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Invalid HTTP Response Code | #AdWordsAnswers

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Hi AdWords Community,

I’m Priyanka from the AdWords team, and I’d like to share some information about a common ad disapproval reason: Invalid HTTP Response Code!

The Invalid HTTP Response Code falls under our Editorial and Professional Standards Policy. This policy is in place to ensure that users who click on ads on Google have a pleasant experience and find what they’re looking for. We trust that our advertisers have the same goal in mind!

So let’s look at what might cause ads to get disapproved for this issue, and more importantly, fix the errors once and for all.


The Case of the Invalid URL

Sometimes there’s an error in the way the URL has been pasted into the ad copy. Hence, the following steps are a part of our preliminary checks:

  • Go the Ads tab in your Campaign Management tab and click on the grey pencil icon that shows when you hover on top of the disapproved ad. Check if the URL entered is correct and typo-free. It’s best to just copy and paste the URL from your landing page itself into this field in AdWords.
  • If you’re using Keyword Level URLs, it’s possible that those URLs have errors. To check this, go to the Keywords tabs, add the Column for Final URL and check the links against each keyword.
  • Auto-tagging or URL Tracking can also lead to such errors. To check if you have Auto Tagging enabled, please check your Shared Library (go to the the URL options). For the URL Tracking, check Shared Library (URL options) and Campaign Settings (go to Campaign URL options (Advanced)). If auto tagging is enabled and your website doesn’t fully support it, the resulting URLs may cause HTTP errors.




What might be causing an error on the landing page?

So you double and triple checked the URL you entered and confirmed that the tracking or auto-tagging (if any) is running smoothly too. With the first level of troubleshooting covered, let’s move on to the site itself. The landing page might have one or multiple errors that may not be visible just by glancing at your AdWords reports.

It’s now time to channel our inner Sherlocks and use some handy web tools to figure out what these errors might be!

Enter the landing page URL in the following tools:

 

  • If you’re using Google Chrome, open your landing page, click on the ☰ on the top right hand corner, and go to More Tools. Click on Developer Tools and wait for the panel to pop up. Then, click on the Network tab and load your landing page. Scroll through the elements on the page; any elements in red have to be sorted out.  

 

 Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.48.11 PM.png

 

  

Options for other browsers:

 

 



Tip: If you have URL Tracking in place, you might want to check those final URLs with the tools mentioned above. To generate some of the URLs, you can perform the following steps:

1. Go to Shared Library and then to URL options

  1. Under Tracking Template, click on Edit and then on Test
  2. Copy the test URLs  and run them through the tools

    You can generate the URLs in Campaign Settings and within the Ads tab too, depending on which level you’ve set the Tracking Templates at.

    Once you have an idea of what the error is, check out these definitions and tips to fix each of the HTTP status codes. Hopefully by the end of this step, you’ll have a Eureka moment because you figured out what the error on the landing page is!

    Once you have this information, send it to your web hosting service or webmaster so they can work on it. You should also reach out to them in case the tools don’t show any error message, so they can help you figure it out from their end.

 

Getting those ads to run

So, you figured out the error and fixed your website, but your ads still show as disapproved in AdWords! Why is the good Lord testing you like this? Well, he’s really not.

If you feel your site has been fixed and free of all errors, go ahead and resubmit your ads for a review! To do this, you can:

  1. On your Ads tab, look at the "Status" column. Hover over the white speech bubble next to "Disapproved."
  2. Click "Resubmit my campaign for review." Remember that this link will appear only if your ad was disapproved for certain violations.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to resubmit the eligible disapproved ads in your campaign.

Tip: Making any small change or edit to the ad (like adding a period at the end of a sentence) also automatically resubmits the ads.

It typically takes 24 hours for the ads to get reviewed (though it may take longer if they require a more complex review). If we find that that the landing page is good to go, we’ll approve the ads!

Ideally, by the end of this step, the ads should be running perfectly. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for some smart troubleshooting!


What if I can’t fix the error?

Despite your best effort, in case you’re just not able to fix the URL or the error on your site, you can consider using a different landing page (which fully complies with our policies) for your ads. Do remember that if there are a large number of ads disapproved for a long duration of time, your account may get suspended.

 

I hope this helps you with fixing your ads and getting them to run smoothly! In case you face any issues, you can always get in touch with the AdWords Support Team because we can turn the :/ in HTTP:// to a Smiley Happy



Hope this was insightful. Do feel free to leave any doubts that you may have in the comments section below and we would be glad to take them up!

Have a lovely day ahead!

Priyanka

Comments
James H
July 2016

Here's a surprising issue that just popped up -

 

Our client's Adwords account was totally stopped with reason shown as "site suspended". This is for a client (lawyer) who has a well developed responsive site, with no black-hat gimmicks/pop-ups, etc. We've managed his Adwords for approximately 8-9 years so this action made no sense to us. We went thoroughly through each ad checkling target links, wording, etc. We sent a Review Request thinking the problem was this criminal defense lawyer having words such as "drugs" "sex" etc in the ads. The ad's status changed from "site suspended" to "ads disapproved" (All of them!).  We requested a phone call from Google to let us know specifically where we can see an example of a problem.  We are told that the  problem is that all ads point to a site that is not viewable/accessible - (even though I'm looking at the site as we chat.) I had the presence of mind to ask the rep where she is physically located - answer, India. NOW we're getting to the root cause.

 

We harden our WordPress sites. This includes using plugins such as Wordfence. We enable "country blocking", and block (in this case) all countries except the USA. The site displays perfectly however; Google's (non-USA) systems cannot access the site, thus the action by Google.

 

The rep kindly checked with supervisors and advised us on setting changes to make within Adwords. She further advised that we must disable country blocking . . . and not just for India. She advised unblocking all countries as the account could be checked from other countries, thereby causing future issues.

 

Disabling security features is not in a client's best interest. I would think that Google could engineer a system that would not intrude upon site security. Perhaps provide a way for an Adwords bot to be Allowed in the htaccess file? Any input on a better way to manage this is greatly appreciated.

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