Google AdWords — Updated Display URL Policy
Starting April 1, Google is enforcing a new Display URL Policy. Not everyone knows about it, and those that do are wondering what it means.
Let’s start with this paragraph directly from Google:
"Based on feedback from both our advertisers and users, and consistent
with our efforts to present relevant results, we’ll no longer allow
certain exceptions to our display URL policy. These include, but aren’t
limited to, redirects and vanity URLs. In line with our existing
policy, we’ll continue to require that your ad’s display URL matches
its destination URL (the URL of your landing page). This policy will be
strictly enforced for new ads, regardless of previous exceptions."
Google says that your existing ads will continue to work, but makes no promises for how long.
What this means:
I’ll use Marketo as an example. The URLs for Marketo landing pages are on the "pages2" subdomain, as in:
Our display URL is www.marketo.com, so we’re compliant with the new Google policy. But if that same landing page was at:
and our display URL is www.marketo.com, then that URL — and hence, that ad — will not be allowed under the new policy.
What you should do:
If your landing pages are hosted anywhere except your website (or subdomain of your website), or you use a landing page software that hosts your landing pages, you should create a subdomain (also called DNS Aliasing or Domain Mapping) for that hosting site. Marketo has created a fast and easy guide to Setting up DNS Aliasing for a Custom Subdomain on our Community Success forum.
The actual Google policy is available on the official "Inside AdWords" blog.