Simple steps to avoid Google Slaps: Product Owners
If you are a product owner (Vendor) and you get your traffic from Clickbank affiliates, or from any other affiliate network, you might want to learn how to avoid getting slapped by AdWords. More important, since usually, it is your affiliates who are getting slapped, you should understand how to check and guide them properly. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a situation well-known to others, where a small group of affiliates has caused Google to close all traffic pointing your way.
Once something like this happens, it could be very hard to regain your lost traffic and to recover online activity.
Carefully read below and see where could your future problems come from:
1. New Website: Sometimes, you are already in trouble but you don’t it yet. Prepare in advance and have a new/modified website that carefully follows Google’s terms and conditions ready. Don’t wait for them to slap your current website, assume it is already going to be slapped and copy part of the operation into a Google complied new website.
2. New product: Following this line of thinking, check the content (Text + Media) in your website and in your product to see if they don’t violate any known terms or rules. Then, guess where Google is heading and recheck it. Make sure to be a head of the changes and not to follow them! This could make a huge difference for your traffic providers and they should be advised in time. Please note that your new product might not convert like your current one does. Following AdWords regulations sometimes reduces your ROI, but your competitors have the same problem…
3. Pre-approve your new product: Send your new product and website to be pre-approved by Google. How is it done? Just ask your Google Rep to check your future product and website and let you know of potential problems in it. By now, if your product is big enough, you should have your own Google Rep. Otherwise introduce yourself to Google and ask for one.
4. Listen to your Google Rep: Your Google Rep will come back to you with problems he/she has found, correct all of them! It is their responsibility to justify your product, once a potential problem comes to the attention of another section in AdWords (there is more than one division in Google that could cause a Google Slaps). It is a bit more complicated than that, but look at it this way: your Rep is the good guy, fighting for you, so armed him with your best ammunition. The bottom line, make sure you fix all the errors found by your Rep. Don’t hide them, fix them well!
Now that you have a backup plan (product + website) ready, check your current operations:
5. PPC Traffic to PPC Websites: Take what you have learned from stages 1 + 2 (new product and website) and slowly start shift all PPC traffic from your current website into this one. Leave your current website to deal with other means of traffic but try not to send PPC traffic to it anymore (AdWords & Adcenter and in a way Facebook as well.
6. Monitor Affiliates: The FTC have made it clear that you are responsible to the actions of your affiliates. Closely monitor their marketing efforts. Try to understand what Ads are they using (a misleading ad can cause a slap), take a look at the banners (same here, a misleading banner is not allowed), verify that what the affiliates are writing in the Landing Page is not a red flag for Google and try to subscribe to the newsletters that they are using. Keep in mind that once a small group of affiliates slaps your Display URL, all of them won’t be able to use it again!
7. White-Labels: Do you have a small group of affiliates that make you most of the money? Don’t let others destroy their efforts! Each one of them should have its own website and a white-label of your product. No less will survive a potential slap! This might be your single most important action, one that could keep you in the game.
8. Adcenter and Facebook are the new AdWords: Understanding that you should have a specific website to each traffic source, not only because it is text-book, but also to prevent putting all your eggs in to one basket. Then, start to optimize it based on the traffic source, but this will come in a future post.