The main problems in the Diet niche (based on information i received from Google reps)
Even that “officially” Google have no problem with “Diet Programs”, the number of websites and affiliates violating AdWords terms, have made a situation that affects the Health and Fitness industry. Until lately, websites were getting slapped on an individual basis, but the situation is changing and it has become harder and harder to generate AdWords traffic to any diet-related website. However, websites that comply with AdWords terms and doesn’t have affiliate entity, can still benefit from a great source of PPC traffic, while many other products are no longer able to advertise in AdWords.
The main issues Google has with the Diet and Fitness niches are coming from Landing Page Quality / Site Quality and from Marketing Misbehavior.
Under Landing Page Quality / Site Quality we could see violations such as:
• Misleading text
• Unrealistic promises
• Unverifiable and inaccurate claims
• Unclear billing
• Lack of contact information or fake identity of the product owner
• Poor support
• Bridge pages / mirroring / framing – in affiliate sites
• Information harvesting
To the list above i would like to add the common problem with the video on the LP. Google tend to believe that any long video should come with internal navigation to specific places within the video and an option to pause, stop, restart etc. I know this cut conversion rate, but this is a new ball game, and we must adapt.
Under Affiliate misbehavior, you could find any activities that creat a false picture of reality, the same as landing page quality issues above. Affiliate misbehavior is a wide-spread problem that is common in all sorts of ads: Banners, Text Ads, pop-up/under, exit pages etc. Any violation in a single ad can trigger a process which might result in a wide-scale product slap.
On the bright side, Google has informed me that as long as the product is good, the website is not misleading, the information on the product and owners can be verified, and the site is a stand alone site, full of added value to the users, there’s no reason it wouldn’t be allowed to advertise in AdWords. However, based on my experience with some partners of mine, you should also add to that a clear non-affiliated entity, since affiliate websites are the first one to get banned in this niche.
The bottom-line is that it might be very hard and almost impossible to approve diet products. However, if you are well-connected and a Google Rep has approved your website and product you may get a temporary green light to generate huge income, due to lack of competition. Your best practice is to create a real value to the visitor, build a very good website with a proven program and then work with Google to approve it, even before you publish it. You should always try to get such a website pre-approve in advance, to prevent problems along the way. Never the less, since the people who pre-approve websites (Google Reps) work in a different team that the ones that check for violations and trigger the slaps, you should expect problems later on. Never the less, in this case, your Google Rep will try to help you, so there might be someone on your side, helping you to “clear your name”.
Another important point is to avoid from working with many affiliates, since you must supervise each one and one of them, to prevent misbehavior such as inaccurate text ads, misleading banners, false statements on the LP’s etc. Your best practice might be working with few super affiliates that run their own websites and a white-label copy of your product.
While doing all the above, strongly keep developing your media buying skills…