  • Steve

    Absolutely right! Take good notice of this post as this is exactly what happened to me a few years ago when I put up an ‘AdSense’ site (following the advice of one of the ‘gurus’ at the time). Within a few days my account had been closed by Google and they turned down my appeals. I also lost the money that was in my AdSense account from my other, ‘legitimate’ – in fact authority – sites in other areas. So don’t overlook the fact that you not only lose the ads on the offending site – they all go!

    Not having AdSense is obviously a drawback when it comes to setting up ‘loophole’ sites for sale, as an AdSense account shows there is both traffic and income potential.

    The only good to come out of my ban is that I was forced to look for other forms of advertising on my authority sites, and this turned out to be more lucrative than AdSense.

  • Andy

    Yes, but Dave is emphasizing that even with unique and great content, you can still be in trouble if adsense is the only other action a visitor can do besides reading. I guess we should mix it up by adding other items such as ebay/amazon feeds, a product link (affiliate or not), and more.

  • Mikael Rieck

    There is definitely a risk and if you are pushing it then you’ll be putting yourself even more at risk. It does however happen to a small percentage when compared to how many sites are actually doing this.

    Not that it should be a reason not to improve your sites to limit the risk ;)

    /Mikael

  • swancky

    But that does not out rule the fact that there can be some very questionable practices going on at google. So far as there are humanbeings and there is cash and payment of people’s earnings involved, in this “thingy”, the bottom will (one beautiful day) fall out.

  • Gunter Eibl from GetArticlesDone.com

    Dave, you are right. I just recently lost one Adsense account because of that. Perfect white hat sites with unique content but they had Adsense on it and nothing else.

    Gunter

  • Joseph

    what is the best way to create a website were you get optimun adsense clicks plus google loves your site?
    On a positive note theres always yahoo and other advertisers that will be happy to pay for a slot on your own sites

  • Newbie Traps

    I have several sights on them with nothing on them except unique articles and Adsense. These sites have been up since 2005. The people come to my page, read the articles and click the ads.

    It is a good user experience for them (quality articles) and profitable for me and Google. Sounds like a win, win, win to me, but now you’re saying that’s not good enough for Google?

    I think there must be a little more to it than that like the amount of time the visitor stays on your site, etc.

  • Car Insurance Estimate

    Dave,
    Thanks for sharing. I don’t use adsense on any of my websites. As you mention in your post Google’s TOS is subject to a lot of interpretation that it’s hard to figure what you can and cannot do. So i didn’t want to take the chance to use Adsense.

  • mark

    Good points Dave. In addition I wouldn’t put any Adsense unless the site is over 6 months old.

  • admin

    One thing I want to add is that in recent emails people have received stating that their accounts have been terminated, and I’m referring to those whose content fits the guidelines above, Google has been far more detailed about the reason, in fact they have been downright specific, if you have a site that has nothing but articles and adsense and they human review it, you have a significant risk of losing your account. Just becuase you haven’t to this point doesn’t mean you won’t, and Google has become far more aggresive enforcing this part of the TOS than they have in the past, so I would not let past history be your guide here. – Dave

  • Terry Clark

    I understand Google is this great big juggernaut and they want you to think that their the only game in town, which isn’t true. Google has destroyed many Adsense accounts with the so-called google slap, without any real hard evidence that person did anything wrong. Why is it so hard for google to believe there are some honest Internet marketers left in this world, and not all are bad… you can’t put us all in the same bag! People have worked very hard to cater to google every wish when building their websites – why can’t google just tell the Adsense account holder… You have a problem with your website “Fix It” or whatever! I guest this would be to easy. We need to show google that they are not the only game in town… can you say, ( Yahoo, Bidvertiser, Bing ) these companies are a little more forgiving and you can still make a nice profit without looking over your shoulders. – Terry Clark

  • David Bean

    Chris mentioned that his first Adsense account was closed down. Mine was too–took me totally by surprise, I thought I was doing everything by the book: clean; honest; etc. Then all of a sudden they took my site down for something to do with bad clicks. I had never clicked on a link, but they did not believe me.
    My question is, “How do you get a new account with them?” I have tried a couple of times with new websites, but I never get a response from them. Any help or suggestions?

  • Steve

    Don’t expect Google to have even an ounce of sympathy for a web site owner who breaks their TOS/ Why should they care where you are on the white/gray/blackhat continuum? With so many millions of websites being created every week, they have plenty of new places to put their ads if they strike yours off, and so it’s much simpler for them to focus on approving sites that give the visitor a ‘good’ experience.

    Also, there are references above to people having more than one Adsense account. Isn’t that also against the TOS?

  • Paul

    Are Kontera ads an option other than Adsense? I’m not really sure how they are different. Just that I have seen them offered different places.

