2.8K members online now
2.8K members online now
Understand Google's advertising policies, including ad approval status and account suspension
Guide Me

Policy Tips

Google Employee
# 1
Google Employee

Hi There,


I’m Sinéad based in the Dublin Office Ireland, and I’m on the Adwords team specialising in Policy! I’m here to go through some of the most common policy violations that occur, so you can understand and try resolve these issues.


Site Disabled for Other Misrepresentation of Self, Product, or Service


In an ongoing effort to give the best user and advertiser experience, we want to be clear and upfront with our users. We need all our advertisers to get on board by providing honest, accurate and useful information to users to help them make decisions. You should alway promote your products or services in a way that is truthful, realistic and accurate.  Our policies covers a wide range of topics, but today, I will be reviewing some of the main ones which I believe will help you resolve your policy issues.

Omission of Relevant Information

When users land on a website, they expect to find relevant information about their search topic.  This information should be included prominently on the landing page. We expect all advertisers to clearly display both the payment model being used and the full expense a user should expect including shipping costs.

Unavailable Promotions

If you are promoting a specific offer or feature, your potential customers should be able to find this easily on your landing page. As an advertiser, you should put yourself in the shoes of a potential client. Let’s say you have advertised an offer or promotion to a client; however, when they go onto your site, it’s impossible to find. This is a poor user experience, which can reflect badly on your business. Potential clients may leave your site feeling disappointed and deflated.


Site Disabling for Unrealistic promotions


A common reason for site disabling is advertisers making false and exaggerated claims about their business. As an advertiser on Google, you should ensure all your claims and promotions are truthful and realistic. This includes ensuring the statements you make about your business are honest. Let’s say you’re a unlicensed tradesman, it would be against AdWords policies to say that you are licensed on your site as this is an unrealistic promotion to the user. Using false or exaggerated claims also falls under this policy. We want to ensure the claims made by advertisers are achievable and truthful. As a weight loss company, you cannot guarantee all clients will lose a specific amount of weight in a specific amount of time as everyone is different. You can have your previous clients leave testimonials about your business as long as you include a disclaimer. This allows you to show proven business abilities, but also allows potential clients to have a realistic view of your business and goals.

Invalid HTTP Response

An issue we find advertiser can run into is certain ads being disapproved or Invalid HTTP response or Invalid Destination URL. However, you see your landing page is loading correctly. This policy violation is a result of an error on your site. There are 2 ways you can check this. Firstly, you can use developer tools on your landing page.  Open the page in a new tab and select the elements section. In here, you will be able to see if your page is returning any hidden errors. Secondly, you can also use our Page Speeds Tester to see if your page is loading as quickly as it should. Once you find the issue, you can work with your web developer to rectify the issue and resubmit your ads in the campaign. They will go under review as normal.


Pharmacy Certification Required

Have you ever seen an ad disapproved for “Pharmacy Certification Required”? There can be for two reasons for this issue. The first reason is down to having a a pharmacy on your site but not applying for a pharmacy certificate for your account through our online form. The second reason may be down to having a Prescription drug term on your landing page (even with a pharmacy certificate), which is restricted by AdWords Policies. If your ad has been disapproved for this reason, pop in and ensure you have your Pharmaceutical Certification applied to your account or check this list of prescription drug terms to ensure you don’t have any on your site.


Hope this helps!


2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Policy Tips

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @Sinead J,


Has there been a recent, say within the last 3-6 months, a change in how Google is reviewing websites regarding Invalid HTTP response? I never realized or recognized these particular errors occurring due to a single element on a page having a problem. They used to only occur when a site was down, not reachable at all. More recently, I've experienced and heard of a handful of others also experiencing relentless and repeated issues with this.


Arguably, the browser that Google built, and others as well, are more than capable of rendering pages missing a small image or element, without impacting user experience at all, why would the ads need to be disapproved for this? Is it a function now of not being able to or not wanting to decipher a serious server response code vs a minor one and they are all lumped together? EX: a page not loading at all vs a minor code error.


This has caused us some real headaches in the recent months, on sites that have previously had no issues at all serving our clients customers - while these minor errors were in place.


Thanks for the tips and thanks for any additional feedback you can provide here.



Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’

Re: Policy Tips

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
General verification errors
The connection to your server timed out.
We were unable to verify your file because we received a server timeout. This could be because your server is down or is busy and responding slowly. Make sure that your server is responding and try again.

We encountered an error looking up your site's domain name.
We tried to access your verification file, but were unable to access your domain due to a DNS error. This could be because your server is down, or there is an issue with the DNS routing to your domain. Make sure that your domain is resolving correctly and try again.

The download request was redirected too many times.
Check the URL for potential issues, such as an infinite loop.

Your server returned an invalid response.
This can happen if your site is requires password authentication, or if we cannot access it for other reasons.

We were unable to connect to your server.
Make sure that your server is not down, and that your domain is resolving correctly, and try again.

An internal error occurred.
If this problem persists, check the Webmaster Central Help Forum for updates.

If you've been experiencing issues at the ad-level in a higher volume, could it be due to the destination/final URL feature?

In my personal opinion the ad's job is to qualify the audience and get their attention for your communication style in your specific vertical. But imagine if you write an interesting ad and instead of seeing the full website, I see missing images or elements....

It's about user experience for users, advertisers,.

Re: Policy Tips

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Hi @Ahmed S


I'm unclear if you're responding to me directly or not...I do understand server response code.


However, you may be misunderstanding what I'm referring to - these are not elements you'd be able to recognize as missing per se, like a big missing image on a page...they're only identifiable when using additional developer tools to review a page = barely noticeable.  Generally speaking they have been minor issues with a theme or something along those lines.


Believe me, Sir, I understand the concept about end users and the related experience etc...this is a pretty specific scenario that I'm curious about that has popped up more recently.









Tommy Sands, AdWords Top Contributor | Community Profile | Twitter | Philly Marketing Labs
Did you find any helpful responses or answers to your query? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’

Re: Policy Tips

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
I believe you're right. I will look into this though purely because I'd like to find out. The theme reference is interesting and I think I'll start there.

Thank you sir