How To Identify & Remove Annoying Ads on Your Site

Google will tell you if the ads on your website are annoying users which may impact the organic traffic Google sends you.

Annoying ads on your web pages has long been a problem for users (probably) and Google, too. Even if they do make you money.

What ads are annoying?

  • the kind that blares music unexpectedly ‘ or
  • a pop-up on top of the one thing we’re trying to find

Apparently ‘frustrating experiences can lead people to install ad blockers and when ads are blocked publishers can’t make money’.

The video goes on to say:

a survey of hundreds of ad experiences by the Coalition for better ads has shown that people don’t hate all ads just annoying ones eliminating these ads from your site can make a huge difference

The New Ad Experience Report In Google Search Console

The ad experience report is part of Google Search Console.

The report:

‘ makes it easy to find annoying ads on your site and replace them with user-friendly ones ‘.

How To Fix Issues Found In the Google Ad Experience Report

  • you will need to sign up for Google Search Console (AKA Google Webmaster Tools)
  • review the Ad experience report
  • if your site hasn’t been reviewed or as past review, the report won’t show anything
  • if your review status is warning or failing violations will be listed in the what we found column ad reviews report on a sample of pages from both desktop and mobile versions of your site
  • ‘if negative ad experiences are found they are listed separately in the report since a bad experience on mobile may not be as annoying on desktop’
  • Google will highlight ‘site design issues such as pop-ups or large sticky ads‘ and rather cleverly will show you ‘a video of the ad that was flagged
  • ‘Creative issues are shown on your site through ad tags like flashing animated ads or autoplay videos with sound’
  • remove annoying ads from your site
  • submit your site for a review of your ad experience in Search Console.

Which type of Adverts annoys users?

Google states:

“The Ad Experience Report is designed to identify ad experiences that violate the Better Ads Standards, a set of ad experiences the industry has identified as being highly annoying to users. If your site presents violations, the Ad Experience Report may identify the issues to fix.”

The Better Ads Standards people are focused on the following annoying ads:

Desktop Web Experiences

  • Pop-up Ads
  • Auto-playing Video Ads with Sound
  • Prestitial Ads with Countdown
  • Large Sticky Ads

Mobile Web Experiences

  • Pop-up Ads
  • Auto-playing Video Ads with Sound
  • Prestitial Ads
  • Postitial Ads with Countdown
  • Ad Density Higher Than 30%
  • Full-screen Scrollover Ads
  • Flashing Animated Ads
  • Large Sticky Ads

Google says in the video:

“once you’ve fixed the issues you can submit your site for a real review. We’ll look at a new sample of pages and may find out experiences that were missed previously. We’ll e-mail you when the results are in.”

Google offers some solutions to using pop-ups if you are interested

“In place of a pop-up try a full-screen inline ad. It offers the same amount of screen real estate as pop-ups without covering up any content. Fixing the problem depends on the issue you have for example if it’s a pop-up you’ll need to remove all the pop-up ads from your site but if the issue is high ad density on a page you’ll need to reduce the number of ads”

Your Website Will Recieve A LOW RATING If It Has Annoying Or Distracting Ads

Google has long warned about web page advertisements and distractions on a web page that results in a poor user experience.

The following specific examples are taken from the Google Quality Rater Guide

6.3 Distracting/Disruptive/Misleading Titles, Ads, and Supplementary Content

Some Low-quality pages have adequate MC (main content on the page) present, but it is difficult to use the MC due to disruptive, highly distracting, or misleading Ads/SC. Misleading titles can result in a very poor user experience when users click a link only to find that the page does not match their expectations.

6.3.1 Ads or SC that disrupt the usage of MC

While we expect Ads and SC to be visible, some Ads, SC or interstitial pages (i.e., pages displayed before or after the content you are expecting) make it extremely difficult to use the MC. Pages that disrupt the use of the MC should be given a Low rating.

Google gives some examples:

  • ‘Ads that actively float over the MC as you scroll down the page and are difficult to close. It can be very hard to use MC when it is actively covered by moving, difficult­-to-­close Ads.’
  • ‘An interstitial page that redirects the user away from the MC without offering a path back to the MC.’

6.3.2 Prominent presence of distracting SC or Ads

Google says:

“Users come to web pages to use the MC. Helpful SC and Ads can be part of a positive user experience, but distracting SC and Ads make it difficult for users to focus on and use the MC.

Some webpages are designed to encourage users to click on SC that is not helpful for the purpose of the page. This type of SC is often distracting or prominently placed in order to lure users to highly monetized pages.

Either porn SC or Ads containing porn on non­Porn pages can be very distracting or even upsetting to users. Please refresh the page a few times to see the range of Ads that appear, and use your knowledge of the locale and cultural sensitivities to make your rating. For example, an ad for a model in a revealing bikini is probably acceptable on a site that sells bathing suits. However, an extremely graphic porn ad may warrant a Low (or even Lowest) rating.”

6.3.3 Misleading Titles, Ads, or SC

Google says:

“It should be clear what parts of the page are MC, SC, and Ads. It should also be clear what will happen when users interact with content and links on the webpage. If users are misled into clicking on Ads or SC, or if clicks on Ads or SC leave users feeling surprised, tricked or confused, a Low rating is justified.

  • At first glance, the Ads or SC appear to be MC. Some users may interact with Ads or SC, believing that the Ads or SC is the MC.Ads appear to be SC (links) where the user would expect that clicking the link will take them to another page within the same website, but actually take them to a different website. Some users may feel surprised or confused when clicking SC or links that go to a page on a completely different website.
  • Ads or SC that entice users to click with shocking or exaggerated titles, images, and/or text. These can leave users feeling disappointed or annoyed when they click and see the actual and far less interesting content.
  • Titles of pages or links/text in the SC that are misleading or exaggerated compared to the actual content of the page. This can result in a very poor user experience when users read the title or click a link only to find that the page does not match their expectations. “

The important thing to know here is:

“Summary: The Low rating should be used for disruptive or highly distracting Ads and SC. Misleading Titles, Ads, or SC may also justify a Low rating. Use your judgment when evaluating pages. User expectations will differ based on the purpose of the page and cultural norms.”

… and that Google does not send free traffic to sites it rates as low quality.

Recommendation: Remove annoying ads on your site.

Related Links


  • Site Review

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