The most common occurrence of people being accused of encouraging clicks is the choice of words next to their ads. Many site owners like to write ‘Help support our site, click on our sponsors!’ or ‘Support us’ when in reality the only Google approved choices are ‘sponsored links’ or ‘advertisements’, nothing else.
It is also against the rules to write messages such as ‘all of our AdSense revenue goes to charity’ as, even if genuine, this is a way of pulling strings to get users to click your ads and most probably means that the users aren’t actually interested in the advert itself. If you have any ‘encouraging messages’ next to the ads on your site, it will not be long before you receive an email from Google asking you to change it.
Ads are not allowed to be placed in floating box scripts that follow the user as they scroll up/down or move their mouse. This is because it is distracting and attracts attention away from the main content, it may also lead to invalid clicks when they try and close the floating box.
Another common reason people are receiving the dreaded Google warning email is because they are causing the lines between content/images and adverts to blur a little too much. For example, if you had a list of products on your website, each one having their own image, then you had an advert directly underneath, it may cause confusion for the user and they may click the ad instead of the image causing invalid clicks.
The above image shows exactly how misleading this type of layout can be. Users see a group of pictures with ‘book a hotel tonight’ directly underneath and just assume that the two are related, which they aren’t.
These are just a few explanations as to why users can’t encourage clicks but it all comes down to one simple reason: Google, in order to best protect its advertisers interest, only wants genuine clicks on adverts where the user is interested in the product/service and has no other motive than that.
So what does Google count as ‘Encouraging Clicks’? These are the official guidelines from the AdSense programme policies page.
Mat has been supporting content creators on the web since 1996. As Co-founder of OKO Digital, Mat became the first person in the UK qualified to AdSense partner status and repeated this first with Google Certified Publishing Partner programme.