As an advertiser, the worst-case scenario may be to receive an email from Google that you’d been fearing – your Google Merchant Center account is suspended.
This can be the worst nightmare for any advertiser or eCommerce merchant. Upon receiving the intimation, you can expect all Google Merchant Center ads to cease delivering immediately and this will continue until the account is reestablished.
Navigating the challenges of Merchant Center suspensions can be frustrating, particularly because it can have a direct impact on your revenues. But what causes Google to suspend your Merchant Center account? How can it affect your account? How can you avoid such suspensions? Check out this comprehensive guide to know how to avoid Google Merchant Center Account suspension.
What is Google Merchant Center Suspension?
If you have received an intimation from the Google team stating your Merchant Center Account has been suspended, you’d be wondering – WHY?
Well, as Google states,
“We want everyone to have a safe and positive experience when visiting Google and our partner sites. To help make that a reality, we’ve developed a set of policies that we expect merchants to follow. When merchants don’t follow these policies, we might disapprove their items to let them know that something’s not right. When they continue to break the rules or break the rules egregiously, then we may have to suspend those accounts.”
What does this mean?
Google works at its best to provide an improved user experience and high-quality, reliable information when visiting Google or a partner site.
To ensure this, Google has a set of policies that merchants need to follow with regard to Shopping Ads. When advertisers violate these policies or do not meet product data specifications, Google might disapprove accounts, items, or feeds.
Some of the common reasons for disapproval of your AdWords Merchant Center account are:
- Unclaimed store URL
- Restricted or prohibited products listed related to medicine or healthcare
- Unsecure checkout process
- Missing refund policy
- Placing promotional texts in product images
- The website does not allow making online purchases
- Links to landing pages are broken or redirect to the home page
- Presenting different prices on the product page and the landing page
- Different languages or currencies used other than that of the target country
At the same time, you should abide by the shopping ads policies covering what you can publish and what you cannot: Prohibited Content, Restricted Content, Prohibited Practices, and Editorial & Technical quality standards.
Another possible reason for having your Google Merchant account suspended is “Misrepresentation.” Google does not want the users to be misinformed by the information promoted through Shopping Ads. So, if you are practicing the following, chances are that Google will charge you with misrepresentation and suspend your Merchant Center account:
- Promotions that inaccurately, dishonestly, and unrealistically represent you or your products
- Promotions that directly intimidate a user to download, purchase, etc. without providing comprehensive and relevant information about you or your products, or without getting explicit consent of the user
These are some of the possible reasons why your Google Merchant Center account might get suspended. However, if you think you have not violated Google’s policies or are not sure why your account has been suspended, then you can submit an appeal.
How to Avoid Google Merchant Center Account Suspension?
Amidst cut-throat competition in the field of digital advertising today, having your Google Merchant Center account suspended can be detrimental to your business. Therefore, you must take a proactive approach to avoid your account from getting suspended. Here are some tips for you:
1. Set Up Your Contact Us Page
Insufficient contact information on your website can be one of the reasons why your Merchant Center Account can get disapproved. As a part of the updated Shopping Ads policy, Google requires all merchants to provide at least one type of contact information on their website – physical address, telephone number, and email address.
However, it is recommended to set up a dedicated Contact Us page with the following information included:
– Contact number
– Physical address
– Contact email address
– Contact hours & response time
The contact information should also be included in the footer section of the website. This makes it easier for your users to find relevant contact information about your store or business. It is also crucial that the contact information you provide on the website is the same as the one you provide in your Merchant Center Account.
2. Update Your Legal Pages With Clear & Concise Information About Your Policies
Google has set some guidelines pertaining to its Editorial and Professional requirements that every merchant should abide by. In case the website does not comply with these requirements, you may get a warning notice mentioning “Website Needs Improvement.”
One of the key requirements here is ensuring that all the Legal Pages are correct and up-to-date. Under the Legal category of your website, you must include the following pages:
– Shipping Page
– Returns & Refunds Page
– Terms & Conditions Page
– Privacy Page The pages should cover important policies and information, which is accurate and does not mislead the users. For example, the shipping policy page must include the product handling and delivery time. In addition to setting up separate pages for each category, make sure they can be quickly accessed from the footer section of the website.
3. Prevent Restricted Checkout
As a part of Google Merchant Center policies, the checkout process should be straightforward and make it easier for the customers to purchase the products you advertise. Most importantly, the checkout process must equally work for all customers globally. It should not restrict users from checking out based on products in the art, specific IP address or location of the user, cart total amount or item quantity, etc.
4. Set Up Social Media Icons
Another way of avoiding your Google Merchant Center account from getting suspended is by setting up social media icons on all the pages of your websites and in the footer. The icons should link back to your respective social media account. This shows Google that you are a legitimate and trustworthy business.
5. Prevent Inconsistent Pricing
Another important aspect you should be careful of is having consistent pricing on the product page and the checkout page. Inconsistent pricing across your website violates Google’s policies & is considered deceitful.
6. Integrate the Logos of Payment Methods That You Accept
Google wants merchants to be upfront about the payment methods they accept. So, ensure the logos of accepted payment methods are clearly visible on the checkout page as well as in the footer section. Also, do not include the logo of any payment method you do not accept.
To avoid suspension of your Google AdWords Merchant Center account, make sure you understand and comply with the policies set by Google. Make note of all the important policy updates & update your Merchant Center account to avoid getting penalized.