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Recovering from the Google Slap

by | Sep 16, 2016 | PPC

Nobody likes to be slapped by GoogleNOTE: You can read about the background to this story, here.


Last time I wrote to you, I was in the midst of a Google Slap – where my client’s Adwords health account was suddenly — and seemingly randomly — shut down by Google for “misleading content.” No warning, no notice. Just flat-lined.


after slap image chart

Better news to report this time, as everything is back up and running. After about 2 weeks of back and forth with Google compliance, with our awesome and extremely helpful Google account reps running interference for us, we were finally re-approved.

Here’s what we did…

First, we panicked. Then, we got to work.

The main issue was making sure that our content was clear, substantiated, and not misleading — in the opinion of Google compliance. It really doesn’t matter if you feel your content is crystal clear and believable. If Google doesn’t agree, too bad. Change it.

We added sources (with live links to the original sites) to any claims that were made on the landing pages. We also added disclaimers to testimonials, to the effect of “results aren’t typical.” And we added general disclaimers about not giving personal advice and to check with your practitioner before making any changes.

We updated every landing page and thank you page in the account, regardless of whether Google flagged it in the original slap or not. We wanted to be as proactive and thorough as possible, to help avoid any additional delays.

Unslap On The Beach

Like any life-changing event, I’ll never forget where I was when I got the good news from our account rep . I was on vacation, standing in line for dinner at our favorite restaurant at the Delaware shore, when I checked my email and saw that we had been approved. We were live again! Finally, I could relax and enjoy my vacation!

One interesting – and very positive – byproduct of the slap was the subsequent rebound. We’re still not sure exactly why, but once the campaigns were reactivated, we saw a huge spike in impressions and conversions:

Pre and Post Google Slap chart

Most campaigns have tapered back down to their usual levels. But some are still seeing marginally higher activity than we saw pre-slap.

Some takeaways…

Be proactive in monitoring your accounts. It’s not easy, and likely impossible, to anticipate what Google compliance will deem unacceptable. But being responsible marketers with substantiated claims will go a long way towards keeping your campaigns active.

If you do get shut down, move quickly to fix the problems. Showing Google that you are cooperative and prepared to do whatever it takes definitely seems to help move things along.

Make sure your users are up-to-date for email notifications.  You’ll find this under account settings in the account access and notification settings tabs.  If these are up-to-date, you’ll know the instant your accounts are shut down.

Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of your Adwords account screen, and select Account Settings:

Account settings

Then click on the Account access and Notification settings tabs on the left to update your user contact information:

Account access and notification settings
And if your campaigns aren’t performing the way you want them to, try getting them shut down for a while. You may see a nice big spike when they’re re-started. Kidding….sort of…

Feel free to reach out to me, or any of us here at AIM, if we can help you with Adwords or any other advertising platforms.

Signature Catherine
Catherine Flannery
Account Manager, AIM

P.S. We hosted a webinar on how to avoid and recover from being slapped by Google and Facebook where our Google Rep gave lots of tips and best practices on how to stay within Google guidelines that you should check out. You can read more about it, and get access to it, here.

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