Every publisher that uses Google AdSense or Google Ad Manager has their own policy centre which gives detailed information about any current issues that may restrict or limit ad serving on a specific page or on the entire website. These restrictions are known as enforcements and these can be imposed at page-level, site-level or account-level. Information about violations, such as which page or site they appear on, which policy was violated and how to address the violation or restriction, can be found in the policy centre.
Enforcements have a direct impact on publisher revenue. Therefore, publishers need to be aware of the three different types of enforcements, and just as importantly, how to protect their account from issues that affect ad serving.
First things first, what’s the difference between Google Publisher Policies and Google Publisher Restrictions?
In order to serve ads using AdSense or Ad Manager, publishers must agree to comply with Google’s Publisher Policies. Publisher Policies are the set of principles, rules and guidelines surrounding numerous aspects of ad serving, such as; the types of content that can be placed on-site, the quality of traffic required, the quality of content on-site and the placement of ads.
If publishers violate policies, these violations must be fixed. Failure to address these issues can result in disabled ad serving or account termination because you cannot monetize policy-violating content. When this occurs, you will not be able to earn any revenue until your site or webpage complies with Google’s policies. Violating publisher policies can result in page-level, site-level, and account-level enforcements, depending on the severity of the violation.
Publisher restrictions, on the other hand, outline the types of content that will receive restricted ad serving. Restricted ad serving means ads will continue to serve but fewer advertisers can bid on your inventory, resulting in lower overall revenue. Restricted ad serving usually occurs on a page-by-page basis. Publishers are not obligated to fix restriction issues and no further action will be taken aside from restricted demand which, of course, will impact revenue.
You can learn more about the difference between Google Publisher Policies and Publisher Restrictions here.
What are Page-Level Enforcements?
Page-level enforcements enable Google to control where ads are shown at page-level, rather than having to remove ads from entire websites. This level of control over demonetization allows Google to quickly disable or restrict ad serving on pages with content that violates policy, whilst continuing to display ads on pages that do not violate policy. You can learn more about what types of content violate policy here. Page-level enforcements tend to be the consequence for less severe policy violations.
Prior to the introduction of page-level enforcements in 2017, Google would demonetize entire sites for policy-violating content. Unlike page-level enforcements, sitewide enforcements take significantly longer because Google waits until a certain percentage or number of pages are in violation before taking any action.
What are Site-Level Enforcements?
Site-level enforcements allow Google to limit, suspend or disable ad serving on entire sites. If ad serving on your website has been disabled sitewide, Google will provide you with the specific violation and an example page where the violation is found. Site-level enforcements tend to be the consequence for more severe violations of policy. In order to address site-level enforcements, you must make the necessary changes to comply with policies. Once addressed, you can request a review from Google in order to resume ad serving.
What are Account-Level Enforcements?
Account-level enforcements impact your entire AdSense or Ad Manager account and can result in limited or suspended ad serving across all of your websites and apps. Limited ad serving means that Google has temporarily restricted the number of ads that can be shown on websites associated with your AdSense or Ad Manager account.
Suspended ad serving means that no ads at all will be shown on any of the websites associated with that AdSense or Ad Manager account and any payments will also be withheld or even deduced to reimburse advertisers. Account-level enforcements are usually the consequence of the most severe policy violations.
Where to find Page-Level, Site-Level and Account-Level Enforcements?
Publishers will be notified via email if a new policy violation is found on site. Usually, the message will say something like this:
- “We’ve found some policy violations on your site”
- “We’ve discovered one new page on your sites that don’t comply with AdSense policies.”
- “New violations were detected. As a result, ad serving has been restricted or disabled on pages where these violations of the AdSense Programme Policies were found. To resolve the issues, you can either remove the violating content and request a review, or remove the ad code from the violating pages.”
- “This line item has creatives that are currently not serving because our system determined that they violate certain policies.”
Ad serving will then be restricted or disabled at either page, site or account-level depending on the violation. If you receive one of these notifications you can, and should, review the details any violations in the Policy Centre.
The notification will include important information, such as which site has the issue, which pages have issues, whether action is going to be taken at page, site or account level and the last enforcement date. For page-level enforcements, Google will advise you on the specific violation that has been found and on which page. For site-level enforcements, Google will advise you on the violation that has been found and an example page. Once you have addressed any issues, you can request a review in the policy centre.
Must fix: Yes vs No
The ‘Must fix’ column in your Policy centre will let you know whether you are obligated to take action on an enforcement. If the column says ‘yes,’ the enforcement is due to a policy violation which means you have to fix the issue in order to continue serving ads. If the column says ‘no,’ you are not obligated to address the issue but ad serving will be restricted. Both enforcements have a direct impact on revenue.
What to do after receiving a ‘must fix’ Page-Level or Site-Level enforcement warning?
If you receive an email from Google notifying you of a ‘must fix’ enforcement action, you really have two options. If you do not want to bring your webpage or website into compliance, you can choose to stop serving ad requests on the areas of the website with policy-violating content. This means that you will no longer earn revenue from this content.
The second option is to bring the website or webpage into compliance with Google policies and then request a review. If your review is approved by Google, full ad serving will be restored and you will continue to earn revenue.
The policy centre will list any current enforcements and next to each issue, there is an arrow which tells you about your options, details more information about the issues and shares which page on which the issues were found. This information should give you a good idea of the action you need to take to resolve the policy violations.
How to block ads from serving
If you decide to stop serving ads around policy that violates content, you can block ads from serving. That way, you will not be in violation of any of Google’s policies. To block ads from serving on AdSense or Ad Manager, you simply need to remove all ad unit code from the web page or website. Once you have removed the code, violations are usually removed from the policy centre in 7-10 days.