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Google AdWords have always had their rules and policies, but over the past six months we have seen a number of AdWords Accounts being shut down at the drop of a hat. There are lots of reasons why you could get your account deactivated and the important thing is, trying to understand the rules to ensure it doesn’t happen to you.
This post covers just six of the landing page and site policies that Google wish advertisers to adhere to. More information on the different violations can be found in the AdWords Help Center.
At Google, they have a large team of people reviewing disapproved adverts, which I would imagine is a very time consuming task. If you receive an email from the Policy Team highlighting that one or more of your ads have been disapproved, do not ignore it. Review it, amend the ad and resubmit for approval.
Landing Page Violation
There are a lot of words that are not allowed to be displayed on a website if you are using Google AdWords to send traffic to your site. Some examples of these include various pharmaceutical, drug, weapon and adult-only phrases. This list is not exhaustive and you can find out more on this policy by reviewing the AdWords Policy section.
Google will email you and inform you that you are violating a landing page policy but they will not be specific in telling you the phrase that may be causing the problem. It is down to you to do your research and ensure that your website is compliant.
Back in 2009, Google relaxed their rules on trademark terms and now allow any advertiser to bid on a trademark keyword. What they will not allow is for an advertiser to include a trademark term in the ad text. You can apply for an exception request from the trademark owner if you do sell or provide a product/service relating to that trademark.
The warning here is if your ads are not approved due to trademark violation, don’t keep submitting the ads! You need to go down the right track to get the trademark exception request or stop including the trademark term in your ad.
Page Load Time
With all the search engines trying to ensure that their users get the best possible experience online, website speed is becoming more important than ever.
The last thing Google AdWords wants is to send one of their customers to a website that takes forever to load. AdWords does tell you if you have issues with your Page Load Time but my recommendation would be to use Google Webmaster Tools to really understand which pages are causing problems and why.
Another pet hate of search engines is sending traffic via a redirect. If you are doing this, get your ads pointing to the actual landing page visitors are going to land on when they click on an ad. By putting your ads through a redirect it can appear deceitful to users and search engines as the display URL will differ from the actual page you are sending traffic to.
A good example of this would be to have google.com as your display URL but actually send your traffic through a redirect to bing.com.
Phishing is one of the most dangerous violations in my opinion. For those of you who don’t know what Phishing is, it is defined as an attempt to steal visitors personal information by disguising a website to look like another website. You should always ensure that your website is secure and legitimate.
If you receive three warnings from the Policy Team for any of the above it will be followed shortly after with a final warning. Once you receive the final warning, if the policy violation is not rectified you are in serious danger of having your account suspended.
When Google say suspended, what they really mean is deactivated to the point where they will not reinstate your account. No matter how many emails you send them apologising and promising that the policy violation will not happen again, they will not budge if you have been consistently ignoring their warnings.
The worst thing about this is that it is not just your account that has been suspended, it is your domain name. If you were to attempt to set up another account with the same URL, that account would automatically be suspended too. In other words, you will never be able to advertise with that domain on AdWords again.
Sure, there are other forms of advertising online but with Google having the largest percentage of market share, I strongly advise all advertisers to follow the rules and keep your account alive.
Google have a list of all their policies and for ease of use, I have listed them below and you can read more into each policy from the Site Guidelines section of the AdWords Help Center”
AdWords do keep their guidelines up to date and have a dedicated section that lists all the upcoming changes to the AdWords Advertising Policies. It is worthwhile having this page bookmarked and making a conscious effort to review on a monthly basis for any new changes that may affect your account.
If you have any questions or points to add, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
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Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.