Welcome to the Google policies and requirements page! This page is here to provide you with all the need to knows regarding the Google Shopping Policies to help you maintain your compliance during your online business endeavours.
These policies prioritize the safety of customers and compliance with applicable laws. We strictly prohibit any content that could cause harm to customers or negatively impact the advertising ecosystem. This ensures a positive and secure experience for all involved parties. Additionally, Google continuously monitors and updates these policies to adapt to evolving challenges and maintain a high standard of protection.
Shopping Ads Policies
The Shopping ads policies cover four main areas:
1. Prohibited content: This includes content that you arenot allowed to promote on the Google Network.
2. Prohibited practices: These are things that you cannot doif you want to advertise with us.
3. Editorial and technical: These are the quality standards we expect for your ads and website.
4. Restricted content: This refers to content that you can advertise, but with certain limitations.
To enforce these policies, a combination of Google's AI and human evaluation are used. The AI technology, modelled on human reviewers' decisions, helps protect the customers and maintain a safe ad platform. For more complex cases, the Google Merchant Help Center has specially trained experts to review and evaluate the content.
Swift action is taken against content that violates these policies.This may include disapproving violating Shopping ads, temporarily limiting ad impressions for flagged accounts, or suspending accounts for repeated or severe violations.
If any such enforcement actions are materialised due to policy violations, information will be provided on the decision by the enforcer. If one of your Shopping ads is disapproved, you have the option to fix the ad or appeal the decision.You can also appeal an account suspension decision by signing in to your Google Ads account.
Now lets dive into the detail!
Counterfeit goods: This policy restricts the sale or promotion of counterfeit products. These are products that mimic the trademark or logo of another brand in an attempt to pass off as genuine.
Dangerous products: Safety is a priority and therefore the promotion of any products that can cause harm or injury in a ny way are not allowed. This includes recreational drugs, weapons, and explosive materials.
Products that enable dishonest behavior: Honesty and fairness is valued, and so these policies do not allow the promotion of products that facilitate dishonest behaviour, such as hacking software or fake documents.
Inappropriate content: These policies strive to provide a respectful and diverse environment for our users. Therefore, restrictions against ads or destinations that display offensive content or promote hatred, discrimination,or violence are in place.
Unsupported Shopping ads content: While the aim is to support awide range of products, there are certain content types that may not be suitable for the desired platforms. The polocies do not allow the promotion of such content in Shopping ads and free product listings.
Abuse of the ad network: This policy wants to ensure that Shopping adsare useful, relevant, and safe for users. Therefore, it does not allow malicious content, traffic generation-focused sites, or any attempts to gain an unfair advantage or bypass our review processes.
Irresponsible data collection and use: Advertising partners are expected to handle user information with care and respect. Collecting user data for unclear purposes or without appropriate security measures is not allowed.
Misrepresentation: Users are entitled to make informed decisions on ads they see, and so promotions that are misleading or deceiving in any way are prohibited. This includes withholding relevant information or representing products inaccurately.
Editorial and technical:
Editorial and technical requirements
The ultimate aim is to deliver ads that are engaging for users without being annoying or difficult to interact with, so editorial requirements have been developed to help keep your ads appealing to users. Technical requirements have also been specified to help users and advertisers get the most out of the variety of ad formats that are offered.
Editorial and professional requirements
In order to provide a quality customer experience, Google requires that all Shopping ads meet high professional and editorial standards.Only promotions that are clear and professional in appearance are allowed and accepted. These ads should lead customers to products and landing pages that are relevant, usefuland easy to interact with.
Examples of promotions that don't meet these editorial and professional requirements:
-A Display URL that does not accurately reflect the URL of the landing page, such as 'google.com' taking users to 'gmail.com'
-Gimmicky use of words, numbers, letters, punctuation or symbols such as FREE, f-r-e-e and F₹€€!!
-Sites that are under construction, parked domains or are just not working-Sites that have disabled the browser's back button
-Sites that are not viewable in commonly used browsers.
In certain sensitive areas, Google has limitations on the promotion of specific content. While promotions in these areas are allowed, there are additional requirements and limitations. Some examples include adult-oriented content, alcoholic drinks, copyrighted content, gambling-related content, and healthcare-related content.
Please note that these restrictions are specific to Shopping ads and free listings and may not apply to other Google products or platforms.
Google restricts the promotion of healthcare-related content such as over-the-counter medicines, prescription medicines, pregnancy and fertility products etc.
