If you have a Google Adsense account be aware of invalid traffic and policy enforcement
Many bloggers earn a regular monthly income by displaying advertising on their sites.
There are some who believe that it can slow down a site or that the returns are not worth the effort.
It may have been true in the past, but I can only say that I have made very good money online from advertising.
When it is implemented properly, there is almost no adverse effect on site speed.
If you would like to register for Google Adsense and host ads on your blog, you can create your Adsense account by applying by using your Google account and a valid email address. Be patient, however, as it can take time to get your approved Adsense account.
I know no one ever reads the terms and conditions on a site. But you really must do so to understand what is expected of new Adsense publishers and learn how to earn money from advertising.
Google wants to have its ads displayed on quality sites with well written and focused content.
So while it is reviewing your application, you should be adding as much original content as you can to help your site’s chances of being accepted into the advertising program.
When your Adsense account is approved, you can begin to participate in Adsense by having contextual advertisements displayed on your site pages.
You can decide on the type of ad and ad sizes to suit your page layout. Native ads and auto ads are the easiest to implement, but you can also choose between text and display ads.
The program is based on cost per click. This means that you will get paid for every valid click on one of your ads.
The Google Adsense program is an easy way to monetize a blog, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you abide by the program policies.
So as I said before, you must read the Adsense terms and conditions carefully and understand the rules to avoid your account being suspended.
What you need to check regularly on your Adsense account
Once you have ads set up and running on your site, there is very little for you to do.
Adsense places the Google ads on your site, and when people click, you get paid.
However, some site owners are unaware of two critical factors that can result in their account being suspended or permanently disabled.
While Google explains these two issues in detail in the Adsense help pages, it doesn’t give a lot of details about how you can check your account.
How to check for invalid activity and fix it
The definition of invalid activity is in general terms related to accidental clicks or invalid click activity, ad clicks by the site owner or the use of click farms.
Invalid clicks can also be the result of ad implementations that do not conform with Google Ads program policies.
However, although most site owners abide by all the rules, invalid ad traffic will still occur on every site, and it is perfectly normal.
Google prevents invalid traffic using complex algorithms. At the end of each month, after this check, you will find that there will always be a small deduction.
You can locate this information when you click on the Payments tab of your Adsense dashboard.
Then click on View Transactions. You can set the date range if you want to check your previous monthly payments.
If your deduction is one or two per cent, it is perfectly normal, and you have no concerns.
But, if you see that your Adsense invalid traffic deduction is more than five per cent, you really need to take some action.
Even though you are doing everything according to the Adsense guidelines, you can suffer a sizable deduction.
The reasons are usually that the type of traffic sources you are getting to your site is of low quality. It is not explained very well, but this quote from Adsense help and the Adsense Program Policies is relevant.
Some publishers have had issues with invalid traffic when partnering with low-quality ad networks, search engines, or directory sites in efforts to increase traffic to their site.
I had a sudden increase in my invalid traffic deduction one month, and it took me quite a while to figure out what the problem was.
For years it had always been between one and three per cent, but in this one particular month it jumped up to over ten per cent.
After a lot of investigation, I discovered a huge jump in referral traffic from Flipboard and Medium in that month.
Google Adsense for search doesn’t say in so many words, but it much prefers search engine traffic over social media traffic. It is all about the intent of the user.
Someone using Google search when they want to buy something has intent. This is what advertisers pay for.
But someone flipping through lots of articles on Flipboard or Medium, and by chance, landing on one of my pages and clicking an ad, has no intent.
If you get a lot of your traffic from social media, you are more likely to see a higher percentage reduction at the end of the month.
If you want to earn more with your Adsense account you can improve your monetization skills by keeping a close eye on your traffic that is causing invalid activity.
How can you check?
Use Google Analytics.
Go to the Publisher tab and then Publisher Referrers.
Now check your report for social referring networks that have a high click count.
In the month that I had a problem, there was an extraordinary number of clicks from Flipboard and Medium.
The solution was easy. I stopped sharing on both platforms. When I reduced my invalid activity Adsense returned my deduction to less than one per cent.
The lesson here is that Google Adsense for content really does prefer organic search engine traffic. So go easy on social media if you want to maximise your income from Adsense.
Proof of the reduction in invalid traffic
After reducing my site’s social media sharing even more over the last month, the result has been conclusive.
With only a few social media shares on Twitter an Facebook, and no reposting at all on Medium and Flipboard, my invalid traffic reduction for the month was only one solitary cent.
This was for a month that earned nearly one thousand dollars in advertising revenue.
In my mind, this is certainly enough proof to show that Google pays for organic traffic clicks and not for social media traffic earned clicks.
The lesson is that if you want to earn money from the Google Adsense Program, concentrate fully on organic traffic gained from search results.
Check your Adsense policy enforcement report
If you haven’t checked it, you should do so once a month at least.
The report concerns your content page on to which Google serves ads. If your content is considered not suitable, Google will refuse to display ads on that page.
Years ago, Google sent you an email if there was a policy problem with one or more of your website pages.
But now, it appears that you have to check yourself because these polite email alerts have stopped. I don’t know why this is, but it is.
However, the report is located in a weird place that you would never think to check. It is in the Settings tab.
Click on Settings and then Policy centre.
There can be many reasons why a problem occurs. In my case, because I write about book publishing, I wrote an article concerning book promotion difficulties for authors of erotica.
The notice I got was concerning this page. Apparently, the word is considered sexual content by Google.
So I have two choices to remedy the issue.
One is to change the content of my article. If I do this, I have to ask for a review from Adsense.
The second choice is to remove all ads from this one page. Taking this option does not need a review, and the issue will be automatically resolved after seven to ten days, and the notice will then disappear.
I chose the second option and everything was fine again by Google after a week or so.
Adsense can be a very good money earner, and I make a nice monthly income from it.
However, the responsibility of keeping your Adsense account healthy and conforming to all the terms and conditions is with the site owner.
This applies whether you have a hosted Adsense account for your Youtube videos channel or Blogger, or a non-hosted account for your site.
Many bloggers have their accounts suspended or disable because they fail or don’t know how to follow the rules.
The Adsense user forum is full of tales of woe. They are usually through not reading and understanding the rules, or blatantly breaking them.
You should check your account regularly, and not just your daily desktop earnings report.
Dig deeper and improve your monetization skills and learn how to stay alert to changes in your traffic patterns and referrals.
But most all, check your invalid activity and policy enforcement page.
Note: If you are new to Adsense, you can register for Google Adsense on air, which is a monthly Livestream series to learn more.
Further reading: How To Monetize A Blog For Writers And Authors