There are numerous posts on PPC vs SEO, who gets more money, and all that mumbo jumbo. To me, it’s right up there with “SEO is dead” type posts, good for attention, but there should not be any versus in that relationship. (Note: Most of the more recent posts point out that both are beneficial) The two have more in common than both sides would care to admit sometimes.
One thing that they do have in common is the infamous and often feared Google ban/penalty. Yes, if you haven’t heard yet, you can get penalties and banned from AdWords. The new Quality Score system has penalties built in that reflect in your quality score for a keyword. The lower your quality score, the more potential there is for higher costs and lower placements. That is the equivalent of a sudden drop in rankings.
When it comes to bans, it is actually harder to return from a ban in AdWords than being de-indexed on the organic side. This could change but for now if your account is banned, you cannot just make a new one, and there is no form to ask for re-inclusion after the issues are fixed. There are ways around this of course, but just like making a new website, on a new domain, on a new host using new information and all, it takes time to get the historical wonderfulness that might have existed before.
There has been nothing “official” on the AdWords Blog that I can see, but a WebmasterWorld thread did feature a response from AdWords Advisor – a long time Google AdWords employee and generally helpful person to the forum members at WebmasterWorld. The AdWords team acknowledged that bans were being put in place for those advertisers that were seemingly deceiving the end user.
How to Not Get Banned in AdWords
This is simple; follow the Quality Guidelines for account setup, ads, destination URLs, and landing pages. PPC Blog covers this as well. You want your quality score to be as high as possible for the best CPC and placement right? The same things apply here. Make sure you are providing quality and you will be fine.
This round of bans was seemingly targeted at affiliates. This does not mean that you cannot buy ads from Google as an affiliate. If you build a site that adds something for the end user to consume that is of value that the original seller does not provide, you are fine. However, if you build landing pages solely for the purpose of PPC and only action a user can take is to click through to the original seller’s site via your affiliate link you are adding no additional benefit. Be a good affiliate and make your site something that people will want to return to.
What to do When You are Banned
If you think you have been unfairly banned from Google AdWords, your one option is to contact an AdWords Representative to request a review of your account.
My tip: You need to be sure you have done nothing wrong. Don’t use other people’s actions as a litmus test for your own actions. “But my competitor was doing it” is not a reason to give to Google when asking for re-inclusion on the organic side, and the same applies to asking for an account review on the AdWords side.
If you were cutting corners or violating the Quality Guidelines, cut your losses and find a new project. As of right now, you would have to start everything new, site, account, address, email, credit card, and more to get another account for the same project.
And if you go through all of that, pay attention to the quality guidelines, and add the AdWords blog to your RSS reader. Google changes their mind all the time, and it’s best to keep up so that this never happens to your business.