Invalid click activity is a nightmare come true for an Adsense publisher. It can lead the Adsense team to ban your publisher account.
Google defines it as: Any clicks or impressions that may inflate advertiser’s costs or a publisher’s earnings.
Google often thinks of this artificial inflation as created by publishers to increase their earnings. There are hundreds of thousands of people active running display ads with Adsense and they can’t go through each account individually.
The burden of proof falls on you. In any case, it’s better to be proactive about it.
If you’re running a tech blog or an event niche site then it could spell disaster by killing your only source of earning which is AdSense in most cases.
Here’s a guide that shows you how to diversify your income by adopting additional revenue sources.
Here’s how to detect invalid click activity
- A high CTR
The telltale sign is a high CTR.
You know your usual click through rates. If your CTR is abnormally high then it bodes for trouble. If your click through rate is over the roof, it’s a good time to check Google analytics for bot traffic.
There are multiple examples shared by others warning us of the dangers associated with letting it go unnoticed.
- High CTR but fewer pageviews
People don’t generally come to a site to click on ads. That’s not normal behavior. If the traffic is overwhelmingly keen on clicking ads rather than reading the content or browsing through different pages and blogposts that indicates bot traffic.
Adsense code also tracks pageviews, bounce rate and click activity to form a holistic picture. This behavior is often caught very easily.
- Too many clicks but zero CPC
Another red flag. CPC or Cost per click is the amount you get paid when someone clicks the ad. Too many clicks happening without any uptick is CPC is sure-fire sign of something strange going on.
How does this happen?
Google’s algorithms are smart enough to detect invalid clicks and if CPC is zero its proof of the fact the systems have flagged the clicks as invalid, supposedly bot traffic.
You won’t get paid for those clicks. This also extends to recorded earnings earlier in the day. They would fall.
- Low conversions for advertisers
When someone chooses to advertise their product or service with Google ads they do so in the hope that someone eventually purchases the service.
For example, if they have an ad on your site to their product, they have data-backed statistics that show that they will get 2 sales for every 100 clicks.
But even after 500 clicks they get no sales, that simply implies that the traffic you’re sending is bot traffic.
To keep advertisers happy, Google can’t allow clicks that don’t convert at all.
It happens long enough, Google won’t have any advertisers to sell ad spots to.