MacAdam Lea
By MacAdam Lea | SEM | March 20, 2015

Google Ad Policies: Prohibited Content

When starting a new campaign on Google AdWords it is important to first understand what types of content Google actually allows. If you follow the rules, Google can be an amazing asset to your business, but if you break their ad policies it can result in ad disapproval, domain disabling, or even account suspension. In their own words: “Google requires that advertisers comply with all applicable laws and regulations and the Google policies described above. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with and keep up to date on these requirements for the places where your business operates, as well as any other places your ads are showing. When we find content that violates these requirements, we may block it from appearing, and in cases of repeated or egregious violations, we may stop you from advertising with us.”

Google has the eyes of an e-hawk. If you violate their policies they will find out.

Google has the eyes of an e-hawk. If you violate their policies they will find out.

You’ll usually get multiple warnings before Google drops the hammer, but ignorance is no excuse for violating ad policies so make sure you stay informed. Today we’re going to cover what content Google outright prohibits when it comes to online advertising – Prohibited Content.

Prohibited content is anything that you are not allowed to promote on the Google AdWords platform. Some products can be promoted with certain restrictions, like alcohol for instance, but the practices I’m about to list are sure fire ways to get your account banned. Think of them as the felonies of Google AdWords.

Counterfeit Goods– Google does not allow the promotion of counterfeit goods. This is any product that contains a logo or trademark that is identical or “substantially indistinguishable from” the trademark of another company. Essentially, don’t try and pass a knockoff as a genuine brand name product. Not only will you get kicked off of AdWords, but your run the risk of legal confrontation with the company whose product you’re infringing upon.

Dangerous Products or Services– Google does not allow the promotion of some products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury. Check the link for a full list of what Google considers to be dangerous, but some of the big ones include:

  • Explosive Material or Fireworks
  • Instructions on making explosives or other harmful products
  • Tobacco products
  • Weapons
  • Ammunition
  • Recreational Drugs (Chemical or Herbal)
  • Psychoactive Substances

Offensive or Inappropriate Content – Google values diversity and respect for others and does not allow inappropriate websites or ad content. This means no promotion of hatred, violence or any sort of sexual, religious, or political intolerance. Some example of these would be:

  • Ads using profane language
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Sale or trade of an endangered species
  • Racial discrimination
  • Bullying or intimidation of an individual or group

Products or Services that Enable Dishonest Behavior – Google values honesty and fairness and does not allow promotion of products that are designed to be exploitive or “game the system”.  This means you can’t run any ads that show people how to break the law or interfere with any of Googles other policies. Some examples include:

  • Hacking Services
  • Phone or Wire Tapping
  • Creation of fake or false documents such as passports or diplomas
  • Aids to pass drug tests
  • Changing Traffic Signals
  • Selling falsified user activity in the form of invalid clicks

Most of these limitations aren’t going to apply to your business (knock on wood), but it always helps to know the full limitations of AdWords before investing in a new campaign. Next week we’ll be covering Prohibited Practices and the specific rules you’re going to have to follow if you want to start running those PPC advertisements.

Thank you for reading, and I’ll PP-See you all next time!

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