2 Dozen Reasons Your Adsense Application Keeps Getting Rejected
Wondering why Google keeps rejecting your application for the Adsense program?
It’s no secret that Adsense is one of the best (if not “the” best) contextual advertising network in the whole web. They have the highest paying ads, the biggest inventory of advertisers and the best quality ads. This is such a great thing. And like all great things, it requires a great amount of responsibility to maintain.
As part of that great responsibility, Google has to set strict rules and guidelines for publishers before they can be accepted into the network. This is to ensure that only high quality sites are displaying Adsense ads. This in turn will keep the advertisers happy, where all the money ultimately comes from.
That’s why over the years, as Google’s ad network grew, it’s also getting harder and harder to get accepted into it.
I know, it can be frustrating if you’ve already tried several times and failed. But if you’re not about ready to give up, here’s a list of a couple dozen reasons why Adsense applications get rejected and what to do about them.
Check it out, you might be doing a thing or two below, which is why you don’t get approved.
Your Website is Too New
Below is an excerpt of an email sent by the Adsense review team to a website owner whose application has been rejected:
*Your domain must have been registered and active for at least 6 months before you apply for AdSense.
Pretty straightforward and self explanatory. If you’re stuck here, you’ll just have to wait. And while you’re at it, continue to build your site also. Keep adding more awesome stuff people want to see.
Not Enough Content
Content is the most important criterion Google looks at when reviewing your site. That’s because, of course your content is what people will be visiting your site for. If you don’t have much content, then there’s no reason for people to come to your site, so there’s also no reason for Google to let you put their ads on your site.
And when we’re talking about content, it’s usually about text content. But videos, images, audio or other stuff worth checking out and spending time on also count as website content. So you got to have more of these if you don’t have yet.
Poor Quality Content
When we talk about content and Adsense, we’re not talking about just any kind of content. We’re talking about high quality content. The type of stuff that actually provides value, things that we can say are really worth spending time on.
You have to be very careful about the quality of the stuff you post on your site if you want to get approved into the Adsense program.
I know that “quality” and “worth spending time on” are terms that are highly subjective. It depends on who’s judging your content. But generally, stupid funny videos of some puppies doing nothing can be considered quality content because they provide something to people who watch them – they make people feel good, happy, entertained.
Likewise, serious and important matters like research or studies, news, references, etc. are also considered quality content because they help people solve problems or find answers to their questions.
But copied and/or spun articles from other websites are considered junk, especially to Google. They hate duplicate content and content that are obviously generated by stupid bots. You cannot ever make sense of these stuff when you read them. Who would not hate these things?
In fact, Google actually works so hard to remove sites with this kind of content from their search results. So they really don’t have any reason accepting these sites into their Adsense network.
Some types of content, even though they provide value to some people, are just not appropriate for the general population. These things include but are not limited to:
Sales of Beer/Hard Alcohol
Sales of Endangered Species
Sales of Weapons/Ammunition
Sales/Distribution of Schoolwork
Any Other Illegal Stuff
If you run a site or have pages about any of these content on your site, you can either give up on Adsense or give up on these types of content.
Your Site is Malware Infected
Some people are intentionally doing this — distributing malware through their sites. But these people are mostly smart enough to know that they can’t get into the Adsense program, so they don’t try.
But for most publishers or site owners who have malware on their sites, they don’t even know their sites are infected. And of course, to protect their name, Google can’t accept into their network, sites that spread malware.
Malware, in case you’re not familiar with it, is a collective term for evil software that either maliciously steal sensitive info from visitors or spread viruses and all sorts of bad things on the internet.
To make sure this is not the reason for your site getting rejected, you can have your site scanned by services like Sucuri.
If you found that your site has malware, you’ll need to work on removing the bad stuff from your site. And then prevent future infection by hardening your security. If you’re using WordPress on your site, you can use the recommended security plugin included in this list of must-have WP plugins.
Not Enough Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is natural traffic — people coming to your site from other places on the internet without you directly influencing them. These are people who may have seen a link to your site from forums, your comments on other blogs, search results, etc.
