Cloaking and gaming

What's the policy?

Google AdWords doesn't allow cloaking or gaming (techniques for displaying different content to users than to Google). Google uses automated tools that crawl an advertiser's website and provide relevant data for the AdWords program. When advertisers do not show users and Google the same content, users often end up on a different website than they intended, resulting in a misleading user experience.

We've created this policy to help protect the safety and security of our users.

Cloaking

Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to users than to Google. This practice can cause your site to seem deceptive.

Here are some examples of cloaking:

Example Allowed?
Serving different content to Google than to users. Not allowed
Serving a page of HTML text to Google, while showing a page of images or Flash to users. Not allowed

If your site contains elements that aren't crawlable by search engines (such as rich media files other than Flash, JavaScript, or images), it's possible that some users to your site cannot view these elements as well. Instead of providing cloaked content to Google, here are some examples of what you could do to help comply with this policy:

  • Provide alt text that describes images for visitors with screen readers or who have images turned off in their browsers.
  • Provide the textual contents of JavaScript in a noscript tag.
Also, make sure that you provide the same content in both elements (for instance, provide the same text in the JavaScript as in the noscript tag). If you include substantially different content in the alternate element, it might not comply with this policy.

Gaming

When Google crawls a page containing JavaScript, it may not follow or index links generated by the JavaScript itself. While the placement of links within JavaScript is alone not deceptive, this policy is concerned with the placement of links when intended to deceive Google. When examining JavaScript on your site to ensure your site adheres to our guidelines, consider the intent.

Here are some examples:

                                                                               
ExampleAllowed?
Placing different text in JavaScript than in a noscript tag. Not allowed
This practice violates our Webmaster Guidelines because it displays different content for users (who see the JavaScript-based text) than for Google (which sees the noscript-based text).
Embedding a link in JavaScript that redirects the user to a different page with the intent to show the user a different page than Google sees. Not allowed
This practice violates our Webmaster Guidelines. When a redirect link is embedded in JavaScript, Google may index the original page rather than following the link, whereas users are taken to the redirect target. Like cloaking, this practice is deceptive because it displays different content to users and to Google, and can take a visitor somewhere other than where they intended to go.
Using link outside of JavaScript or replicating them in a noscript tag. Allowed
These practices help make links accessible to both users and Google. Since Google generally can't access the contents of JavaScript, legitimate links within JavaScript will likely be inaccessible to Google (as well as to visitors without JavaScript-enabled browsers).

What happens if I violate this policy?

  • Account suspension: If you violate this policy, your AdWords account will get suspended. If this happens, all ads in the suspended account will stop running, and we will no longer accept advertising from you. Any related accounts will also get permanently suspended and your new accounts will get automatically suspended at setup. If you believe that your site was suspended by mistake, you can request a re-review.

Contact information

If you still have questions about this policy, you can contact us via the link below:
Contact AdWords Support