It happens. It’s terrible (every time). You followed all the guidelines or rules for the search engine in question, yet somehow…you’ve been suspended. I’ll tell you flat out that my initial reaction anytime I’ve been first-hand involved in an account suspension is to throw up my hands and attempt not to scream. I’ll also tell you that reaction gets me nowhere. So what can you do? Many people are of the mindset that all is lost and they might as well pack their PPC advertising bags and move on. I’m a bad-news-first person so, you may be right. BUT, you could be wrong. The most important thing to do is try.
Wait, How Did This Happen in the First Place???
Both Google and Bing give you some guidelines and policies for how to best stay out of trouble and keep your accounts up and running, but of course there will always be slightly vague verbiage and things they don’t say directly. If you follow the guidelines for each engine as closely as your human brain can, you’re more than likely going to remain above board and have functioning accounts.
Some typical reasons for suspended accounts are inaccurate ad copy, assertions on landing pages that can’t be fully supported, advertising for illegal or inappropriate products or services…the list goes on and on. The first line of defense is to make sure you’re reading through the search engine guidelines as thoroughly as possible before you get started and follow those rules as strictly as you are capable. This will keep you out of hot water more often than not. What if it happens anyway?
How Bad IS It?!?
Suspension can happen on a variety of levels. You can have your account more or less ‘paused’ if ad copy is troublesome, but if even simple issues persist, the search engine has the right to shut you down completely. Typically, you’ll receive a warning from the search engine to let you know there’s a problem you need to attend to. If you ignore that warning, they may be nice enough to send you a final warning, but then suspension is right around the corner.
If you were held in violation of advertising policies, you are going to have a tough road ahead. You can contact the search engine team to plead your case, but at this point they’ve usually given you multiple opportunities to fall in line and you’ve either ignored them or not made the appropriate adjustments. They can also suspend any related accounts you may have open, or blacklist you as an advertiser from ever opening an account again. Which…is painful to say the least. If you’re looking at a website violation, you can contact the search engine team to get more information about what the violations entailed, make the necessary changes and usually get things back up and running.
Ok, What Can I Do?
My first step would be to go back through your emails and make sure you didn’t skip over any incoming warnings with details about what’s coming. It’s easy as a busy Internet marketer to assume mail coming from Google or Bing is just informational in nature or doesn’t need your utmost attention; I’ve done it for sure. The warning emails from the engines typically contain some information to help point you in the right direction to tracking down the account element in violation.
After you’ve found the email(s), get in the account and make whatever changes you are able to. If the problem is ad copy, make some adjustments. If you’re making promises you can’t keep on your site, remove them. If you can’t find the emails in the first place, skip to the next step.
After you’ve made changes or if you aren’t sure what to change, contact the search engine’s help team. They can either re-crawl your account or site to verify the changes you’ve made to get back on track or help you figure out what the issues are in the first place. This process may take a few days, so remain patient. If the problems are fixable, and you’ve done what’s necessary to right the ship, the search engine team will then turn things back on for you.
If the violations are non-forgivable, the search engine team will tell you that, as well. In this case, you should inquire as to how severe the punishment is going to be. Is your account suspended from serving ads or are YOU suspended? If it’s the account, you may be able to start from scratch with a new account or new product/service in a new account. If you yourself have been blacklisted, it’s time to either find a new marketing medium all together, or seek out other engines (where you’ll follow the rules to the letter to keep the same thing from happening again…right???).
This Has Never Happened To Anyone Else & My Life Is Over
False. Happens all the time. And it has happened to plenty of people. Hanapin actually has a client onboard right now that came to us with policy violation issues, looking for help. They let us know their entire account had been suspended, but they weren’t completely shut out yet. We contacted the Small Business team at Google and had them crawl the account and site to let us know what the issue was and if it was capable of being resolved. Turns out there was a minor infraction with some content on the website. We let the client know the changes that needed to be made and they made them. We then requested the Google team to re-crawl the work that had been completed and they turned the account back on. The best news? The client obviously then decided to sign on with us full-time for putting the effort and time in (total time elapsed: two weeks, for reaching out, getting changes made and the account back on).
The moral of the story is to try. Get on the phone or email and contact the search engine team to find out what you can do, and then do it. If all is lost, then you certainly aren’t the first. Find out if there are other engines you could try and if not, start researching other ways to invest your marketing dollars.
Talk to us about your experiences! Ever had an account suspended, either for yourself or a client? How did you handle it? Were you able to recover or did you have to seek out other opportunities? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below and as always, thanks for reading!