| 10:55 pm on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I'll have a stab at answering. Many years back AdSense gave an analogy using fictional camera enthusiasts sites. From memory, it had more to do with smart pricing than quality traffic though.
Site A discussed all aspects of photography, rich content and informative.
Site B discussed all aspects of particular models of known brands of cameras in depth.
Traffic to site A might click on Ads because they were interesting and they might buy or not buy.
Traffic to site B might click on Ads because they were just the thing the visitor was looking to buy and that review page convinced the visitor it was for them.
Poor illustration I know but I think you get the general idea.
Other sites, which I call MFA, have nothing much to offer except AdSense ads, are at the other extreme end of the scale.
| 11:15 pm on May 11, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I don't know if Google have ever come out and said what they call "quality traffic"..Maybe John from Google will drop by this thread, and do so ?
But ..this may help you meanwhile ..
Yahoo's definition of "quality traffic" is along the lines of ( paraphrasing because I can't remember where I put the original text )..
"visitor traffic, which after clicking through from your site, results in a positive action by the visitor on the site of the advertiser"
( and then they give examples of "positive action" which pretty much match what you wrote in your paragraph, quoted below )
|So in a sense, is there a quality dial that says a valid click is only a valid click if it results in our advertiser getting a sale, lead, pre order or email list signup? Otherwise that advertiser is given the money back for the click because that person clicking didn't cross this boundary of what is/isn't quality traffic? Is that what Adsense means with "quality" traffic? Could quality traffic be a click where a person spends more than (inserts time here) seconds on that advertisers site? |
That will be pretty much the definition of "quality traffic" criteria..
Google criteria are going to be very close to those of Yahoo..in fact the rules as to what "you can and cannot do" as a publisher in YPN, are ( in theory ) more strict than those of adsense..vis a vis images on the page, look and feel of site etc..
No one ( advertiser ) is going to be happy with traffic that just clicks and bounces back out or that is coming from Bangladesh, Brazil or Bulgaria, and clicking on "car insurance in Brooklyn"..
Advertisers do give "feedback" ( they may also pay less for low quality traffic ) on the quality of the traffic that they get from the content network or the publisher network..plus the search engines themselves monitor what they are sending ..what it is doing , and where it comes from..and may charge the advertiser less, or refund them for low quality traffic..
| 1:32 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)|
In a recent thread John from Google's Ad Traffic Quality gave this link to the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center
Traffic quality seems to be mainly affected by click fraud and invalid traffic:
|Click fraud refers to clicks generated with malicious or fraudulent intent. |
Invalid traffic includes both clicks and impressions on AdWords ads that Google suspects to not be the result of genuine user interest. This covers intentionally fraudulent traffic as well as accidental clicks and other mechanically generated traffic. Although advertisers are not charged for these clicks or impressions, this traffic may still result in valuable site visits and conversions.
|On average, invalid clicks account for less than 10% of all clicks on AdWords ads. |
Purchasing traffic can often result in poor traffic quality: [support.google.com...]
|There are many services out there that can increase traffic to your site, including pay-per-click solutions to connect advertisers and publishers, as well as search engines and directory sites. However, we’ve found that some of these services actually send artificial traffic to websites, despite their appearance. To deliver the traffic levels that their customers expect, these services often generate clicks and impressions using click bots, or by providing users incentives to visit sites or click on ads. For this reason, we strongly urge you to use caution when partnering with third-party traffic services. |
See also Policy & traffic quality guidelines FAQ
| 3:42 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I'm wondering when the official policies were written. Do they reflect current Adsense algo's?
I have read the entire blurb from Google regarding invalid clicks and ad traffic quality previously. I'm still scratching me head a bit.
"not the result of genuine user interest" -- if there is a dial in the algo, could it be adjusted to say that is click A stays on site for 3.5 seconds it's invalid? Is it not possible that 6 months ago that number could have been 3 seconds? Changes like this might explain a bit of unusual stat activity and revenue deductions. Of course my numbers are phony as heck, but it's the principle. If Adsense starts losing more advertisers, then as publishers should we just expect that number to go to 5 seconds for example?
"There are many services out there that can increase traffic to your site,..... as well as search engines" -- Ok so how might a webmaster such as myself control who comes to my website? Do I start blocking IP's from various countries in order to decrease my "poor traffic quality"? I read this as saying traffic from search engines might be cast as being "poor traffic" but perhaps I'm misreading this. Like a spike in traffic from a link in social media. We need to report to Google in these instances or when our site goes to a higher search result and if not reported, that might affect our incomes?
Lastly, "On average, invalid clicks accounts for less that 10% of all clicks" -- when was that written? If the bar for invalid clicks is going to get worse for publisher moving forward because of increased ad competition, can we start expecting deductions of >10% for a portion of advertisers? Not everyone of course!
