Search engine marketing is one area that small business owners struggle with. Pay-per-click is the main area of difficulty and is one area where the once bitten twice shy rule comes into play all the time. It can be a mine field. If you don’t put your campaign together effectively, it can be costly, produce little in the way of results, and often lead to a kick in the pants by the pay-per-click provider.

Google Adwords is notorious for suspending campaigns with little if any notice and the reason for this is simple, the campaign hasn’t followed the rules that are in place. The rules themselves are not as complex as they may first look.  Google are interested in one thing – provide the right results to its users. If they can get that right the majority of the time then users will continue to use their services and Google will continue to rake in revenues.

I mention Google is the chief culprit when it comes to suspending campaigns, but they are not the only ones – all search engines have a set of standards that advertisers need to follow. Fail to follow those standards and they too will suspend your advertising campaign. Areas that often cause problems include:

Not accurately representing your product or service – some advertisers use a keyword to promote a product but the landing page is promoting another product.Not supporting advertised prices, discounts and free offers – if you include a price, discount or free offer then it should be clearly available on the landing page.Not allowing a browser’s ‘Back’ button to work – by turning off the back button you are taking control away from the user – this is not permitted.Not displaying the correct URL – this was an old trick. Display one URL but send the user to a different address altogether. The display URL has to be the landing page’s URL

You can read Google’s advertising policies here. If you are really struggling to put together a campaign yourself, find a professional who can do it for you. In many cases, the cost of that professional is easily recouped by lower costs per click and increased sales. If you do intend doing it yourself, then remember that search engine marketing does have rules that need to be followed. It’s not unusual either. Even traditional offline advertising has a set of rules that must be followed.

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