Google is the leading search engine for many users, and has carved out a reputation for providing relevant, veritable, and updated search results to users at an ever-increasing volume. Over 90% of internet visits begin with a search engine, and businesses cannot afford to ignore the value that organic and paid search rankings have when it comes to driving traffic to their respective websites and bringing customers in the door. The tricky part, though, is that Google doesn’t explain exactly what leads to ranking highly. Google is able to continuously deliver relevant results to users because of strict policies and regulations that it places on advertisers. Understanding Google policy and learning how to adapt with changes is vital to keeping your advertisements up and running as well as continually driving relevant traffic to your website.
In order to retain its reputation for providing relevant search results, Google enacts a complex algorithm that combs through hundreds of thousands of websites to value their content, links, images, and more. This process helps Google determine which site matches with search queries to provide the user with the best experience. When it comes to paid advertisements, Google also takes into account the ad text and keywords that are targeted in order to trigger the most helpful results for users. Sometimes, websites are deemed unfit for advertising purposes—perhaps they have content that misleads the user, they may appear spam-like, or they may even be unrelated to the keywords the user is searching for. In any case, Google penalizes these websites and puts them into a policy review period, during which the owner has to adjust the ads or the website content before becoming compliant and having active ads again.
Oftentimes, these policy reviews are beneficial. Valid websites are unaffected and can run ads without pause, simple mistakes can be corrected, and users’ rights are protected as they can easily navigate the web via search engines. Sometimes, however, even user-friendly, useful, and honest website content can get pinged for violations, but why?
Google policies change frequently, and sometimes enact large-scale restrictions on certain industries. Some industries that relate to potentially sensitive material—like the medical or cosmetic industry—can be subject to tighter regulations and policies for advertising than say, the sporting goods industry. This usually doesn’t reflect the business’ ethics or strategies, but rather is done by Google to protect the user. While your practice may have studies and evidence to back up that your results or claims are legitimate, Google simply is unwilling to risk letting a user down when it comes to searches.
So, how do you avoid being cited for policy violations, even when your advertising intentions are good? The first thing to do is to review Google AdWords policies. Although they change over time, policies are generally straightforward in terms of providing a positive user experience. Next, if you are cited for a violation, address the problem with your ad or website content immediately and resubmit the site for a review with Google. All affected businesses will receive support from an AdWords specialist, because Google doesn’t want to punish its advertisers—they just want to ensure strong content is being shown without being misleading. If your industry begins to experience tighter regulations, call an AdWords specialist to receive new insight on how to show ads and continually drive traffic, but again, make sure to work fast, because every minute you aren’t showing ads can cost you valuable traffic from paid advertisements (note that your organic traffic is unaffected. AdWords policies only relate to paid ads). The good news, though, is that Google does want you to be able to advertise for your business, as long as you play within their rules. Keep up a strong rapport with Google policies and your business can be back on track driving traffic to your site.