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Google AdSense Announces Crackdown on Invalid Clicks

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Google AdSense Announces Crackdown on Invalid Clicks
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Google AdSense announced they will stop showing ads before invalid clicks happen. Google says this change won’t affect most publishers. Penalized AdSense publishers will be notified and given the opportunity to fix the problem.

This is Google’s explanation:

“This year, we’re enhancing our defenses even more by improving the systems that identify potentially invalid traffic or high risk activities before ads are served. These defenses allow us to limit ad serving as needed to further protect our advertisers and users…”

What is AdSense Invalid Traffic?

Invalid traffic covers fraudulent clicks and impressions as well as accidental clicks.

This is how Google defines invalid traffic:

“Clicks or impressions generated by publishers clicking their own live ads

Repeated ad clicks or impressions generated by one or more users

Publishers encouraging clicks on their ads (examples may include: any language encouraging users to click on ads, ad implementations that may cause a high volume of accidental clicks, etc.)

Automated clicking tools or traffic sources, robots, or other deceptive software.”

An example of an accidental click is when an ad is placed beneath a drop down menu. Navigational elements can cause accidental clicks. Careful AdSense ad placement will help minimize accidental clicks.

Another example of accidental clicks is specifying ad colors and fonts in a manner that confuses users into thinking the ad is a part of the content or navigation.

An example of content blending is a list of links to useful resources that are styled to resemble AdSense ads, with AdSense ads blended into those links.

Fraudulent AdSense Traffic

Google also mentions fraudulent traffic in the form of “Automated clicking tools or traffic sources.” That kind of software is called a Clickbot.

Clickbot traffic is a purely fraudulent activity. Publishers should be wary of any service that promises instant traffic because that could be clickbot traffic.

The above examples of fraudulent traffic that Google posted is meant as an example and don’t represent the different kinds of fraudulent traffic.

For example, Google doesn’t mention click-rings although there is a Google support page about this where it’s called Traffic Exchange.

Click-rings (or traffic exchanges) are services that use real people clicking on ads. Some of the click-rings consist of publishers clicking on each other’s ads. Some click-rings use real people.

Those kinds of services result in fraudulent ad clicks and impressions and should be avoided.

Google has a developer page that advises publishers to closely monitor traffic generated from any paid traffic sources in order to avoid falling victim to invalid traffic.

This is what Google’s support page says:

“…some of these services actually send artificial traffic to websites, despite their appearance. …these services often generate clicks and impressions using click bots, or by providing users incentives to visit sites or click on ads.

For this reason, we strongly urge you to use caution when partnering with third-party traffic services.”

AdSense Update Will Not Affect Most Publishers

Google’s announcement stated that the change will not affect most publishers. Publishers that are affected will receive notifications in their AdSense Control Panel Policy Center.

This is how Google AdSense explains it:

“While most publishers will not notice any changes to their ad traffic, we are working on improving the experience for those that may be impacted, by providing more transparency around these actions.

Publishers on AdSense and AdMob that are affected will soon be notified of these ad traffic restrictions directly in their Policy Center.”

What Google’s AdSense Announcement Means:

  • AdSense enforcement update will not affect most publishers
  • Affected publishers will have their ads stopped from showing
  • Affected publishers will receive a notice and be able to fix the problem

Read the official announcement here: Additional safeguards to protect the quality of our ad network

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience. I offer site audits and link building strategies. See me ... [Read full bio]

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