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Since error pages usually contain no content (just an error message, plus maybe links back into the site), a regular error page almost certainly would not qualify for AdSense ads.
I could be wrong, of course....
I have decided that less is more and I am in the process of deleting pages containing outdated information
There are no outdated information, there is only history.
The world is flat.
This is no outdated information, it's an interesting fact about ancient cultures, a lot of conflicts with the round world party.
To be honest, the average custom 404 page has a lot more content than the average MFA that Google won't ban. I'm arguing with them about a site that contains only a single ad block in white space and a few keywords in an unreadable colour about 14 pages below the fold. If they won't ban that despite being nagged for months about it I'd suggest that a 404 page on a good site that has a reasonable amount of content on the error page should be perfectly acceptable :)
The other issue is that ideally you don't want the page to be shown at all. I look at my server logs and try and correct the 404's. Google may penalise you in some way either on adsense or serps for a lot of 404 errors.
Seriously, I wouldn't do this without checking with Google first, but it's a neat idea!
The Terms and Conditions document is more specific than that, saying that you can not place ads "on any error page, on any registration or 'thank you' page (e.g., a page that thanks a user after he/she has registered with the applicable Web site), on any chat page, in any email, or on any Web page or any Web site that contains any pornographic, hate-related, violent, or illegal content."
Seems pretty clear to me that would counter the idea that if you had "enough content" on an error page it would be OK.
Text describing how to find your way around the site is on the error page along with links to the site's main features. There should be enough text on the page to get targeted ads. Before I do anything, I'll show Google the page and ask. Maybe I should just keep the "historical data".
Maybe my visitor doesn't feel like "finding their way around" and would prefer to move on. I'd prefer they click an ad instead of clicking that "back" button.
Think about what you're saying... If I were running Adsense, I'd kick you out just for suggesting this. Are you that desperate for clicks?
My only conclusions are:
1. - That your website must be horrible to navigate - "finding their way around"
2 - Your content is so awful that a vistor would rather go somewhere else .
3 - You're more interested in getting a click than providing a visitor with good information. (I'd prefer they click an ad instead of clicking that "back" button. )
Pitiful. I cannot believe anyone with any pride in their website would even suggest such a thing.
That makes about as much sense as:
Yesterday a friend came to visit. Shortly after they arrived, they pronounced a word incorrectly. I immediately carried them to the door.
Furthermore, as Adsense Mediabot continues to chomp up on the "new content" off those URIs, Adsense Algo will (eventually) discern the "new theme" and serve "better targeted" Ads for your new (404 page) content. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that your visitors will continue to see the Ads that they are seeing now on those pages destined to go AWOL.
* Would that "stock template text" not raise a dupe content flag for all those URIs?
* Would it not be better to do a 301 in stead?
From the current Google AdSense Online Standard Terms and Conditions:
Prohibited Uses.] You shall not, and shall not authorize or encourage any third party to: ... (v) display any Ad(s), Link(s), or Referral Button(s) on any error page....
The confusion here is because the language you're quoting is in the Program Policies; I quoted (just seconds before pasting and posting) from the Terms and Conditions: Section 5, under Prohibited Uses.