There are many companies/people who suffer from Google penalties. People report that they have not only fallen in organic results but that their AdWords accounts are now being blocked as well. The reason for this is that Google has further tightened the guidelines for advertisers in Google AdWords and – especially – has become very active in complying with them. Certain affiliate websites seem to be particularly affected by this. What does Google’s new policy mean and how do you deal with it?
First of all, the new policy is not really a new policy. It is more an official tightening of the existing AdWords rules. The main difference is that Google now proactively detects and punishes offenders. So there no longer has to be any complaints from other advertisers or users. Google especially wants to have high-quality websites in the search results. This applies to both organic and paid results. The website must not only be relevant to the search query but also clearly have an added value for the user.
The mere ‘stupid’ forwarding of visitors to the advertiser’s website is therefore insufficient in Google’s eyes. Visitors must be able to find additional, valuable and correct information on the website. If in the opinion of Google, this is insufficient, the website will be punished for this. The penalties can vary from the rejection of the advertisements to the definitive blocking of access to AdWords. The following websites, in particular, are currently at risk of being punished by Google:
Prevention is better than cure and Google does not send a warning in advance. The tightened policy should, therefore, be reason enough for people to take a critical look at their websites and assess them in terms of added value for the user. Do I offer my visitors extra information and possibilities? If that question has to be answered in the negative, then it is time to take quick action and get to grips with the website.
I would like to add a special mention to web shops that sell counterfeit goods. Google is very keen on this. Especially if the official brand name is used on the site and in the Adwords campaign, you run the risk of being punished severely. Especially in case of repeated violations, being excluded from Google AdWords for good is definitely a possible consequence!
If Google has already punished you, you should have been notified. Depending on the offense, this can be in the form of rejected advertisements (this is also a signal) or an email explaining why your AdWords account has been blocked. If this is the case, it is important to make changes as soon as possible. If you think that your website meets the requirements again, you can ask Google to reassess the case. For this, you can send an email to the AdWords team. Make sure you are sure that you now meet the requirements because repeatedly rejected requests can make the punishment more severe. Moreover, the review by Google takes some time and during that time your advertisements will not be shown.
In short: yes, Google can and may do this. Google is the owner of its own search engine and determines the rules and the punishment. If in the opinion of Google, the rules are violated too much, then Google may decide to have a website rank lower or even remove it from the search results. Both paid and unpaid.
However, as a company, you can challenge Google’s decision, as it was recently done successfully in France. Google ruled that Navx – a website that offers radar detectors – violated the rules and was no longer allowed to advertise. Navx disagreed and went to court. The court ruled in favor of Navx, on which basis Google changed its policy for France and allowed Navx to advertise again.
So if you have the firm belief that Google’s decision is incorrect and you are acting within the law, then you have a chance that the court will agree with you. A lawsuit against Google is, of course, quite a step and is logically not feasible for the small company. For big companies, this may be different.