Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
To help you build PPC ad campaigns that not only align with Google’s advertising policies but also provide users with a quality experience, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the most common mistakes PPC advertisers make resulting in their ads getting disapproved by Google.
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10 “Mistakes” to Avoid on Google Ads
To increase your chance of securing a customer through organic search, it’s best practise to use different types of keywords that target different audiences at each stage of the sales funnel. That way, you can reach a broader range of people.
Here are nine types of keywords you can use to build your SEO strategy:
- Short-tail keywords
- Long-tail keywords
- Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords
- Fresh keywords
- Evergreen keywords
- Product keywords
- Customer keywords
- Geo-targeting keywords
- Intent-targeting keywords
But, before we dive in, let’s cover some basics first.
- What are Google Ads Policies?
Google Ads policies are a set of rules that ensure advertisers abide by laws and to provide a safe and positive experience for users.
Aside from prohibiting content that may be harmful, Google Ads policies are also there to enhance the user experience through professional and high editorial standards. This applies to all ads, extensions and landing pages. Ultimately, the goal is to create ads that are clear, professional in appearance and that lead users to content that is relevant, useful and easy to interact with.
- Know What Common Mistakes to Avoid Before Creating Your Ads
It’s no secret that Google has been cracking down on ads that don’t adhere to their policies lately. The search giant announced that in 2020, it has blocked or removed 3.1 billion advertisements that didn’t adhere to their policies, including 99 million COVID-19 related ads, globally. The company also restricted an additional 6.4 billion ads. It seems Google is becoming stricter in order to better regulate the quality of ads being shown to users.
The PPC Optimisation team here at Robot-TXT works with many Google Ads accounts from various industries, and it seems that all industries are being affected.
While it is frustrating when Google blocks your ads, there is something more serious to think about. They can suspend your account and stop you from advertising on their network. This may happen with repeated, or particularly offensive violations.
It’s therefore good to familiarise yourself with some of the most common mistakes made by advertisers so you don’t fall into the same trap.
Want a team of PPC experts to handle your Google Ads campaigns? Enquire about our Google Ads Management service.
- Ten of the Most Common Google Ads Disapprovals
Since Google has way too many Ads policies to cover in one blog post, especially since some are industry-specific, we’ve picked 10 of the most common disapprovals you might run into.
Using all caps or “gimmicky” capitalisation, for example “S.A.L.E N.O.W O.N.” or “EGGcellent EASTER trEAST” is prohibited.
Google notes that: “In some circumstances, non-standard capitalization is allowed. For coupon codes, common abbreviations (such as “ASAP”), trademarks, brand names, and product names…”
In cases like these, you can request a review to see if non-standard capitalisation can be approved.
2. Punctuation, Symbols and Spacing
Google Ads requires that ad text is grammatically correct and not containing any excessive symbols – whether it may be using more than one exclamation mark or using “@ home” instead of “at home”.
Google Ads policies’ stylistic guidelines also prohibit the omission of a space or adding unnecessary spaces, for example “Buywatches” or “S a l e”.
As with capitalisation, some types of non-standard punctuation and symbols in trademarks, brand names or product names are allowed in certain circumstances – that is if they are used consistently in the ad’s destination too. To use any of these kinds of punctuation or symbols, you must request a review.
3. Style and Spelling
Ads or extensions that do not use commonly accepted spelling or grammar, that are incomprehensible, unclear or don’t make sense, will be disapproved. Examples of this may include “Multiple paymnt options available” or overly generic ad text such as “click here”.
Need a PPC copywriter to help you with this? Contact us today and let our team create compelling search ads for your business that adhere to Google’s policies.
4. Phone Number in Ad Text
Using a phone number in ad text (headlines and descriptions) is not allowed. The same goes for business names that contain numbers. If you want to encourage customers to call you, consider using call extensions or call-only ads.
5. Image Quality
Google Ads can also be disapproved due to wrong image specifications or poor quality. Images that are blurry, unrecognisable, sideways or upside down, contain illegible text, don’t take up the entire space of the chosen image size, have strobing or flashing, or otherwise just distracting images, are not allowed.
6. Restricted Products
Google prohibits the advertisement of certain products, some of the most prominent include alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs and firearms.
Most prescription drugs are prohibited, as well. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are allowed to promote prescription drugs in the United States and Canada. However, in order to do this, they must apply to be certified by Google.
7. Inappropriate Content
Any ad content that may offend or shock users is prohibited. Inappropriate content may include the following:
● Dangerous or derogatory content that incites hatred, promotes discrimination of advocates for harm on oneself or others.
● Sexually explicit content or content promoting illegal sexual themes.
● Mail-order brides or any content that promotes marriage to a foreigner.
● Adult themes in family content that includes violence or vulgarity.
● Shocking content containing violent or profane language, gruesome imagery or promotions that are likely to scare.
● Ads that potentially profit from, or exploit sensitive events with social, cultural or political significance.
● Content that promotes animal cruelty or that sells products derived from threatened or extinct species.
● Content that advertises access to hacked material related to political entities.
If your ad was disapproved because of misrepresentation it means that Google is considering your ad or landing page likely to be a scam or to be behaving similar to a “bait and switch.” This form of sales tactic lures customers in with impressive claims about the quality or low prices on items that turn out to be unavailable, in order to upsell them on a similar, pricier item.
There are a number of reasons your ad may be flagged for misrepresentation – it may be that you are accidentally promoting a price that’s no longer accurate or your ad headline is using clickbait tactics (ads that claim to reveal secrets, scandals or other sensationalist information, e.g. “You won’t believe what happened”).
If you want the professionals to deal with potential hiccups, get in touch and let our PPC copywriters craft complying content for your search ads!
9. Destination not Working
The destination not working disapproval means that your site can’t be reached by Google’s crawlers.
This could be a result of:
● A site that returns an HTTP error code, such as “403 Forbidden” or “404 Not Found”.
● A site that doesn’t work in all locations.
● A site with DNS lookup errors, internal server errors or a site under construction.
10. Destination Mismatch
In order to provide a good experience to the user, landing pages (destinations) must offer unique value and be functional, useful and easy to navigate. Examples of what’s not allowed under Google’s destination mismatch policy include:
● Websites with pop-ups or interstitials that make it difficult for the user to view the content requested.
● Websites that load slowly on most popular browsers and devices.
● Websites where an additional application must be downloaded to view the landing page (this does not include common browser plug-ins).
● Links that initiate a direct download from the ad or that point to an email address or a file.
● Destinations that contain misleading or abusive experiences, such as transparent backgrounds or other seemingly non-clickable areas that lead to an ad or landing page when clicked.
- What To Do If Your Google Ad Was Disapproved
The first step is to go through your ad text, extensions and landing page content with a fine-tooth comb and identify any areas that might raise a red flag.
In most cases your disapproval is likely to be just a mistake by Google’s automated review process. If you feel you shouldn’t be getting the disapproval you can appeal. To do this, hover over your disapproval in the status column to find the option to appeal. (Note, there are some policies, like “dangerous products or service,” that won’t allow for an appeal.)
You can also contact Google Support and mention that you need a manual review. Their support team usually turns around in a week or two.
Not sure where to start? Leave it to our experts!
The process of editing and re-submitting Google Ads, or appealing, can be a time-consuming, laborious task; what’s more, Google can suspend an account for repeat offenses. At Robot-TXT, we have a team of dedicated PPC specialists who can create profitable ads for your PPC campaigns that comply with Google’s policies. Get in touch!