Many of you have experienced difficulties with your websites' quality
ratings being downgraded by
Google, or your AdWords account being shut down or suspended recently, in
what has come to be known
as the Google Slap. We have been approached by a number of affiliates
asking for further information
on what may have caused this and what can be done to have their sites'
quality ratings restored or
their AdWords accounts re-activated. Therefore, we are providing below
the information provided by
Google, in the hope that this will be helpful to you.
1. Duplicate Mini-sites
The issue is often that affiliates create sites for the purpose of
circumventing Google's affiliate
link policy. This policy states: "We'll only display one ad per search
query for advertisers sharing
the same top-level domain in the display URL. This means that if you're an
your ad may not show for a query because another affiliate or the website
that runs the affiliate
program also has ads using the same (or a similar) domain in the display
(What is Google's affiliate auction policy? - AdWords Help)
When one site is essentially the same site as another, while the product
is fine, promoting it with
different domains is against the rules. It violates the requirement that a
site's content be unique.
2. Use of trademarked terms in the Ad text:
AdWords ads will not show if they're using a trademarked term (e.g.
Photoshop) in the ad text and
the landing page does not provide a reasonable amount of information about
this product. Please make
sure that the landing page provide enough information about the
trade-marked term, so that it is not
a ruse to attract visitors to the page but offers valuable information.
3. Squeeze Pages to obtain visitor names and email addresses:
Landing pages that act as squeeze pages to obtain visitors' names and
email addresses are often
rated poorly on landing page quality. This is usually because the landing
page is a data harvesting
site that only contains a form. A site of this nature could most likely be
if the user was taken to the page that describes the product and lets them
buy it. Asking the users
to provide a name and email before they can learn more about the product
is not considered a good
user experience and will be discouraged. If users are being asked for
their name and email, then
there should be some value that is provided to the user.
4. Thin reviews:
Review sites that contain short one paragraph reviews of products are
considered thin reviews by
Google and are not rated highly. If the review is a short abstract, and a
link is provided to a more
detailed version of the same review, then that review is considered by
Google to be more valuable to
the user and is therefore rated more highly. Google values reviews where
the basis for arriving at
the recommendation or the rating of the product is disclosed in the
review, as it delivers a better
In general Google suggests the following practices to ensure a high rating
on their search results:
- Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
- Don't use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
- Don't load pages with irrelevant keywords.
- Avoid "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other "cookie
cutter" approaches such as
affiliate programs with little or no original content.
- If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your
site adds value.
- Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit
your site first.
- When in doubt consult Google's webmaster guidelines for more general