Did you just get the dreaded “Google Adwords account suspended” email from Google?
You’re probably wondering why Google chose to suspend your ad account. You didn’t do anything wrong! Perhaps the email says that they found malicious software on your website or that you violated some Google Ads policies.
It’s not the end of the world. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what caused the suspension, how to reactivate your account and get your business rolling again.
Google Ads accounts are often suspended due to malware. This is the first possibility you need to eliminate, because in the event of a hack, your ad account is going to be only one of your problems. Act quickly, and scan your website for malware now.
Google serves millions of users which is why they have strict policies in place. The simple rule is: violate the policies and your Google Ads account gets suspended.
Let’s be honest: no one ever reads the terms, conditions, and policies laid out by Google. Or anywhere, for that matter. So, it’s quite likely that you don’t know what policy you violated.
There are many causes that could have led Google to take such a drastic step. We will explain all the causes in the next sections, but let’s first eliminate the worst possible scenario.
How to figure out if your website has been hacked
We’re covering this up front, because a hacked website is an urgent priority.
It is not always evident when your website has been hacked. Malware can be hidden from your view as an administrator, pages are hidden in your website folders, and several other ways exist to make certain you remain oblivious for as long as possible.
The problem with not knowing if your website has malware is that you are often the last one to find out. Especially if you don’t have a security plugin installed. Google doesn’t take security so lightly, knowing that even standalone websites are targeted by hackers. Obscurity is not a defense against bad actors.
If Google has been the one to detect the malware on your website, let’s just say Google Adwords account suspension is the tip of the iceberg. And not just any iceberg, harmlessly floating in the Antarctic. Think about the iceberg that had a starring role in Titanic; and imagine your website is the ship.
Yeah. Malware is THAT bad for your website.
Why was your Google Adwords account suspended
Google is deeply committed to offering the best possible experience to its users. This policy takes many forms, but for the purposes of this article, let’s look at the Google Ads specific one.
They want to ensure that users are exposed to only legitimate and non offensive advertisements that are served by Google Ads. And let’s face it; there are some pretty shady advertisers out there.
Which is why, Google has drafted policies for advertisers to follow. Google will shut your account down if you don’t abide by their rules.
Let’s start by figuring out what’s wrong with your Adwords account
Step 1: Open your suspension email. Google usually tells you why they suspended your account. For instance, in the email below, Google says that the account was suspended for circumventing systems.
Step 2: Figure out more details about the rule you violated. In our case, we need to find out what the error code “Circumventing Systems” means before proceeding to fix the issue.
Typical reasons behind Google’s suspension
Understanding the cause is half the battle. At least, you will figure out what needs to be done next.
1. Your website is hacked
- Presence of malicious or unwanted software: You have malicious software or malware on your website which is harmful to visitors. In most cases, website owners are not aware of the presence of malware. Nevertheless, their account is suspended. Here’s how you can fix the issue.
2. You violated Google Ads policy
- Circumventing their systems: You are engaging in practices that are circumventing or interfering with Google’s ad processes. For instance, you are showing different content to Google and website visitors.
- Deceptive practices: You are misrepresenting yourself to conceal your real identity. This is considered a violation only when your content is related to social issues, politics, and other matters of public concern.
- Promotion of counterfeit goods: You are using a trademark or logo which is indistinguishable from another trademark. If the product you are selling comes across as a replica of another, you are engaging in counterfeit activities.
- Selling drugs via unauthorized pharmacies: You are selling prescription drugs without a prescription or you are targeting locations where you don’t have a license to sell drugs. Find a list of countries where Google allows online pharmacies to operate here.
- Violating local laws: Your ads are not compliant with local laws which caused Google to shut down your operations. For instance, in the UK, you cannot advertise paternity tests.
- Other unacceptable business practices: Practices like showing ads to attract users and then tricking them into sharing medical, financial, or personal information or misrepresenting your business or product or services will get you banned.
2. Your payment is due or other billing issues
- Unpaid balance: If your payment didn’t go through even once, your account will be suspended.
- Abuse of the promotional code: Selling Google Ads promotion codes or using them more than once is not acceptable.
- Requesting a chargeback: If you had requested your bank to reverse payment with hopes of getting a free ride, you will be suspended.
- Suspicious payment activity: Indulging in fraudulent payment activities like making advertising payments with a stolen card is a no-no.
3. You don’t meet the age requirements
Generally, you can’t create a Google Ads account if you aren’t yet 13.
However, the minimum age requirement varies from country to country. You can check the limit here.
4. An unauthorized user tried to access your account
Google suspends accounts temporarily if it detects anyone else accessing or trying to access your account.
5. You violated Google Ads grants policy
Google has grants for non-profit organizations to run ads. But you have to abide by grant-specific policies. Violating them will lead to a suspension.
Well, this is an uh-oh moment.
Google Ads policies can be violations or egregious violations. You can recover your suspended account from the former, but not the latter. Egregious violations are deemed so dangerous and/or unlawful that Google will not risk allowing their users to be exposed to the same advertiser again.
You need a Hail Mary in this situation. There are people who claim to be able to get you through even this permanent, till-the-end-of-time suspension, but we aren’t going to link to those articles, and we strongly advise caution.
How to restore your suspended Google Ads account
Recovering your Google Ads account is a two-step process. You need to:
- Fix the issue that triggered the suspension
- Inform Google that you’ve fixed the issue
Side note: If you feel the suspension was made in error and you haven’t done anything wrong, then contact Google. They will reevaluate your account and get back to you within a few days. Use this revision process judiciously, because if too many of your appeal requests are rejected, Google will limit the number of appeals you can make altogether.