I'm not going negative on this, but I need a better understanding of the mechanics of this. I had the best month ever December 2011 and was over the course of 4 years or so continually increasing upwards. In 2012 it's far from that let's say. I need to figure out the future of this and honestly I'm skeptical. Unfortunately Adsense may fall to #2 or #3 in terms of making money online for myself. It's been my #1 since the start but obviously to me the engine room in undergoing changes. It's just whether publishers will be in the dark the whole time and we need to guess what is happening.
| 7:40 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Hey everyone, Leonard0 nailed it on the head. Our Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center, or ATQRC as we short-hand it, has the most up-to-date information for advertisers and publishers on ad traffic quality at Google. Infact, the ATQRC was recently revamped by members of my team within the last few months.
Regarding traffic sources, in general it is good to know how users arrive to your site, how long they stay, which pages and URLs are the most trafficked, etc. This is relevant outside of just AdSense to measure your sites performance. Using tools like Google Analytics as well as segmenting your traffic through the AdSense front-ends can help with this.
If it is unclear where or how to do these things let me know and I'll point you in the right direction.
| 8:30 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Ok great! I just wanted to confirm the information was relatively up to date.
I do now see the need to know about my traffic to my sites. What I am seeing, and I'm not sure if it's my imagination, but there is a lot more attacking/hacking/malware going on.
Is this my imagination or is some of the authenticity of clicks under attack? Bots or whatever?
It just seems to me that the days of creating a website, creating nice content and letting the search engines do their thing is gone. I say this because I've been writing content, doing nothing outside of that, yet I have seen my content scraped, malware warnings, cpu overuse, etc lately. Now it seems that Adsense needs us to warn you if we get a lot of traffic at one time. The trust in what I'm doing is into question and as a result, I feel that my Adsense account can be compromised from things out of my control.
What I don't really understand is how does one ensure quality traffic? If I'm just doing my content how can I possibly do anything about my traffic? If a person out there wants to screw with a competitor, can they just send them a bunch of bot traffic etc? Is this the dawn of attacking other websites?
I'm a bit paranoid perhaps. I've been accustomed to enjoying the Adsense program and seen a steady improvement in all regards up until the end of 2011. The sea was calm but now the only way I can describe it as being rough choppy seas. I simply do not know how you are expecting me to control who comes to my website when what I do is write articles and post them.
| 8:59 pm on May 12, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Unfortunately I can't speak to the many aspects of being a webmaster. I understand it's a complicated area, and our webmaster teams can speak more closely to malware and the likes. I suggest you look for resources in that specific area.
Being attentive to who is coming to your site and clicking on your ads, and notifying us if you notice things that are out of the ordinary, is the best way for us to help. As the ATQRC states, "clicks on Google ads must result from genuine visitor interest, and any method that artificially generates clicks or impressions is strictly prohibited". This is the best definition of quality traffic. You can help reduce invalid traffic by ensuring your sites comply with the Google policies. If you have any questions or specifics about what these mean, let me know and I'll see what I can do as far as clarifying.
| 2:59 am on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|I simply do not know how you are expecting me to control who comes to my website when what I do is write articles and post them. |
Unfortunately if your site or your niche is one that attracts poor quality traffic, AdSense probably isn't a good match for you. As I have mentioned, when I spent two months under an intense bot attack as outlined here [webmasterworld.com...] the first thing I did was shut off the AdSense. It doesn't matter that I did nothing to cause the bots, but the bottom line is, the traffic was invalid, and if it caused any clicks (and some of my ads were CPM) they would most certainly be clicks the advertisers wouldn't want to pay for, nor would Google.
If my Michigan-targeted sites get a sudden rush of click-happy traffic from China or Russia, then I'm a risk to the advertisers, because that traffic is not likely to be good quality traffic for my Michigan-targeted advertisers. Once again, doesn't matter whether or not I solicited it; the end result is the same.
AdSense is what it is. You give up a certain amount of control in return for ease of implementation - you just slop some code in and wait for the money to come.
But if you want to continue in the program, it behooves YOU to make sure your site and its traffic stays on the fair side of the foul line. And yea, sometimes it's circumstances beyond your control that cross the line. But again, that's the deal you make when you sign up.
| 4:01 am on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Thanks netmeg I will read that post. I had no idea.
I see the tides changing and clearly there are some new emerging tactics out there that are harmful. I feel bad for Google and Adsense because honest players are probably rare and a lot of dishonest activites out there.
I'm sure there isn't anything official said about this but I feel the system is under attack. It's obvious up to me to do my part and I'm not stubborn enough to let this slide.
