Ads troubleshooting

Irrelevant ads appear on the page

There can be many reasons why a site may display less targeted ads or no ads at all. Below is a list of the most common issues.

Problems with indexing your site

Our system hasn't yet crawled all the pages of your site.

If the AdSense crawler hasn't ever visited your site, it may take up to 48 hours or more before the crawler visits and gathers content from that page. In the meantime, you may see that ads are displayed as transparent boxes or contain any alternative ad or colour specified in the ad code or ads that are only slightly relevant.
Note: Our crawler indexes by URL and therefore considers http://site.com and http://www.site.com different URLs. Because our crawler will visit these URLs separately, you may notice that ads appear differently on these pages.
Our crawler can't reach your site.

If the AdSense crawler isn't able to access your page, then we'll alert you by showing a crawler error. You can view crawler errors on the Account settings page of your account, in the 'Access & authorisation' section. Learn more about crawler errors and how to resolve them.
Your site has restricted access using a robots.txt exclusion file.

If your site is using a robots.txt file, the AdSense crawler may be blocked from crawling your pages and determining their content. Learn how to grant our crawler access in your robots.txt file
Your pages are behind a login or password.

If the AdSense crawler doesn't know the login or password to your site, so we can't determine their content and provide relevant ads. However, you can grant our crawler access to login-protected pages in order to see relevant ads.

Site-related issues

Your site is using session IDs in the URL.

If your pages use session IDs, you may not receive targeted ads on those pages. Since the session ID – and therefore the URL – changes every time that a different user views a page, the URL won't be in the index and will be queued to be crawled. Once the URL has been crawled, however, the session will most likely have expired. This means that pages seen by the users are never in the index. You'll need to remove the session IDs in order to display targeted ads.
Your site is using frames.

When the AdSense code is placed in a frame separate from the primary content of your site, the AdSense crawler can't match ads to your page content. It's important to place the ad code in the same frame as the content of your pages in order to serve ads targeted to your content.
Your page contains a refresh tag.

If the header of your page contains a refresh tag (<meta http-equiv="Refresh">), this may also lead to your page displaying irrelevant. Removing this tag can help ensure that you receive targeted ads.

Ads implementation issues

The AdSense code was placed within an IFRAME.

Placing ads in an IFRAME isn't permitted by our programme policies, which prohibit any manipulation of AdSense code that may affect the standard behaviour, targeting or delivery of ads that isn't explicitly permitted by Google. In addition, our targeting technology isn't optimised to serve ads within a separate IFRAME. For these reasons, make sure that you implement our ad code directly into the source of your page. Once you make these changes, it may take up to 48 hours or more before relevant ads appear.
Your ad code has been modified

If your AdSense code has been manually modified, so as to change the ad unit width or height or the publisher ID, then we may show ads as transparent boxes or contain any alternative ad or colour specified in the ad code. Please select the desired ad size on the Ads page in your account, then paste the generated ad code, unedited, onto your pages. Note that this doesn't apply if you've created a responsive ad unit using the advanced mode. Bear in mind that only limited modifications to your code are permitted by our programme policies.

Content and policy-related issues

Your page may not contain enough content.

There may not be enough information on your site for our crawlers to determine the content of your pages. Therefore, we could be having difficulty identifying relevant ads to be displayed on your pages. Note that our crawlers are unable to derive meaning from:
  • audio and video files (.wma, .mpeg, .mov)
  • mp3 files (.mp3)
  • images (.jpeg, .bmp)
  • Macromedia Flash movies
  • Java Applets

In such cases, we recommend that you include more content other than the above files on your site to assist our crawlers in gathering information about your site to display relevant ads.

Your site has content that doesn't comply with our programme policies.

It's possible that your site content isn't compliant with our programme policies. If our system has detected something within your site that may be construed as potentially negative, non-family safe or even offensive, Google may not show ads.
Your site content is primarily in an unsupported language.

If the AdSense code is placed on pages with content primarily in an unsupported language, we may show irrelevant ads or ads in another language. As noted in our programme policies, publishers may not display ads on pages with content primarily in an unsupported language, so please remove the ad code from these pages until we're able to support your language.

Ad units settings

Your ad unit is set to display ads only.

Display ad inventory for your content may be limited; if you've chosen not to display text ads in an ad unit, we may show irrelevant ads or no ads in that unit when there are no relevant image or rich media ads available. To avoid showing irrelevant ads, we recommend updating your preferences to show both text and display ads or implementing a backup ad.
You have blocked ads from too many advertiser URLs.

If you block ads from a high number of advertiser URLs, then we may no longer have other ads available to target to your content, and we may show irrelevant ads or no ads at all.

If none of the reasons above apply to your site, and your pages are still showing irrelevant ads, review our ads troubleshooter to fix the problem.

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