Defining invalid clicks and click fraud

We often receive questions from new publishers about what these two terms mean, and we'd like to help you understand the difference.
Invalid clicks are clicks for which we decide not to charge our AdWords advertisers, since they may artificially drive up advertiser cost or publisher revenue. These include extraneous clicks without any value to the advertiser, such as the second click of a double-click. They also include many other types of clicks that we've determined aren't motivated by genuine user interest.

"Invalid clicks" are often confused with "clicking on your own ads". However, we'd like to stress that invalid clicks are generally any clicks that artificially inflate advertiser cost or publisher revenue, regardless of their source.

Click fraud is a subset of invalid clicks that are generated with malicious or fraudulent intent -- in other words, clicks that are intended to drive up advertiser cost or publisher revenue artificially. Sources for these clicks include, but are not limited to:
  • A publisher clicking on his own ads, or encouraging clicks on his ads
  • Users or family members clicking to support the site / publisher
  • Third-party programs with user incentives, such as paid-to-click services and click-exchanges
  • Automated clicking tools, robots, or other deceptive software
  • The same principles above apply to ad impressions and conversions as well. Some sources of invalid impressions include, but are not limited to:
  • Excessive page refreshes, generated either manually or automatically
  • Third-party programs with user incentives, such as paid-to-surf or auto-surf programs
  • Third-party programs for purchasing fixed amounts of traffic, e.g. "$10 for 1,000 page views"
  • As a reminder, any method that artificially generates clicks, impressions, or conversions is strictly prohibited by our program policies. You can also find more information about these topics in our Invalid Clicks FAQ and our Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center.

    Updated links to resources

    A picture isn't always worth a thousand words

    The maxim about the Internet is that content is king. While this holds true for AdSense publishers, there’s one important caveat: if it’s not text-based content, our crawler might not notice.

    While we’re constantly working to improve our targeting technology, our crawlers need text to properly match ads to your pages. Although images, flash, and streaming video can help spice up a site, relying heavily on these sorts of elements will make it difficult for us to get a good read on what your site is about.

    If your site uses a lot of these features, make sure you provide enough text-based content in one of our supported languages to effectively convey the topic of your site. If our crawler doesn’t find enough text, you may get poorly targeted ads or public service ads (PSAs). While we can't say the exact amount of text content that you'll need to receive targeted ads, we do recommend including complete sentences and paragraphs on your pages.

    To improve your ad targeting, here are few other pointers:
    • Use text in addition to images when possible. Please note that the crawler can't read text contained within images.
    • If you use images, be sure to title them appropriately and provide descriptive ALT tags.
    • Try imagining your site without pictures or dynamic content. This will give you a good idea of what our crawler reads. If you lack imagination, you can try turning the images off in your web browser.
    Finally, it's important to keep in mind that the AdSense for content ads on your site are automatically determined. Though it's not possible to choose the ads that are placed on your site, including more text-based content will help make it possible for our system to target your site correctly.

    Easy as 1-2-3

    With all of the different AdSense products we now offer, it can be tough to keep track of the maximum number of each type of unit that our program policies allow. To help you remember these important numbers, here's a list.

    On any policy-compliant page, you can display:

    - video unit (currently only available in specific countries and languages, though we're working to expand video units to additional publishers soon)

    - AdSense for search boxes

    - standard AdSense for content ad units, and
    - 3 link units

    While you can place all of these on one page, please also keep the user experience in mind. We strongly recommend maintaining a balance between the number of ads and the unique, quality content on your site, which will keep your readers engaged and coming back for more. Also, the more text-based content you have on your site, the more relevant your ads will be.

    If you'd like help with generating ad code for additional ad units, feel free to review our Generating Ad Code video or our Quick Start Guide.

    Newbie, newbie do

    (To the tune of "Strangers in the Night")
    "Publishers with websites, creating content
    Wondering about their sites
    If with their content, they could show some ads
    Before the day was done

    Something in AdSense, was so inviting
    Something about those ads, was so exciting
    Something in our Help Center
    Told them they must be one

    Publishers with websites, yearning for earnings
    They were just publishers with websites
    Up to the moment
    When they placed their first ad code
    Little did they know
    Revenue was just a click away
    A happy-user-generated click away and --

    Ever since that day, they've been monetizing
    Newbies at the start, they're now optimizing
    It turned out so right
    For publishers with websites.

    Newbie, newbie dooo, da da da daaaa da..."
    If my lyrical effort didn't clue you in, and our Newbie Central resource wasn't a big enough clue, let me come right out and say it: we care about new publishers. For the next few weeks, we'll be sharing that caring every Friday, with posts especially intended for all the publishers who have recently joined AdSense, fresh and green like a newly mown lawn in the summertime. Look for this logo to identify posts in this series:

    Now let's see if we can apply that same spirit of new beginnings to your sites.

    Updated with logo

    A word of caution

    Of late, we’ve received a few emails from new AdSense applicants about not being accepted into the program despite paying a specific amount of money or buying a CD package.

    We’d like to take this opportunity to state that we're not affiliated with any third-parties that solicit payment to join the AdSense program or that sell CDs with money-back guarantee offers. AdSense is a free product offered to publishers by Google Inc., and there’s no cost or obligation involved. As a result, we recommend that prospective publishers exercise caution when presented with such offers.

    To submit an application, simply visit Please also review our program policies and our application tips before applying.

    Ring in the new year with Newbie Central

    We're excited to introduce you to Newbie Central, our complete resource for new publishers, now live in our Help Center.