Since a lot of us depend on regular Adsense income, and if there is increased attacks, I hope there is some leniency from the program regarding accounts being suspended or closed. Not all webmasters are expert on their traffic but obviously that's something people will need to educate themselves on. Hopefully that doesn't come after having their account closed or losing so much income (giving money back from invalid clicks or losing smart pricing ratings) that people realize after the fact. It's why I think communication with the publishers about such issues would go a long way.
| 12:46 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|Since a lot of us depend on regular Adsense income, and if there is increased attacks, I hope there is some leniency from the program regarding accounts being suspended or closed. Not all webmasters are expert on their traffic but obviously that's something people will need to educate themselves on. Hopefully that doesn't come after having their account closed or losing so much income (giving money back from invalid clicks or losing smart pricing ratings) that people realize after the fact. It's why I think communication with the publishers about such issues would go a long way. |
Unfortunately there really isn't any communication and Google is willing to throw the publisher relationship under the bus at the first sign of trouble despite several years of money making bliss.
One should in no way depend on Adsense for a portion of the operating income for a website. It should be treated just as gravy and not a necessity. To build a business that relies on Google in any way (search or adsense) is not a long term viable business.
| 5:52 pm on May 13, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|Unfortunately there really isn't any communication and Google is willing to throw the publisher relationship under the bus at the first sign of trouble despite several years of money making bliss. |
Unless you're a premium publisher. Before a premium with massive traffic and a reputation is thrown out - its must be pretty pretty bad.
Would they watch their traffic? I'd say these publishers have much better things to do.
| 1:41 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@AdTrafficQuality - I've never understood why AdSense doesn't have an option to block clicks from a Publisher's IP or Computer. One of my fears is that one of my family members (kids involved) is going to forget not to click on ads on my site and cause my account to be flagged for invalid activity or click fraud. Maybe I don't understand the technology but it seems like there should be a process where we could identify IP's or specific computers to not have any clicks counted.
| 1:49 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)|
I specifically asked a rep that once, and was told there was too much likelihood for user error.
| 2:06 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|I specifically asked a rep that once, and was told there was too much likelihood for user error. |
LOL...I hope you had a smart ass reply for the rep. Seriously, if we're intelligent enough to build and maintain websites I'm pretty sure we could follow directions to block our IP's or specific computers.
| 2:46 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)|
@AdTrafficQuality & Clicking ads from the same IP;
I travel a lot and often have to resort to prepaid 3G modems. Those are often assigned a shared IP address. In countries where prepaid 3G internet is huge - Ads get clicked 'en masse' from one IP address.
These IP's are often blacklisted by SPAMHAUS and notorious for all sorts of malicious activity.
I use a VPN with a clean IP to get past that.
| 3:03 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)|
My take is that the quality of my pages is irrelevant and it's the source that matters. If my site draws in a lot of comment bots and generic foreign hack software hits for example it throws my quality graph into a tailspin.
Backlinks - if a majority of my backlinks come from bookmarking sites and article directories and forum profiles and blog comment sections then my traffic quality is generally the worst it can get. On sites where I don't provide a content feed and only interact with other enthusiasts on other well known industry sites I tend to gather higher quality links and have better quality of traffic.
Build a reputable establishment and be recognized as such. Seek out the quick and easy methods of promoting it however and you will find the quick and easy crowd.
| 3:04 pm on May 14, 2012 (gmt 0)|
|LOL...I hope you had a smart ass reply for the rep. Seriously, if we're intelligent enough to build and maintain websites I'm pretty sure we could follow directions to block our IP's or specific computers. |
They probably figure that if we're smart enough to block IPs and specific computers, we can probably figure out how to NOT display ads to those IPs and computers in the first place.
For the most part, I don't worry about it. I have more problems with scrapers than with clickbombing. The only thing I do is, when I'm developing a site, I have a set of GIFs in every ad size, and I plug those in as placeholders while I and my developer are working on the site, and I don't put the real ads in until it's up and running and launched.
| 3:22 am on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Thanks for the feedback everyone. We're constantly exploring ways to improve the publisher experience and we will explore this idea. That being said, please be cautious about family members browsing your site and to not generate any invalid clicks.
| 9:05 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Okay here is some food for thought. We as publishers can control this? Check it out.
An article today on CNET said this:
-a site with 50,000 to 100,000 visitors is generating 51% bots (approx). That 31% of the bots are malicious.
-a smaller site with less than 2,500 monthly visitors get 83% bot traffic. Bad bots? 49%.
Okay, let me know how a single webmaster can control such widespread internet junk.
I see why Google is concerned. This is a direct threat to their entire Adwords ecosystem. I'm doing what I can at this point but for those out of the loop? You won't have any idea why your revenue is down, why the growing difference between what you see and what you get at the end of the month etc.