The restrictions that apply to this content may vary depending on the product that you're promoting and the countries that you're targeting. Some content, such as unapproved pharmaceutical supplements, may not be promoted anywhere.
Depending on the content that you're promoting and the countries where your ads appear, you may need to apply for preauthorisation with Google before advertising healthcare-related content.
Promotion of Gambling-related content is has been restricted by Google including content such as: national or private lotteries, site offering bonus codes and gambling site promotions.
Google restricts the promotion of copyrighted content. If you are looking to promote this type of content and you believe that you are legally entitled to do so, you can get in touch at: https://support.google.com/google-ads/contact/copyright?sjid=17718070613835755354-EU. To learn more about how we handle copyright-related issues or to submit a copyright-related complaint,use this form at: https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?sjid=17718070613835755354-EU
The promotion of alcoholic drinks (including drinks that resemble) have been restricted by Google. If promoting alcoholic drinks, you may not:
-Violate applicable laws and industry standards in the respective country of promotion
-Target minors who are under the legal drinking age in the respective country of promotion
-Imply that drinking alcohol betters social, sexual, professional, intellectual or athletic standing
-Suggest drinking alcohol posseses health benefits
-Portray excessive drinking positively.
-Show alcohol being consumed in relation with the operation of a vehicle or machine of any kind, or the performance of any task requiring alertness.
Google restricts the promotion of adult-oriented content including adult merchandise, nudity and sexually suggestive content. If promoting such content, you may not:
-Violate applicable laws and industry standards in the respective country of promotion
-Promote sexually explicit content
-Promote content relating to underage or non-consensual themes
-Promote content relating to sexual acts in exchange for compensation.
Examples of restricted adult content: Sex toys; adult magazines; sexual enhancement products; sexually suggestive lingerie promotions.
When you promote political content, you must comply with the following requirements:
-Applicable laws and industry standards for any location that you target
-Any applicable election 'silence periods'
Examples of political content: Promotion of political parties/candidates; political issue advocacy.
Shopping ads don't restrict the use of trademarks by merchants in the title or description of an ad when it's for a trademarked product or a product compatible with the trademarked product. Merchants need to reference trademarks to be able to communicate to users what they're offering and users need that information as it's relevant to their searches. Google will review claims by trademark owners that the use of their trademark is likely to cause consumers confusion about the origin of a product. To submit a trademark-related complaint if you're an owner of the trademark, use this form: https://support.google.com/legal/contact/TM_CF_Shopping?product=productsearch&sjid=18277003601237710796-EU
High fat, sugar and salt food and beverages
Responsible advertising of food and beverages is supported. High fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) food and beverages (F&B) Shopping ads are allowed if they comply with our policies. Google considers ads to be promoting the sale of HFSS products when one or more HFSS food items, beverages or meals are promoted in the ad (text, imagery, audio and/or video) or destination site. Specifically, Shopping ads that contain HFSS food and beverages are now prohibited from targeting minors.
The information reflected in this policy is not intended to be legal advice and all merchants and partners are expected to comply with the local laws for any region that their ads target, including local requirements that may differ from this HFSS food and beverages policy.
Google hopes these policies provide clarity and ensure a positive experience for all. If you have any further questions or need further assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out and visit the Shopping Ads Policies page on the Google Merchant Help Centre at: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6149970?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=9212502&sjid=17718070613835755354-EU
Free Listings Policies
Are you a merchant looking to showcase your products to a wider audience? Good news! Google has introduced a new policy that allows you to list your products on Google Shopping for free.
Now, you can reach more potential customers without spending a dime. This change aims to support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing them with a free platform to increase their online visibility.
So, why wait? Take advantage of this opportunity to connect with consumers and boost your sales without any cost.
Overview of the free listings policies and how to enforce them
To ensure a safe and positive experience for you and other customers, Google uses a combination of automated and human evaluation to enforce these free listings policies. These policies are designed to maintain a healthy digital shopping ecosystem by prohibiting harmful content and promoting transparency. These enforcement methods involve the use of algorithms and machine learning, which are trained to mimic human reviewers' decisions. This helps protect customers and keep platforms safe.
Additionally, the specially trained experts review more complex cases to ensure compliance with these guidelines.
