Google’s Policing Of Duplicate Ad Sitelinks Extensions Misses Apparent Violator — Itself

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.”

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Features: Analysis | Google: AdWords


About The Author: is Executive Features Editor at Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. She’s a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since 1998.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    Interesting. The hypocritical 900 pound guerrilla. Definitely not go PR to violate your own policies, especially the “cash cow” rules. Probably an oversight that has been corrected as a result of the press. or at least one can, potentially naively, hope.

  • andrekibbe

    They also don’t inflict themselves with the ghastly new AdSense “text” ad blocks on the search network, but expect display network publishers to embrace “progress”.

  • Francis Shovlin

    Thanks for the mention – looks like they already updated their landing pages!

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide