How to Fix Disapproved: Malicious or unwanted software

During the past years, we fixed many sites having Google Ads disapproved for having malicious links.
On rare occasions, sites were actually clean. Take for example the Drift case, which occured last year.

Here’s what you should do, in case your domain gets blacklisted by Google Ads.

Need help? Let us clean your site.

1. Contact Google Ads support: https://support.google.com/adwords/contact/approvals
They usually reply within 24 hours but there’s no activity during weekend.
Save any report or list with malicious links they might provide.

2. Review the list with malicious links reported by Google Ads and do your own research.
Search for the domains mentioned in the report, you may find similar cases documented online.

3. a) Forward all the information along with Google Ads report to a security company – like Magefix.
Working with a company which has proven experience with disapproved Google Ads will buy you some time.
b) Contact your web developer and ask for their opinion.
With no past experience, the blacklist removal process might take longer.

4. Check the security status for your site in Google Search Console.
You may need to verify that you own the site. From our experience, sites blacklisted by Google Ads may show up as safe with Google Search Console and Safe Browsing.

If you’re a web developer trying to sort dissaproved Google Ads by yourself, here are some key tips which you may find useful:

  • Create your own Google Ads account and create ads with the blacklisted domain. This way you’ll save your customer time by managing the case from your own account.
  • Make sure you’ll perform a thorough malware cleanup, leaving no malware behind – site files, database should be malware free.
    If a CMS is running: WordPress, Joomla or Drupal – you should apply software updates.
  • Disable cache on the server, forcing external scanners, including Google Ads bots, to re-index content.
    The following code can be inserted in your .htaccess file.
  • <IfModule mod_headers.c>
    Header set Cache-Control "no-cache, no-store, must-revalidate"
    Header set Pragma "no-cache"
    Header set Expires 0
    </IfModule>

    Need help? Let us clean your site.

    Important notes:

  • On average, restoring Google Ads which were disabled for malicious links, will take 2-3 business days.
  • When Google Ads system is updated, ads are automatically enabled. Usually email confirmation will follow ( minutes or hours later ).
  • Ask Google Ads support for a second re-evaluation after cleanup process is complete. They might ask for a proof.