How I Got My Google Ads Account SUSPENDED!
Ever logged into your Google Ads account only to find you’ve been suspended for a so called “bridge page” violation?
And so have many others.
If this has happened to you, or you’re scared it might happen to you, then this could be the most important blog post you’ll read today..
If I had to start affiliate marketing again from scratch knowing what I do now, there are certain things I would do differently NOW compared to when I first started.
I made BAD errors that resulted in my Google Ads account being suspended and my online business disappearing almost overnight!
More about that in just a moment.
When I started back in 2011-2012, the first product that I ever promoted as an affiliate was a Forex trading product.
If you don’t know what Forex trading is, it’s similar to Stock Trading, except it’s for World Currencies.
The Foreign Exchange, hence it’s name ‘FOREX’.
It was a Forex trading product and I did very well out of promoting that as an affiliate
I made a good deal of money, around $30,000, from that in probably about six months.
Back then in that day, it was a relatively new thing so people really dug that information.
And it was one of those products that if you catch that wave where it’s a relatively new thing and a lot of people are looking for it, you can make a good amount of money promoting it as an affiliate marketer.
But I got too comfortable.
I thought that was it.
I was made.
My website was just going to keep making sales and I was going to have that income coming in for the rest of my life.
I was WRONG!
Google Changed The Landscape…
Around that time, 2011-2012, Google drastically changed the landscape for a lot of Affiliates who were cashing in big time.
A lot of affiliates used to use Pay Per Click ads mainly Google Ads, it was actually called ‘Google AdWords’ back then, now it’s called ‘Google Ads’.
I was one of them.
And Google, all of a sudden decided, completely out of the blue, and a lot of affiliate marketers, not just me, were affected by this, Google decided you could no longer directly link to affiliate products using AdWords.
Google describe this as “Bridge Pages”.
They banned it in their terms of service. (It’s a good idea to frequently read their Terms of Service as Google constantly update it. It’s super-easy to get caught out!).
What exactly is a “bridge Page” and why is it banned?
Simply put, a bridge page is ANY page, that links out to another site.
More specifically, a “Bridge Page” is any page that exists solely to send the user to another website.
Here’s Google’s own “Bridge Page” definition directly from their current Terms of Service:
^^ well that pretty much virtually bans affiliate marketing the way most people approach it, if you ask me.
So why don’t Google Like Bridge Pages?
Before I attempt to answer this, keep in mind that back in 2011-2012 the Internet was different back then.
Pretty much anything was fair game if you paid Google enough dollars for it.
That opened up ‘loopholes’.
A lot of affiliates would build spammy sites, with spammy content, usually articles that had been re-written so many times that it ended up being really poor content.
The websites offered very little value to the reader.
They would then link to affiliate products that weren’t really related to the keyword that the affiliate was bidding on with Google ads.
That led to a really poor user experience in Googles eyes.
Remember, the Internet at the time was the Wild West.
The landscape is MUCH different today.
We were all guilty of ‘wild west’ tactics, myself included.
That’s why I adapted and I took a different approach.
According to Google, they didn’t ban Affiliate marketing altogether from Google Ads, but in my opinion (and it is only my opinion) they made it extremely difficult, to the point where there wasn’t really any point using it anymore.
In fact, at that time, they took such a hard line against affiliate marketing they just whacked people’s accounts shut.
People’s Google AdWords accounts shut down literally overnight…
A whole bunch of people that were doing affiliate marketing, the way I was doing it and the way we were all doing it, lost their accounts when Google decided that they didn’t want us to advertise like that anymore.
Businesses were wiped out overnight, including mine.
I went from making $30,000 online in six months to nothing, zero, overnight.
Big fat ZERO, nothing, it was gone.
So as you can expect, there’s a few things I would do differently now having had that experience.
A lot of the time, you can only make sound business decisions going forwards once you’ve made a few mistakes.
What I’m about to say, might seem backwards:
The best mistakes to make are always the biggest mistakes.
Because they teach you an awful lot, things that stay with you forever that you never forget.
And one of the things that I would do differently is, I wouldn’t have put all my eggs in one basket.
I had one website, it was promoting one product and my entire customer source was through one platform: Google AdWords.
Looking back at it, it was a disaster waiting to happen.
Because then Google came around and shut that down.
I had nothing else, I had no other sources of customers at all.
