Updated advertising policy on Adsense

Google Adsense have updated their advertising policy with a couple of quite substantial changes.

The simplest one is the ability to add more than one (up to three) link ad units across a site. Previously these have only been allowed as one link ad unit per page. With the high click-through rates received from link ad units when correctly placed on a website, this will be a popular move with online advertisers (in all markets including NZ).

Conversely I have already read a few blog posts where other bloggers are saying this is pushing the Adsense program too close to the situation where a user is being tricked into a click (due to the similarity between the link ad unit format and a typical navigational function within a site).

Probably the biggest change is that Google is now requiring its Adsense publishers to conform to Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines which it uses for Adwords advertisers. From Adsense;

…you might already be familiar with these guidelines, which are intended to provide a better experience for users, advertisers, and publishers alike. If you use any kind of online advertising, know that these guidelines encourage publishers to, among other things, create sites with simple navigation and substantial, useful content.

Many different elements go into a “Quality Score” which are based around a very well established although incredibly subjective ideas on usability and content control. For example;

Starting with your ad, each interaction you have with your potential and existing customers should be geared towards building a trusting relationship. To avoid leading users astray:

* Users should be able to easily find what your ad promises.
* Openly share information about your business. Clearly define what your business is or does.
* Deliver products, goods, and services as promised on your site.

The key question here will be the implementation of decisions from Google representatives. No two Google reps are likely to see the same site in the same light. Hopefully there are some very tight guidelines around more than one person being involved in removing a site.

As you can imagine, it’s going to be the almighty dollar that rules the decision on how the site is dealt with. If you’re making Google a fortune through Adsense I would expect a friendly phone call to discuss your usability however for all of the “for Adsense” sites which have been built up over the last few years, watchout!

See more details directly from Google here.

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