In the past 18 months, Google has waged war against spammers. It began with their attempts to purify organic search rankings by introducing the Panda and Penguin updates. Now, with an AdWords policy update this week, Google has targeted those evil doers of the PPC game.
Ali Harris has an in-depth look at the changes at ClickThrough Marketing, but here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.
Google’s goal is to improve the ad experience across the board, meaning only those with ill intent will object and most users and campaign managers will applaud.
By weeding out the spam, your Quality Score will likely rise and your cost-per-click will likely drop. But, you have to know the rules and follow them.
- Your ads and keywords must be easily relatable to the landing page they point to.
- If you mention a specific promotion or product in an ad, the landing page must feature it too.
- No more throw-away lines like “Click Here Now!”
- Just like in English class, poor grammar will be punished.
- Keyword campaigns must be relevant and clear.
- If your landing page has ads, they must be clearly discernable from original content.
- No phone numbers
- No email inbox look-alike ads
Essentially, you are expected to use common sense and be sincere in your advertising. If your goal is to trick users into clicking your ads, you will be punished.
Those punishments start modest but can become severe.
Campaigns that are flagged as not in compliance won’t run the disapproved ads until they are changed. If advertisers feel they were judged unfairly, they are able to submit their ad for review again.
Suspensions could be doled out to domains to temporarily stop their use of AdWords.
For repeat or serious offenders, accounts could be banned along with any related or future accounts.
Most likely, you’re already keeping tabs on AdWords metrics, particularly Quality Score. But now would be a good time to go through your campaigns with a fine-toothed comb in order to be sure you’re in compliance.