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Google released a few sneaky updates to their advertising policies which could have a dramatic impact on many advertisers in the near future.

Among the announcements are new regulations which allow the platform to pause ad accounts under investigation and significant revisions to its Misrepresentations policy.

Pausing Ad Accounts

While giving an update about plans to verify advertisers on the platform, Google included a statement suggesting they may pause accounts believed to be breaking rules.

As the statement says:

“We may temporarily pause accounts to conduct investigations if we identify potentially harmful advertiser behavior. Paused accounts cannot run any ads.”

While this is in line with Google’s past policies, the surprising addition is a note that the company will take the same action for ad accounts which do not complete the identity verification process after it rolls out.

Changes To The Misrepresentation Policy

Another big change to Google’s ad policies is an extension to what types of ads are blocked for “misrepresentation.”

Beginning in July, these policies will be amended to include a “Clickbait Ads” policy which intends to prevent ads from using sensationalized imagery or text which is purposely vague to drive engagement.

Specifically, Google says it will block ads including these types of clickbait text or imagery:

  • Claims of secret or scandal revelations
  • Language that implies the click will give context (i.e. “click here to find out” or other similar phrases)
  • Imagery featuring altered body parts, mugshots and disaster photos
  • Before and after imagery of the human body

Additionally, the company will block ads using negative life events to evoke emotion, such as:

  • Ads related to potentially traumatic events like accidents, illnesses, bankruptcy, arrests, and more.
  • Ads using imagery to provoke extreme emotions like fear or shock.

What This Means For You

The result of these announcements is relatively limited to a few specific industries – specifically those which provide support or solutions during major negative life events. Under the new rules, ads for bail bonds, diet pills, funeral services, and even law firms will be very tricky – if not outright impossible – to run.

Additionally, the announcement that Google will pause ad accounts which are not verified or are under investigation ups the stakes for failing play by Google’s rules.

Guest posting has become a staple of online marketing. It allows you to get those coveted links that will help you rank higher on search engines AND spread your message to a wider audience. Plus, it makes you look like a bigger authority in your field.

Unfortunately, when there is something that good, people will always try to take advantage of it. There has been a rise recently in the sites using guest posts to spread spammy links or cheat their way to higher rankings. It has become such a problem, Google had to issue a staunch warning to anyone trying to misuse guest posts.

As Google explains:

Google does not discourage these types of articles in the cases when they inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company. However, what does violate Google’s guidelines on link schemes is when the main intent is to build links in a large-scale way back to the author’s site.

The search giant does specify a few factors you should be wary of when guest posting:

  • Stuffing keyword-rich links to your site in your articles.
  • Having the articles published across many different sites; alternatively, having a large number of articles on a few large, different sites.
  • Using or hiring article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing on.
  • Using the same or similar content across these articles; alternatively, duplicating the full content of articles found on your own site (in which case use of rel=”canonical”, in addition to rel=”nofollow”, is advised).

Basically, if you are doing guest posting in good faith, you probably aren’t in danger. You have to go out of the way to start using spammy practices or pumping out low-quality content. However, if you are breaking any of these rules you put yourself at risk of being punished and losing your high rankings.

Conversely, if you are being harassed by a spammy content creator to publish bad content, Google says you can submit a complaint via the spam report form.

Source: Search Engine Land

Source: Search Engine Land

Google is usually pretty public with their guideline revisions, but some of their smaller updates are easy to miss. Last week, Google made a small announcement of the Google Help forums that they have made a clarification update to their Google Places quality guidelines, which could affect local businesses who don’t update their information.

The guidelines establish exactly what business owners can name their business within Google Local. This needed to be clarified, as before it wasn’t clear why type of descriptors were allowed in business titles and how many would be acceptable. The revised guidelines make this clear:

  • Your title should reflect your business’s real-world title.
  • In addition to your business’s real-world title, you may include a single descriptor that helps customers locate your business or understand what your business offers.
  • Marketing taglines, phone numbers, store codes, or URLs are not valid descriptors.
  • Examples of acceptable titles with descriptors are (in italics for demonstration purposes) are “Starbucks Downtown” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant“. Examples that would not be accepted would be “#1 Seattle Plumbing”, “Joe’s Pizza Best Delivery” or “Joe’s Pizza Restaurant Dallas“.