1. Cleaning malware infections
The fastest way to clean your website is to use MalCare’s Instant malware removal plugin.
It will quickly run a scan through your website and show you the infected files it found.
Then hit Auto-Clean to remove all traces of malware from your website. The entire process will take 60 seconds at the most.
2. Abide by Google Ads policy
Google Ads policies are written in stone. You have to abide by them if you want your account unsuspended. Read them carefully. If you need help understanding them or figuring out which one you violated, reach out to an expert.
Try asking in forums and groups, especially ones which have similar businesses. There is an excellent chance someone has experienced the same situation before.
You can also post your doubts on Reddit groups like AdWords, PPC, and Facebook groups like Google Ads, Google Adwords (PPC), Google Ads Expert. You can also look into Quora. If all fails, reach out to Google Search Liaison on Twitter. These groups are teeming with active and engaging participants. Don’t worry, you will find an answer.
Once you have figured out what exactly you are doing wrong, the next step is to rectify the issue. For instance, selling unauthorized, unlicensed, or illicit goods, uploading ads with adult content, uploading ads that are religious, political or otherwise inflammatory in nature are common reasons for suspension. If you are engaging with any of the above activities, you need to stop doing them right now.
When you are ready, go to the next section and inform Google about what steps you took to rectify the issue.
3. Rectifying payment issues
If you have outstanding dues for an ad, clear them. No one likes not getting paid. Not even Google.
- Check with your bank to ensure there were no transactions that could be seen as suspicious made from your account.
- Check if your old payment method has become invalid. If it has, then add a new method.
After fixing the billing issues, you can proceed to remove the suspension from your site.
4. Fixing other issues
There are also a few very vague reasons cited by Google for suspending your Ads account. Here’s how you can fix them:
- You don’t meet the age requirements: Create a Google Account with Family Link. Here’s a guide that’ll help you do just that.
- Unauthorized users tried to access your account: You’ll need to fill out this form and Google will help you secure your account.
- You violated Google Ads grants policy: We have put together a few tips on how to get help when you can’t figure out which policy or policies are you violating in the Abiding By Google Ads Policy section. Please check that out.
After you have fixed the issues, it’s time to tell Google that your account can be reinstated.
How to appeal for a suspended Ads account
It’s very straightforward: fill this form and hit ‘Submit’.
But before you do that, here are a few pointers that’ll save you a lot of time and hassle:
- Be super careful about the information you are providing. Any mistakes you make will be seen as false information and Google will ban you for life.
- At the end of the form, there is an option called Summary of the Issue. Here you need to speak about not just the issue, but most importantly what steps you took to fix the problem.
- You have the option to attach a file to the form. Utilize that. For instance, if your website had malware and you removed it, take a screenshot of your clean website and send it to Google.
It is important to note that, even though we’ve put the suspension reasons in a nice list, there is a chance that there is more than one reason for the suspension. Each reason needs to be individually addressed.
Filling the form well is critical. A single mistake can add you permanently to Google’s bad books. You might never be able to run Google Ads in the future.
What if suspended Ads account appeal is rejected
Google has been known to reject appeals made to unsuspend accounts. We’re not saying this to scare you but just in case it happens, you’ll know what to do.
We hope that it never comes to this. And it won’t if you do things correctly.
But IF it does, then there is a final court of appeal — the Google Ads Team. Contact them.
Don’t rely on helpline numbers available on third-party websites. Just visit the Google Ads’ contact us page and fill out the form. They will call you within 2 working days.
Side Note: We hate to say it but, if you have to say goodbye to Google Ads services, don’t forget to request a refund of any account balance pending with Google.
What happens when your Google Ads account is suspended
When Google suspends your Adwords accounts, you will face the following consequences:
- All your ads will be suspended
- All your merchant accounts will be suspended
Important: Many of you are probably thinking of creating another account instead of dealing with the hassle of fixing this issue. Don’t do that out of the box. Google has policies against multiple accounts. If they catch you, they will ban you from using Google Ads services.
Suspension is a frustrating and often terrifying experience, especially since it is probably directly responsible for your revenue.
You need to ensure that you don’t get your site Google Ads account suspended ever again. Repeated suspension can lead to a permanent ban.
So here’s what we recommend you do to proactively avoid suspension:
- Be very careful when you are creating an ad. Ensure that you are not violating any of the policies. Google modifies its policies so you need to keep yourself up to date. Visit Google’s change logs periodically.
- When in doubt, ask. There are many Google Ads communities where you can clear your doubts.
- To protect your website from malware infection, install a security plugin.
- If your ads or sites are disapproved, fix it, and never make the same mistake again.
- Use a strong password to keep your account safe from authorized access.
1. What does Google Ads account suspension mean?
Google Ads account suspension means that Google has shut down your ads temporarily. They have found that you are violating some of their policies and they want you to fix it before unsuspending your account. Learn about what policies you might be violating.
2. Why was my Google Adwords account suspended?
Your Google Adwords account was suspended because you were found violating Google policies. Common reasons for Google Ads suspicious are suspicious payment activities, payment due, malware infection, and unauthorized access to your account. Learn about the typical reasons why your Adwords account was suspended.
3. Google Ads detected malicious software on my site but I don’t see it
Google Ads detected malicious software on your website but you don’t see any traces of it on your website because hackers are careful. They want to keep using your website’s resources for as long as they want. Hence they ensure that the website looks normal. Learn more about hacked websites and how to fix them.
4. Google Adwords suspended my account, how do I reactivate my account?
5. How do I ask Google to unsuspend my account?