Google Adwords Bans Ads for High-interest and Payday Loans
As of July 13th, Google has announced that display ads that promote paydays loans with repayment terms in 60 days or less will be prohibited. This change to the AdWords policy also means that ads on high-interest loans with an APR of 36% or more will no longer be accepted.
However, the latest changes are not expected to apply to companies that offer other types of loans, including mortgages, car loans, commercial loans, student loans, and revolving lines of credit.
The official announcement was made via the Google Public Policy blog. While Google accepts that some ads are good, Google has decided that payday loans with these specific repayment terms are considered as harmful products that are designed to mislead users about their lending options.
Google Disables Harmful and Low-Quality Ads
In fact, in 2015 alone, there were more than 780 million ads that were disabled for a variety of reasons, including counterfeiting and phishing. Ads for financial services receive particular scrutiny from Google because of the fact that they are core services that affect people’s livelihood and well being.
Google previously made an initiative to eliminate content from the search engines that is harmful to people’s well being or financial standing as a part of their updated Webmaster guidelines. In addition, Google search quality raters have already been advised to identify sites that conflict with Google’s latest recommendations regarding financial products.
However, it is also important to note that Google has not taken steps to ban PPC ads for companies in other industries that sell products that could be harmful to consumers. A recent article from Search Engine Watch found that ads for paying for electronics in installments are still allowed, although many of the companies in this sector also offer terms that are very unfavorable to consumers.
In addition, gambling ads are still allowed in AdWords although gambling can be addictive and cause financial harm. In fact, gambling keywords make up 77 of the top 100 keywords in the UK. In light of these contradictions, it remains to be seen if Google is simply taking a moral stand against the most harmful financial products or if there is more to the story.
What Does This Mean for New Payday Loan Companies?
This news also means that newer payday loans companies will no longer be able to use PPC has a quick way to gain entry into the marketplace. With no access to PPC ads in Google, these companies will find it very difficult to beat out the organic search results of the well-established payday loan companies that already make up the major players in the market. As a result, they will have to use other measures to improve their SEO results which may take longer and might be less effective compared to the instant feedback provided by PPC advertising.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
Although Google is targeting products that have proven to be harmful for consumers, this change also highlights the fact that SEO should be looked at a long term strategy. While PPC has helped many companies obtain search visibility faster, brands in the payday loan industry will now have to use other strategies to get ahead when it comes to SEO.
Google’s changes should also serve as a reminder to you to ensure that your business’s SEO strategy is a multi-faceted approach that doesn’t only rely on shortcuts to gaining visibility in the search engines. As a result, you should always be prepared for any changes that Google might make so that you can adjust your SEO strategy accordingly.