    We know there's a lot to learn when you're just starting out with AdSense, so we boiled the program down to the basics for our beginners. In Newbie Central, you'll find a walk-through of the initial steps getting started, from familiarizing yourself with your account to placing ads on your site to receiving your very first payment. We've also included some brief guides to help you get acquainted with our various features, policies, and tools.

    One highlight is the Earnings and Expectations pages, which provide insight into how much you can expect to earn and you can do to influence your earnings. Whether you're considering applying and curious about potential revenue, or you're an existing publisher and want to boost your current earnings, the Earnings and Expectations section can help.

    For you AdSense veterans out there, feel free to point your friends who've been on the fence about joining to Newbie Central, or even use it as a way to brush up on the basics for yourself!

    Right from the resource

    We know it can be tough to keep track of all the official AdSense-related documentation we've put online; that's why we're happy to introduce you to the new Resources tab in your account.

    We've compiled links to a number of resources under this tab, including the Help Center, Program Policies, and Help Forum. If you're looking to improve the performance of your ads, you can now easily navigate to our Optimization Tips page or to publisher tools like Analytics.

    Need help with implementing your ad code or viewing your ads? Try our Demos & Guides or Troubleshooting Wizards, all available under the Resources tab.

    Oh, and if you happen to forget the URL of the Inside AdSense blog, you can always find a link to us under this new tab as well. :)

    Before you apply to AdSense

    Getting started with AdSense is easy, but when reviewing the applications we get, we've noticed a few common pitfalls. To help make sure your application is approved the first time around, ask yourself the following questions below before submitting.

    Do I have what I need to apply?
    • Website: To display Google ads, you need administrative access to the site you submit for AdSense in order to place our JavaScript ad code on your site. Adding the Google code to your site's source code will enable you to show ads, search boxes, and referral units on your pages.

      If you don't have a website of your own, that doesn't mean you can't participate in AdSense. We offer a couple of options to help you easily create your own site.

      First, there's Blogger, a free tool for setting up and publishing your own blog online. With its easy-to-use and customizable templates, you can create an account and start blogging right away. You can also set up AdSense ads easily through your Blogger account.

      If you prefer more flexibility and control, then our web page tool, Page Creator, may be more suitable. Signing up for a Page Creator account is free as well -- all you need is a Gmail account. The best part is that you don't have to download any software or hire a designer. Once you've created your Page Creator site, you can begin displaying Google ads in minutes.

    • Valid payee name: Payments will be made out to the name on your account, so make sure to include your full and valid name, or that of your business, rather than just initials. If banks won't accept the name you enter in the 'Payee Name' field, neither will we.

    • Valid address: We want to make sure your hard-earned money reaches you, so please also provide a complete valid address where you can receive mail. If you live in a country or territory that doesn't have a standard format for addresses, please be sure that your application includes as much information as a mailman would need to find your residence.
    Does my website meet all the necessary requirements?
    • Valid URL: If you manage an entire website, give us the URL of your home page. If you manage a blog or other account within a larger website, you should provide the URL of the specific page that you manage and not the URL of the entire hosting website. Don't forget to double check your URL for typos!

    • Fully launched website: Since we won't be able to review websites that are not fully launched or built, please ensure that your site is live and functioning at the time you submit your application.

    • Unique content: We want visitors to sites in the AdSense network to have a good experience, so please publish content that's interesting and unique. Avoid using "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other cookie cutter approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content. If you're participating in an affiliate program, give people a reason to visit your site first.

    • Supported language: We're constantly working to provide targeted, relevant ads in more languages. However, until then, we can only approve your application if the majority of your website is in one of our supported languages.

    • Pay-To Sites: If your site participates in programs that compensate people to perform activities that drive traffic to you, we can't approve your application. Some examples of these "pay-to" programs are sites that encourage users "to click" or "to surf" or "to read email." In addition, you shouldn't encourage others to join these programs in the content, links, or third-party ads on your site.
    We also encourage you to read our program policies in detail for further insight on how to create a successful application. Now that you have all the necessary information, now's a good time to apply.

    Check up on it

    After counting the days till your AdSense check arrives in the mail, you might plan to sprint straight to the bank. But before you try to achieve a land speed record getting to your local financial institution, here are a few things to keep in mind.

    Bank on it?

    Because bank policies vary throughout the world, we can't say whether a specific bank will be able to accept your AdSense checks. Since all AdSense checks are issued by Citibank, a correspondent relationship between your bank and Citibank is required to process our US Dollar checks. We recommend that you check with your bank to find out if this relationship exists.

    Patience is a virtue.

    Banks take varying amounts of time to clear checks. The exact length of time before funds will be available to you is a question best answered by your bank.

    A penny saved...

    Checks from AdSense are for deposit only; they are not able to be cashed.

    Now that you have all the information, we wish you happy spending (or saving) your revenue!

    Get inline

    We've heard your feedback about wanting to insert Google ads between your blog posts, and we're happy to let you know that Blogger now supports this implementation through the AdSense widget.

    Here's all you need to do:
    1. Log into your Blogger account at .
    2. Visit your blog's Template tab and click on the Page Elements link.
    3. Click Edit in the Blog Posts section.

    4. Check the box next to Show Ads Between Posts. You can then select how often you'd like your ads to appear, such as once after every post or once after every other post.

    5. Customize the ads and click on Save Changes when you're done.
    Please note that right now, it's only possible to insert Google ads using this widget, and not AdSense for search boxes or referral units.

    For more detailed instructions, please visit Blogger's Help Center. Lastly, don't forget to check out our blog optimization tips for ways to improve your ad performance.