After uniQlicks began spamming AdSense publishers with fake Google AdSense termination emails in an attempt to scare publishers into signing up for their “invalid click protection”, a lot of people asked me what they can do themselves to protect their AdSense account. The AdSense team contacted me and said they have a list of tips for publishers, and yes, they are all free
It is also worth noting that they do not recommend using any third party software or custom ad implementations.
Here are the tips from the AdSense team:
We’ve provided some points below to help address and clarify some invalid clicks issues:
- We understand that it’s not always possible to control the behavior of your users, but you can be proactive about monitoring your traffic, and you can take steps to ensure that your site provides a helpful and safe environment for users and advertisers. Here are some top tips for keeping your account in good standing (which you may have seen before): https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=23921
- Expanding on the tip “Be aware of how your site is promoted.”, we’d like to remind you that, should you purchase traffic to promote your site, you do so at your own risk. There are many site promotion services out there that appear to be legitimate PPC advertising companies or search engines, but actually may be sending artificial traffic to your site for their own gain. (For legal reasons, we’re not allowed to disclose the names of such services.)To combat this, we highly recommend that you use channels to segment your traffic by source (e.g. a channel for your site’s Google AdWords traffic only). If one channel’s reports look particularly suspicious, you may want to consider unsubscribing from that traffic service. We also recommend using Analytics to slice and dice your traffic reports further to ensure that you’re receiving clicks from users who are genuinely interested in your ads.
- Though we encourage you to be proactive about monitoring your site and ad traffic, we highly discourage the use of click tracking via third-party software or custom ad implementations. These methods may:
- inadvertently disclose sensitive information about you or your site to a third-party
- disrupt Google’s ad delivery or click logging in a way that violates our Terms and Conditions
In addition, click tracking may not provide you with significantly more information than you can already find in your AdSense or Analytics reports. We believe that the creative use of channels can help you gain detailed insights into your account.
- If you see unusual activity on your account, feel free to submit this form to let us know: https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/request.py?contact=invalid_clicks_contact Please note that we will only respond if we find a significant issue with your account.
- Invalid clicks can come from many sources, as described at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=16737. While we’re unable to go into the details of our monitoring system, you should know that invalid clicks don’t always mean clicking on your own ads or using click bots. Our Ad Traffic Quality Team looks for numerous types of activity that may inflate advertiser costs, then takes the necessary actions to protect our advertisers.
- That said, we still find that many publishers are clicking on their own ads, possibly because they feel that Google is disregarding those clicks. Keep in mind that even though we filter the revenue from an invalid click, we don’t ignore it completely. If we detect significant invalid activity on your AdSense ads, we may take action on your account to protect our advertisers from inflated costs. Here are some examples of situations in which clicking your own ads is prohibited:
- Clicking out of interest in the ad content
- Clicking to see an ad’s destination URL, such as for filtering purposes (we recommend trying the AdSense Preview Tool, available at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=10005)
- Clicking to ensure that Google is properly registering clicks on your ads (we log all ad clicks, but it can sometimes take up to 24 hours before your reports are finalized)
- Clicking to test your website
- For general invalid click questions, you can find more information at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/topic.py?topic=8426
- For questions about AdSense accounts disabled for invalid clicks, you can find more information at https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153
Followup from Jen: Anyone have any additional tips they use to protect their accounts? I think this pretty much covers most of what I do or advise clients to do in order to protect their AdSense accounts. The most important tip, in my opinion, is the one about being cautious when buying traffic (well, aside from the obvious one of never clicking your own ads!) Too many people get tempted with offers of cheap traffic, but always keep in mind you will never be sure if the traffic is legitimate or artificial. So while you are pretty safe buying PPC ads on Google, Yahoo and Bing/adCenter, definitely avoid third tier networks where you cannot judge the traffic quality first. Anyone had any horror stories with buying bad traffic?
And thank you to Google for providing this!