AdWords advertisers know that Google has plenty of policies by which you must abide, like Ad Sitelinks extensions can’t have two links that point to the same page, and sitelinks can’t have the same destination page as the text ad’s headline. These rules seemingly apply to everyone except… Google itself.
The rule-breaking was spotted by SEER Interactive’s Francis Shovlin, who noticed some pretty blatant examples on ads for certain search terms, and wrote about it on the company’s blog. Marketing Land has been able to replicate some, but not all, of what Shovlin described.
Search for “adwords,” for example, and the top result is — unsurprisingly — a Google ad for its AdWords program. Sitelinks underneath seem to link to specific pages where users can “Lean How to Advertise on Google” or the “Benefits of Google AdWords” or about “Costs and Payment.”
In fact, all of those links lead to nearly the same page — the only difference between the destinations being that a different tab, below the fold, is open for each link. Meanwhile, Google’s own guidelines say “Tabs on the same page count as the same page” and “We recommend that 80% of the content on a page be unique for that page to count as a different page.”
Google in September announced it would start more aggressively pursuing violators of the duplicate sitelinks policy, but it apparently hasn’t investigated its own ads.
SEER Interactive also noticed sitelinks that included a phone number, also a violation of Google policy, but Marketing Land wasn’t able to replicate that result.
An additional query for “google adwords express” was riddled with a similar problem, with all sitelinks going to the same landing page. In that case, there aren’t even different tabs on the landing page.
We have an inquiry out to Google about the issues raised here but haven’t yet heard back. We’ll update this story if/when we hear back.
UPDATE: I’ve just heard from a Google spokesperson who provided this statement: ”We’re reviewing these campaigns and making any adjustments necessary to ensure they’re compliant with our ads policies.”