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Google Ads compliance update.

Welcome back! This week I’ll be talking about a new Google update. Last week was the Helpful Content update. If you didn’t catch last week’s show check it out. The new Google update appears to concern ads and revolves around an email sent to all Google Ads account holders. It’s a bit vague and confusing; so just another update then! They seem to be talking about destination requirements and might well affect your site.

What I learned

  • Another week, another Google update!
  • This one’s a bit weird.
  • What is a “destination requirement”?
  • Compliance is by October.
  • Is it a popup penalty?


G’day, Rankers. Welcome back. Helpful Content update is being rolled out. What’s the Helpful Content update? Go and watch last week’s show.

Google Update

Helpful content means that content if it’s helpful for Google, you’re fine. Just go and watch last week’s show because if the content’s helpful for Google it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily helpful for you.

But there’s another update coming. Oh, Google. So many gifts. They just keep on coming, don’t they? Yeah, this one’s around ads and it’s confusing a lot of people and it’s confusing me. I haven’t seen a lot of people talking about it yet, but I think they will because it’s going to get a little bit more… It’s just weird.

Let me walk you through it. An email was sent by Google to a bunch of advertisers last night. We haven’t worked out what the… I guess, what are the commonalities between the clients that got these ads or these emails, got one.

Basically what they’re saying is, is that Google is updating its destination requirements. So yeah, we’ve talked about those years ago and basically they’re around making sure that if Google is sending someone to a site via one of their ads, they want to make sure that it’s not a dodgy site and it’s going to be a good experience for the user.

They’ve always talked about these things and you would always get a lower quality score if you were doing things that were less-than-great for the user. Things that were specifically designed to entrap the user like spyware or malware or those sorts of sites.

However, this policy change to the destination requirements is talking about conforming to the Coalition for Better Ads experience and you’ve got to comply with that by October.

Now in these emails that they’ve sent out to advertisers, right at the bottom here, you can see it says, “Our records show that this policy change may affect your account.” Okay, that’s scary. “And please remove any disallowed ad experiences before October 22.”

Well, none of these sites have ads running on them, like AdSense or ads for anybody else and they are all eCommerce sites, except for StewArt Media. What Google must be talking about with these bad ad experiences is actually something else, so not ads themselves. It says here that you can go and have a look at the ad experience report which Google has on your site and already has that on your site. You can go and have a look at that to see if there are any problems, but the destination requirements are also linked in the ad. You go and see all those.

So we went through and had a look at a few things and we went through and had a look at, well, maybe it’s 301s. Maybe a site migration has been done over a client at some point and maybe there’s an errant URL somewhere inside Google Ads that is the old URL from the old site and it’s been redirected, whatever. That’s not allowed, right?

Popup penalty?

So we went through and we’ve checked a bunch of those things. We’ve tried to find some consistencies between these, but all we’ve come up with and all what it’s come down to is popups because Google had a mobile popup penalty. It said years ago. I was even on Sky News talking about it, I think, for that one. And it was a fissure, a complete fissure as a penalty, that is. When they brought it out, heaps of sites were still doing popups.

Now you’ve probably got your own opinion on popups. Popups are great for some sites. And personally, I don’t like them. I don’t know anyone who says, “Oh, goody, a popup.” However, for businesses, they tend to work. I guess it’s the equivalent of somebody at the front store, handing you, say, a 10% discount voucher for your first order when you come in. Just hand over your phone number, please. Same sort of thing, I guess. So it can work.

But from what we are reading right now, it looks like this is going to be something that will affect advertisers. And from the Google simple wording of their email, that they’re complying with the Coalition for Better Ads and the Coalition for Better Ads did tweet out on August the 16th that Google has adopted its better ad standards to improve in-app experiences. That was to do with apps, not websites.

This was to do with websites. And when we go and have a look at the ad experience and what they’re saying is probably not a great experience. You go and have a look at them yourselves. You can see here, there’s a number of things that they will flag around popups on sites. So when we go and have a look at this ad experience report, which is linked in this email, that’s gone out to everyone.

It has nothing on any of our clients. Like it says, it’s done a review, but if you’re going to have a look at the ad experience report, and it will say, “we haven’t even reviewed these sites and there’s no errors and there’s no problems. We can’t see anything. Maybe just fix stuff up preemptively just in case there is.” And you go and have a look at this report. Yeah. It’s not helpful. And it’s certainly not reporting any errors on any of our client sites. And this is the tool that Google’s telling you to use, to go and check.

So Google is saying on the one hand in the email that your site specifically could be a… Is probably going to be affected by this change. And yet when we go and have a look at these reports that they’ve sent us, they’re not. And all we can see with some of these sites is that they do have popups. So our thinking currently is possibly come October, Google might be adding some sort of downgrade for advertisers that have popups on their site.

If you have got one of these emails, please let us know and let us know what you think. Let us know if you’ve got popups. And if you think it’s for something else, if you can try to work out what Google’s trying to tell advertisers here, then please share with our community. And please, if you haven’t already, like, comment, subscribe, share, and I love hearing from you at And if you’ve got any ideas, what the hell this is about, let us know. Thanks very much. Bye.

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