Below is a short summary of strict policies laid down by Google that every affiliate marketer should know by heart, to help you in planning and running successful AdWords campaigns, creating ad copies and building compliant and profitable landing pages.
1. Industry regulations for Google AdWords Policies:
There are several advertising restrictions that are in place that should be strictly adhered to. Some policies may vary from country to country, however, to be on the safe side, read the finer details and consult with Google.
• Devices designed to interfere with law enforcement on traffic movement are banned.
• Political candidates and parties that are prohibited by law.
• Fake documents such as ID, passports and others.
• Websites displaying only advertisements.
• Products got from endangered species.
• Gambling activities and casinos
• Counterfeit goods.
• Adult sexual services.
• Alcoholic drinks.
• Weapons that can cause harm. Some items that are allowed include paintball guns, kitchen knives, flare guns, non-working guns etc.
• Some Ads in healthcare such as recruitments for clinical trials, secret paternity tests, HIV home tests and unlicensed prescription drugs.
• Firework devices – only licensed firework companies are allowed to advertise their own products.
2. The back button:
Any attempt to keep visitors on a site’s landing page by interfering with the back button directly contravenes Google rules. Visitors should easily enter and exit landing pages of websites.
3. Copyright Infringement:
Any copying and distribution of copyright material is prohibited by Google AdWords unless you are permitted by law or have received consent from the copyright holder.
4. Doorway or Bridge pages:
Bridge pages that send visitors to another site, in different domains, or to a landing page that does not comply with Google AdWords guideline is prohibited. A few exceptions apply to e-commerce websites that send visitors to a 3rd party site to facilitate online payments.
5. Any affiliation that is implied
Any partnerships or affiliations that you may have with Google, does not allow ad copy without prior authorization. It is also important to note that your Ads should not imply an affiliation with any unrelated party or a partnership notwithstanding.
6. Destination URL:
The domain for your landing page should match your destination URL’s domain with no clever attempts at redirects or affiliate schemes. Your web page must work for all locations regardless of your geographically targeted campaign and your destination URL must link to that web page. You should not link to a file download such as a video executable or download or to an email address for that matter.
Any websites that are infected with Trojans or malware or that sell software that cause malware infections are contravening Google guidelines and policies.
8. Parked domains:
Websites that have little or no value or are simply made up of advertisements solely should not be redirected to. Ads should be linked to websites that display content relevant and helpful to its readers and that has transparency regarding the organization’s goods and services on offer.
9. Framing or Mirroring:
Google AdWords prohibits all attempts made to mirror or duplicate websites across domains and different servers. The use of frames to display website content from a 3rd party with no unique additional content for a different website is also prohibited.
Google AdWords does not approve of techniques that display different content to humans and to its user agents such as Google bot. Content displayed to humans should be the same as that displayed to other bots.
Phishing is the attempt to collect personal information from users by mimicking a website or email address as the original one. Promotion of such sites is prohibited by Google AdWords.
A pop-up is any window that opens in addition to the window that is already open. Pop-ups are not allowed on landing pages so as to provide a pleasant user experience for users entering or exiting the landing page.
13. Information harvesting:
Websites that are designed solely to collect personal customer data such as websites offering free gifts, videos or offers or prize draws are prohibited by Google AdWords. Similarly, websites that collect sensitive financial information such as bank and credit card details must do so with a secure (SSL) connection.
14. Double serving:
Running Ads that appear in the same search results is known as double serving and Google discourages the use of this advertising gimmick. Running several Ads that are triggered by the same keywords across different businesses is prohibited.
15. Academic aids:
Promoting the use of aids that give an unfair academic advantage is not allowed in Google AdWords. Such instances include submitting a paper as your own when it’s done by someone else, services that facilitate exam taking, access to examination questions in advance.
16. Trade sanctions:
Ads run on Google AdWords must not contravene government trade sanctions however; this will vary from country to country or will affect certain regions.
17. Guidelines for Editorial purposes:
There are strict guidelines and rules in place for the type of language used to display URL and ad copy content details. It is important to note that the following are not allowed:
• Repeated symbols, signs and punctuation marks
• Headlines punctuated by several exclamation marks
• Characters, symbols or superscripts which are not used in the standard form
• Ellipses and bullet points
• Too much capitalization unless this is referring to an acronym or a brand name
• The incorrect use of verb tenses or subject-term agreement
• Expletives and foul language
• Excessive repetition of words
• Spacing of words, letters and symbols in a non-standard format
• ‘Click here’ as a call to action
• Numbers, letters and symbols that are not consistent with their true meaning
18. Unclear billing:
Pricing models on websites should be clear and simple to use for all users. Checkout processes should display all charges upfront.
Full transparency is mandatory for all billing matters.