The AdWords “double-serving” policy is one that started as a small clause in the AdWords policy to a large rule that all affiliate marketers have to follow. The double-serving strategy, if you don’t know, involves using two or more accounts to show the same or similar URL and ad, this allowing you to increase your exposure. Google has some very good reasons for using this policy, and there are also some ways you can get around it to ensure you still properly advertise your affiliate products and services.
One on hand, the double serving policy may seem a little odd. Yes, it allows you to increase your exposure over the AdWords network, but you are still paying for all the ads. Because of this, you are still making Google richer, so what does it matter?
Google, according to their page dedicated to this subject, has performed research that shows double-serving is very dangerous for the ad network. By allowing affiliates to double-serve, it decreases the relevancy of ads and decreases the user’s experience.
Since Google is practically obsessed with the user experience, it is not surprising for AdWords to ban this. The least you can expect is Google finding and merging all your accounts, with a stern warning to boot. The worst, of course, is the dreaded lifetime Google slap.
Avoiding the Google Double-Serving Slap
Nobody wants the Google slap, so here are some helpful ways to avoid it when advertising similar offers with AdWords. These suggestions come directly from Google, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
Google reveals in a good user experience, so ensure both landing pages are significantly different enough to give a good user experience. This means different copy, different features, and few product overlaps.
Speaking of overlapping, Google will allow you to show some of the same products or services on the landing pages. However, the overlapping should not be enough to impede on the user experience. Your best bet though is keeping the overlapping slight, to decrease the chance of inciting Google’s rage.
Make each landing page for a different purpose. According to Google, “for example, one site focuses on product information only, and the other site focuses on product sale only.”
What Not to Do
If you love the Google slap and want to get hit around by it all day, then here are some good ways to get on Google’s bad side when promoting similar offers.
Make your landing page for different audiences. This means skew your content only slightly for B2B people, female consumers and IT professionals. This doesn’t make a significant difference, and Google will sneer at you.
Use the same products and copy, but just change the logo and branding. Google will cry since you blatantly refuse to increase the user’s experience.
Use different areas of your company (if you have one) to host different AdWords accounts. Sure, it’s a little dishonest, and of course, Google will find out, but what’s the worst they can do?
(Thank you James D. for your nice contribution)