What Changes In Google AdSense’s Approval Process Means For You
There was a time when you could just set up a website and apply for Google AdSense without much concern that your website would be rejected. A Google staff member may have reviewed your application and website just to confirm that it was not a fraudulent or spammy site. Many low-quality websites were able to secure Google AdSense placement as a monetization strategy.
This changed in 2019 when Google made it more difficult to secure an AdSense account. The highly automated process would review each website page associated with the new Google AdSense account to determine if it was up to Google’s standards. It evaluated whether the content was new, valuable, and of quality versus duplicated content that has been plagiarized from other sites. The problem is that it can tag content as plagiarized, even when it is original content.
This can make it extremely difficult to get approved to have a Google AdSense account, especially if this site is the first one that you apply to the AdSense program. If you search online for articles and forum posts about the Google AdSense approval process, you can find hundreds of people describing their own challenges with getting approved for the program.
Here we describe some of the changes and challenges that people commonly face applying for approval through the Google AdSense monetization program. Hopefully, by compiling all of these common issues in one place, you can avoid many of these challenges before you apply to the program for the first time.
Can’t Transfer Google AdSense Account During Sale
Some websites that secured participation in the Google AdSense program prior to these changes continue to be allowed to participate in the program, even if their website would not pass the stricter application standards in place today. As long as the original website owner or AdSense account continues to be used, the program can continue to be in place.
However, this can be a challenge if the website is sold to a new owner or if you need to transfer the website to a new Google AdSense account. The website will need to go through the same process as if it was never affiliated with the Google AdSense program. Even if it had Google AdSense functioning on the website yesterday, its application to a new Google account could invalidate its status.
For anyone thinking of buying an established website that is on the Google AdSense program-buyer beware. A site could be sold on a website auction or sales site such as Flippa when the original website owner no longer needs it. For buyers of websites on this platform that want to monetize or continue to earn money through Google AdSense, it is possible that the older website will not get reapproved for the program. Especially, if an older site does not meet current standards.
Buyers should be wary of purchasing websites that are only monetized this way. It is entirely possible to purchase a website that earned some money from Google AdSense and then not be able to get it back onto the program.
The new Google AdSense application process is entirely automated. There is not a Google employee that can tell you why your website failed to meet the standards. This can be incredibly frustrating, as it can sometimes be a guessing game as to why your website does not comply. While it will give you some generalized feedback on why the automated system failed your website, it is not precise enough to give you the information that you need to fix it.
Many website owners receive a warning from Google AdSense and its automated website checker that the content on their website is scraped content, low-quality or full of duplicated text. This could come as a surprise to website owners who feel that all of the content on their site is 100% original. Unfortunately, this is one of those errors that simply does not provide enough information.
For instance, imagine that you purchase an existing website with Google AdSense ads running on it. You apply for Google AdSense to switch it from the original owner’s account to your own. It is your first Google AdSense site. You apply for inclusion in the program only to receive a notice that there is duplicated content on your website. Now, you could be facing a loss.
Since you did not write the content, you are not sure what is original content and what is not. After reviewing the content yourself, you make an educated guess that Google AdSense is catching the posts that only have videos made from YouTube creators must be the culprit.
You decide to invest hundreds of dollars into having these posts replaced with 100% original content. Only, after you finish updating the content, Google AdSense still rejects your website for having too much duplicated content. Frustrated and confused makes it difficult to understand why the content is registered as duplicated.
However, after many months, you discover that it was never the content at all. Rather, the WordPress theme that you used is getting picked up by the Google AdSense test incorrectly. Excerpts of posts from the main page are being counted as duplicated content from the original post. In essence, your content is duplicating itself in the eyes of Google AdSense.
Success! Once you choose a different theme for your WordPress site, you immediately gain access to the Google AdSense program. None of the content was actually plagiarized and you did not need to hire anyone to fix the content.
Copyscape, Siteliner, and Google Search Console
Fortunately, there are free tools that can give you an idea of what is really going with your website so that you do not waste hundreds of hours trying to blindly figure out how to pass the Google AdSense test. This includes Copyscape, Siteliner, and Google Search Console.
First, Copyscape is a free to use tool that can show any plagiarism on your website. This could be simple phrases that are copied from other website pages. This can be actual plagiarism or accidental plagiarism. Regardless, you will have the information that you need to fix it.
Siteliner is another tool that you can use once a month up to 250 pages for free. If your website is significantly larger than this, there are premium options available or you can pay to search your entire site. This premium option offers a comprehensive tool that shows duplicated content, even if it is not plagiarized. You can see if it is a problem with the excerpts, with tags, or categories and provide this information to a website developer to fix a solution. It also showcases a whole host of other problems that need to be addressed on your website.
Google Search Console is another free service that you can identify any search engine errors on your website. These are things that can keep your site from showing up in search results on Google. Even if the service finds issues unrelated to Google AdSense, it is probably worth it to fix it to improve your general search ranking.
Can Reapply Without Restrictions
Don’t panic! The good news is you can reapply as many times as is necessary to figure out what is really going on with Google AdSense relative to your site. Since the process is automated, you can make an educated guess to fix the problem and simply reapply to see if it works. You do not need to work with a specific Google employee who could get frustrated at your multiple attempts to pass the gates of Google AdSense. If you’ve made changes to your website for Google access, go ahead and reapply.
Hire a Website Developer
Instead of staying up all night, gather enough information about the problem and hire a website developer to create a solution for you. They will need to know what Google AdSense reported about your website to figure out an effective solution. Many people simply do not have the website development background required to quickly and effectively find the correct solution. Working with a website developer will cost you money, but it may save you tremendously when it comes to time.
Google AdSense Remains Top Option
Despite the hassle with the new Google AdSense approval process, the program remains one of the top ways to monetize your site. While there are other options for monetization through other programs and search engines like Bing Ads, few can get the views and pennies that Google AdSense can. There are programs for websites with huge amounts of traffic, such as MediaVine. These programs may actually pay better. However, you need to sustain a regular visitor count of more than 30,000 each month to even be considered for these programs. Many websites simply do not receive that much traffic.
To summarize, Google AdSense is an effective tool to monetize most websites online. If you get your website approved for the program, then expect small and regular earnings. While most websites are not able to earn tens of thousands of dollars through Google, it is one way to add a monetization strategy to websites that serve other purposes, such as providing information to the general public.
Melanie G. is a freelance writer and editor living in Tampa, Florida. She’s freelanced full-time since she left her writing job at Nielsen in 2012.