So I lost that business overnight.
And so that’s the first one.
I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket. I would diversify.
I wouldn’t just use Google AdWords for customers.
I would have used Facebook Ads.
I would also have used Twitter ads aswell and a whole host of other traffic sources.
Although I don’t think Twitter ads were around then, but if it was, I would certainly have used Twitter ads.
I certainly would have used a lot more articles back then, article submission was a great way to drive traffic.
A great way to get customers to visit your website, would be through an article they’d read, that was a really good method back then, I would have done a heck of a lot more of that.
The second thing that I would have done:
I would have invested the money I was making back into my business.
Which was something that I wasn’t doing.
Obviously I had that website and it was getting a good amount of traffic, good amounts of customers and I thought that was, you know, I was set up for life.
You know, “here we go, just leave that up there and just go and enjoy myself”.
And that’s what I was doing for a long time, for like the entire six months of that, I was just enjoying myself… One of my passions is motocross racing.
I bought a couple of motocross bikes.
I bought a trailer for the motocross bikes. I spent 2000 bucks alone on the trailer.
The bikes were like 4000-5000 bucks each.
I bought two of those.
I was just traveling around the country and just having a good time.
I wasn’t reinvesting any of the money that I made from my affiliate website.
I wasn’t reinvesting, not at all.
That’s one of the big things I would have changed, knowing what I know now or if I had a crystal ball so to speak.
I would have invested certainly, at least half of what I was making back into my business and started up another website in another niche market, used more traffic sources (not just adwords).
That is, for sure, my biggest regret in a nutshell, I spent all my money.
I squandered it, put it that way.
If I can turn the clock back, I would have invested at least half of that back into my business and then spent the other half on enjoying myself.
The third thing would have done and this one is a biggie…
I would have gone a lot more deeper in the subject matter.
I would have found other products and related products to promote in that market.
That’s when I discovered that…
Building an Email List Is A Game Changer…
I would have built a list, an email list, promote those products to.
I wasn’t building a list at all.
You’ll hear a lot of people, a lot of other affiliate marketers say “the money is in the list“.
And what I mean by a list, I mean an email list of subscribers that come into your autoresponder.
I speak a lot about autoresponders and different services you can use for that, in another blog post here.
I would have got people onto some sort of an email list so that I can market to them again over and over for years to come.
The way I was doing it, and it worked well for me (until Google stopped it), was I was just linking directly to a website, from my website to buy the product.
And the best I could hope for is that visitor buys a product and I get a commission.
If that visitor left and didn’t purchase, I got nothing.
If I’d captured their email address first, I could have followed up with them via email.
I wasn’t capturing their email address to sell them other related products like what I could have done if I was doing that.
I could have made a lot more money.
And that’s another thing, if I built a list, a customer list of people interested in whatever it was I was selling, in that case it was Forex trading, when my account got whacked by Google, I wouldn’t have had that big problem as I did because I would have had that customer list.
It wouldn’t have been so devastating.
I could have utilized that and I could have reached out to them, “hey, you bought this, you might be interested in this? This, this or this?”
It would have been something that I could have switched over to.
So they’re the main things that I would have done differently.
And I hope that you can find some value in that in this blog post, so that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did.
Because these are the kinds of things that I wish I was told back then back in 2012, when I first started getting into affiliate marketing.
Everything I’ve mentioned in this blog post, are things I wish I could have known ahead of time.
If you get nothing else out of this, the biggest takeaway from this would be this is the internet, things can (and will) change VERY quickly…
While you’re advertising on the internet, while you’re advertising on Google’s platforms, when you’re advertising on Facebook ad platforms or ANY of the platforms, you’re at their mercy.
If they decide that they don’t want you advertising anymore and they suspend your accounts, in some cases permanently, then you’ve got nowhere else to go.
So what you should do is diversify where you get your customers from.
That’s the one biggest takeaway that I can give you is to BUILD AN EMAIL LIST!!
Like I said to you, I lost my business overnight because Google just totally shut it down. They suspended it.
But if you do things the right way, diversify where you get new customers from, you never have to worry about that.
List building is building a list of customers interested in what you have to offer.
I hope you got some value out of this, I recommend you go back to the top and read it a few times.
There’s a lot of things you can implement and achieve success much faster!
If you want to jump straight in to the way I do affiliate marketing in 2020 and beyond, click here.