This is traffic not coming from paid advertising or other incentivized promotions. If your site currently doesn’t have enough visitors that come to your site regularly, it’s not yet worth getting accepted into the Adsense program. It means you have to build a greater audience for it first, so that it would not be pointless to display ads on there.
There’s no shortcut you can do here. But one of the most effective ways to get lots of organic traffic is SEO or search engine optimization. Optimizing the pages on your site to make them appear at the top of search results when people search for relevant keywords, will greatly increase your organic traffic.
While this is not expressly written in their TOS, lots of blog owners claim in forums that traffic does matter in getting approved into Adsense.
Poor Quality Traffic
When applying for Adsense, you can’t just have any traffic. You need quality traffic — people that got to your site because they have a genuine interest in your content.
The two most important indicators of the quality of traffic you get on your site are thebounce rate and average time spent on site by each visitor.
If you don’t have organic traffic to your site yet, and you want to cheat by driving cheap, low quality traffic such as those from traffic exchanges, paid-to-click sites, or those from Fiverr gigs, you can expect to get rejected most of the time.
No Terms of Service
Having a TOS page on your site shows that you are aware of the legal requirements you have to comply with when running your site. This is the type of website owner Google wants to work with.
Bad Website Design
A bad looking website is an indication of any or a combination of the following:
Inexperienced site owner/publisher
Lack of attention to details
And nobody who’s taking their business seriously will want to deal with people like these. Much less does Google.
So if you want to increase your chances of getting approved into the program, spend as much time as you need in designing your site or blog. Carefully choose a theme that looks pleasant and professional.
It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can even use free themes. It doesn’t matter what platform you’re building your site on, there are always themes that look really nice and professional without being so complicated to install or use.
Applying for Adsense with a Site Not Your Own
When you apply for Adsense, it is expected that you already have a site of your own. You can’t apply for the program with a friend’s website, especially if you don’t have access to edit its code.
After submitting your application, Adsense puts you into a temporary approval stage where you are required to place ad codes into your site. Google will then take its time to monitor and evaluate your site (using the code you inserted to your site). After a week or two, you should get an approval confirmation email or the dreaded rejection email.
To increase your chances of getting approved, of course, make sure you’re applying for them with a site you have total control of.
You Are Under 18
Google’s agreement upon signing up with Adsense requires that you are at least 18 years old. This is the minimum age in most countries (if not all) when a person can enter into legally binding contracts.
So if you are not yet 18 years old, the least you can do is not fill in your real birth year! :D
Not Using a Top-Level Domain
During the early days of the Adsense program, it was a lot easier to get approved. You could apply with a site on a subdomain like example.blogspot.com orexample.wordpress.com.
You can’t do it anymore today. Google now requires new Adsense publishers to have their sites on their own top-level domains. (e.g. example.com)
Ads From Other Networks
They do not say in their guidelines that they won’t accept you if you already have ads from other networks on your site. But the Adsense approval team does have strict and very unforgiving guideline about not letting publishers display Adsense ads next to or beside similar ads from other networks.
They do not want their ads confused as coming from other networks or other networks’ ads confused as Adsense ads.
So to increase your chances of getting approved, remove your ads from other networks while in the approval process. You can just put them back when you’re already fully approved. Just be careful you don’t violate any of the guidelines.
You Have Links From Bad Neighborhood
Google takes serious care of their brand image and they don’t want to associate with publishers who are in bad company.
The internet is very much like the real world. There are places where everything is organized, in order and legal. While there are also places where you will find all sorts of bad things from immorality to criminal stuff. Sites that have these kinds of content are what we consider bad neighborhood online.
If you have links from these sites, it usually means you’re associated with them. And this association can easily get your application to Adsense rejected.
But of course, you don’t have total control over who links to your site. Your competitors might even be doing negative SEO to you — building evil links to your site to have your site banned from Google.
If you’re not sure about the links to your site, you can go punch it in to tools like Ahrefs,OpensiteExplorer or Majestic. Just a note: these tools will charge you if you want to access the full data they have collected about your site. But they offer a more updated dataset.