If a listing violates these policies, Google takes action to address the issue. This may include restricting or disapproving the listing so that it is not served to customers. In some cases, Google may limit the visibility of offers for certain accounts or even suspend accounts for repeated or severe violations. Google provides detailed information on why a listing violates such policies and the reasons for disapproval. If your listing is disapproved or has limited visibility, you have the opportunity to fix the issues or appeal the decision. Additionally, if your account is suspended, you can also appeal the suspension through Merchant Centre.
Google encourages you to monitor your listings and ensure compliance with the policies to maintain a positive experience for all customers. If you come across any policy violations while using the platform, Google has a reporting system in place for you to report such violations. By working together, we can create a trustworthy and transparent shopping environment.
Prohibited content / Prohibited practices / Editorial and technical requirements / Restricted content
For information on the content restrictions for free listings, please refer to the relevant section under the Shopping ads policies where these have been discussed in great detail and clarity.
Make sure your website meets the site requirements set by Google to ensure a quality customer experience. To ensure that your listings are eligible and meet the necessary standards, here are three important factors to consider:
1. Data Quality: It's crucial that your product data is accurate, up-to-date, and complete. Make sure to provide all the necessary information, such as product descriptions, prices, availability, and shipping details. This will help customers make informed purchasing decisions and reduce the likelihood of returns or dissatisfied customers.
2. Image Guidelines: Visual representation plays a significant role in attracting customers. Ensure that your product images are of high quality, properly sized, and showcase your products in the best possible light. Follow Google's image guidelines to ensure that your images meet the required specifications and are visually appealing to potential customers.
3. Product Identifiers: Google requires that eligible products have unique product identifiers, such as GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers), MPNs (Manufacturer Part Numbers), or brand names. These identifiers help Google match your products with relevant search queries and provide accurate information to customers. Ensure that your product data includes these identifiers to improve the visibility and discoverability of your listings.
About this policy
To ensure compliance with this policy, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the guidelines and requirements outlined by Google. Google has implemented a set of policies that apply to all promotions on the Google Network, including free listings. These policies are in place to create a safe and positive experience for users. As an advertiser, it is your responsibility to adhere to all applicable laws, regulations, and Google's policies.
Policy enforcement is a crucial aspect of Google's free listings. When content violates the requirements set forth by Google, it may be blocked from appearing. In cases of repeated or egregious violations, Google may even stop you from listing with them. This emphasizes the importance of understanding and complying with the content guidelines and quality requirements.
Eligibility criteria also play a role in free listings. Advertisers must meet certain requirements to be eligible for listing their products and websites on Google. It is important to review and ensure that your business meets these criteria.
Additionally, data feed plays a significant role in the quality of your listings. Google relies on the data feed you provide to display accurate and relevant information to users. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain accurate and up-to-date data feeds to meet Google's quality requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I optimize my product listings to increase visibility in free listings?
To increase product visibility and improve rankings, optimize your product listings by using relevant keywords, detailed descriptions, high-quality images, and accurate pricing information. Maximize reach and increase exposure by regularly updating and promoting your listings.
Are there any limits on the number of products I can list for free?
Yes, there are limits on the number of products you can list for free. However, by implementing effective listing restrictions, pricing strategies, competitor analysis, product description optimization, and inventory management, you can maximize your visibility and reach more potential customers.
Can I list products that are currently out of stock or discontinued?
Yes, you can still list products that are out of stock or discontinued. However, it's important to manage them properly by offering backorder options, pre order availability, product availability notifications, and implementing strategies for handling out of stock items.
Is there a specific format or template I should follow when creating my product listings?
When creating your product listings, it's important to follow a specific format or template. Include a detailed product description, highlight key features, set a competitive pricing strategy, showcase positive customer reviews, and end with a compelling call to action.
Are there any restrictions on the types of images or videos I can include in my product listings?
There are image guidelines and video restrictions for your product listings. Make sure your creative content follows the guidelines and restrictions provided. Content moderation is important to maintain the visual presentation of your listings.
So there you have it! Google's free listings policy is a game-changer for merchants looking to showcase their products and reach a wider audience. With this policy, businesses can list their products on Google Shopping without any cost, providing them with a valuable platform during these challenging times. This initiative by Google aims to support merchants and make it easier for consumers to find the products they need. By offering free listings, Google is helping retailers and consumers connect and thrive in the digital marketplace. If you have any further queries or need further assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out and visit the Free Listings Policies page on the Google Merchant Help Centre at: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/12073010?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=9212502&sjid=17718070613835755354-EU