Google is currently the highest quality source of traffic out there… but they can be a bit picky with what type of content and products they allow advertisers to promote on the Google Display network. Yes, they frown on gambling, adult sites, shady weight loss offers, and affiliates, but over the past couple of months they’ve become stricter than ever.
In fact, one of our customers was running practically the exact same Google compliant landing page for the past three years… until a few weeks ago when they had their account suspended by Google due to a minor change in their terms and conditions.
Since they’re the #1 source of display traffic, you’ve got to play by their rules if you want to advertise with them.
A Few Tips For Staying Compliant
Besides some of the obvious rules (no gambling, shady offers, or “tricky” landing pages that use cloaking or malware), there are a few basic page design rules that you should abide by if you want to stay compliant.
- Your site should be well designed. The more corporate looking, the better. You don’t need to spend thousands on a fancy design, but it should be pleasing to the eye.
- Navigation on every page. The customer should be able to easily navigate your site. Most advertisers don’t use navigation because it distracts from the main goal — a purchase or lead — but Google requires it.
- Breadcrumb navigation where possible. Again, make it easy for people to navigate your site.
- Photos/bios on about us page and links to Google+ profiles when possible. This makes it obvious that you’re a real person. Putting your name out there gives transparency into who you are.
- Address and map of company location.
- Toll-free number. Real companies provide have phone support.
- Support desk. If a customer has an issue Google wants it to be easy for them to contact you.
- “Legalese” pages — all standard disclaimers, privacy policies, disclosure, terms of service, etc.
- Fat footer with additional navigation detail (Notice a pattern here? Google loves navigation.)
- BBB, Verisign, or Trustee seals properly linked to certificates. You don’t need any of these to be on Google, but again, it’s more proof that you own a legitimate business.
- No unverified awards or seals.
- No crazy claims, like “Lose 50lbs in 5 Days” or “Make 53,232 With This Facebook Hack”.
- Interactive tools or search functionality (not required, but highly desirable)
The unfortunate truth is you need to read, understand, and follow everything presented here:
Now, occasionally you’ll see sites advertising on the GDN that do not follow the above rules, or even some of the rules on the page linked in the previous paragraph.
Why are they able to do things that seem to be against Google’s policies?
The short answer is that it’s unclear.
The long answer is that you should try to stay Google compliant and forget what everyone else is doing.