Over the past 18 months, Google has been hell bent on improving their services and making the search experience a more user friendly place. First there was the 2011 Panda algorithm update, which proved to be a game-changer for SEO, then came this year’s Penguin update which served to clamp down further on those using unethical SEO and spam tactics. Today (October 15, 2012), Google AdWords receives a similar update – one that is aimed to bring more quality to PPC advertising. Panda and Penguin have worked wonders in making the organic search service better for those that use it by keeping spammers at bay. Now, Google has turned their attention to PPC and will be hoping for the same results.
What does the update bring?
By bringing in this update, PPC advertising should become better for everyone – apart from spammers of course. The AdWords guidelines won’t change with the update, but those practicing PPC will need to pay much more attention to them in future campaigns to avoid being penalised.
What the update aims to provide is better quality ads. This means trustworthy links and more relevant ad text. Auto generated ad text, ads that feature little in the way of description and trying to direct traffic to an irrelevant landing page are all tactics that are likely to see your PPC strategy suffer.
In SEO, Panda and Penguin algorithm changes have put much more emphasis on content and the creation of informative and quality articles, videos and blog posts – the same sort of thing is now happening in PPC. AdWords will now need to be relevant, truthful and well written in order for a website to reap the benefits.
ClickThrough Marketing published a list of the rules that are now being enforced by Google:
- Ads and keywords must directly relate to content on the landing page or the topic/business model of a site
- Products or services mentioned in an ad must be featured on the landing page
- Generalised call-to-action phrases, such as ‘Click Here’ or ‘Click +1’ must not be used
- Ads cannot have missing lines of text or extreme spacing
- Poor grammar or illogical ad text will be punished
- Sites with interstitial ads which create unexpected pop-up pages are prohibited
- Sites built solely to display ads won’t be allowed to use AdWords
- Irrelevant, unclear keyword campaigns could be punished
- Stock template websites with duplicated content will be penalised
- Scraped content will be penalised
- Landing pages featuring ads must ensure the ads are distinguishable from actual content
- Site navigation must be clear – deceptive structures could be punished
- Malicious or frustrating websites won’t get paid ads
- Phone numbers must not be used in site links
- Ads must not simulate email inbox notifications
Ads that are found to breach the rules will be required to be changed accordingly before approval is granted. Worse punishments could result in a domain being suspended and AdWords accounts being banned and all ads deleted.
Google is getting serious about spamming, and that can only be a good thing for the future of the internet.