Recently we had a client that got all their Google Ads put on hold/suspension because they were disapproved for malware. What that means is Google has stopped your ads because they have detected a virus on your website. Until that malware is removed they will keep your ads disapproved and it will potentially take even longer because of manual checks and poor customer support. Unfortunately, my clients entire business relies on Google Ads and this problem was not fixed for almost a month which almost caused their business to go under. In case this happens to someone else I am going to give a break down of what you need to do to fix the problem in a timely manner and this is not an easy problem to fix.
How Does Google Define Malware
Malware is any software or mobile application specifically designed to harm a computer, a mobile device, the software it's running, or its users. Malware exhibits malicious behavior that can include installing software without user consent and installing harmful software such as viruses. Webmasters sometimes don't realize that their downloadable files are considered malware, so these binaries might be hosted inadvertently.
Possible Causes for a Disapproved Google Ad:
Outgoing URL’s on the landing page are using http when the landing page is secure over https.
Images are hosted on software that Google Ads doesn’t approve.
There are Redirects on the landing page domain or page URL.
WordPress plugin(s) is deemed malicious by Google.
Custom scripts added to the landing page are referencing external content deemed malicious by Google.
You have included automatic downloads on the landing page: From Google, “Download of the software should only begin when the user has consented to the download by clicking on a clearly-labelled download button."
You have included form fields that prompt the visitor to submit sensitive information: From Google, "Software must not collect sensitive information such as banking details without proper encryption."
Misrepresentation of the expected content, example:
“An ad that only contains the words "Download" or "Play" without identifying the software it advertises for.
A "Play" button that leads to a download.
An ad that mimics the look and feel of the publisher’s website and pretends to offer content (for example, a movie) but instead leads to unrelated software."
Steps to Clean Up The Malware
1) You will need to get a hold of your hosting company and buy extra web security services. One that allows the hosting company to do a scan and clean up of all files and links of your website. Once your hosting company has done this please have them give you the report of all the malware they found. This is important because Google will cross reference it with their own report to make sure everything looks clean.
2) Call Google Ads support and demand to speak to a supervisor immediately. If you don’t do this you will get a low level Google rep that does not care about your case and they will give your case low priority. Once you are speaking to the supervisor have them get in touch with the Google malware team to do another scan on the website.
3) This is the most important step so please follow my full instructions. If Googles Malware team says your website is clean they will restore your Google Ads within 24 hours. The more likely thing that will happen is they say your site is still not clean. Do not believe them and don’t try to problem solve this by taking action with another solution. Google’s Malware team is scanning the old website because their browser cache is not cleared. The reason I know this is because they told me and they explained that is was their fault which cost us multiple weeks of trouble shooting on my end and at the expense of the client.
4) Make sure you get a verbal response or email from the Google Ads support team that the malware has not been detected and your ads will be approved within 24 hours. If you don’t then you have nothing on record to show them if your ads don’t get approved for some reason.
If you take these steps your Google Ads should be approved in a week or two tops. This issue is very time sensitive and if you don’t press the Google support team they will draw it out to months. The one thing I have notice about Google support lately, and this might be because they have grown to a mega corporation, is that their customer support has gotten drastically wore. If you happen to get an American support person you are in luck but most of the time you will get pushed out to their India Google support team. Not only are they rude and not educated on Google products but they are also on a different time zone. You will noticed if you are working with a specific India support person you will notice they tend to be slower at responding and will only respond quickly late at night or early morning if you are talking to them through email. Hope these instructions help and best luck to you on this endeavor.