A free alternative is the Webmaster Tools provided by Google themselves. The only issue I have observed is they don’t publish updated data frequently. You could be waiting a month (maybe?) before you see who links to your site. And then, when you check those sites, they may not even have the links to your site anymore.
And when you find that you have links from, let’s say porn sites, you can then use thedisavow tool from Google also.
It would be like telling Google to disregard those links to your site because you don’t have anything to do with those bad guys.
You Are Linking To Evil Sites
This one is like the previous item above. Only opposite. And if you are the one linking to the bad guys, that really means you are actually associated with them.
Fortunately, fixing this problem is a lot easier than the other one. Just remove those bad links from your site and the review team should have no more reason to think you’re aiding terrorists or drug dealers or any of those kinds of people.
This one is usually a problem only with low-cost hosting services. If you are hosting your site on a low-cost shared hosting environment, you are especially prone to this. But it’s not like a really huge problem unless your host really sucks and their servers go down every day.
Server downtime seldom happens even in shared hosting services but it does happen. And when it does, all the sites in that server will go offline.
If your site is in a server that has one day gone down for some reason, and a reviewer from Adsense happened to check your site at the same time, he won’t be able to see your site. Hence, reject your application.
Solution? Simple, just re-apply.
And if you really want to make sure your site is up when the guys from Adsense come to review your site, go transfer your site to one of the more reliable (expensive) premium hosting services out there.
Unwanted Site Behavior
If you have scripts on your site that automatically open popups, popunders, or install stuff to your users’ browsers when they visit, you’re guaranteed rejection. And this is totally reasonable. This kind of behavior is annoying and it’s not only Google that hates that. Everyone hates that.
So if you want to display Adsense ads, tame your site and remove those annoying behavior.
Your Site is Hard To Navigate
Finding important information on your site shouldn’t be real hard. If a user wants to go to the main/home page on your site, he should be able to easily do so by clicking a conspicuous button or link… instead of spending half an hour trying to find it.
Menus are standard components of every website. They are used to provide easy navigation for the users. Make sure you have at least one on your site.
Using CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or blogging platforms like Blogger to build your site will make your job a lot easier. Especially when it comes to site navigation experience for your users.
Menus on these platforms are readily available and easily created. They can even be automatically created as you add pages to your site. But of course, you should already know that.
Your Site is Not COPPA Compliant
COPPA, in case you haven’t heard of this before, is Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. It is a US federal law that requires websites collecting information from children under the age of thirteen to comply with.
You’re Selling Counterfeit Goods
Imitation and other non-genuine products are always illegal, even if in some countries the implementation is not that tight.
If you’re offering these stuff on your site, you’re better off without Adsense. If you really want Adsense, get legit.
You’re Encouraging Users to Click on Ads
Having verbage or graphics on your site that encourage or outright tell your users/visitors to click on the ads is not cool. Especially if you’re offering rewards or something like that for them to do so.
This will mean clicks on the ads are not because the visitors are genuinely interested in the offers on the ads. It will lead to very poor conversion rate for the advertisers. It’s like cheating the advertisers. And you wouldn’t want people to do that to you.
Google doesn’t want to do that to their advertisers also, so they won’t accept publishers that cheat advertisers. If you want to get into the Adsense network, don’t cheat.
Your Content is Mainly in an Unsupported Language
At the time of this writing, Adsense only supports publishers in 36 languages. Applications for participation in the program can be for sites with content primarily in:
If you want to run a website monetized by Adsense, you should publish content mainly in these languages.
You Have Previously Been Banned From Adsense
This one can be hard to get around with. If you have previously been accepted into the program and was banned for violating any of their publisher terms, you are supposedly banned for life.
But a way to get around it is to reapply using an entirely different set of requirements —different IP address, different website, different email, different name if possible (example: company name), etc.
Just make sure your new website complies with all the above other requirements and recommendations first.
And if you use a company name to reapply with a different name, make sure your company is real and has its own bank account. Because payments of your earnings will be named to your company and you won’t be able to cash the checks into your personal account.