Abusing the ad network

We want ads across the Google Network to be useful, varied, relevant and safe for users. We don’t allow advertisers to run ads, content or destinations that attempt to trick or circumvent our ad review processes.

Below are some examples of what to avoid in your ads. Learn about what happens if you violate our policies.

Malicious or unwanted software

These requirements apply to your ads and any software that your site or app either hosts or links to, regardless of whether the software is promoted through the Google advertising network. The following is not allowed:

Malicious software or 'malware' that may harm or gain unauthorised access to a computer, device or network

Examples: Computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, diallers, spyware, rogue security software and other malicious programs or apps

Troubleshooter: Malicious software
  1. Check the status of your site in the Google Search Console. If you haven’t used Search Console before, enter the URL of your website and click 'Add a property' to see its status. You may need to verify that you own the site.

    If the Search Console doesn’t report any problems, your site could still have security issues that were detected by Google Ads. Consult with your webmaster or web-hosting provider and use tools such as Stop Badware to investigate further. Learn more about how we identify malicious or unwanted software.

  2. Remove any malicious or unwanted software.

    Google provides resources and instructions to help you fix your site through Help for Hacked Websites. If you can’t fix the ad’s destination, update the ad with a new destination that complies with this policy.

  3. Edit the ad.

    Editing the ad will resubmit the ad and its destination for review. Most ads are reviewed within one working day, but some can take longer if they need a more complex review.

Ads or destinations that violate Google's Unwanted Software policy

Examples: Failure to be transparent about the functionality that the software provides or the full implications of installing the software; failing to include Terms of Service or an End User Licence Agreement; bundling software or applications without the user's knowledge; making system changes without the user's consent; making it difficult for users to disable or uninstall the software; failing to properly use publicly available Google APIs when interacting with Google services or products

Troubleshooter: Unwanted software
  1. Check your ad and destination to make sure that it complies with the Google Unwanted Software Policy.

  2. Edit the ad and/or destination.

    Editing the ad will resubmit the ad and its destination for review. Most ads are reviewed within one working day, but some can take longer if they need a more complex review.

Unfair advantage

The following is not allowed:

Using the Google Network to gain an unfair traffic advantage over other participants in the auction

Examples: Affiliates that advertise on Google Ads against the applicable affiliate programme rules, promoting the same or similar content from multiple accounts on the same or similar queries, trying to show more than one ad at a time for your business, app or site

Note: Keywords should fit the target audience’s likely intent when searching, and each website or app that you promote should offer distinct value to users. For example, avoid promoting similar products and prices across related destinations.

We take violations of this policy very seriously and consider them egregious, as they pose a risk to the security of our users or their property (for instance, from criminal activity and/or malicious ads). Note that in determining whether an advertiser or destination is violating this policy, we may review information from multiple sources including your ad, website, accounts and third-party sources. Accounts that violate this policy may be suspended and may not be allowed to advertise with us again. If you believe that there's been an error, and that you haven’t violated our policy, submit an appeal and explain why. We only reinstate accounts in compelling circumstances, so it's important that you take the time to be thorough, accurate and honest. Learn more about suspended accounts.

Circumventing systems

The following is not allowed:

Not allowed Engaging in practices that attempt to circumvent or interfere with Google's advertising systems and processes

Example: Cloaking (showing different content to certain users, including Google, than to other users) that aims at or results in interference with Google’s review systems, or hides or attempts to hide non-compliance with Google Ads policies (for example, redirection to non-compliant content, using dynamic DNS to switch page or ad content, or manipulating site content or restricting access to so many of your landing pages that it makes it difficult to meaningfully review your ad, site or account).

Specific example: A paid-for call directory service repeatedly adds and removes keyword content related to unaffiliated businesses and/or government services (which violates the Sale of Free Items policy) after an ad has been approved; a paid-for call directory service changes its landing page to replace a non-premium number linked to an ad that was approved, with a premium number.   

Note: Cloaking doesn't include providing content personalisation that adds genuine value for certain users, such as different language versions of the same content, as long as the offering is still substantially the same, the variation in content is still compliant with Google’s Ads policies and Google is able to review a version of the content. 

Example: Repeated policy violations across any of your accounts, including creating new domains or accounts to post similar ads to ads that have been disapproved (for this or any other Google Ads policy rule).

We take violations of this policy very seriously and consider them egregious, as they pose a risk to the security of our users or their property (for instance, from criminal activity and/or malicious ads). Note that in determining whether an advertiser or destination is violating this policy, we may review information from multiple sources including your ad, website, accounts and third-party sources. Accounts that violate this policy may be suspended and may not be allowed to advertise with us again. If you believe that there's been an error, and that you haven’t violated our policy, submit an appeal and explain why. We only reinstate accounts in compelling circumstances, so it's important that you take the time to be thorough, accurate and honest. Learn more about suspended accounts.

Not allowed Manipulating ad text in an attempt to bypass our automated system checks

Examples: Misspelling prohibited words or phrases to avoid ad disapproval; manipulating trademark terms in the ad text to avoid the restrictions associated with the use of that trademark

If your account is found to be engaging repeatedly in ad text manipulation, as described above, your account may be suspended.

Troubleshooter: Circumventing systems

It’s possible to have an ad disapproved for violating this policy without having your entire account suspended. This is most common when a word or phrase in the ad appears to be too similar to a prohibited word or a trademarked term that you aren’t authorised to advertise. In this case, simply remove that word or phrase from your ad. Once you edit and save the ad, it will automatically be reviewed and can be approved to run if we find that it no longer violates this policy.

Webmaster guidelines

The following is not allowed:

Engaging in practices that violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines

Examples: Keyword stuffing, cloaking, sneaky redirects, doorway pages, spamming social network sites

Need help?

If you have questions about our policies, let us know: Contact Google Ads Support
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