So again I'm kind of back to square one. Aside from banning countries (I know extreme) or vast ip address (which will change as you strike one day another one pops up) what can I do to maintain any credibility to my traffic? I suppose I feel it's like suggesting I can stop that spam from showing up in my mail box. I'm in a very confused and panicked state right now over this. I think other publishers should be also. To an extent I'm starting to feel that my account can be compromised because I'm not going through my site logs thoroughly enough to determine what is or isn't a bot and which bots might happen to be clicking ads.
On a side note, I'm going out for a walk in the sunshine right now.
| 9:56 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Interesting CNET article - making references to parasitic drag on shared hosting servers.
A new generation of traffic control tools for dumping malicious bot traffic? The SPAMHAUS project sort of does this for e-mail.
I agree the reach of a single webmaster is limited, analyzing RAW access logs isn't my fav activity either.
If Google Adsense takes the level of malicious bot traffic as an input signal for calculating Ad Traffic Quality - i'd say the ole Adsense is doomed.....
| 10:49 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)|
> Aside from banning countries (I know extreme) or vast ip address
Just more reason for allowing publishers to opt in to the countries they want to show ads. I'll go first: USA, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan. For rest of the World, no ads.
| 11:22 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)|
That, unfortunately, is the tradeoff you make for using AdSense. And it means you don't depend on it. If it's the entire sum of your business model, you find another business model. That might sound harsh, but it is what it is. Google is not going to put the advertisers at risk because you get hit by bots. YOU ARE EXPENDABLE. So am I. So are most of us, because we can all be replaced (and then some)
The realities of the situation don't change because any of us get bad luck. That's why I lost income for two months while I was being botted. It is what it is.
| 11:39 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Netmeg thanks for confirming that. I did try reading through that post previously mentioned but didn't find that single course of action that can help.
I certainly believe that sitting back and watching strange things with earning going up and down is the kiss of death. The integrity of Adwords trumps anyone and I think that's going to be clear as accounts get banned.
I think the fact there is a Google rep here and is focused on quality traffic tells us indirectly what is happening.
The most difficult but growing reality (as I'm seeing it today only) is that we are responsible for blocking IP's now as part of our participation in Adsense. I don't see it any other way right now. If you're bot free, good for you. However if you think so then I suggest reading that CNET article regarding bots.
On a side note if I said to you, can you block all that spam from your inbox, could you? Just saying. Keeping bots/scammers/hackers at bay on average Joe's website might just be mission impossible. One down, two pop up. I need to clear my head but certainly my confidence isn't growing any the more I think about it. That said, if netmeg can keep the bots at bay then I hold out hope. I'm waiting for that tutorial however... ;-)
| 11:47 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Depending on how much you want to put into it, there are services like cloud flare, and crawl wall (when it's launched) that will block malicious traffic. Nothing's ever 100% guaranteed. But it would probably help.
The best thing you can do right now is keep an eye on your traffic and look for anomalies.
And develop a business plan where YOU have more control. AdSense is great, and I've made a ton of money on it. But I don't depend on it for the mortgage, because I have virtually no control over it.
| 12:43 am on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)|
You can actually block entire countries in CloudFlare very easily. I haven't done it but am considering it. I'd ad Australia and New Zealand to your list Play_Bach of Opt-in countries.
| 7:41 pm on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Just a quick note that CloudFlare's country block feature (in threat control) will only challenge visitors from the locations you block (not a full block at this time & will likely be an option in the future). The challenge/captcha page, however, is pretty good at stopping bots (human visitors can still enter by passing the captcha).
| 11:56 pm on May 17, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Good to see you here! I just checked out CloudFlare and it looks very good. Does AdSense/Google have a position on whether or not publishers can use CloudFlare to limit which countries they show their sites to? Does AdSense TOS allow us to use something like CloudFlare or must a site be global?
| 12:22 am on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)|
"Does AdSense/Google have a position on whether or not publishers can use CloudFlare to limit which countries they show their sites to?"
Not that I am aware of.
"Does AdSense TOS allow us to use something like CloudFlare or must a site be global?"
We have tons of other sites using CloudFlare and AdSense & really haven't had any reports of issues from users about this. I've only had one user report some sort of user re: global from Google, but it appears to be something else that caused an issue with their account & not related to using CloudFlare. It would probably be best to confirm with Google directly, however, since it would be their policy.
| 1:20 am on May 18, 2012 (gmt 0)|
Generally my team neither endorses nor denies the use of any particular software application. There are a myriad of software tools available to webmasters to monitor, protect, and promote their site. Ultimately, publishers are responsible for their implementations and the traffic to their ads. As with any implementation, it’s critical that you monitor your sites closely to gauge the impact that each change has on your ad traffic.
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