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No More Exceptions: Display URL Must Match Destination Page URL

from April 1st 2008



2:12 am on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Anyone catch the new blog from Inside Adwords?

I can't quite parse it.

I'm assuming they meant "Landing Page URL" and not "Destination URL".


[edited by: encyclo at 2:37 am (utc) on Feb. 21, 2008]
[edit reason] added link to article [/edit]


2:22 am on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes, it has to match the landing page URL. The destination URL can be a different domain, as long as it redirects to the landing page that matches the display URL. As the blog post says, "if the URL of your landing page matches that of your display URL, your ads will be approved."


2:39 am on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yeah, that's what I assumed. They kept on saying destination URL, so I was unclear as to exactly what they were getting at.

Also, I assumed this was already a given! Ah well..


2:50 am on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

So what exactly is new? Isn't this policy already in place today?


3:50 am on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Here's the blog post: [adwords.blogspot.com...]

What's new is that they will no longer allow exceptions to the rule.


4:05 pm on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

They could have found everyone who had an affected exception and emailed just them. As for me, I was looking at it three times trying to figure out if I was affected. The old "you may not be affected" doesn't do much to soothe you when you can't figure out that the policy didn't really change, they've just been burned by too many exceptions and/or lax enforcement of it.

I've seen some domain name bidders (affiliates bidding on the merchants name) use typos or fake extensions (like .org) and get away with it. Happy to see them getting serious about enforcing this policy, even if they're announcement sucked a little in it's clarity.


7:53 pm on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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i don't get it... if I use AAA.com which redirects to BBB.com - can I use BBB.com as my display URL? AAA.com would be my tracking script in this case...

[edited by: encyclo at 2:36 am (utc) on Feb. 21, 2008]


8:25 pm on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What about individual keyword(s) urls. I have a campaign with example.com as a display url and example.com as landing url but each keyword in an adgroup has its own url keyword "red_widget" associates with example.com/red_widget landing page another one: example.com/blue_widget etc... I am wondering how this will play out, i sure don't want to make adgroup for each keyword.


11:31 pm on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

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No more exceptions!? Since when were there exceptions and what were they! That might explain why some of the cases I reported were never acted on. :(


3:24 am on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Gomvents: You'd have to use BBB.com as your display URL. AAA.com wouldn't get approved.

chinara: I'm pretty sure that won't be a problem. Google says, "the use of sub-domains and additional text within the display will continue to be acceptable provided the top-level domain matches the URL of your landing page."

Kobayashi: Some advertisers have been using a display URL different from the landing page URL without any deception or double serving. For example, if you search for microsoft office you'll see an ad with the display URL of www.Office2007.com and a landing page somewhere on microsoft.com; there's no ill intent involved here, so I can see how Google could be lenient in that case.

But then of course there are the affiliates using completely invalid domains [webmasterworld.com] in the display URL, or using multiple accounts and imaginary domains to show 8+ ads at a time. They're the bad apples that ruined it for the whole bunch.

I'm assuming that what Google will be implementing on April 1 is automated/scripted checking that the display URL domain matches the landing page domain, so the loopholes and inefficiencies in their manual checking cannot be exploited...but maybe I'm being a bit too hopeful there.


3:39 am on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

and i just wanted to cheer.. but that was too soon. nothing new.
here is the real claim from all the bugged adsensers:

no more redirects!

display domain = redirect domain = landing page domain
keep it plain and simple! no more sneaky attempts to bypass our junk filters. most of all redirects are not for tracking (you could as well do that easily without a redirect) but for the "neat" side effect of fooling publishers to select the wrong domain for their ban list (cj partners, ebay affiliates, you name it).

[edited by: moTi at 3:55 am (utc) on Feb. 21, 2008]


5:07 am on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What took you so long?


6:52 am on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

So what exactly is new? Isn't this policy already in place today?

Yes it is... Unless your account rep overrides the settings so you can keep your keyword-stuffed-domain.tld, as long as it isn't obviously malicious.

How can a rep override a setting you ask? They may be motivated by the $ amount the advertiser spends and will continue to spend if the links continue to generate paying customers.

It's nice they warn everyone so now the market for keyword rich microsites will start booming.


8:49 am on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

There is nothing new in the policy itself which is as it was since spring 2005. What is new is the Google’s admittance they’ve been letting people use invalid display URLs for whatever reason.

we have made the decision to no longer allow certain exceptions with regards to our display URL policy

In a background, it may be that they’ve finally got the technical solution that should catch invalid display URLs better than it was doing it before (if anything automated was in place at all). This post is just a nice warning so they can say “we told you” after someone starts crying about account suspension or termination, which will make many of us very happy, if it really turns to be efficient system. Invalid display URLs is something we should not worry about and spend time on the phone while “showing” it to the specialist.
In addition, the break of display URL rule may be a subject to possibly reduced number of offences, before serious action takes place. In the past it looked like people could break the rule on number of occasions without being punished. Now that may (hopefully) change.

I’ll be sure to get onto Google and start querying it on or after April 1 in order to see how many of invalid ads are still there.

Hopefully, Fools Day will not be applicable to this. ;)


2:18 pm on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

A missed opportunity to eradicate the sneaky redirects in my (adsense) book.
Let's hope they allow us not to filter on the display URL as well as the actual URL they point visitors to


11:54 pm on Feb 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I hope this will apply to the content that most of the people don’t pay attention to. I used AdSense on some of my sites a bit and came across invalid display URLs, just like in PPC.

It is that PPC carries most of the weight when about this issue.

My approach to this is that if someone bases his/her business on having ads with invalid display URLs out there, they should be gone by now anyway. If they are ready to cheat on the system in that way, they are ready to cheat onto anything, whenever they get the opportunity. They are nothing but pain for everyone.


12:56 am on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Whats going to be bugger is that if the urls change then the ads age will reset costing the advertiser more till the now new ads get seniority / age. And yes, I am referring to the legit advertisers who have bought companies lines and urls then point them to sections of the new overall site or ones that use descriptive tracking urls in confusing categories of widgets. Not affiliate or adsense type sites...


7:25 am on Feb 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I’ve experienced that by having two URLs pointing to the same site (not even invalid display URL). At some point, AdWords has figured which would be main, legitimate name of the site, meaning main URL, and “punished” the other one by lowering the QS and implementing high minimum bids.
After that, I was forced to continue using “main” URL only. In case of some very important keywords, my CTR has suffered, since the “other” URL matched those better than the “main” one.
For the sake of maintaining good QS and low minimum bids, I lost traffic and sales.

My understanding of this was that AdWords did not like the idea of multiple URLs for same site.
This concept would be in line with organic SEO side of Google. No multiple URLs, but 301s.

Now, it may happen that if a brand of a company or product is strong enough, and URLs have long history, they may be able to go through by pointing different URLs to same site. Not sure about 301s. I know that exceptions existed and I totally support them, even today. If you own five products and they are all well known brands and TMs, but all point to the site of your corporation, that’s fine with me.

I would want to see this policy hitting those that were misusing it, in order to get their ads showing, from one, or multiple accounts.


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