  • John

    I have a lot of these “article plus Adsense” sites, but never had a problem with Google. Many of my sites are over 5 years old. These sites have at least 25 pages each and many have over 100 pages. I think there is a big difference between a site full of unique 500+ word articles full of quality information with one Adsense ad block and a lot of the spam sites IMers spit out by the dozen where there is minimal, albeit partly unique, content and loads of ads. I think it is pretty easy to tell at first glance whether a website exists to provide a valuable user experience or just to entice someone to click on an ad.

    I think the subject matter of the website is also very important. Many of my websites are in the travel sector that provide lots of little known facts about a certain destination. People putting up the same old regurgitated ‘information’ about mortgages or lemon law are bound to get in trouble IMHO. The human reviewers at Google don’t peruse sites; they just take a quick glance and make a determination. If you have 3 Google Adsense blocks ‘above the fold’ I would think that you would be in danger of violating the TOS that state that you shouldn’t use deceptive implementation methods to obtain clicks. If the ratio of content to ad blocks is such that the ads seem to be in the background rather than on an equal footing or, worse, the focus, you shouldn’t have a problem.

    In essence, a quality website that has been written to provide original information on a topic that has not yet been exhausted on the Internet benefits everyone. A trash site that has 30% original content but just says the same thing as a million other websites and has 3 ad blocks staring a visitor in the face as soon as he or her visits the page deserves to be banned.

  • admin

    Hi John, I can tell you that people who are doing exactly what you describe, with good high quality original content, good niches, not garbage niches, are being terminated, and the agressiveness of these terminations is increasing.. and Google is being very detailed in their emails.. – Dave

  • alan tan

    What is I read is if only have Adsense and an article and nothing else then it a Big NO…NO!

    Hard 2 believe

  • Pellet Stove Accessories

    It just goes to show that Google can be as fickle as it wants to be and anyone relying solely on Adsense is at risk of loosing their cashflow. It amazes me how people will argue that Google won’t do it to them… at least up until it happens and then they’ll wonder why! Bottom line- you have 2 choices if you are going to use Google ads. 1- Rely on the risky assumption that you’ll be the lucky exception to the rule and wake up one day with your profits cut off or 2- Monetize your sites with other options like Dave suggested, keep Google happy and possibly make more money… wow, that’s a hard choice! Lol.

  • Jim Spence

    As a matter of fact, I just lost my Adsense account for this exact reason. I did have content and I also had links to products that I am selling as an affiliate. Wasn’t good enough for Google I guess.

    Jim

  • Compkete PLR Blog Review Sites

    Hiya

    Nice post but it brings about many questions.

    If I have a book for sale for say $47 then I later decide to offer that same info free of charge by way of posting it as site content, does that mean that it’s lost its value just because I am not selling it in a book format?

    Many sites monetize with adsense and have duplicate content, rank well and have been around for years – Including mine I must add :)
    Ah, but may be there hasnt been a reviewer and thats why they’re still there.

    I’ll have to investigate this some more but if they close my account, I’ll open another of course :)

    Susan

  • Steve

    Anyone who doesn’t feel uneasy if their main source of income is Adsense and who thinks they can just start up another account really needs to wake up to the experience of those of us who got banned.

    And, of course, it’s not just a Google human review that will get you banned, but a ‘helpful’ friend or a determined competitor who decides to while away a few minutes clicking on the ads on your site… that’s all it takes to draw the unwelcome attentions of the Adsense Team.

  • Sonia

    I never knew all the things I’m reading here about Google, AdSense and competitors. It’s a little concerning.

  • Cinjon

    What about domain parking services? All those sites are loaded with adsense and text links & some images. No content to speak of. Add some content and they’d be perfect loophole sites. Wouldn’t those get banned under this premise?

  • admin

    Cinjon, Adsense for domains.. see http://www.google.com/domainpark/

    It’s a different program

    Dave

  • Gordon

    I agree with Dijon, I have forwarded domains and they seem to break this Adsense code of practice.

  • Bruce

    Hiya

    Nice post but it brings about many questions.

    If I have a book for sale for say $47 then I later decide to offer that same info free of charge by way of posting it as site content, does that mean that it’s lost its value just because I am not selling it in a book format?

    Many sites monetize with adsense and have duplicate content, rank well and have been around for years – Including mine I must add :)
    Ah, but may be there hasnt been a reviewer and thats why they’re still there.

    I’ll have to investigate this some more but if they close my account, I’ll open another of course :)

    Susan

  • John

    How are SA sites doing since Google Mayday?
    I understand that those who have targeted 3,4 and even 5 word keywords got hit the hardest. Some say that Mayday was mostly to eliminate auto-gen sites designed for adsense. Curious to read what others think about this.

  • admin

    @John,

    SA sites are doing fine, SA sites are not auto generated.. but it would be wrong to suggest that the Mayday update was designed to eliminate page gen sites because there is quite a lot of them in the top rankings.. Also, some long tails are doing very well.. Think Geo..

    - Dave

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