3 common AdWords policy violations
Google AdWords has many policies and restrictions in place in order to hold their advertising on the AdWords platform to a higher standard than other ppc advertising. This can be frustrating to some advertisers who feel they should be the exception to the rule, but Google has done a very good job at holding all advertisers to the same standard.
Sure you might occasionally see an ad that appears to have gotten around a particular policy, but that is rare and usually the result of some action or feature that an individual advertiser has taken or found that makes their ads stand out. AdWords has become very complex over the last few years and there are AdWords Specialists who have become very good at using Google AdWords to their or their clients advantage.
Today I am not going to talk about any AdWords tricks or hidden features, I am going to speak about some of the most common policy violations that AdWords advertisers run into that can easily be avoided or corrected by the casual AdWords advertiser.
1. Display Url or Domain Per Ad Group
This is one of the most common ad violations that will get many of your ads disapproved but it is easily corrected. 1 display url or domain per ad group simply means you can only advertise for one website in each ad group. If you are advertising for your website “abc.com” and you have another website “xyz.com” this means you must have at least 2 different ad groups to run ads for both of your websites. You cannot have 1 ad group with ads going to both websites.
Usually this policy is violated unintentionally by the advertiser. Many times an advertiser will simply commit a “typo” when entering the display url in one of their ads which makes it different from the other urls within the same ad group. For example, the advertiser could have typed abc.com for 3 ads but for the last ad they mistakenly type in aac.com. This creates a violation and the ad will be disapproved.
Correcting this is very simple. Simply edit the ad with the incorrect url and save it. This will then resubmit the ad for approval. If you have multiple ads with incorrect urls you will want to correct them all at once with AdWords Editor or using the bulk edit options in AdWords. The reason for this is that if you correct them 1 at a time AdWords will still see the same problem and may disapprove your edited ads before you can correct them all.
If you violated this policy because you were actually trying to advertise more than 1 website then you will just want to create a new ad group for each different website and move the ads for that website to the corresponding ad group.
For more clarification on this policy you can visit the AdWords help center at https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/14845?hl=en
2. Trademark policies
Ads being disapproved for trademark policy violations are another common occurrence in Google AdWords. There are different reasons advertisers run into problems with this policy. Some are easily fixed, other just need to be avoided.
I would like to make some things clear before we discuss the trademark policies further. During the time I worked on the AdWords Support Team, keywords were not covered by the trademark policies. I am not a lawyer but I do not think the ever could be. Let’s use Rolex watches as an example. Rolex is a trademark protected brand name. Unless you have permission from Rolex you cannot use their name in the text of your ads but you can absolutely bid on the keyword Rolex in any of its forms.
So here is what usually happens. A website sells Rolex watches. They are licensed to sell these watches by the Rolex Company but when the write an ad that states “We Sell Rolex Watches” their ad is disapproved for violation of the trademark policy.
If this website is actually a licensed Rolex dealer they simply need Rolex to authorize them to use their trademark. This is done through the following link https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/2562124?hl=en
The authorization must come from the trademark owner. In this case “Rolex”. The authorization form is very simple to fill out and even the largest companies are happy to do this for their licensed dealers. This process can take a few days but once it is done you would simply resubmit your ads for approval.
Now there are legitimate reasons you might run into a trademark issue and not be able to get authorization from the trademark owner. Let us assume you are not a licensed dealer of Rolex watches but rather you repair Rolex watches or you buy used Rolex watches. If you cannot get authorization then you will not be able to use the trademarked term. You may need to change your ad to “We Buy Luxury Watches” or something along those lines. You will still be able to bid on the keyword Rolex; you will just not be able to use it in your ad text.
If you do run into a trademark issue with AdWords and it is not clear how you violated the policy. I would suggest giving AdWords Support a call at 1-866-2GOOGLE and get clarification and guidance on how you can correct the issue.
3. General Website Quality
The third policy violation that is very common and more general is regarding low quality websites. There are multiple AdWords policies pertaining to this. Your site might be considered arbitrage, or mirroring, or violate user safety. All of these policies target the same thing, low quality websites. Usually, if your website is guilty of violating any of these policies the website itself will be suspended from AdWords and any ads pointing to this site will be disapproved.
If you have a website suspended from AdWords the only way to correct this issue is to correct your website and submit it for review to Google. While not easily fixed, this is a very common problem and since correcting it not only will keep you from getting your AdWords account suspended, it is in your best interest.
If your website has been suspended there is a very good chance that your website is not very high quality by any ones standards. Bringing your site into compliance with AdWords policies can only help you in the long run.
AdWords does not like websites which appear to serve only 1 purpose, to advertise or to direct the visitor to another website. Google AdWords wants your website to contain original, helpful content. When I worked on the AdWords Support Team we used a simple method as a way t judge a websites quality. We asked ourselves “would I feel comfortable sending my own grandmother to this website?” If the answer was no, chances were this was not the quality of website AdWords wanted advertising with them. By the way, the grandmother question is by no means an AdWords official policy or standard, just a way we tried to understand the intent of the policies as a whole.
Understanding that AdWords policies are not out to get you personally will go a long way in helping you avoid AdWords policy violations and having greater success with AdWords. There are no conspiracies here, at least not that I am aware. Google AdWords wants high quality, relevant ads pointing to high quality relevant websites. In this regard, AdWords policies work for Google, Google Users, and Google Advertisers.